Friday, June 18, 2021

Sunday, June 20, 2021

 This Sunday many families will be celebrating Father’s Day. Best wishes to the many fathers of our congregations and to those with treasured memories of fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and others, let’s be thankful. 

Hymn      Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me #637

Scripture Lessons:              I Samuel 17:1,31-49

                                            Psalm 9 p.732-3VU

                                            Mark 4:35-41


Prayers:  O Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath gives life to all the world— hear me— I come before you, one of your children. I am small and weak. I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my People, the lesson hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength not to be superior to my sisters and brothers, but to be able to fight my greatest enemy, myself. Make me ever ready to come to you, with clean hands and straight eyes, so when life fades as a fading sunset, my sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame. So be it. (a prayer by Yellow Hawk, Sioux Chief.)

Hymn       Will Your Anchor Hold? #675

Over the next several weeks, we will be returning to services gradually. This Sunday we will be holding a service in Howick at 9:30am, hopefully outside. So bring your lawn chair along with your mask. 
Next week there will be a service in Franklin at 9:30 and in Howick at 11:00, also hopefully outside. Finally we will start services at Ormstown on July 4th at 9:30am, probably indoors, so bring your mask. 

We hold in our thoughts and prayers June Orr and all the family following the death of Eldon earlier this week. 

This Sunday is also National Indigenous People’s Sunday, and perhaps particularly this year, we hold our indigenous sisters and brothers in our thoughts and prayers. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Sunday, June 13, 2021

 Did you remember that June 10th was the 96th anniversary of the creation of the United Church? There was a service presented on YouTube  on Thursday (you can probably still see it on the United Church’s YouTube channel if you would like.) Happy birthday to our church! 

Hymn      I Sing the Mighty Power of God #231 VU

Scripture Lessons.      II Corinthians 5:16-21

                                    Psalm 92:1-4,12-15 p.810VU

                                    Mark  4:26-35


Prayer:  God of sorrows, God of healing: hear the voice of our grief, hear the depth of our loss. The fabric of life has been torn: our spirits are frayed and raw. We ask “why?” and hear no answer. And, thread by thread, our tears fall: the unravelling of our hearts. God of sorrows, God of healing: hear the voice of our grief. We cry out for those who are afraid, for those who are suffering from injustice, for those who are suffering from violence, for those who mourn.

God of sorrows, God of healing: hear the voice of our grief. Mend the threads of our hearts. Sow seeds of healing in our lives and in the lives of all those who suffer. Amen. (a prayer by Keri K. Wehlander from Joy is our Banquet.)

And a blessing:May God’s compassion clothe us. May God’s presence comfort us. May the colours of God’s promise be woven into our hearts and into this world. Amen. 

Hymn     We Plough the Fields and Scatter #520VU

This week we celebrate with St Paul’s United Church in Ormstown which is welcoming 6 new members from the Confirmation Class: Connor Bryson, Caleb Bryson, Jacob Bryson, Spencer Mason, Jackson Rember, and Grace Tannahill. We welcome them into our congregation and into the United Church of Canada. 

We hold in our thoughts and prayers our Muslim brothers and sisters hear in Canada who are feeling afraid and under attack. We pray for greater respect and understanding between people of different faiths and among people of good conscience. On the United Church website there are links to some of the reports on our relationships with people of other faiths, includingThat We Might Know Each Other, 2006, on our relationship with Muslims. 

Services are going to begin in our churches soon. Howick will start with a 9:30 service on June 20th with we hope, an outdoor service (bring your lawn chair and your mask). In case of rain we will move inside. Franklin will start with a 9:30 service on June 27th. Unfortunately, we will not be singing at these services as this is not yet permitted by the government. There is no pressure to join us for these services, for those who feel safer staying at home and I will continue to produce the blog for those who find it helpful. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Sunday June 6, 2021

 This Sunday is being celebrated by many churches as Pride Sunday. At the same time we are grappling with the racist history of our past as a church and a country. May God lead us to ways of being a more just and loving society. 

Hymn     Praise to the Lord, the Almighty #220VU

Scripture Lessons:       I Samuel 8:4-11, 16-20

                                     Psalm 138 p.860VU

                                     Mark 3:20-35


Prayer: God of our Ancestors, who holds the spirits of our grandmothers and grandfathers and the spirits of our grandchildren, remembering the children, we now pledge ourselves to speak the truth, and with our hearts and our souls to act upon the truth we have heard of the injustices lived, of the sufferings inflicted, of the tears cried, of the misguided intentions imposed, and of the power of prejudice and racism which were allowed to smother the sounds and laughter of the forgotten children. Hear our cries of lament for what was allowed to happen and for what will never be. In speaking and hearing and acting upon the Truth may we as individuals and as a nation meet the hope of a new beginning. Great Creator God who desires that all creation live in harmony and peace, remembering the children we dare to dream of a path of reconciliation where apology from the heart leads to the healing of the heart and the chance of restoring the circle, where justice walks with all, where respect leads to true partnership, where the power to change comes from each heart. Hear our prayer of hope, and guide this country of Canada on a new and different path. Amen. ( a prayer written to support the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.)

Hymn    Many and Great #308VU

We hold the family of Joyce McKell in our thoughts and prayers following the graveside service that has been held. We give thanks for her life and the memories we can cherish. 

If you would like some more information concerning the United Church’s involvement in residential schools in the past and our present actions to respond to the damage done by these schools, there is a statement on the United Church’s website, from Murray Pruden the Executive Minister for Indigenous Ministries and Justice.

There will be a special service live-streamed on YouTube this week, June 10th at 7pm EDT in celebration of the 96th anniversary of the creation of the United Church of Canada. The service will be led by our current moderator, the Rt Rev Richard Bott. 

United Spirit Camp will be offering online programming from June28-July 16th. A free box of resources can be provided. If anyone would like to sign up for the activities offered, more information is available on the region’s website, Take a look! Activities for morning, afternoon or evening are available. 

Want to find some activities for children? You can also take a look at A number of possibilities are offered. 

 (I borrowed my neighbour’s peony for this photo. Thanks Laura and Keith! )

Friday, May 28, 2021

Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021

 Hymn       God RevealYour Presence #391VU

Scripture Lessons:      Isaiah 6:1-8

                                    Psalm 29 p.756VU

                                    John 3:1-17


Prayer:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, One God, in perfect community, look now on us who look to you.... and hear our prayer for our community. 
Where there is falseness...... Smother it by your truth;
Where there is any coldness..... Kindle the flame of your love;
Where there is joy and hope..... Free us to share it together;
Where there is anything we will not do for ourselves..... Make us discontent until it is done. 
And make us one.... As you are one. Amen. (a prayer from the Iona Community.)

Hymn      God We Praise You for the Morning #415VU

Commissioning: You whom God has called, keep listening. 

You whom Christ has fed, live simply.

You whom the Spirit has filled, love completely,

And receive the blessing that awaits you. (by Eric Fairbrother of Aotearoa/ New Zealand

This week in Howick, we will be celebrating a Service of Confirmation for three new members: Blake Chan, Kelsey Sylvester, and Nash Templeton. We are delighted to welcome them into our congregation and as members of the United Church of Canada. 

The deadline for applying for the Hugh Duncan and the IFE bursaries offered through the Nakonhaka Regional Council is June 2, 2021. Application forms are available on the region’s website, Bursaries are available for college students (IFE) as well as university students (Hugh Duncan) who are confirmed members of a United Church congregation. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

May 23, 2021 Pentecost Sunday

Happy Pentecost! Or is it Joyful Pentecost? Maybe Blessed Pentecost? We may not think of Pentecost one of the great holy days of the Christian calendar, but it is in fact. It has its roots in a Jewish festival, Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks, it celebrates an important moment in the life of the Christian church, and we sometimes call it the birthday of the church. So let’s celebrate! Let’s celebrate God’s gift of the Spirit that makes us aware of God’s presence, that unites us as a people and a church, that comforts, strengthens and renews us, and that enables us to follow in the way of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ. 

Hymn      Breathe on Me Breath of God  #382VU

Scripture Lessons:     Acts 2:1-21

                                   Psalm 104:24-34 p.p.827 pt 2VU

                                    John15:26,27, 16:4b-15

Hymn With the Wings of our Mind #698VU


Prayer: O God, we praise and thank you for the gift of the Spirit, the spirit who may be known as the Wind of Change, the Flame of Love, and the Breath of Life. We can experience you as the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Power, and the Spirit of Peace, as Advocate, as Teacher, as Helper, as Comforter and Sustainer. The list of names and experiences can go on and on, because wherever we go, whatever we do, and however we serve you are there, guiding and leading and helping us, in whatever way we need. Today we pray that your spirit will unite us in mind and spirit, so we may be truly your servants and your servants and Christ’s church, a gathering of faithful, hopeful people, who support and encourage one another. Help us to truly be your church and your people, witnesses to your love, faithfulness, and forgiveness. We pray in the name of our crucified and risen Saviour, who reveals the power and greatness of your Holy Spirit to us. Amen. 

Hymn       Love Divine #333VU

We were saddened to hear of the death of Joyce McKell this past week. We hold her family, friends, and neighbours in our thoughts and prayers. We celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year and we give thanks for her long life and the love she shared throughout that long life. 

We were deeply shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Morris Craig this week as well. We pray for his family, friends, and neighbours as well as those who responded to the accident that led to his death. We pray for strength and healing for them all. 

Looking for a way to celebrate Pentecost with your family? There is a website offering crafts and activities offered by some United Church personnel, including Shana Bernier, our youth and families staff person. It can be found at Take a look and see what can be found there! 

The United Spirit Camp will be online this year, for 3 weeks, June28-July 16th. You can sign up and receive a home kit and participate mornings and/or afternoons or evenings as is convenient for you. The theme is Dreaming Dreams. You can register to receive your at home package and more information at the region’s website,, or on Facebook. 

(I imagine that Pentecost calls us to be like dandelions, that spreads its seeds, bends and bows before the mower, and pops up again to add colour and life to our world.)

Friday, May 14, 2021

Sunday, May 16, 2021

 I seem to have missed that this past week was National Nursing Week. Certainly during this pandemic we have seen the need and importance of nursing care. We are thankful for the many essential workers who have served and worked faithfully throughout this pandemic including nurses who use their knowledge, skill and compassion to make a difference. 

Hymn       Praise the Lord His Glories Show #875VU

Scripture Lessons:        Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

                                      Psalm 1 p.724VU

                                      John 17:6-17


Prayer: Praised be the living God for the multitude of women, men and children who throughout the world  are searching, striving, and giving their lives in order to be bearers of good news. Through the repentance of our hearts, and the spirit of simplicity of the gospel, you clothe us with joy, as with a garment. Enable us to welcome the realities of following in Christ’s way with a childlike heart, and to discover your will, which is love and nothing else. Amen. 

Lord Christ, had we faith enough to move mountains, without love, what would we be? But you love us. Without your Spirit who lives in our hearts, what would we be? But you love us. Taking everything upon yourself, you open for us a way towards the peace of God. Spirit of the Risen Christ, Spirit of compassion, Spirit of praise, your love for each one of us will never fail, and we thank you. Amen. 

(Prayers adapted from the Taize Community, printed in Praying Together in word and song.)

Hymn          Revive Us Again

We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Israel, and Palestine and the safety and security of all their peoples, remembering that peace without justice is not peace and does not last. May their leaders have the courage to work for peace for all the peoples of this region. 

I see that the Canadian Food Grains Bank has launched a special appeal for India in the midst of the crisis created by the pandemic. No word from the United Church (yet?) but we can remember that the effects of the pandemic are being felt around the world as well as at home. Donations can be made online on their website at 

The deadline is approaching for the IFE and Hugh Duncan bursaries offered by the Nakonhaka Regional Council to confirmed members of the United Church who are students in either college or university. The application form is available on the region’s website or you can ask Barbara to supply you with one. The deadline for applying is June 4, 2021. 

The United Church will be holding a Union Day service, celebrating the church’s 96th anniversary on June 10th at 7pm EDT live streamed on the United Church’s YouTube channel. Take a look, if you would like. 

Saturday, May 8, 2021

May 9, 2021 Christian Family Sunday

 Happy Mother’s Day! (aka Christian Family Sunday) Good wishes to mothers and grandmothers, to godmothers and aunties, to whole families and singles who have to look after themselves. May this day be a day to give thanks for those who have cared for us and for the chance to take care of others. 

Hymn        Joyful, Joyful #232VU

Prayer: Holy One, you who give me life, I come to you as a child, holding your hand, walking through days and nights, through seasons of joy and sadness, busyness and quiet, crowds and solitude. I am held in the hands once crucified, healed in the loving arms embracing me in eternal love that whispers, “You are my child, in whom I am well pleased.” Blessed be. Amen. (A prayer by Sue Henley printed in Marin and Maria Tirabassi’s Before the Amen.) 

Scripture Lessons:         Acts 10:44-48

                                       Psalm 98 p.818VU


Hymn       Praise our Maker #316VU


Prayer: Loving God, in the Bible we find many kinds of families, and we learn that your love has no boundaries. Just as you called Peter to recognize the God-given worth in all people, so help us to affirm all of the families and homes in our community. Singles, couples, people with and without children, groups large and small, people who are related and those who have simply found each other: we pray that you would bless them all, and help us to make room at the table of our hearts for all of your children. May homes and families -of all shapes and sizes- model your unconditional love, be places of safety and trust, nurture and laughter, so that, grounded in their love, we may reach out in love to all of our sisters and brothers -  your family. Amen. (from Seasons of the Spirit 2004)

Hymn        For the Beauty of the Earth #226VU

Benediction: Go into all the world: you are a sister to hope; you are a brother to peace; you are the parent of love in the world. Go, for you are a child of God, and the world is waiting. (Written by Robin Wardlaw, printed in Gathering, LEP2009.)

Still looking for a gift for your mother, or someone else who is as a mother to you, or someone who might be missing their mother this weekend? The United Church offers a gift to the Mission and Service fund in support of families in Canada and around the world. An e-card can be sent to let the person you are giving for know what you have done on their behalf. 

Please let CEGEP and university students who are confirmed members of the United Church in this region, know that bursaries are available. Application forms are available on the region’s website ( or let Barbara know and she can get a form to you. 

This afternoon at 3:00EDT there will be a service of apology and lament for the church’s role in coerced adoptions. The Moderator will offer an apology on behalf of the church. The service can be found on the church’s YouTube page.