This eMessage starts with two important messages, one from my son Paul, and one from the Church Board:
To the people of Spirit West,
A few weeks ago, while my family was on holidays, Bonnie C. sent out a message offering members of the congregation an opportunity to show their appreciation for the work I have been doing in filming and editing the weekly Worship Videos. I did not know about this, and was not expecting it. This morning at our regular music recording session, Bonnie presented me with the results of her suggestion to you. I can only say that I am completely overwhelmed by your response. I was not expecting any remuneration, I am doing this voluntarily (with my Dad’s encouragement). So, the level of your generosity to me and your expressions of support and encouragement was unbelievable. Thank you all so much!
From the Board regarding re-opening of the Church
The Spirit West Board has decided that we cannot reopen the church for worship at this time. However, a Committee has been formed that will develop the plan for our re-opening. This Committee had its first meeting (ZOOM) on Wednesday night. 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. Our 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 both mailed and emailed to you this week. We ask that you take the time to fill out the questionnaire and return it to the church by September 14, 2020. As a preparation to 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 do not receive a questionnaire by the end of next week, 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.
This Sunday – Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost
The Scripture Readings are Romans 13: 8-14 and Matthew 18: 15-20. In the Time for All Ages, I will be talking about “Me, me, me!” My sermon is titled, “We are not alone!”
The last two lines of the United Church Creed are “We are not alone. Thanks be to God.” The Scripture readings for this Sunday point out the importance of realizing that we are not alone. Paul in his letter to the Romans reminds the people that they should owe no one anything but love. He points out that there are all sorts of commandments, “you shall not…,” but all of these commandments are summed up in “love your neighbour as yourself.” You are not alone. In the Gospel Jesus points that we are not alone because we are part of a community of faith, that we are responsible to and for one another, even in times of difficulty and discord. In this time of Covid-19 isolation, when there are those among us who are living as “single person families,” to use a current phrase, we need to hear the assurance that even when we are by ourselves, we are not alone. Thanks be to God.
Communion this Sunday
This Sunday, we will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The celebration at the Church will involve only three people from the congregation as well as Paul (videographer) and I, but I would like you to be able to participate as fully as you can. So I would suggest that, if you can, watch the video at our usual church time of 10:30 on Sunday morning and that you have some bread and grape juice (or wine) for each member of your household. Follow the service and share together at your table, be it the kitchen table, dining table or the TV table you have put in front of your television. And as you share the bread and cup in your home, know that others are sharing at the Table of Christ in their homes and around the world.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com .
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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 email@example.com. 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