Saturday, December 26, 2020

December 27, 2020 Christmas Sunday

 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

                                    Luke 2:22-40

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. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Eve 2020

 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

                                   Luke 2:1-20


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.)

Hymn.     It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. #48VU

Friday, December 18, 2020

Sunday, December 20, 2020

 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

                                  Luke 1:26-38

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

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! 

Friday, December 11, 2020

December 13, 2020, The Third Sunday of Advent

 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, 

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. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

December 6, 2020 Advent 2

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
Mark 1:1-8

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.