Thursday, September 23, 2021

September 26, 2021 The Third Sunday of Creation

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

Hymn     I’m Gonna Live So #575VU

Scripture Lessons:       James 5:13-20

                                     Psalm 124 p,848VU

                                     Mark 9:38-50


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, September 17, 2021

Sunday, September 19, 2021

 The Second Sunday of Creation

Hymn.      Jesus Calls Us   #342VU

Scripture Lessons.      Proverbs 31:10-31

                                    Psalm 1 p.724VU

                                    Mark 9:30-38


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hymn.      For the Beauty of the Earth #226

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

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

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Sunday, September 12, 2021


Hymn       Lord Speak to Me #589VU

Scripture Lessons:     Proverbs 1:20-33

                                   Psalm 19 p.740-1VU

                                   Mark 8:27-38


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

Hymn        Beneath the Cross of Jesus #135VU

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

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

Friday, September 3, 2021

Sunday, September 5, 2021

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

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

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

                                    Psalm 125 p.849VU

                                    Mark 7:24-37


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

Hymn     Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life #681

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 30, 2021

Sunday, August 1, 2021

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

Hymn      Let Us with a Gladsome Mind #234VU

Scripture Lessons:      Ephesians 4:1-6

                                    Psalm 51:1-12

                                    John 6:24-35

Hymn      Fight the Good Fight #674VU



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

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

Hymn     Your Hand O God Has Guided #274VU

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

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

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

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

Friday, July 23, 2021

Sunday, July 25, 2021


Hymn.     O God of Bethel #650

Scripture Lessons:      Ephesians 3:14-21

                                    Psalm 145

                                    John 6:1-21


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Sunday, July18, 2021


Hymn          Jesus, Where’re Thy People Meet 

Scripture Lessons:      II Samuel 7:1-14a

                                    Psalm 89

                                    Ephesians 2:11-22


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

Hymn      How Firm a Foundation

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

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

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

Friday, July 9, 2021

Sunday, July 11, 2021


Hymn     Joyful, Joyful We Adore You

Scripture Lessons:      I Samuel 6:1-5, 

                                    Psalm 24 p.751VU

                                    Ephesians 1:3-14


Prayer:  God of unfailing love, Saviour to whom we belong, Spirit of truth, you we worship, you we love, you we trust. We long for wisdom to live well and faithfully all the days of our lives. You know the fears that bind us. You know how lost we get sometimes. Yet you search for us and find us; you never let us go. You pour grace upon grace into our lives. Then, you send us out into the world, which needs your light. As we seek to be what you have called us to be, fill our minds so that we observe the world through the light and love of Jesus’ cross and resurrection. Then, grant us courage to walk in the Way of Jesus who is your truth, your life. Amen. (a prayer by Christine Jarrett, of Edge: New Ministry Development and printed in Gathering, Pentecost 1 2020.)

Hymn     To God be the Glory

We continue to hold the family and friends of Bill Welburn in our thoughts and prayers. There will be a drive-in service held at Howick United Church this afternoon at 2pm. 

The services at Beechridge Church will begin holding services Sunday July 25th at 1:30. The services are held every second week. Masks will be required. 

The United Church has launched a special appeal for a Global Response for Vaccines, working for Global Vaccine Justice. We are invited to write our government; to make a donation through the United Church’s Philanthropy Unit online, by phone, or by mail; or buy a vaccine to donate through Gifts with Vision. 

Friday, July 2, 2021

Sunday, July 4, 2021


Hymn     You Servants of God #342VU

Scripture Lessons.     I Samuel 5:1-5, 9,10

                                   Psalm 48 p. 772-3

                                   Mark 6:1-13


Prayer: Grandfather, look at our brokenness.

We know that in all creation only the human family has strayed from the Sacred Way. 

We know that we are the ones who are divided and we are the ones who must come back together to walk the Sacred Way. 

Grandfather, Sacred One, teach us love, compassion, and honour that we may heal the earth and heal each other. (from the World Council of Churches Worship book, Jesus Christ the Life of the World 1983.)

Hymn     Blest be the Tie that Bids #602VU

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Bill Welburn following his death this past week. A service of remembrance and thanksgiving, celebrating Bill’s life is being planned. 

Thanks go out to the Ste Martine IGA for their contribution to the repairs and maintenance of the church building. Their generosity is greatly appreciated. 

If any of you are looking for HAECC’s AYear in the Valley, at a suggested donation of $5-10.00 can contact Nadine Vick at 450-237-0526 and make arrangements to pick one up. 

For those who might be interested, the 79th Summer Event will be taking place on Zoom on July 24, 9:30-4:30 with the Rt. Rev. Richard Bott (current Moderator of the UCC). The deadline for registration is July 19th by emailing Carole Dallas-Arbuckle at You are asked to enter UCW on the subject line. For more info, you may contact Kim Baird at 613-933-5851 or at, or check the poster in the church. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Sunday, June 27, 2021

 This is the first Sunday of summer (though it might feel like it has been summer for a while.) This might not be a time of rest for you, but I hope you have a chance to enjoy it. 

Hymn.     When Morning Gilds the Skies #339VU

Scripture Lessons:      II Corinthians 8:7-15

                                    Psalm 30 p.757VU

                                    Mark 5:21-43


Prayer: O Christ the healer, we have come to pray for health, to plead for friends. 
How can we fail to be restored when reached by love that never ends? 

From every ailment flesh endures our bodies clamour to be freed; 
Yet in our hearts we would confess that wholeness is our deepest need. 

How strong, O Lord are our desires, how weak our knowledge of ourselves! 
Release in us those healing truths unconscious pride resists and shelves. 

…Grant that we all, made one in faith, in your community may find
The wholeness that, enriching us, shall reach and shall enrich humankind. 
(A hymn by Frederick Pratt Green.)

Hymn.      How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds #344VU

We are now meeting in or around our churches, back to the regular schedule, which means there will be services in Franklin at 9:30am and in Howick at 11:00. Outside if possible, so bring your lawn chair and hat, as well as your mask. Next week we will have services in Ormstown at 9:30 (probably inside) and in Howick at 11:00. Stay well, and if you feel comfortable, join us for worship. If not, you can continue to follow the blog. B

Congratulations to all the students and teachers in our congregations! It has been a strange year, and sometimes a hard one, but congratulations to all who have finished the year. Also, congratulations to all our graduates who will be moving to a new school or a new stage in their lives. Best wishes as you move forward to new experiences and challenges. 

Last week the people who came to the service in Howick were able to pick up a copy of A Year in the Valley,  a community memoir produced by the HAECC for a small donation of about $5 -$10.00. If others would like a copy, Nadine Vick has agreed to be the contact to arrange to pick up a copy. You may contact her at 450-237-0526. 

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.