This has been a busy week for me so the Thursday eMessage is coming out on Friday. And again this week, you will find two new items below.
The first concerns Sunday School. There will be a Sunday School for Spirit West starting on Sunday, September 20, see the details below in ZOOM into Sunday School.
And secondly, in “normal” times, we would be holding our annual Blessing of the Animals on Sunday, September 27. This year this practice will continue, but online, again see the details below.
From our Re-Opening Committee
The Re-Opening Committee has had two (ZOOM) meetings so far. There is much that needs to be taken into account in developing a re-opening plan and Northern Spirit Region has developed a guide to assist congregations in preparing a plan that works. The committee will be using this document.
Among the various considerations that need to be taken into account are the feelings and concerns of the members of the congregation. In order for you to have input with regard to our re-opening plans, a questionnaire has been prepared. This questionnaire has been circulated by email and has been mailed to you with a self-addressed stamped envelope, so it is easy for you to return the completed questionnaire. We ask that you take the time to fill it out and return it to the church by September 14, 2020. As a preparation for filling out your questionnaire, you might want to watch this two part video by Diane Strickland, a United Church minister in Chinook Winds Region and a specialist in trauma counselling, as she addresses the challenges of churches re-opening. Part 1 is here: Part 1 and Part 2 is here: Part 2 .
If you have not received a questionnaire, please call the church office. We may not have the correct address for you.
We have heard from some of you that you would like to try a worship service outdoors. This is a possibility, but requires some work. If you are interested in helping plan and set-up an outdoor worship service please email or call the church. Among the things that we will need for such an occasion is a portable outdoor sound system, so that I don’t have to shout. If you know where we can borrow one, please let the church know.
The five Sundays in the Season of Pentecost beginning with the Sunday after Labour Day and continuing through Thanksgiving Sunday. (Occasionally there are six Sundays in this time frame. “Creation” comes from the Latin creare and creation meaning “to create.” The root of Creation Time is in the liturgical Ember Days. Ember is thought to come from the Old English ymbren “about” + ryne “course.” Another possibility is that the name is derived from the Latin quatuor tempora, meaning “four periods of times.” Ember may also come from the German Quatember, translated as “quarter day,” a day asking God’s blessing on a new season. The liturgical colour for Creation Time is orange. Orange is a warm colour, associated with enthusiasm, creativity, fruitfulness, endurance, and strength as well as with sunrise and sunset, fall and harvest, and the changing seasons, nature’s last burst of colour before winter. It is the red of passion tempered by the yellow of wisdom.
This Sunday – The First Sunday in Creation Time
The Scripture Readings are Exodus 14: 19-31 and Matthew 18: 21-35. In the Time for All Ages, I will be talking about being “At the water’s edge” My sermon is titled, “What have you done to us”
For the Sundays of Creation Time, the first readings come from the Book of Exodus, one of the books of the Torah, the first five books of our Bible. The readings centre on Moses and the Exodus, the journey of escape and of hope for the children of Israel. Although the children of Israel were escaping from their bondage in Egypt, the journey was not without its challenges. And each time things became difficult, there was complaining. The question that Moses frequently faced was “What have you done to us? Egypt was bad, but this is worse!” This goes along with the phrase that many of may have heard, “The cure is worse than the disease.” If we are moving out of hardship, the journey should be easy. But that doesn’t seem to be the way things go, ask anyone who has endured chemotherapy. But people do endure chemotherapy, with a vision of something better at the end. Right now our world is going through a tough time. There’s a global pandemic, racism and intolerance seem to have hit a new high. And we want to get through all this to come out better on the other side. But the journey will not be easy. The children of Israel spent forty years in the wilderness, much longer than it should have taken. And this was because they kept losing focus and faith. But the stories tell us that God stayed with them through it all, leading them on to the promised land.
ZOOM INTO SUNDAY SCHOOL starting on Sunday, September 20 at 10:00am
We are planning to have a ZOOM Sunday School for the children of Spirit West starting on Sunday, September 20 at 10:00 am. We already have four teachers who are willing to part of this. Using the Seasons of the Spirit Curriculum, our teachers will offer a Sunday School lesson with a craft each Sunday at 10:00 am on the ZOOM meeting platform.
For the children/grandchildren in your family to be part of this you will need to register in advance. To register send an email to the church with your child’s (children’s) name and age, along with an email address to which the ZOOM invitation can be sent.
In order for each registered child to have all that is needed to make the crafts each week, kits will be prepared containing the supplies required the for crafts for a number weeks. These kits will be available for pick up at the church, or can be delivered to you. You will receive an email letting you know when a new craft kit is available.
BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS – September 27
As was stated above, in “normal” times, we would have a Blessing of the Animals during our Service on the last Sunday in September. This year that would be September 27. What I am proposing for that Sunday is a “Virtual Blessing of the Animals.” In order to make this happen I am inviting you to send an email to the church with pictures of the animals that are important in your life (dog, cat, hedgehog, bird, horse…). The picture(s) of your animal(s) will form part of a montage during the worship video for September 27. You will need to get your pictures to the church before Wednesday, September 24.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church and Friends of Spirit West Outreach
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
SPIRIT WEST WORSHIP VIDEOS
We are looking for people to read the scriptures for our videos! To volunteer to be a scripture reader, send an email to Norma at email@example.com We will include you in the schedule and we will send you all the information you need about the options you have for recording your segment.
We are continuing to invite members of the congregations to share virtual greetings as part of our Sunday Worship Video. It is a way for us to see each other. Bonnie C. is spearheading this program, and has been doing the recording. You may get a call from her asking if you want to be a “Greeter.” If you have not heard from Bonnie and want to be a greeter, you can call the church and your name will be given to Bonnie, or you can record you own greeting. Record a 10-30 second greeting on your phone (record in “landscape,” hold your phone horizontally, this way ‘---,’ not this way ‘I’) and email your video to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Sharing our Celebrations (this week’s service has already been recorded)
In this time when it is important for us to look for signs of hope and joy, opportunity is being given for you to share your celebrations (birthdays, anniversaries, new grandchildren etc) with the wider community. If you have a celebration you want to share please email email@example.com or phone the church. (must be sent in before 10:00 am on Friday for inclusion on the Sunday) During the opening section or our Worship Video, I will announce celebrations that have been shared with me.
I appreciate all the positive feedback that we have received about the Worship Videos. We (Margaret, Bonnie, Glenn, Paul W. and I) are trying our best to provide you with something that will assist you in your faith journey during this “crazy” time. We would also like to hear from you if you have suggestions on how we could make the videos better or more helpful (like Scripture readers, Greeters, music with the hymns …). Email your comments to me firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT (and this is not a Scam)
We can now accept donations by eTransfer. The contact name for the eTransfer is Spirit West United Church, and the email address is email@example.com . If you include a security question with your eTransfer, please notify Norma at the church office by phone or email. And remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can also mail in cheques to the church office (Spirit West United Church, 7003 – 199 St. Edmonton, AB T5T 3A8, include your envelope number if you have one.) The church office is open and you can drop off your offering/donation in the offering plate just inside the front doors. You can also donate online, see ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… below.
OUTREACH – Underwear and Face Masks Needed at Bissell Centre
There is still a need at Bissell for UNDERWEAR. Ladies and Men’s - sizes Medium and Large.
If any of you would like to shop and deliver undies to the church, Lori will pick them up and deliver them to the Bissell Centre. If you would rather have your donation picked up, call the church office to arrange it.
They are also taking donations of FABRIC FACE MASKS. So any of you crafty people out there - We know there are a few quilters out there with a good stash of fabric - if you would like a little project to do in your self-isolation (patterns can be found online) ..... Again - these can be dropped at the church (or call the church office to arrange pick-up) and Lori will deliver them to the Bissell Centre.
YOUR BOTTLES FOR THE CHURCH (with an update)
Now that you are spending more time at home, and perhaps (though I hope not) drinking more, you may have bottles piling up for recycling. You can still bring them to the church (or you can call for pick up). If you want to bring your bottles (and any other recyclable beverage containers) in during our office hours and put them directly in the Bottle Shed (by the garage), give us a call, and we can have the shed open for you. All money raised from the return of bottles goes towards paying down the principal on our mortgage. The latest run to the Bottle Depot resulted in $181.00 for the church.
PASTORAL CARE DURING A PANDEMIC
A team has been put together to begin a phone ministry. We will be reaching out by phone to members of Spirit West to remind ourselves that we are a community of faith, even if at the moment we have to practice social distancing, and in some cases self-isolation. The team will initially target those whom we believe are most likely to be isolated. We may not always get it right. If you get a call, and think you really didn’t need it, thank the caller anyway. If you don’t hear from anyone in the next week or so, and really would like a call, let me know. We are playing this by ear in an “interesting” time.
If you are self-isolating for whatever reason (you are not feeling well, you are in a susceptible population, or you are just not taking chances) and you cannot get out to do shopping, let us know. There are people in the congregation who will do your shopping and deliver it to your home. Mention this to the caller from the phone ministry, or call or send an email to the church to let us know.
If you would like to volunteer as a “shopper” let me know by phone or email.
David S. has started a Casserole Ministry as part of Pastoral Care. Volunteers from Pastoral Care at Spirit West will deliver a casserole to someone in isolation, recovering from illness, or grieving the loss of family members.
We would need a supply of three or four casseroles made by members of Spirit West in tin foil pans and frozen in the church freezer available for delivery. The casseroles should be dated and labelled with all ingredients and the instructions for reheating. The supply of casseroles can be replenished as needed. If you are interested in providing a casserole please call David S. so he can keep an accurate inventory of casseroles (not too many, not too few).
Spirit West Prayer Chain
Prayer is important. We know that people still face challenges and difficulties not related to Covid-19, and we cannot forget them. Our Prayer Chain will continue to be active. If you have a prayer request, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. These requests will be shared regularly with the prayer chain.
ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO SPIRIT WEST DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
You are stuck home, Spirit West is not holding services, you are not on PAR, but you want to make a financial contribution to the work of Spirit West, because the church has bills to pay even when we are not gathering on Sunday. Check out the online donation option on our website spiritwest.org and click on the Donate tab in the navigation bar.
The Spirit West Church office remains open.
- Norma => Noon to 5:00 pm, Monday to Thursday
- Larry => 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Friday
(Rev.) Larry K. Wright, CD, BA, MDiv
Spirit West United Church