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. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

May 2, 2021 The Fifth Sunday of Easter

 This coming week has been declared to be Mental Health Awareness Week by the United Church. It acknowledges the toll that the last year may have taken on many of us, either because of the demands made of us, or the isolation we have faced, or the losses we have experienced without being able to follow the usual rituals. We acknowledge as well the challenges of living with anxiety or depression or other mental illnesses or conditions. The United Church is offering a number of live webinars on its Facebook page from 12-1:00 EDT on wellness and the medicine wheel, anxiety, guided mediation (in French) and trauma fatigue as well as a blogpost from Amy Strickland. Take a look, if you would like. 

Hymn    All People that on Earth Do Dwell #822VU

Scripture Lessons:    Acts 8:26-40

                                  Psalm 22:25-31

                                  John 15:1-8


Prayer:  O God, we give you thanks for sending us Jesus, who comes to be our True Vine, grounding and rooting us in you and giving us a chance to live and grow in love, in wisdom, in understanding, and in compassion. We pray that we will know you live in us as we live and abide in you and so we will be enabled to be your witnesses to the world, to reveal your love, mercy, and faithfulness in the way of your Son Jesus. Help us to bear the fruits of this love in the words we speak, in the actions we choose, and in the love we share. Help us to be true and faithful witnesses of you and for you, now and always. Amen. 

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

A reminder: the deadline for theHugh Duncan and IFE bursaries for university and college students is coming up, on June 4th. If you want to apply, the applications are available on the region’s website ( or you can let me know and I will provide a copy. Barbara

The United Theological College will be holding a virtual convocation this week, Wednesday, May 5th at 2pm. We can hold the students, graduates and faculty in our prayers, and it is possible to attend the convocation on zoom. The college is going through changes as it moves into a union with the Diocesan College under one Principal and in one building. 

Still looking for a gift for someone who has everything (or more than everything) that they need? You can make a gift to support families through the United Church and an e-card will be sent to your recipient, a mother, grandmother, aunt, godparent or whoever you choose. There is also an offline version. 

The United Church is planning to hold a service to lament forced or coerced adoptions through its maternity homes next Sunday, May 9th at 3pm ET on its YouTube channel. The Moderator will offer an apology on the church’s behalf. 

We continue to hold the family of Rosemary Hooker in our thoughts and prayers, following her death last week. A private service has been held for her immediate family. 

Friday, April 23, 2021

April 25, Good Shepherd Sunday

 This past Thursday was Earth Day. Did you pause to enjoy the earth’s wonders this past week, it’s sun; flowers; buds and blooms; as well as the snow? I hope you will continue to see, enjoy, and give thanks for all of the gifts of creation. 

Hymn     All Creatures of our God and King #217VU

Scripture Lessons:  I John 3:18-24

Psalm 23 p.749VU

John 10:11-18

Hymn     Brother James’ Air #748VU


Prayer:  Jesus you said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” Help me to love. Teach me your commands. Help me to obey. Let me praise you with a love that is not just emotion. Let me praise you with a love that is action. Let me praise you with a love that reaches out to others. Let me praise you with a love that lets you live in me. Let me praise you with a love that lets me live in you. I praise you because I love and because you first loved me. Amen. ( a prayer by Jeanne Wilson of St Catherine’s, ON and printed in Gathering L/E 2021.)

Hymn     The King of Love My Shepherd Is #273VU

The United Church has declared next week, May 2nd to 8th “Mental Awareness Week” and there will be daily workshops on the church’s Facebook page from 12-1:00 EDT dealing  with issues such as wellness and the medicine wheel, anxiety, guided meditation, and trauma fatigue. There will also be a special blog from General Council staff person Amy Crawford. 

The deadline for the Hugh Duncan and IFE bursaries is June 4th. Application forms are available on the regional council’s website: or ask Barbara to provide one for you. 

We are saddened to hear of the death of Rosemary Hooker. She died on Friday and arrangements are being made. We hold Don and Ian and all the family in our thoughts and prayers. 

Friday, April 16, 2021

April 18, 2021 Easter 3

 I don’t know whether this Sunday or next Sunday should be Earth Sunday, (maybe every Sunday should be Earth Sunday?) but maybe we can take some time to see the changes happening around us: plants bursting out from the ground (dandelions and bleeding heart) buds appearing and spring flowers (crocus and daffodils) blooming, and give thanks. 

Hymn Jesus Stand Among Us #396VU

Scripture Lessons:     Acts 3:12-20

                                   Psalm 4 p.727VU

                                   Luke 24:36-48


Prayer:  Jesus, ‘Peace be with you!’ you said to your disciples when you came and stood among them— locked as they were into their bewilderment and their fear. Breathe your Spirit of Peace into our troubled hearts, our full-of-fear world. Enter into our turbulence, our disorder and our discord. Bring your peace, your serenity and your harmony. Calm us, still us, open us up, in order that we may be channels of your peace to those in need of that life-giving river. Amen. (A prayer by Susan Hardwick published in Geoffrey Duncan’s Wisdom is Calling.)

God of power, God of people, you are the life of all that lives, energy that fills the earth, vitality that brings to birth, the impetus toward making whole whatever is bruised or broken. In you we grow to know the truth that sets all creation free. You are the song the whole earth sings, the promise liberation brings, now and forever. Amen (by Miriam Therese Winter, from Woman Prayer, Woman Song, Resources for Ritual). 

Hymn     Christ the Lord is Risen Today #157VU

Applications for the IFE (college and CEGEP) and Hugh Duncan (university) bursaries are now being accepted. Forms can be found on the regional council website under resources. Or give me (Barbara) a call and I can provide one. 

We welcome a new member into the Christian church and the family of God. Alayna Greig, daughter of Steven Greig and Laura Mahar will be baptized this Sunday in a private service in St Paul’s United Church in Ormstown. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

April 11, 2021 Easter 2


Hymn     This Joyful Eastertide #177VU

Scripture Lessons:  Acts 4:32-35

                                Psalm 133 p. 856VU

                                 I John 1:1-2:2


Song Every Morning is Easter Morning

Prayer: Servant Christ, help us to follow you out of the dark tomb, to share daily your resurrection life, to be renewed daily in your image of love, to be used daily as your new Body in your service to the world. Servant Christ, help us to follow you. 

Almighty God, through the rising of your Son from the grave, you broke the power of death and condemned death itself to die. As we celebrate this great triumph may we also make it the model for our living. Help us to identify in our lives all that needs to die— harmful relationships, tired habits, fruitless longings. Resurrect in our lives faith, hope, and love, as surely as you raised Jesus Christ from the grave. Amen. (prayers found in the Unired Church’s worship resource Celebrate God’s Presence.)

Hymn  #173     Thine is the Glory

Applications for the Hugh Duncan and IFE bursaries through the Nakonhaka Regional Council are now available. The deadline for applying is June 4, 2021. The applications can be found on the Nakonhaka website at or Barbara will provide you with a copy. 

“No Time for Silence” a Christian Commemoration of the Shoah will be held Sunday, April 11th at 10am online and will be led by the Rev. Rosemary Lambie and will also include Irwin Cotler as guest speaker, among others. The service will be available at More information is available on the region’s website ( 

Did you know that many members, leaders, congregations, and organizations are calling for a guaranteed basic livable income? You can learn more about it on the church’s website 

A joke for Holy Humour Sunday: (from the Joyful Noise newsletter) A child asked the minister of their church, “what did Jesus say when he first came out of the tomb?” The minister answered that the gospels don’t tell us what Jesus said when he first came out of the grave. One child put up her hand and said I know what he said, he said ‘Tah-Dah!’”

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Easter Sunday, April 4, 2021

 Happy Easter! May the hope and joy of this season fill your hearts and minds and lives this day and forevermore. Amen. 

Hymn:      The Day of Resurrection #164VU

Scripture Lessons:    I Corinthians 15:1-11

                                   Psalm 118:14-24

                                   Mark 16:1-8


Prayer:  Jesus, you are risen! You are with me. Keep me ever mindful of how you are a part of my life in a deep and profound way. Surprise me with a touch of your love in places where I never thought that I would find you. Fill my heart with hope. May the gift of your presence transform every ordinary moment of mine into a sacred place where you dwell. Help me to see this gift through the eyes of Faith. Fill me with your peace. Amen. (from Joyce Rupp’s May I Have this Dance)

Hymn:   Jesus Christ is Risen Today #155VU

Benediction:May the love of the cross, the power of the resurrection, and the presence of the Living Lord, be with you always. And the blessing of the Eternal God, Creator and Sustainer, Risen Lord and Saviour, and the Holy Spirit, Giver of Holiness and love, be upon you new and evermore. Amen. 

There will be a drive-in service for Easter Sunday, held in Howick at 11am. Communion will be served, with the elements provided. The frequency for the service will be 87.7 on the FM dial. There will be some seats inside the church for those who may have trouble receiving that frequency. All welcome. 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Good Friday, April 2,2021


Hymn.    Go to Dark Gethsemane #133VU

Prayer: Holy God, who has opened our ears to hear your Word and our lips to proclaim your truth: open our eyes this day to see in the cross the revelation of your love; through Jesus the Crucified, to whom with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, be honour and praise, now and forever. Amen. (from the United Church’s worship resource, Celebrate God’s Presence.)

Scripture Lessons:     Isaiah 52:13-53:12

                                   Psalm 22:1-21 p. 744-5 pts1, 2VU



Prayer:  O Saviour of the world, we praise you again for the victory of the cross and for your work, now finished. You have done for us what we could never do for ourselves, and what we did not deserve you to do; and you have done once and for all. Through your perfect and all-sufficient sacrifice sin is conquered, death is destroyed, humanity is redeemed, and heaven is opened. To God be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. (a prayer by Frank Colquhoun printed in Contemporary Parish Prayers.) 

Hymn     There is a Green Hill Far Away #152VU

There will be both an Easter blog and an Easter service, to be held in Howick. The plan is for a drive-in service to be held on Easter Sunday, April 4th at 11am. There is some room inside, if necessary, but it is planned as a drive in service. Communion will be served with communion kits provided. All welcome from all 3 congregations. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Sunday, March 28, 2021 Palm Sunday

 Today we begin our journey through Holy Week. We will be holding a drive-in service in Ormstown today (Sunday) at 11am and next week in Howick, an Easter Sunday drive-in service, also at 11am. 

Hymn     Hosanna Loud Hosanna #123VU

Scripture Lessons:      Philippians 2:5-11

                                    Psalm 118:19-29 p.837 pts 3 & 4

                                    Mark 11:1-11


Prayer:  Holy God, you come to us in Jesus, a poor man, riding on a donkey; we thank you for this witness of the power of love, despite the powers of this world. We thank you for all who have withstood evil, who have suffered the jeers and worse of the crowds, who have been tormented, even put to death, and still refused to use the weapons of hatred. We thank you for the times we have been able to let go our defences, give up control, and live with open hands and hearts. We thank you with “hosannas” and with joy in our hearts, in the name of Jesus, our leader. Amen. (from the UCC’s publication, Celebrate God’s Presence).

Hymn       My Song is Love Unknown #143VU

Best wishes again to Joyce McKell who celebrated her 100th birthday this past week. Congratulations, Joyce on a good life well-lived. 

We will be holding drive-in services this Sunday and next. This Sunday, March 28th we will be holding a Palm Sunday at St Paul’s in Ormstown at 11am. The frequency on the radio dial will be 87.7FM. 

Next Sunday there will be a drive-in Easter Sunday service at the Howick United Church on April4th at 11am. The frequency will probably be the same. All are welcome at both of the services. 

There will be blogs for both Good Friday and Easter Sunday next week as well. One way or another, we will celebrate Easter! 

There will also be a Good Friday service led by the Moderator of the United Church of Canada offered to all members across Canada. It can be found on the United Church’s YouTube channel, at 9:30am on April 2nd. If possible, you are invited to bring a glass of water, a flower, and a candle to the service. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

Sunday, March 21, 2021 Lent 5

This weekend marks the beginning of spring. I hope this will indeed be a season of new life, new light, and new hope for all people. May we continue to celebrate that hope as we prepare to mark Holy Week and celebrate Easter once again. 

Hymn   As Comes the Breath of Spring #373 VU

Scripture Lessons:      Jeremiah 31:31-34 

                                    Psalm 51:1-12 p.776-7VU

                                   John 12:20-36

Hymn     What Wondrous Love is This #147VU


Prayer:  God who dwells within, God who is in good times and in bad, we turn our hearts again to you and we proclaim: nothing can come between us and your love for us, even if we are troubled or worried or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. 

     We can grow through difficult times because of this power of your love at work in our lives. For we are certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, no height or depth, nor any created thing, can come between us and your love which has been made visible in Jesus. We lean upon you and we offer you our thanks. Amen. ( a prayer by Joyce Rupp, published in May I Have This Dance.)

Hymn    My Faith Looks up to Thee  #663VU

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Gordon Brooks, who died last week. A memorial service will be held, hopefully, in the spring. 

The plans now seem to be set: we will be holding a drive-in service in Ormstown on Palm Sunday, March 28th at 11am. Please plan on driving to the church, parking in the parking lot, and listening to the service on your car radio. The Easter Sunday service will be held in Howick in the same way, at 11am. All are welcome to either or both services. There will also be an additional blog posted for Good Friday. If the numbers continue to be good here in Quebec we may be able to plan in-church services in the spring. 

There will also be a Good Friday service led by the Moderator for the whole United Church. It will be posted on the United Church YouTube channel. It can be seen at 9:30am EDT on Good Friday, April 2nd. 
If you are attending, you are invited to bring with you a glass of water, a flower, and a candle. 

While you attend the service, you can also pick up a copy of the annual report. We will have them available on the day. They are also available from Barbara or in the church on request. 

I have not heard from anyone about the offer to hold a Zoom activity (sometimes known as Messy Church) for families and children. Shanna Bernier, the regional youth and family ministries staff person would help me to lead this. If you know of people who would be interested, please let me know by phone or email. Barbara

Friday, March 12, 2021

March 14, 2021 Lent 4

 Did you pause to remember those we have lost in the pandemic on Wednesday? Hear some bells ring? Light a candle? Attend on online service? This week we mark a year of this pandemic and all of the challenges and changes it has brought to our churches and to our communities, country, and world. Thank you to all who have continued to be faithful in so many ways. 

Hymn     I’m Gonna Live So #575VU

Scripture Lessons:       Ruth 2:1-13

                                     Psalm 107:1-9 p. 831VU

                                     John 3:16-21


Hymn        Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life #681VU


Prayer:  O God, as we pause to remember and reflect on the past year of the pandemic, we give thanks for your sustaining strength, power, and wisdom throughout these pandemic days. 

As we reflect on the lives of people of faith, ancient ones like Ruth, all the way to faithful people of today, we give thanks for the difference they have made and the example they give. Help us to learn from them. Help us to be inspired and encouraged by them. We pray for your Spirit to guide us in the living of faithful lives, now and in the future. 

As we continue our journey through the season of Lent, we pray that the story of Jesus, his life, his ministry, his death and resurrection, his faithfulness and his good news, will continue to inspire us to live to live lives of faithfulness and loving kindness. May we find the courage to live in his light and his way, now and always. Amen. 

Hymn      Take My Life and Let it Be#506VU

Easter is getting closer! Keep in touch so we can let you know our plans for Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter. We hope to have plans made before too long. At the moment, it looks like we may hold a drive-in service at St Paul’s on Palm Sunday (March 28th) and another at Howick on Easter (April 4th). Keep in touch, we will let you know when things are confirmed. 

We have been saddened to hear of Ruth Graham Petch’s death this past week. We give thanks for her life and good works and hold her family in our thoughts and prayers. 

Please remember Joyce McKell’s 100th birthday, on March 23rd. There cannot be a party but everyone is invited to send a card to her at La Source Bleu. The address is Joyce McKell c/o La Source Bleu, 1575 Rte 201, Ormstown, QC, J0S 1K0. Let’s let her know how much she is loved and appreciated! 

The annual reports are now ready. You can get Howick’s from the church or from Evie or possibly Mac or I can get one to you. If you are looking for Ormstown’s and Franklin’s, you can give me a call or find one in the church. 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Sunday, March 7, 2021 Lent 3


Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. What are you going to do to celebrate? 

This Friday was also the day we usually held a World Day of Prayer service. This year’s service was prepared by the Vanuatu World Day of Prayer Committee on the theme of Build a Strong Foundation. The service is available on line and I have shared some places on Facebook where it can be seen. If you wish to make a donation to this organization to support their work supporting social justice projects in Canada and around the world, you may do so online at or by mailing a cheque to The Women’s Inter-Church Council of Canada, 47 Queen’s Park Crescent East, Toronto ON M5S 2C3. Or you can just drop off a donation to Evie Kerr and she will collect them and send them in. 

Hymn     In the Cross of Christ I Glory

Scripture Lessons:    Exodus 20:1-20

                                  Psalm 19 p.740VU

                                  I Corinthians :18-25

Hymn       Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross #142VU


Prayer: When I survey the wondrous cross....
I am reminded of those who suffer, who suffer in body and mind and spirit, and those who suffer and sacrifice for the sake of others.

When I survey the wondrous cross....
I am reminded of the forgiveness, faithfulness, and redeeming love of God. 

When I survey the wondrous cross...
I dare to believe that God is with us in the worst of times, and shares our grief and pain with us. 

When I survey the wondrous cross....
I dare to hope that God will lift us up again, to new life, new light, and new joy. 

Help us, O God, to remember that the cross can mean so much to us, in all the times and places of our lives. Help us to follow in Christ’s way, even if it leads to the cross on the way to the empty tomb. Amen. 

Hymn       When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

Last week Shirley and Tom Vandor celebrated their 50th anniversary. Congratulations to you both! 

We were sorry to hear this week that Wally Ryan has died. We hold his wife Linda Janes and his family in our hearts and prayers. There will be no service at this time, but we hope to be able to celebrate Wally’s life at a later date. 

The Confirmation Class will continue to meet. The classes begin at 1:30pm and are held on Zoom. This week participants are asked to bring a Bible to the class ( and maybe even read some of it!) 

The annual reports are now ready. Some are in the church and others can be picked up from Barbara (Ormstown and Franklin) or Evie Kerr (Howick).

Joyce McKell will be celebrating her 100th birthday on March 23rd. We won’t be able to give her a party, but we can send her a card. They can be sent to Joyce McKell c/o La Source Bleu, 1575 Route 201, Ormstown, QC, J0S 1K0. (Taken from Facebook)

Friday, February 26, 2021

Sunday, February 28, 2021

 This is the last Sunday (day!) of February, also known as Black History Month. I regret not seeing an opportunity to address the subject directly, but in the many historical figures, and modern day leaders, activists, and change-makers, whose stories we have heard, we can give thanks for the gifts of inspiration and leadership that they have provided and commit to working for a community and a world where everyone’s rights and needs and dreams are respected. 

Hymn    Standing on the Promises of God

Scripture Lessons:    Genesis 17:1-7,15,16

                                  Psalm 22:23-31p. 746VU pts 3 & 4

                                  Mark 8:31-38


Prayer: O God, you have called many different people from different places and situations to be your servants and your witnesses to the world. Help us to listen for your call, help us to follow where you lead us, even when it leads us to the cross, and help us to see you in our sisters and brothers and neighbours who share in this journey of faith with us. Help us to reach out to them as you reach out to us.  Above all, help us to trust in your promises, to wait with patience and hope, and to be ready to live as you have intended, in peace and in justice; in compassion and grace, all the days of our lives. In the name and spirit of our crucified Saviour we pray. Amen. 

Hymn     O Jesus I have Promised #120 VU

The Confirmation Class will begin this afternoon at 1:30 on Zoom. If there are those who still wish to participate, please contact me so I can send you an invitation. 

We offer our congratulations to the Rev. Joëlle Leduc and Ste Genevieve United Church who celebrated their new shared ministry with a covenanting service last Sunday. We hope this is the start of a blessed and fruitful ministry together. 

We hold in our thoughts and prayers the family and friends of the Rev. Malcolm Cogswell who died last Sunday. His burial will take place in Riverfield tomorrow. We remember with thanksgiving his ministry in Howick as well as his faithful ministry to the United Church in this region and to the church of Jesus Christ. 

Next Friday March 5th is World Day of Prayer. There will be no community service this year (next year, maybe?) but it is possible to connect online on 

Friday, February 19, 2021

February 21,2021 Lent1

 We have begun the season of Lent this week. Are you planning to do something special? Giving something up, or starting something new? However you observe the season, may it be a source of strength, hope, and faith to you. 

Hymn:     Sweet Hour of Prayer

Scripture Lessons:     Genesis 9:8-17

                                    Psalm 25:1-10 p. 752VU

                                    Mark 1:9-15

Hymn.     Forty Days and Forty Nights #114VU


Prayer: O God, in this world where goodness and evil continue to clash with each other, instil in us, and in all your people, discernment to see what is right, faith to believe what is right, and courage to do what is right. 
Keep us aware of the subtlety of sin, and preserve us, body, mind and soul, through the power of your Holy Spirit. Amen. (from the Iona Community’s Stages on the Way) 

Hymn:         O Love that Wilt Not Let Me Go #658VU

The Confirmation Class will be starting next Sunday, February 28th at 1:30pm on Zoom. If you know of someone who would be interested in participating, please have them contact me (Barbara) so I can send them an invitation to attend. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

February 14, 2021 Transfiguration Sunday

 Happy Valentine’s Day! While the rest of the world may be celebrating Valentine’s Day, the Christian church will be observing Transfiguration Sunday, a bridge between the seasons of Epiphany and Lent. Did you discover something this season? Did you learn something or experience something new? As we prepare to begin a new season in the church year, what more are we going to be bringing with us? What have we learned? What may we need to leave behind? 

Hymn       Be Thou My Vision #642VU

Scripture Lessons:     II Corinthians 4:3-6

                                   Psalm 50:1-6 p. 775VU


Hymn        Jesus Bids Us Shine #585


Prayer:  Let us pray this Valentine’s Day 
that broken hearts be mended     
Young hearts stay wonder-filled                                                                                                                       Old hearts discover their wisdom
Embittered hearts let go of hurt
Compassionate hearts find strength
Big hearts know their wealth
Betrayed hearts recover trust
Soft hearts not be wounded
Hardened hearts begin to soften
Sensitive hearts be vigilant
Happy hearts announce their joy
Courageous hearts keep risking
Passionate hearts tend the flames
Arrogant hearts learn humility
Sympathetic hearts benefit others
Determined hearts lessen their grip
Jealous hearts accept what they have
Lost hearts find their way home
Loving hearts reach out to others
Generous hearts receive in return
Fearful hearts turn toward trust 
empty hearts befriend loneliness 
tepid hearts stretch into action
Faithful hearts remain steadfast

Kindhearted Holy One, you gather all these hearts into your one great love. Thank you for reaching our heart through the hearts of others. The genuine love of each person reflects your divine affection. Keep us aware, when we hesitate or question our ability to share our love with another, that you dwell within our hearts. Amen. (A prayer by Joyce Rupp and printed in Prayer Seeds.)

Hymn.      Love Divine #333VU

I have had some takers for the Confirmation Class. I am thinking of holding it (on Zoom) on Sunday afternoons for about 45 minutes, I think. If you know of someone who would be interested, of high school age or older, please let me know, even if the time doesn’t work, and we will see how we can work it out.

In Howick, it is now time to renew your subscription for Broadview, the United Church’s newsmagazine. The deadline has snuck up on us, so Evie will be renewing the subscriptions and other names can be added if desired. The cost for the year is $25. Please let Evie know if you wish to make a change. You can get the money to her later. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

February 7, 2020

 We are most of the way through the season of Epiphany as Lent begins after next Sunday. We are moving through winter and the sun is rising earlier each day. Let the light brighten and guide us on the way. 

Hymn   I Sing the Mighty Power of God #231VU

Scripture Lessons:     Isaiah 40:21-31

                                   Psalm 147:1-11 p.898-9 pt 1 VU



Prayer:  Lord God, creator of all seasons and seasons and ages, I praise you for all that is beautiful in this winter day of February coldness:  the strong, black patterns of trees standing tall, utter whiteness of snow as it layers the lawn, stillness broken only by the sound of the furnace and maybe a brave cheep of a snowbird, blue sky with morning pink still on its cheek, the bush under the rain spot drenched in ice. 

   Oh that is glistening with cold this morning, praise the Lord! All creatures snuggled away in nest s, caves, trees, praise the Lord! Oh, all people’s bundled in winter wear, scurrying to work, praise the Lord! Cars, trucks, and buses chugging along the highway, praise the Lord! Snowbirds all a fluff with thick winter warmth, praise the Lord! Cows, steers, and sheep on hillsides, braving cold, praise the Lord! Oh crunch and crackle of boots on frosty snowfall, praise the Lord! All ponds and lakes deeply frozen and lovely formed, praise the Lord! Little rabbits leaving deep footprints ‘neath my window, praise the Lord! 

   Yes, all the winter world, whose beauty we so often miss, whose weather we so often condemn, praise the Lord, and bless his holy name, for our world has wonders and tiny miracles if only our hearts as well as our eyes are open to see. Amen. (a prayer/psalm by Joyce Rupp, printed in Fresh Bread)

Hymn       Your Hands, O Christ #622VU

Thanks to all who got their reports in to me or to Evie for the annual reports. If your report is still outstanding, please speak to me or to Evie about when it may be ready. We will let you know when the reports are ready. 

I have some takers for the Confirmation class. If there are others who would be interested, please let me know so we can make plans for the classes(which will be taking place on ZOOM.)


Friday, January 29, 2021

January 31, 2021

 It strikes me that this Sunday would be a Sunday with a shared service among our 3 congregations. Instead, we will be meeting together in another way. May our shared faith continue to guide and strengthen us. 

Hymn    When Morning Gilds the Skies #339VU

Scripture Lessons: I Corinthians 8:1-13

Psalm 111 p.833VU

Mark 1:21-28


Prayer: Let us give thanks in the beginning of this year for the many ways in which our lives are supported day by day.

For familiar places and faces on the street, for warm homes and full cupboards, for friends and entertainment, for new challenges and past achievements, for good government and leadership and the absence of famine or war, we thank you God, and praise your holy name. 

Let us give thanks especially for those we love, whose loyalty we depend upon, whose faults and frailties we forgive, whose acceptance of our faults and frailties we wonder at, whose daily presence we so easily take for granted. For dearest and nearest, wherever they are, whoever they are, however they are, we thank you O God, and praise your holy name. Amen. ( a prayer written by John Harvey and printed in the Iona Community’s Hay and Stardust,  adapted.) 

Hymn     New Every Morning #405VU

We hold in our thoughts and prayers the victims and families of victims of the attack on the Grand Mosque of Quebec as we pause in remembrance this week. 

Many thanks to all who have prepared and delivered their annual reports. For those who have not yet completed or dropped off your reports yet, you can do so this week, or let me know when they might be ready. We do not yet have plans for the annual meetings, but we can get a sense of how this past year has gone by seeing how our congregations have continued to function in these difficult times. 

I have realized that Lent is coming up soon (beginning, I believe, February 17th this year) and this is a traditional time to prepare for Confirmation. Are there those who are interested in taking part in a Confirmation Class? It would need to take place on ZOOM as we cannot meet In person at the moment. You can let me know if you know of those who would be interested. 

Friday, January 22, 2021

January 24, 2020

 We are coming to the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we are moving through the season of Epiphany, and the season of Lent is approaching quickly. Wherever we are and however we are feeling, let us remember: God is with us! Alleluia. Amen. 

Hymn   Jesus Calls Us #562VU

(I know this is not the usual tune, but it still sounds familiar, and I liked it! )

Scripture Lessons:  Jonah 3:1-5, 10

                                Psalm 62 p. 779VU

                                Mark 1:14-20

Hymn   I Will Make You Fishers of Men 


Prayer:  Jesus Christ, our Saviour, alive and at large in the world, help us to follow and find you today in the places where we work and meet people, spend leisure time and make plans. Teach us to see through your eyes, and to hear the questions you ask, by the power of the Cross, and in the freedom of your Spirit, we pray. Amen. ( a prayer by John Taylor, bishop of Winchester, and printed in Voices United #564)

Hymn     O Master Let Me Walk with Thee #560VU

We are continuing to collect reports for the annual report. This year’s report may be different from those we have prepared before, and some may feel that there is little or nothing to report, but if there is something to report on from 2021, please get them in to me (for Ormstown and Franklin) or to Evie Kerr (for Howick) by the end of the month if possible. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to give me a call. 

We hold the residents and their families, as well as the staff of the Centre d’Accueil in our thoughts and prayers as they deal with an outbreak there. We pray for all who may be struggling with their health (physical and mental) at this time, as well as those who care for them. If I can help in any way, please let me know. Barbara

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

January 17, 2021 3rd Sunday of Epiphany

 So, how is the curfew going for you? Does it inspire you to want to go for a moonlight stroll? Or does it really make little or no difference to you at all? Here’s hoping that it helps to make a difference and our numbers will go down and eventually, we can gather together once again! 

Hymn:     You Servants of God #342VU

Scripture Lessons:    I Samuel 3:1-10

                                   Psalm 139 p.861VU

                                  John 1:43-51

Hymn:      Lord Speak to Me #589VU


Prayer:  She sits working, needle and thread in hand. The coat of many colours, torn and tattered, is held tenderly across her knee. 

She works carefully. With each hole she anchors her thread, then weaves together the fragments of cloth, recreating the pattern. 

It must be strong, yet supple, so well integrated into the fabric to be almost invisible. A humble art. 

And all the while she sings, her blessing of peace and beauty holding all together. 

Your church is torn and tattered, Lord. Come, mend us, darn us together again into one, wonderful whole garment of praise for all the world to wear. Amen. (A prayer written by Silvia Purdie of Aotearoa New Zealand and published in Geoffrey Duncan’s Seeing Christ in Others an anthology for worship, meditation and mission.)

Hymn:    Will You Come and Follow Me #567VU

The time has come to think of our annual reports for this year. It may be quite different from other years, but we can still reflect on the year that was, what took place and what changes and challenges that we faced this year. If we could have any reports that people can prepare by the end of the month, we will pull them together and produce a report for people to review. Reports for Howick can go to Evie and reports for Ormstown and Franklin can go to Barbara. 

Did you know that the regional council of the United Church of Canada offers some programming for children, families and youth? There is children’s church at home held on Facebook at 9:30 and recordings can also be found on the region’s website,, on the youth and young adult page. There is also a weekly youth group meeting held on Thursdays at 6:30pm. To participate, you need to contact the children and families resource person Shanna Bernier, through the region website. For more information, you can contact me, Barbara Bryce. 

Friday, January 8, 2021

January 10, 2021 The Baptism of our Lord

 Advent is supposed to be the season of waiting and Epiphany is supposed to be the season of revelation and discovery, but we find ourselves waiting again. I hope that we will be able to find ways to survive and spend these next several weeks in lockdown and under curfew, and that we might discover something new along the way. Let’s also try to keep in touch! 

Hymn.    All Beautiful the March of Days #530VU

Scripture Lessons:    Genesis 1:1-5

                                  Psalm 29 p. 756 VU

                                  Mark 1:1-11


Prayer:  O God, when your love spilled over into creation, you thought of us. We are from love, of love, and for love. Let our hearts, O God, always recognize, cherish, and enjoy your goodness in all of creation. Direct all that we are toward your praise. Teach us reverence for every person, all things. Empower us in your service. Living God, may nothing ever distract us from your love..... neither health nor sickness, wealth nor poverty; honour nor dishonour; long life nor short life. May we never seek nor choose to be other than you intend or wish. Amen. 

God of all creation, we ask your blessing on each of us as we enter into the mystery of your ongoing moulding and shaping of our lives. May the spirit of Christ gift us with the grace of loving receptivity to your living Word eager to be born within us. We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus. Amen (These prayers are taken from Jacquelin Syrup Bergman and S. Marie Schwan’s collection of services, Taste and See.)

Hymn:  Songs of Thankfulness and Praise #101VU

Saturday, January 2, 2021

January 3, 2021

 Happy New Year! We are hoping that this year will be better than the last, though it does start much the same, in shutdown. I hope you begin this year in good health and in good spirits. God be with you! 

Hymn:  See Amid the Winter’s Snow #76VU

Scripture Lessons:  Ephesians 1:3-14

                                Psalm 147:12-20 p. 869 pt.2 VU

                                John 1:1-18

Hymn.    What Child is This? #74VU


Prayer:   In the year gone by, in the year to come, and right at this moment, you are with us, Holy God! Thank you!                                                                                                                                     For your leading and loving, for your teaching and caring, for your changing love at work in all of us, thank you!                                                                                                                                           In your love you hold all creation. In your hope, you give new life. In your peace, you begin again!  So for the year gone by, for the year to come, and for this moment right now, we declare, Alleluia! Alleluia! Thank you Holy God! Amen. (A prayer by our current Moderator, the Rt. Rev. Richard Bott.)

Hymn:     The First Nowell #91VU

In the past couple of weeks we have held a couple of drive-in services in Ormstown and Howick. I want to thank those who attended and those who helped get them going, including Mark and George Barrington who helped me find the equipment we needed as well as Gordon Furey for helping me set it up. For those who attended, if you have any feedback, I would be happy to hear it, and if you would like another held, I would be happy to plan it. Please let me or a Session member know. Barbara