Thursday, September 23, 2021

September 26, 2021 The Third Sunday of Creation

 Welcome to fall! We may miss the long days, but we can enjoy and give thanks for the beauties and the bounties of this season, so I hope you can take some time to enjoy, to gather with friends and family, and to celebrate all the good things God gives. 

Hymn     O God of Bethel #650VU

Scripture Lessons:       James 5:13-20

                                     Psalm 124 p,848VU

                                     Mark 9:38-50


Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, you recognized the beauty of the lilies of the field. In wild places you found the stillness that helped you to pray. You reminded us that every sparrow and raven is known and cared for. You saw the labour of the farmers and enjoyed the fruit of that work. Let us be like you and cherish this earth you created, sustain and promise to make new. Amen (a prayer by Simon Taylor and printed in the Iona Community’s Acorns and Archangels.)

 Today we wear orange to remember and honour all the indigenous children who went to residential schools. 

Today we wear orange and we pray for the residential school and intergenerational survivors who are still struggling.

Today we wear orange and we are thankful for those who speak the truth, and who work to shine a light on injustice. 

Today we wear orange in the name of compassion and the spirit of truth and reconciliation. 

Help us, God, to remember and act on this every day. Amen

(Prayer from the United Church’s worship resources for orange shirt day, inspired by Honarine Scott’s orange shirt day blog.)

Hymn.        What a Friend We Have in Jesus #664VU

(I think I may have used this video before, but it is great!) 

This Sunday is being called “Orange Shirt Sunday” because this is the Sunday before the first official national Truth and Reconciliation Day on September 30th, so wear an orange shirt, if you remember (I often forget) and maybe try some of the other suggestions made for this day: read a book by an indigenous author, review the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, take part in a special event to mark the day (online or in-person), connect with local indigenous organizations, and read Phyllis Webstad’s book The Orange Shirt Story. 

Howick United Church will be observing Worldwide Communion Sunday next Sunday, October 3rd at 11am. We will be using pre-filled communion cups and wafers for this service. 

The deadline is coming up for the Holden-Templeton Bursaries offered to members and adherents of Howick United Church who are attending post-secondary schools. The deadline is October 7th so they can be presented on Thanksgiving Sunday. Applications are available online, or in the church. 

The Howick Stewards will be meeting on Thursday, October 13th at 7pm in the church. 

There will be a memorial service for Ruth Graham Petch on Saturday, October 9, 2021. There will be a visitation at 1:00 for those who will not be staying for the service and the service itself will start at about 2:00.  All COVID protocols will be in place, such as masks and social distancing. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Sunday, September 19, 2021

 The Second Sunday of Creation

Hymn.      Jesus Calls Us   #342VU

Scripture Lessons.      Proverbs 31:10-31

                                    Psalm 1 p.724VU

                                    Mark 9:30-38


Prayer/Blessing:  Like the roots of a strong oak, God is under our feet.

Like the stars in the night sky, God is over our heads.

Like the sun on the horizon, God is ever before us. 

Like the gentle rain falling, God’s love is filling our hearts. 

Like the wings of an eagle, we open our arms to care for this world. 

Like the river which runs to the ocean, we know that our home is in God. 

And so we go forth surrounded by the presence of God, and filled with the peace of God. Amen. 

(Written by Keri Wehlander and published in Circles of Grace. Also set to music and sung by Linnea Good.)

Hymn.      For the Beauty of the Earth #226

Bursary alert! The Trustees of Howick United Church have responded to some concerns raised to them about the timing of the Howden-Templeton bursaries and have moved forward the application period to the early fall so they may be given out at Thanksgiving.  The deadline is October 6, 2021.  If you are a member or a part of the Howick United Church community and are attending school, either College or university, please get your application in as soon as possible. The application forms are available on the website or from the Trustees of the bursary fund. 

Howick United Church Session is planning on holding the annual meeting for the congregation on Sunday, October 24th at 11am combined with the Sunday service. All members and adherents are invited to plan to attend to review the annual report (copies available in the church) and to look toward the future. 

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Sunday, September 12, 2021


Hymn       Lord Speak to Me #589VU

Scripture Lessons:     Proverbs 1:20-33

                                   Psalm 19 p.740-1VU

                                   Mark 8:27-38


Prayer O God, sometimes we take the symbol of the cross for granted: as a symbol for Jesus and the church. Sometimes we forget that the cross is a symbol of sacrifice, suffering, and death, and how shocking it was for the church to use this as a symbol for itself. Help us to see the cross again, remembering all that Jesus did and said and suffered for our sake. Help us to remember that the cross is both a symbol of death and resurrection; of defeat and victory; of sacrifice and salvation. Help us to be willing to follow in Jesus’ way and to take up our crosses ourselves, not only for our own sake, but for the sake of others as well. May this be a source of good news for us and for all the world. We pray in the name of our crucified and risen Saviour. Amen. 

Hymn        Beneath the Cross of Jesus #135VU

We are continuing to hold our public worship services on our usual schedule: this week in Franklin at 9:30, and in Ormstown at 11:00, as well as 11:00 in Howick with Debbie Beattie. It is hoped the service may be outside, so please bring your chairs if possible.  Next week the services will be 9:30 in Howick and 11:00 in Ormstown. All protocols from the pandemic will be followed, including masks, hand cleaning, and social distancing. 

There will be no Stewards meeting in Ormstown this month, but probably one in October. 

Friday, September 3, 2021

Sunday, September 5, 2021

 I hope everybody had a good summer, and now here we are again, ready to start a new (school) year. I will continue to produce these blogs for those who are not comfortable coming to our public services especially in light of the increasing numbers of infections. 

Hymn     In Christ There is No East or West #606VU

Scripture Lessons:      James 2:1-10, 14-17

                                    Psalm 125 p.849VU

                                    Mark 7:24-37


Prayer: Sometimes, O God, we are so sure we know who you are and what you will do, but sometimes we are surprised. We are surprised by what you do and what you do not do. We are surprised by your word. We are surprised by your grace and generosity. We are surprised by how you live and move and act in our own lives. Surprise us again, O God, and open our eyes to your presence in our lives and in our world. Open our ears to what you have to say to us this day, and open our mouths to speak words of faith, hope, peace, and love in the way of our Saviour. We pray in his name and in his spirit, this day and forevermore. Amen. 

Hymn     Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life #681

Good wishes to all our students beginning school at the time: to our Cegep students who started last week; our elementary and high school students; and our university students who start next week: good luck and have a good year! 

We hold in our thoughts and prayers the family and friends of Helen Nice, who died last Tuesday, at the age of 98. Visitation and a service will be held in Ganonoque soon, and a service in this area is planned for at a later date. 

We continue to hold in our thoughts and prayers the family and friends of Jennifer MacGregor and Tristan Majumdar, whose lives were remembered and deaths acknowledged this past month. 

If you wish to send a donation for relief following the earthquake in Haiti, one possibility is through the United Church. You can make a donation online, through the secure donation page found at;  by phone with a credit card  at 1-800-268-3781 ext 2738; or by mail to The United Church of Canada, the Philanthropy Unit-Emergency Response, 3250 Bloor St W, Suite 200, Toronto, On, M8X 2Y4. Please be sure to mark the cheque Emergency Response Haiti on the memo line of your cheque. The church’s response is part of the Humanitarian Coalition, in partnership with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. 

As some of you know, Alyson Champ is no longer producing our church bulletins in Howick. Karlina Bustamente had agreed to take it on, but she is currently on parental leave, so if you have announcements to include in the bulletin, please give them to me, either by email or by phone, by Wednesday evening so they can be included in the bulletin. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Sunday, August 1, 2021

 Did you know that this is officially Emancipation Day in Canada? It marks the day when slavery was abolished in the British Empire, in 1834, including Canada. There is a video ecumenical service that has been produced and which can be seen on YouTube. 

Hymn      Let Us with a Gladsome Mind #234VU

Scripture Lessons:      Ephesians 4:1-6

                                    Psalm 51:1-12

                                    John 6:24-35

Hymn      Fight the Good Fight #674VU



Some times and places prompt me to pray: paddling along a beach;
lying on my settee with my cat purring on my stomach;
looking at the moon and the stars; 
walking barefoot through a field of buttercups;
sitting in a church, watching the sun shine through coloured glass 
and making changing patterns on the stones;
smelling bluebells in woods after it’s been raining; 
curling up warm and cosy when it’s dark and cold outside. 

Some times and places prompt me to pray. 
Words come joyfully and easy. 
Wow! Beautiful! Thank you, God. Amazing! Amen. (a prayer by Ruth Burgess and published in the Iona Community’s Bare Feet and Buttercups.)

Hymn     Your Hand O God Has Guided #274VU

This will be the last blog before September as I am going to take some vacation. I won’t be going far, so you can call and leave a message if I am needed and I will get back to you. There will be a service held in Howick United Church on August 8th at 11am with Debbie Beattie, and there will be services outside at Riverfield at 10am on August1st, 15th, and 29th, (in case of rain, the service may be held in Howick United Church), and there will also be services at Beechridge on Sunday, August 8th and 22nd at 1:30pm. I know other community churches may also be holding services. 

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Brooks family this weekend as they say  a final “good-bye” to Gordon and to Mary as well. 

Our thoughts and prayers are also with the family and friends of Wayne Sutton, following his death earlier this week. 

Please do keep in mind the special appeal the United Church has launched for global vaccine Justice, funding vaccines for places all around the world. If you would like to contribute, you may do so online, by phone with a credit card, or by mail with a cheque marked for this appeal on the memo line. 

Friday, July 23, 2021

Sunday, July 25, 2021


Hymn.     O God of Bethel #650

Scripture Lessons:      Ephesians 3:14-21

                                    Psalm 145

                                    John 6:1-21


Prayer: O God of a thousand names and faces, mother and father of all life on earth, you who live in the cells of all life, Teach us to know and love you. 

Lady of peace, of love, and of wisdom, Lord of all the stars and planets, best consoles, inward guest, Teach us to know and love you. 

Giver of gifts and light of our hearts, fill the inmost depths of our hearts, And teach us to know and love you. 

Wash what is soiled, heal what is wounded, bend what is rigid, warm what is frigid, And teach us to know and love you. 

Restore to us our true humanity, And teach us to know and love you. (a prayer written by Sharon Owens and published in No Longer Strangers.)

Hymn.      What a Friend we have in Jesus #664VU

There will be services this Sunday, July 25th in Franklin and Howick. We will even sing in the service! This will be our final service until September. This afternoon there will be a service at the Beechridge Presbyterian Church at 1:30pm. There will be one more blog next weekend. 

In the month of August there will be a combination of services available to those who would like to attend. August 1 10am Riverfield, service outside (in case of rain, service may be held in Howick United Church)
            August 8. 11am Howick United Church with Debbie Beattie
                             1:30pm. Beechridge service
           August 15 10am Riverfield, service outside
           August. 22 1:30. Beechridge service
           August. 29 10am Riverfield, service outside

The United Church has launched a Global Appeal for Vaccine Justice, ensuring vaccines are available to people around the world. Donations may be made online, by phone with a credit card to 1-800-268-3781 ext. 2738, or by mail to The United Church Philanthropy Unit—Emergency Response, 3250 Bloor St W. Suite 200 Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4. Donations may also be made through the Gifts with Vision website, These donations are also eligible for matching federal funds. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Sunday, July18, 2021


Hymn          Jesus, Where’re Thy People Meet 

Scripture Lessons:      II Samuel 7:1-14a

                                    Psalm 89

                                    Ephesians 2:11-22


Prayer: O God, you have made many different lands, plants, animals, and beings, a great diversity, and yet it is all one, your creation. Help us to learn this lesson as we look at one another:  a great diversity of individuals with many different gifts, beliefs, origins, and practises, and yet we are all your children, members of one human family. Help us to care for one another in our need and to find in one another our hope and our joy. We pray in the name of our Saviour, who came to share our lives with us and also to reveal to us all that human life can be. Help us to walk in his way, now and always. Amen. 

Hymn      How Firm a Foundation

Best wishes to Eunice Livingston’s who is celebrating her 90th birthday this Sunday! 

I (Barbara) will be taking vacation in August, though probably not going very far away for long. There will be services held by Riverfield Presbyterian Church, outside if possible, on August 1st, 15th, and 22nd, at 10am.  There will be services held in Beechridge Presbyterian Church on the 8th and the 22nd at 1:30pm. Debbie Beattie will also offer a service on August 8th at 11am in Howick United Church. All are welcome to attend any or all of these services, but we will still be observing social distancing and wearing our masks as we enter and move around the service (or throughout the service if you prefer.)

Please keep in mind the special appeal that the United Church has launched to support vaccines in other parts of the world. Donations can be made online, by phone (with a credit card) or by mail, or by using the Gifts with Vision website. It has also been announced that the federal government will match donations, so the good we do can be multiplied!