I hope your Christmas was good, if different. We are looking forward to the new year, and hoping it will be better. In the meantime, stay safe, and keep in touch as we move forward. And remember, Christmas is not just a day or a celebration, it is a statement of faith and a reason to rejoice in difficult times.
Hymn Il est Ne #50VU
Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 61:10-62:3
Psalm 148 p. 871VU
Hymn. Once in Royal David’s City #62VU
Prayer: God of the great heavens above and the earth beneath, the endless universe of stars and planets and our home here of oceans, seas and land: we lift our hearts in awe and wonder to worship you. We gaze at the sky on crisp starlit nights and think on the beauty of all that we see, and we wonder why we are so special to you.
Yet we know that you do love us, wholeheartedly: sending Jesus to show us the Prince of Peace to our world; sending your Spirit here among us to breathe wisdom and light for our ways.
Great God of heaven and earth, we worship and adore you, praise and thank you, this day and always. Amen. (adapted from a prayer written by Stephen Brown and published in Geoffrey Duncan’s Wisdom is Calling)
Hymn Every Star Shall Sing a Carol #428(red)
God bless us, everyone!
I have been asked to say “Thank you” to all who contributed hats, mitts etc. to our virtual mitten tree this year. Allyson Orr has had a chance to count and we received 120 items to be distributed to those in need.
Also, thank you to those who gave food that went to La Bouffe, either for the Christmas baskets, or for distribution in the new year. (Also to the Howick Christmas baskets as well.) I know we made some people’s holidays or daily life a little better. Well done!
We held a drive-in church service at St Paul’s in Ormstown last week and are planning another in Howick this week, on December 27th. The plan is is drive to the church, stay in your car, tune in to 87.9 on the FM band of your car radio, and the service will come to you there. All welcome, from all 3 of our congregations and beyond.
We hold in our thoughts and prayers, the family of John Clark, including his wife Dorothy, following his death this past week.
Merry Christmas? Joyful Christmas? Blessed Christmas? However you are experiencing Christmas this year, may God be with you.
As we arrive at Christmas, we begin to celebrate. We celebrate light in a season of darkness.
We welcome Jesus who has come to be the light of the world.
We pray for God’s light and love to shine upon us and we seek to let our light to shine out to the world, just as Jesus did.
Tonight we light the Christ candle, rejoicing in all that his coming means to us. May God’s light and love be with us this day and forevermore.
Hymn Silent Night #67VU
Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 9:1-6
O Little Town of Bethlehem #64VU
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you that when the world was very dark, you came to bring into our darkness. You came in the night to bring light into the lives of Mary and Joseph. You came to Bethlehem— then, as now, Avery troubled town— bringing light to all who came to trust in you. You come to us now, into our lives and into our world, bringing light still to your people.
We ask you now once again to accept this worship we offer as we come again to the manger. Help us to see there the light that will shine for us, not just at Christmas but every day of the year. Amen. (a prayer by John Harvey, published by the Iona Community, in Hay and Stardust.)
Please note that the frequency I had been telling people to use in our drive-in services in Ormstown (December 20th) and Howick (December 27th) at 11am has been changed. It will now be 87.9 (the same frequency used at the Fairgrounds earlier this month).
As we continue to move through the season of Advent, we prepare to celebrate. We celebrate light in a season of darkness.
We prepare to welcome Jesus who comes to be the light of the world.
We pray for God’s light to guide us and lead us and we seek to let our light shine for others so they may know God’s love and grace.
Today we light a candle, the candle of love. May God’s light shine upon us and fill us with love, this day and forevermore. Amen.
Hymn Angels from the Realms of Glory #36VU
Scripture Lessons: II Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Hymn Gentle Mary Laid her Child #46VU
Prayer: Incarnate Christ, be born in us this Christmas!
May my will be as Mary’s, saying ‘yes’ to your ways; my mind as Joseph’s open to your unfolding revelation. May my voice be as the angels’, joyfully proclaiming Good News; my knees as the animals’ quietly bent in adoration. May my feet be as the shepherds’, running eagerly to find you; my hands as the wise men’s, offering up all that I have. May my heart be as the manger, poor yet containing heaven’s greatest treasure; my life as a stable, hallowed and expanded by your presence.
Incarnate Christ, be born again in me this Christmas! Amen. (a prayer by Pat Bennett and published by the Iona community in Hay and Stardust.)
Hymn Hark the Herald Angels Sing #48VU
I hope that wherever and however you are observing Christmas this year, it will be a celebration. God bless and keep you all!
We are planning to hold drive-in church services this Sunday and next Sunday, December 20th and 27th, at 11am in the morning. This Sunday, December 20th we will be at St Paul’s in Ormstown and next Sunday, December 27th we will be in Howick. The plan is to drive to the church, park in the parking lot, tune your radio (FM band) to 87.9 and listen to the service. I will be in the church speaking. It might feel a little strange, (it will for me, speaking to an empty church!) but it is a way of feeling together while still keeping everybody safe. It is intended that people stay in their car, to prevent any spread of the virus or any appearance of gathering. I hope this helps us to feel a little more “Christmassy”
I will also post a blog for Christmas Eve, including the Christmas story, for those who would like to hear that as part of their Christmas Eve celebration.
Still looking for a gift? You might consider a “Gift with Vision” a contribution to the Mission and Service Fund and its projects. You can make a gift online at giftswithvision.ca.
I want to thank everyone who contributed food for the Christmas baskets and winter mitts, hats, etc., for the Mitten Tree. They will be greatly appreciated.
You can see the wreath put up by the Cameron family and the lights around the door put up by the Greig family. Thank you all!
Does it feel like Christmas yet? Do you know what you will be doing? (I’m not sure yet.) Maybe that brings us closer to the Christmas story, to Mary and Joseph, who really didn’t know what was going to happen, but who just moved forward, trying to do their best. Have a good week!
As we continue through the season of Advent, we prepare to celebrate. We celebrate light in a season of darkness.
We prepare to welcome Jesus who comes to be the light of the world.
We pray for God’s light to guide us and lead us and we seek to let our light shine for others so they may know God’s love and grace.
Today we light a candle of joy.
May God’s light shine upon us and fill us with joy, this day and forevermore. Amen.
Hymn Joy to the World #59VU
Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
Luke 1:46-55 p.898VU
John 1:6-8, 19-28
Hymn Joy is Now in Every Place #45VU
Prayer: You came as a baby, Lord, as a little helpless child who relied on a human family to care for him.
You cried because you were hungry, because you were homeless, because you were a stranger far away from home.
You still cry with hunger, Lord,in the voices of the many starving; your tears still flow: for the homeless, the lonely and the forgotten; you still rely on human families to care for you.
And so this Christmas, Lord, we pray: help us to be the kind of people who look for you in the world, and joyfully discover you as we care for one another. (a prayer from the Iona Community’s Candles and Conifers, written byCarol Dixon.)
Hymn Go Tell it on the Mountain #43VU
This week we wish our Jewish friends and neighbours a happy Hanukkah as the week of celebrations continue.
We offer our sympathy to the family of Alice Irving who died this past week. A service will be held in New Brunswick at a later date.
We also offer our sympathy and prayers to the family and friends of Cindy Milne, who died this past week.
We also hold in our thoughts and prayers the family of Jacqueline Coghlan and M. S. Maheu who also died this past week.
We are making some plans for a couple of Christmas services. We will be holding drive in church, where people stay in their cars and tune in to the service on your car radios. In Ormstown the service will be held on Sunday, December 20th at 11am. In Howick the service will be held the Sunday after Christmas at 11am. The frequency for this will be 93.9.
Many thanks to the Cameron family who refurbished the wreath mounted on the steeple at St Paul’s and have now hung it on the church. It looks lovely, especially with the the lights around the doors as well.
If you are looking for a gift idea, especially for someone who is far away, or doesn’t need a lot for themselves, consider Gifts with Vision, gifts that support United Church ministries. You can find more information on the website, giftswithvision.ca.
We are still collecting food for La Bouffe Additionelle, for Christmas baskets or for food needs in the new year. You can drop them off at the manse and I will get them to La Bouffe. They will be delivered by the end of the week.
Some of you may have had trouble listening and seeing to my video these past couple of weeks. With Alyson Champ’s help I am trying to sort this out. However this goes, I will be continuing to post the blog one way or another, so we can keep in touch with one another.
As we observe the season of Advent, we prepare to celebrate . We celebrate light in a season of darkness. We prepare to welcome Jesus who comes to be the light of the world. We pray for God’s light to guide us and lead us and we seek to let our light shine for others so they may know God’s love and grace.
Today we light a candle, the candle of peace. May God’s light shine upon us and fill us with peace this day and forevermore. Amen.
Hymn Hark the Glad Sound #29VU
Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 40:1-11
Psalm 85 p. 802VU
Hymn There’s a Voice in the Wilderness Crying #18 VU
Message: (Seeing as I have been having trouble posting my video, I will include a written reflection. I think some have still been able to see or hear the video, so I will do one of those too. They will be different, possibly connecting, so if you can access them you can take advantage of both.)
It seems to me that this is a year for Advent hymns. One of the discussions we sometimes have in the season of Advent is about singing Christmas carols. They are familiar, they are beloved, and so people want to sing them. Besides, wherever we go in public, in stores or whatever, we hear them, so why can’t we sing them in church too? On the other hand, there are a number of lovely Advent hymns that we may not sing at any other time of year and that invite us to consider what and who it is that we are actually waiting for. They may speak to us of anticipation, of looking and watching for signs of God’s presence in the world. They may also remind us that though we live in a society where everything seems to be expected to be fast or even instant, that isn’t always possible and that God’s time is often different from our time.
This year we are already in waiting mode. We are waiting for this pandemic to come to an end, we are waiting for vaccines to arrive and be available and to get back to “ordinary life.” We are waiting and we do not know when our waiting will come to an end. We may be tired of waiting! This may connect us with the people for whom our Scripture lessons were first written. They too were waiting, waiting for the promises of God given through the prophets to be realized in their world. They were waiting in hope, but they did not entirely know what or who they were waiting for. They had an idea, but God often fulfilled God’s promises in unexpected ways. They also did not know when exactly they would see and know God’s salvation. This may be true for us as well. We are waiting for Christmas, but we do not know how or if we may be able to celebrate this year. We are waiting for the pandemic to come to an end, but we may not know or understand how this past year has changed us and the communities and world in which we live. Still, we wait in hope that whatever the Advent and Christmas seasons bring, and whatever the new year brings as well, and we can wait in a spirit of peace, trusting that though we may live through challenging and difficult times, God is still with us, and will strengthen and sustain us to overcome challenges we meet and to bring us to a new time in our lives and the life of our world. We can give thanks who help and support us in these times. So whether we are humming our Christmas carols and songs, or expressing our longing and yearning with some of our Advent hymns, let us continue to hope and trust in God to help and guide us, and to seek to find peace, even in this time of uncertainty and fear. God bless us all in this time.
Prayer: You keep us waiting. You, the God of all time, want us to wait for the right time in which to discover who we are, where we must go, who will be with us, and what we must do. So thank you,,..... for the waiting time.
You keep us looking. You, the God of all space, want us to look in the right and the wrong places for signs of hope, for people who are hopeless, for visions of a better world will appear among the disappointments of the world we know. So thank you, .... for the looking time.
You keep us loving. You loving. You, the God whose name is love, want us to be like you— to love the loveless and the unlovely and the unloveable; to love without jealousy or design or threat; and, most difficult of all, to love ourselves. So thank you, .... for the loving time.
And in all this, you keep us. Through hard questions with no easy answers; through failing where we hoped to succeed and making an impact when we felt we were useless; through the patience and the dreams and the love of others; and through Jesus Christ and his Spirit, you keep us. So thank you..... for the keeping time, and for now and forever, Amen. (From the Iona Community).
Hymn People Look East #9VU
We hold the family of Alison Craig in our thoughts and prayers this week, following her death earlier this week. A private family service was held in the Union Cemetery to give thanks for her life.
Often we collect angel gifts of toys for children that are included in the Christmas baskets from La Bouffe Additionelle in Huntington. This year, enough gifts have already come in but food would be very welcome, that can be used either in the Christmas baskets or in the new year. You can drop it off to me and I will make sure it gets to La Bouffe. In Howick, the donations for the Christmas baskets is being collected at the Town Hall and other locations, as there is no Santa Claus parade this year.
Today is the day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women. I believe there will not be an in -person gathering this year, I believe there is one online, but we can take the time to reflect, and pray as we seek to do what we can to keep women, children, and all people safe.
As we begin the season of Advent, we prepare to celebrate. We celebrate light in a season of darkness. We prepare to welcome Jesus who comes to be the light of the world. We pray for God’s light to guide us and lead us and we seek to let our light shine for others so they may know God’s love and grace through us.
Today we light a candle, the candle of hope. May God’s light shine upon us and fill us with hope. Amen.
(You could use these words to light your own Advent candle.)
Hymn. O Come O Come Emmanuel #1VU
Scripture Lessons: Isaiah 64:1-9
Psalm 80 p.794VU pt 1
Prayer: We are looking for God in our world. May we see what God wants us to see.
We are looking for God in our lives. May we be who God wants us to be.
And may God our Shepherd, Protector, Awakener, and Holy Spirit, bless us through these Advent days. Amen. (from the Iona Community’s Candles and Conifers)
Hymn. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus #2 VU
Many thanks to Allyson, Mac, and Lorraine Orr (and possibly some others) who installed a crèche scene at Howick United Church this past weekend.
Also to Mary Stevenson, Bruce Sutton and others who also installed a crèche scene as well as the candles in the windows of Franklin United Church.
Anne Carpentier still has Canadian church calendars available at a cost of $10.00. If you would like one, you can give her a call at 450-264-4404.
Thank you to all who have contributed to the success of the Rudolph Run yesterday. Contributions to the Howick Christmas baskets can be made at the Town Hall and other locations. We will also collect other food donations that will go to the Christmas baskets at La Bouffe Additionelle. If people have food or gifts that they would like to donate, you can drop them off to me at the manse and I will make sure that they get to the food bank.
The deadline for the Howden-Templeton bursary is this Tuesday, December 1st. The application form can be found on the website. After the decisions are made, the cheques will be mailed out this year.
We are continuing to collect hats and mittens etc. for the Mitten Tree. They can be dropped off to Allyson Orr or to the manse, if you prefer.
Prayer: O God, as we pray for your reign on earth, we pray for your Spirit. We pray for her wisdom, to seek what is right, not just for ourselves but for all your children and all of your creation. We pray for a spirit that is open to joy and thanksgiving, even in difficult times. We pray for a spirit that unites us in heart and mind, even when we are separated by distance or disagreement. We pray for a spirit of hope that will lead us into a new church year and a new season, the season of Advent. We pray for a spirit of faithfulness that will enable us to follow in the way of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ, who revealed to us the meaning of love, sacrifice, and grace. We pray in his name. Amen.
Hymn. Rejoice the Lord is King 213VU
The deadline for the Howden-Templeton bursaries is fast approaching. These are bursaries offered to students in university and CEGEP who are associated with Howick United Church. The applications can be found on the website and must be submitted by December 1, 2020.
Are you joining the virtual Rudolph Run this year? You can run or walk any distance (maybe wearing some red or green) sometime between Friday November 27th and December 4th. Any donations or money raised can be brought to the gate of the Fairgrounds in Ormstown Saturday, November 28th from 9-11am for the support of La Bouffe Additionelle Christmas basket program. For more information, you can contact Grace Brown or check out the Rudolph Run Facebook page.
Anne Carpentier has some church calendars available, at a cost of $10.00 (an increase after many years.) You can give Anne a call at 450-264-4404 if you would like a calendar, and you can arrange how you will receive it.
Once again the United Church is inviting donations to the Emergency Response Fund. This would include the people of Central America who were hit by 2 hurricanes, Eta and Iota as well as the people of the Philippines who were hit by one of the worst storms of the year. If you wish to donate you can do so online on a secure page; by phone; or by mail. Please mark your gift as intended for Emergency Response.
Another week gone. I hope it has gone well. We continue our journey through this pandemic year, and we continue to trust and believe that God is with us as our strength and hope. In this faith we continue to praise and worship God.
Hymn Immortal, Invisible #264VU
Scripture Lessons: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Psalm 123 p.847VU
Hymn Jesus Bids Us Shine #585 VU
Prayer: O God, we continue to live in these in-between-times: between Thanksgiving, Remembrance Day, and Christmas; between harvest and winter; between normal times and crisis. Help us, in these in-between -times to continue to be faithful: to be thankful even in difficult times; to remember the sacrifices of others; and to be ready to live and serve as your servants and your people each and every day. Help us to overcome our fears and to be daring and courageous Christians, following in the way of Jesus who surprised the people around him with his stories and teachings and his willingness to reach out to those that others too often overlooked, ignored, or forgot. We pray for the children in our midst, that they may not be overcome with fear but know that safety and security that you intend for all your children. Bless us with your Spirit that we may live and serve in your way all the days of our lives, even in uncertain times. Amen
And in the spirit of this week’s reading from I Thessalonians, a prayer written by our Moderator, the Right Reverend Richard Bott, which you may have seen before: Creator, as I prepare to go into the world, help me to see the sacrament in the wearing of this cloth— let it be “an outward sign of an inward grace”— a tangible and visible way of living love for my neighbours as I love myself. Christ, since my lips will be covered, uncover my heart, that people would see my smile in the crinkles around my eyes. Since my voice may be muffled, help me to speak clearly, not only with my words, but with my actions. Holy Spirit, as the elastic touches my ears, remind me to listen carefully— to all those I meet. May this simple piece of cloth be shield and banner, and each breath that it holds be filled with your love. In your name and in that love, I pray. May it be so. May it be so.
Hymn. This Little Light of Mine
For members and adherents of Howick United Church, this is the time to apply for the Howden-Templeton bursaries, if you are a Cegep or university student. The application is on the website and the deadline for applying is December 1st.
Grace Brown would like to let people know that if they would like to make a donation to Howick United Church’s Memorial Fund, you can send it to the church at 2 Bridge St, Howick, QC or directly to her as well. These donations need to be made by the end of the year so Grace can close the books.
Also, the Rudolph Run will be virtual this year. You choose the day, time, distance, and place between Friday November 27th to December 3rd. And you can also wear some green or red during your walk/run to bring a little brightness in a dark season. The donations will go to La Bouffe Additionelle in Huntington. There will also be a drop off on Saturday, November 28th between 9 and 11am at the front gate of the Ormstown Fair grounds. Receipts can be sent upon request. More information will be available on the Rudolph Run on its Facebook page which is being set up, or you can call Grace Brown directly.
Are you knitting for our virtual Mitten Tree? We will be collecting hats, mittens, scarves and gloves for sharing with those who need them. (Bought items are also welcome!)
This will be a different Remembrance Sunday this year, but we can still pause to remember. I know that some churches in Ormstown will be ringing bells before and after the11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month to invite us to pause, to remember and reflect.
Hymn O God our Help in Ages Past #806VU
Scripture Lessons. Joshua 24: 1-3,14-25
Psalm 78:1-7 p. 792VU pt 1
I Thessalonians 4:13-17
Prayer: O God, our Creator and Redeemer, we pause in your presence at this solemn time, aware of how much war has cost the world that you love. In spite of fighting between nations and neighbours, you have come to us in Jesus the Christ, carrying no sword, and calling us to serve as peacemakers and to be lights to the world, as he was. In this time of remembrance and reflection, renew in us the hope that you will help us learn to turn our swords into ploughshares, and lead the world from the study of war to the promise of peace with justice for all your peoples. Amen. (from a Presbyterian Church of Canada Remembrance Day resource 2019.)
Hymn. Lead Kindly Light #640
As we begin a new month, (November) it does not seem likely that we will be starting public worship soon. Please stay connected with us so we can keep in touch with you about our services and other events and concerns that may arise.
The UCW annual meeting in Howick has been cancelled. As we are not meeting at the moment, you are invited to have a cup of coffee (and a muffin!) and stopping to think about these faithful members of our church. The Executive and Committees will continue for another year, and we are hoping that in 2021 we will be able to hold our luncheons and other events.
I hope that you have survived Hallowe’en, if you have chosen to celebrate it this year. Now that we may have scared away the goblins, it is now time to celebrate the saints of the church. And this means you too!
Hymn. For All the Saints #705 VU
Scripture Lessons: Joshua 3:7-17
Psalm 107:1-7, 33-37 pp. 831-2 VU pts 1 & 4
I Thessalonians 2:9-13
Prayer: We confess, O God, that when we think of saints, we think often of different people, special people, holy people who glow with your light, your love, and your Spirit. We may not think of our neighbours, our families, or ourselves. Yet you call each and all of us to be your saints: to listen to your word; to follow in the way of our Saviour; and to bring hope, healing, and blessing to your children. As we pause to give thanks for those who have gone before us, who have taught us and shown us your love and grace, help us to dare to seek to be saints as well, to open ourselves to your spirit, and to live your love day by day. We pray in the name of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Hymn. A Mighty Fortress is our God #262VU
We continue to hold in our thoughts and prayers the many families over this year who have lost family members over this year and who continue to mourn their loss and give thanks for their lives.
Congratulations to Abigail Chisholm, daughter of Bart Chisholm and Emily Dragunas, who was baptized in Howick United Church last weekend.
For members and adherents of Howick United Church: The Trustees of the Howden-Templeton Bursaries are now inviting applications for the bursaries. The applications are on the website and the deadline for applying is December 1st. Please share this information with those who might be interested.
We are starting to think about Advent and Christmas. Alyson Orr would like us to know that even if there is no Mitten Tree this year, we can still collect hats, scarves, mittens, and gloves to be distributed to those who need them. Start knitting, everyone! (If you haven’t already.)
The United Church is welcoming a new Executive Secretary for the Denominational (national) Council. His name is the Rev. Michael Blair, he was covenanted with the Executive last weekend and officially starts today!
Another week in this pandemic has passed. When will the isolation end? When will we be together again? We do not know, but we do know that we can be together in heart and mind and spirit and that wherever we are, and however we are feeling, God is still with us as a source of strength and comfort. Let this be a reason to rejoice and to worship God!
Hymn: Tell Me the Old, Old Story #496 Hymnary
Scripture Lessons: I Thessalonians 2:1-8
Psalm 90 p. 805 pts 1 & 3VU
Hymn. Jesus Loves Me #365VU
Prayer: O God, we give you thanks and praise that you dare to believe in us: that we can be bearers and messengers of your love and that we can be your servants in the world, helping to make a difference in the lives of your children. We pray that we too will have the courage to dare to believe in you, our Maker, Redeemer, and Sustainer; that we will dare to believe in ourselves; and that we will dare to believe in others so we can work together to do your will in the world. We give thanks for those who work to do your work in the world: for political leaders who seek to make this world a better place; for church leaders who dare to speak of justice and peace and truth for all people; and for those who seek to teach, to heal, and to help your children in so many ways. Help us to see them, to know them, and to give thanks for them each and every day. And help us each and every day to do our part to share your love, to bring honour and glory to your name, and to follow in the way of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ, in whose powerful spirit we pray this day. Amen.
Hymn Lord I want to be a Christian
Please keep in mind that the Bursary committee for Howick’s United Church’s Howden-Templeton bursaries is now receiving applications. These bursaries are for members or adherents of Howick’s United Church who are attending college (CEGEP) or university. The application is available online and the deadline for applying is December 1, 2020.
Congratulations to Marlene and Peter Stuckey, who welcomed a new granddaughter Lola to their family this last week.
Howick Stewards are planning a meeting next Monday, October 26th, at 7pm in the church.
We hold the Brisebois family in our thoughts and prayers following the death of Gerry Brisebois this past week.
If you wish to continue to support the work of the Canadian Food Grains Bank, you can do so online at foodgrainsbank.ca, or mail it to CFGB, P.O. Box 767 Winnipeg MB, R3C 2L4. I do have envelopes that can be made available to mail in your donation. Did you know that the Food Grains Bank selected a new Executive Director this year? His name is Andy Harrington and he started this September, taking over from Jim Cornelius, who has retired. We look forward to seeing this good work continue under his leadership.
Also, the new Gifts with Vision catalogues have come out. We haven’t received a lot of copies, but you can order these online at giftswithvision.ca.
Here we are again! I hope that your Thanksgiving went well and that you are staying safe and well. As we begin another week, may that spirit of thanksgiving continue to fill our hearts and minds.
Hymn I Sing the Mighty Power of God #231VU
Scripture Lessons: Psalm 99 p.819 VU
I Thessalonians 1:1-10
Prayer: O God, we give you thanks and praise, for many reasons: for food and all that nourishes our bodies and our spirits; for the world in which we live, which supports and sustains us; and for our faith that renews and refills us. We give thanks for those who encourage and inspire us: for those who work for shalom, to bring your promise of peace and justice and wellbeing to life on this earth, for all your children. We give thanks for those who work to feed the hungry, to house the homeless, and to welcome those who are stateless and friendless. We pray that in our own lives we too may be witnesses to the meaning and power of your love, and that our church will enable us to work together to make a difference in our world. All this and so much more we offer up to you in prayer in the spirit and the name of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Hymn: Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life #681VU
Thanks to those who brought food to go to La Bouffe. It was delivered this week and was much appreciated.
St Paul’s Session will be meeting this Tuesday, October 20th at 7:30pm in the church. (St Paul’s Stewards will wait until the end of the month to meet.)
Howick’s Stewards will meet on Monday, October 26th at 7pm in the church.
The Howden-Templeton Bursary Committee wish to let the members and adherents of the Howick United Church know that they are preparing to distribute funds to students for the coming year. The application form is available online on the church website and may be returned to Brent Tolhurst, Debbi Templeton, or Marlene Stuckey by December 1st. Instead of presenting the cheque’s in a service, the cheques will be mailed to the recipients.
Although there may not be an actual mitten tree this year, (we will see), mittens, gloves, and hats etc. will still be collected. So as we may be settling in for the cooler weather, you can get your knitting needles or crochet hooks out and start producing. This may be a year When they be needed more than ever!
I hope this is a happy Thanksgiving for you, even though it may not be our usual celebration. We will not be gathering in our churches and we may not be gathering as extended families either, but I hope we can still find a reason to be thankful and to rejoice this weekend. Maybe it will be the beautiful world we live in or a contact or message from a friend or family member, or something else, something completely different. Whatever it is, I hope it fills your heart with joy and your prayers with thanks.
Hymn. We Plough the Fields and Scatter #520VU
Scripture Lessons: Philippians 4:4-9
Hymn I Cannot Come
Hymn Count Your Blessings
Prayer: O God, our thanksgivings cannot be contained by a day or a weekend or even a month or a season. Even in a year like this one there is much to give thanks for: for life and health and home and family; for laughter and music and beauty and sharing. We give thanks for the gift of faith that comforts us in our sorrows; heals our bruised and broken spirits; strengthens us in times of trouble; and that sustains us each and everyday. As we count our blessings and recognize your generosity and loving-kindness, we know we have so many reasons to give thanks, O God our maker and redeemer. Amen.
While we are not holding public worship services at the moment, the church is not closed! Let me know if there is something we can be doing for you.
Notice to Session members and Stewards in Ormstown: the Session members are called to attend a meeting in the church on their usual night and at the usual time: Tuesday, October 20th at 7:30pm. The Stewards will wait until the end of the month, to discuss some routine and emerging issues. The chair will in touch.
Howick’s Stewards will meet on October 26th.
If there are still those who would like to bring donations for La Bouffe Additionelle, our local food bank. I would be glad to receive them at my house and take them in next week.
As we enter into another period of shutdown (but not quite lockdown) let’s try to stay connected with one another. We may not be able to visit with one another, but we can keep in touch and support one another through this time and remember: We are not alone!
You will notice that in the message, filmed earlier this week, I say that there will be public worship this Sunday. At this time, none of our churches are planning on holding public worship. The blog with worship materials will continue to be published. Please keep in touch and we will try to let you know when things change.
Hymn When Morning Gilds the Skies #339VU
Scripture Lessons: Psalm 19
Lord, make our hearts places of peace and our minds harbours of tranquillity. Sow in our souls true love for you and for one another; and root deeply within us friendship and unity, and concord with reverence. So may we give peace to each other sincerely and receive it beautifully. Amen. from a Native American tradition found in worship resources from the Iona Community.
O Lord our God, listening to us here, you accept also the prayers of our sisters and brothers in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, the Americas, and Europe. We are all one in prayer. So may we, as one, carry out your commission to witness and to love in the church and throughout the world. Accept our prayers graciously, even when they are somewhat strange. They are offered in Jesus’ name. Amen. from the Ghanaian church, found in worship resources from the Iona Community.
Hymn. How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds #344VU
St Paul’s (Ormstown), Franklin and Howick United Churches have decided not to hold services for the month of October. With numbers of COVID climbing and people with reasons to be concerned, we have decided to suspend services for the time being, for the safety of all. We hope to be coming together soon, but felt that this was best at this time. Stay safe, everyone!
I have been reminded of the tradition, in Franklin and Ormstown, of collecting food on Thanksgiving Sunday for La Bouffe Additionelle, the local food bank. La Bouffe would welcome the food (especially pasta sauce, ready made meals such as KD, or fresh fruit and vegetables.) If you would like to my home, I will make sure that the food gets to La Bouffe. B
Welcome to fall! As we continue to live in uncertain times, we continue to live as God’s people. May God be our help and our guide in uncertain times.
Hymn This is God’s Wondrous World #296VU
Scripture Lessons: Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16 p.792VU
Hymn I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say #626 VU
Prayer: O God, we give you thanks for all you give and share with us, especially for ordinary blessings such as the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink each day. We praise you for all that brings joy and delight: the stars in the night sky, a glorious sunrise, the laughter of a child or loved one. Help us to rejoice in all you have made and to preserve and protect it each and every day. In this season of creation, we give thanks for the abundance you provide, enough to sustain us and to share with others. As we live through uncertain times, help us to believe that you are with us, that you guide us and help us, that you care for us and watch over us. May our hope and faith in you give us the courage we need for the facing of each day and may the good news of the gospel help us to share and show your love to others and to all the world. We pray in the name of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Here we are again. I hope that you are keeping well and taking care. We continue to hold public services in our churches, but also share a message and news here as well, for those who cannot be present, or would just like a little more through the week. Have a good week!
Hymn Let Us With a Gladsome Mind #234VU
Scripture Lessons: Exodus 16:2-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 37-45
Prayer: O God, we come before you in prayer, ready to offer thanks for what you have done and also to ask for what we need. Sometimes we do grumble and complain about the troubles we face and the times we live in, and we do so trusting and believing that you will hear and understand. We trust that you will help us and strengthen us as we live through difficult times and you help us to know what it means to live as your people this day. As we face the changes that life brings, help us to have faith, hope and courage. Help us to know that we are not alone. Help us to remember all that you promise to your people: life abundant; never-failing love; and inexhaustible grace. May the good news you have given to your people in story and in psalm, through the prophets and from Jesus the Christ fill our hearts and minds and lives, so we may share it with all the world. Amen.
Hymn. God Take My Hand and Lead Me #638 VU
We hold in our thoughts and prayers the family and friends of Lois Duncan, following her death this past week. The family will be holding a private service to remember and give thanks for her life. St Paul’s United Church is thankful for her faith and faithfulness throughout the years.
While there are no plans to restart Sunday School at this time, there are some resources for children and young people provided by our church and our region. Each Sunday the children, youth, and family life staff person for our region has a weekly presentation for children each Sunday morning at 9am on Facebook Live. Find it under Shanna Pauline Bernier. There are also resources for the season of creation which are available through the Go project.
More news from the United Church: a new General Secretary has been named to replace Nora Saunders, who is retiring. The new General Secretary is the Rev. Michael Blair, who has been working at the General Council offices for a number of years. He will begin his role November 1, 2020.
Here we are again for another week. We have held our first indoor services last week, and we are moving forward, following our usual schedule for another week. I know that the people in Howick will be glad to see Debbie Beattie once again and I will be glad to see the people in Franklin (and Ormstown) again as well. Hope to meet you somewhere, at church or online, whatever works best!
Hymn. Joyful, Joyful We AdoreYou #232VU
Scripture Lessons: Romans 14:1-12
Prayer: O God, we give you thanks for the choices we are free to make: to choose to live as your people; to choose the ways we will serve you and share your love day by day; week by week; and year by year; and to choose to accept your forgiveness and grace when we choose unwisely. We give thanks that you too are a choosing God, who chooses to be with your people day by day, year by year, and generation by generation. As we choose to walk in the way of our Saviour, send your Holy Spirit to us, to guide us and strengthen us; to sustain and renew us; and to empower us in your choices, now and always. Amen.
Hymn It is Well with my Soul
For anyone looking for some Christian activities for children, while there is no Sunday School, there are activities posted each week, Sunday at 9am, on Facebook Live by our region’s youth and family life staff person, Shanna Pauline Bernier (often with her 2 daughters as well). Also there are some French language resources for the season of Creation on the region’s website, nakonhakaucc.ca.
We continue to post messages, and announcements as well as worship materials for each week even as we open our churches for indoor public worship again. We hope this will continue to be useful and helpful, both to those who are staying home to avoid any possible exposure to the virus, and possibly for those who may choose to attend the Sunday service as well. If you are coming to the Sunday service, please keep in mind that masks will be required, as well as hand sanitizing and registering your name on a list for any possible contact tracing in the future. Pews will be blocked off to keep us socially distanced, doors and windows will be left open, and the service will be shorter than usual, with no congregational singing, though some music will still be included.
Hymn Let All Things Now Living #242
Suggested Scripture Lessons: Exodus 12:1-14
Psalm 149 p.873 VU
Prayer: O God of the exodus, you call us onward, onward towards your reign of shalom.
You call us to freedom: freedom from oppression and freedom from fear.
You call us to hope: hope for our world and hope for our common future.
You call us to community, living in relationship with you and with our brothers and sisters, your children.
Open our ears to hear your voice calling and speaking to us, guiding us ever onward and following in the way of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
Hymn He Leadeth Me #657VU
We hold in our thoughts and prayers the family of Lochlan (Butch) Cameron, whose death took place last week, and whose memorial was held on Saturday, September 5, 2020.
Worship Schedule for September:
September 6 9:30 Ormstown 11:00 Howick
September 13 9:30 Franklin 11:00 Ormstown 11:00 Howick, with D Beattie
Welcome to the blog! As we begin this week, we are now preparing to start public worship in our churches once again, at the start of the coming month. We ask that you wear a mask, sanitize your hands as you enter the church, register your attendance, keep 2m distance between you and others. We look forward to welcoming some of you back into the church but recognize that for others, the best choice is to stay home. We encourage you to do what is best for you. The videos and blogs will continue for those unable to join us in church.
Hymn: Open My Eyes #371VU
Suggested Scripture lessons: Exodus 3:1-15
Psalm 105:1-6, 23-26
Prayer: O God, as come before you in worship, remembering the stories and the teachings of the Scriptures, speak to us. Speak to us of your everlasting and never-failing love. Speak to us of your tender care which hears and answers their cries of need and despair. Speak to us about how we can live as your people and be witnesses to the power and depth of your love and grace. We give thanks for the gift of your Holy Spirit who comforts, guides, and renews us, this day and always. Help us to follow in the way of our Saviour, who opens our eyes to your presence with us in the world and to all we can do to bring honour and glory to your name, now and always. Amen.
Hymn: Lord, Speak to Me #589VU
It has been announced to the UCW units in Howick, that we will not be holding a Fall Luncheon this year. Maybe next year?
Please keep in mind the special appeals launched by the United Church: one for response to COVID-19 in the Southern Hemisphere, and another for The people of Beirut and Lebanon. Donations may be made online, by phone or by mail.
Riverfield Presbyterian Church will hold an outdoor service on Sunday, August 30th at 10:15am. Please bring your own chair and mask. In case of rain, the service will be cancelled.
Beechridge Presbyterian Church is continuing to hold its afternoon services every second Sunday, September 6th, 20th, and October 4th at 1:30pm. The services are held in the church and space is limited, due to social distancing.
Worship schedule for September:
September 6: 9:30. Ormstown. 11:00. Howick
September 13: 9:30 Franklin 11:00 Ormstown 11:00 Howick (with D Beattie)
We are now preparing to resume public worship. There will be a service this Sunday, hopefully outside in the Howick parking lot at 11am. If you choose to come, please bring your own chair and mask, and anything else you may need. Masks are required to enter and leave the site. We will provide hand sanitizer onsite and will be observing the Social distancing protocols recommended by the government. We will also be keeping a register of who has attended in case contact tracing becomes necessary. There will be no congregational singing in the service, but we will include some music, either performed or recorded. If it is not wise for some to join us, the videos on our blog will continue.
Beechridge Presbyterian Church will be holding its first service of the season indoors in the church in the afternoon at 1:30pm. Space will be limited due to social distancing and all government protocols will be observed: masks, hand sanitizing, etc.
Next week Riverfield will be holding an outdoor service at 10:15am before the construction on their building begins. Once again, please bring your own chair and mask. Social distancing will be observed and hand sanitizer provided. In case of rain, the service will be cancelled.
Indoor services will begin in our 3 churches in September. September 6th Ormstown and Howick will begin at 9:30 and 11:00 respectively and Franklin the following week at 9:30. Our regular schedule of services will be followed, though services will probably be briefer. Once again, the video messages will continue online. If you are concerned for your health, or you are feeling unwell or have been in contact with someone who is showing symptoms, please stay home. Masks will be required to enter and leave the church and Some pews have been blocked to maintain social distance. Hand sanitizer will be provided at the entrance and a register of attendees will be kept in case contact tracing is required. At present, no children’s programs will be offered. During the service, no congregational singing will be included or bulletins provided, according the church recommendations. Doors and windows will be open to facilitate ventilation. We look forward to being able to gather together to join together in worshipping God, in offering our praise and thanksgivings.
Hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness #288VU
Scripture Lessons: Exodus 1:8-2:10
Psalm 124 p.848VU
Hymn: Who is on the Lord’s Side? #365 Hymnary
Prayer: O God, in the midst of uncertain and changing times, we pray to you.
We pray to you for hope in the midst of fear; for direction in the midst of confusion;
We pray for courage in the midst of change; and for strength in the midst of uncertainty.
Help us to see and know how you call us to live, to serve, and to love one another.
Help us to know that you are with us always, that you are on our side, even when we feel alone.
And help us to follow in the way of our Saviour, Jesus the Christ, who calls us to faithfulness and forgiveness, to watchfulness and witness.
Be with all who call on you this day, and with all of us who rely on your strength, your wisdom, and the power of your Holy Spirit, now and always. Amen.
Hymn: God who Gives to Life its Goodness #260VU
Please keep in mind the special appeals the United Church has launched: for a response to COVID-19 in the Southern Hemisphere and also for the people of Beirut and Lebanon. Contributions can be made online, by phone with a credit card or by mail with a cheque marked on the front of the cheque specifying which appeal it is intended for. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated.
The Treasurers of our congregations have also been grateful and appreciative of the faithfulness and thoughtfulness of our members in dropping off and mailing in contributions to our congregations. This has been helpful through these difficult times. Thank you!
Another week gone. Anybody see the Perseus this week? Anybody pause to give thanks to God for the wonder, the beauty , and the abundance of God’s creation? Let’s take time now to do just that.
Hymn: Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour #665VU
Suggested Scripture Lessons: Genesis 45:1-15
Prayer: O God, we give you thanks that you are a God of patience and persistence: that you are patient with us as we learn your ways; and that you persist in calling, speaking, and helping and healing your people day by day. We pray that we too will learn to be patient and persistent: patient with ourselves and other and persistent in seeking to learn your ways to live and love one another. Help us not to tire of doing the good we know and to delight and rejoice in the difference we can make. We continue to pray for those who are struggling this day. We pray for the people of Beirut and Lebanon; for the people of Red Lake, at home and away; we pray for families struggling with difficult decisions; and teachers and leaders facing difficult times. As we seek to discern the ways to live and to serve, guide us with your Holy Spirit so we may walk in The way of our Saviour, and to share and spread your love. Amen.
Hymn: Love Divine #333VU
The United Church has announced another special appeal for the victims of the explosion in Lebanon. Donations may be made online (united-church.ca), by phone with a credit card to 1-800-268-3781 ext. 2738 or by mail to The United Church of Canada-Philanthropy Unit, Emergency Response 3250 Bloor St W, Suite 200, Toronto, On M8X 2Y4. Please mark “Emergency Response - Lebanon” on the front of your check.
The earlier special appeal for victims of COVID-19 in the Southern Hemisphere also continues. Donations may be made in the same ways and marked for COVID response.
Beechridge Presbyterian Church will begin to hold services Sunday August 23rd at 1:30 pm inside the church. Social distancing and other health precautions such as masks will be required. Attendance may need to be limited due to space. Services are planned to continue every second Sunday until the first Sunday in October.
I hope you have had a good week. Here are the worship materials for this week:
Hymn #220VU Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
Suggested Scripture Lessons: Psalm 105 p.828-9VU
A Prayer: O God, we praise and thank you that you are a God who can be known in both storm and stillness. We can know your power and majesty in the storm and we can hear your Spirit speak to us in the stillness and quiet of our hearts. May your Spirit speak to us this day that we may overcome our fear and doubts and take our first few steps of faith and hope.
Be with those who are filled with fear this day: the people of Beirut and Lebanon seeking to survive and rebuild after the devastation of this past week; the people who struggle with COVID and other diseases as well as those who care for them; and those who deal with uncertainty and injustice each day.
Be with them. Be with us, and help us each day to show our care and concern for one another, just as Jesus did, our Saviour and Lord. In his name and powerful spirit we pray. Amen.
Hymn: Will Your Anchor Hold? #675VU
The United Church has launched another special appeal. This is for COVID relief in the Southern Hemisphere. Donations may be made online, at the church’s website, united-church.ca; byy phone, at 1-800-268-3781 ext. 2738 with a credit card; or by mail to The United Church of Canada Philanthropy Unit— Emergency Response, 3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4. Please mark your cheque with “Emergency Response COVID-19”.
Congratulations to June and Eldon Orr who are celebrating their 70th anniversary this week. 💕
Back from vacation! Learning how to post blogs! This might be exciting (or maybe not). Some of you may know that Alyson was intending to give up typing and collating the bulletins for Howick just as the shutdown started. She has continued to post my videos and service suggestions through the spring. Now I am hoping to follow in her footsteps. It seems that there is a lot to learn! I hope I can figure it all out. Barbara
Scripture Lessons for this week: Genesis 32:22-31
Suggested hymns: O God of Bethel #650 VU
O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go #658VU
We were saddened to hear this week about the death of Doreen Brown, who was a member of the Howick community, the Parish Nursing Committee, as well as the Tres Saint Sacrement Catholic congregation. We give thanks for her life and faithfulness as part of our community for so many years.