Friday, December 31, 2021

Sunday, January 2, 2022

 Prayer:  God of the old and the new, be with us in this New Year as you were with us in the old. Guide our journey. Strengthen our faith. Renew our hope and our commitment to you and to others. Draw us together as a people who follow in your ways. Amen. (written by Beth W. Johnston, then of Rexton Pastoral Charge, Rexton N.B. And printed in Gathering A/C/E 2008-9.)

Hymn       God Rest you Merry Gentlemen

Scripture Lessons:       Jeremiah 31:7-14

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

                                     John 1:1-18

Hymn.     Of the Father’s Love Begotten #61VU


Prayer:  Eternal God, Creator, Son, and Spirit, at the start of this new year, with your help, we would let go of the past. We would lay down our failures, guilt, and shame, and lift up our eyes and look to the future. 

Let the grace of your presence strengthen our resolve, enlighten our minds, clarify our wills, and inflame our hearts with love for you and for all people. 

So May we live dedicated lives in peace, and with courage, faith and cheerfulness, until the year’s end. Through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. ( a prayer by John HRvey and printed in the Iona Community’s Hay and Stardust.) 

Hymn       What Child is This #74VU

As I hope everyone has heard, worship services have now been cancelled according to the protocols set by the provincial government. Once it is allowed and the church Sessions are comfortable with the numbers, we will begin public worship once again. In the meantime, I will continue to produce the blog and will be available for assistance if needed. I am thinking this week I will produce 2 blogs, one for Epiphany and one for Sunday, so I can use up some carols I have saved up. 🎶

We hold in our thoughts and prayers the family of Isabel Sutton, a member of Franklin United Church, who died this past week. A service will be planned for the spring when we can remember and give thanks for Isabel’s life. 

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Sunday, December 26, 2021

 What do we call this day? Is it Christmas Sunday? Is it Boxing Day? Is it St Stephen’s Day? Whatever it is, it is a day to think of someone else, your neighbour or a stranger, but someone in need! It is a time to keep that “Christmas spirit” of caring and sharing as we prepare to move into a new year. 

Hymn     Good King Wenceslas

Prayer: Holy God, the angels have sung and the shepherds have come to the stable, And we are filled with wonder.
Thank you for coming to us in a little baby; thank you for such good news; thank you for this time of wonder. 
Come into our lives today and every day, that we might have the joy and peace and love that only Jesus Christ brings us, for we pray with awe and wonder. Amen. ( a prayer written by Nancy E. Hardy, then of London, ON, and printed in Gathering, A/C/E 2005-6)

Scripture Lessons:      Colossians 3:12-17

                                    Psalm 148 p.871VU

                                     Luke 2:41-52

Carol       Once in Royal David’s City #62VU


Prayer: O God, we admit it is sometimes easier to love Jesus as a baby than it is to consider the boy and the man he became. Help us to remember that the story of his birth and its poverty reveals your care and concern for all who are poor and in need. We remember how Jesus grew and learned how to live and serve as your messenger, how he brought comfort and good news to those who were discouraged and sad; and how he showed compassion to those who were sick or isolated. May the Spirit who led and taught Jesus in his life fill us and help us to learn from Jesus and to follow in his way. We pray in faith and hope. Amen. 

A Christmas Creed:  (that I had planned to use on Christmas Eve)
We believe in God, who created the earth, loved it, and who refuses to give up on it. 
We believe in God who through the prophets, promised peace and justice for all God’s children. 
We believe in God, whose love was revealed in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, whose birth we have now celebrated.
We remember how the Holy Spirit helped him to grow and to reveal God’s love, faithfulness, and forgiveness in his life, death, and resurrection. 
We remember how Jesus proclaimed good news for the poor and how his birth was celebrated by shepherds and angels. 
We remember that the angels offered good news of great joy to those who were afraid or alone.
We rejoice that Jesus’s birth is a sign of God’s goodwill and favour, and we welcome him as a source of light and hope for all the world. 
May this faith and hope strengthen and sustain us now and forever. Amen. 

Carol      See Amid the Winter’s Snow #76VU

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas Eve 2021


Candlelighting: A candle burns, the sign of your presence, God, among us, born as one of us. May we live in the light of your presence, theLight who gives life to all.  Amen. ( written by David Hamflett and printed in the Iona Community’s Candles and Conifers.) 

Hymn:        O Come All Ye Faithful #60VU

Prayer:  We praise you, hidden God, that in Jesus Christ you have come to us to speak your Word of love and life. Touch us with unearthly joy, like the singing of angels; fill us with wonder, like the eyes of children; teach us to humble ourselves before you, like the worshipping magi. May our journey to the manger be only the beginning of a lifetime of service to Jesus our Christ. Amen. (a prayer by Ruth C. Duck, printed in Bread for the Journey, edited by Ruth C Duck.) 

Scripture Lessons:       Isaiah 9:2-7
                                     Luke 2:1-20

Carol:      Away in a Manger #69VU


Prayer:  Gracious God, we pray this day for all who have come with us to Bethlehem. We pray for all who are poor and cold and hungry like the shepherds, that they may hear good news. We pray for all who are wandering and searching like the magi, that they may find the place to leave their gifts and their burdens. We pray for all who are busy, hurried, preoccupied like the innkeeper, that they may know the peace that comes from genuine acts of hospitality. We pray for all like Caesar or Herod who have power, that they may use it with good will. We pray for ourselves— we who need comfort, peace, and joy, even in this starlit season, and all the days of our lives. Amen. (from the United Church’s worship resource, Celebrate God’s Presence)

Hymn:      Silent Night #67VU

We regret that it was necessary to cancel Howick’s Christmas Eve service for this year, as well as Franklin’s Candlelight Christmas service. Despite the fact that we will not be meeting in worship, I pray that each one of you will have a blessed Christmas, connect with family, friends, and neighbours in whatever way possible, and that the Spirit of the Christ, as well as Christmas will bring you peace, hope, joy, and love. 

We had tentatively made plans for January, but we will probably need to revisit those plans. Please keep in touch so we can let you know when those decisions are made. 

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Sunday, December 19, 2021 The Fourth Sunday of Advent

 Candlelighting: A candle burns, the sign of your love. 
God of Mary, come to us again this Advent. 
May the light of your love be born anew in us. 
(By David Hamflett, from the Iona Community’s Candles and Conifers.)

Carol             O Little Town of Bethlehem #64VU

Scripture Lessons:      Micah 5:2-5

                                    Psalm 80:1-7 p.794VU

                                    Luke 1:39-55


Prayer:  Generous God, you gave your Son to take our nature upon him and to be born of your chosen one, Mary. Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, May daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen. (A prayer from the Book of Common Prayer and reprinted in Voices United #39.)

Carol                 Gentle Mary Laid Her Child #46VU

Many thanks to all who donated food for the Christmas baskets and who put items on the Mitten Tree in Howick. Allyson counted 111 items when she collected them. Thank you for your generosity! ( For those who did not get food in last Sunday, I will take another collection down to La Bouffe Additionelle if necessary after this Sunday’s service. They were very grateful for what has already been received and know they will need more for the new year.)

This Sunday’s service will be the last for this year for Franklin and Ormstown. Our next services there will (hopefully) be on Sunday, January 9th. Please stay in touch in case of any changes. Unfortunately, Franklin has now decided to cancel their Candlelight service for this year. See you next year! 

In Howick, there will be a Christmas Eve service at 7:30pm for that congregation. There will be no December 26th service, but there will be an Epiphany Sunday service held on January 2nd at 11am. 

I will have blogs up for Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, and January 2nd as well. Stay well and have a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Sunday December 12, 2021 The Third Sunday of Advent


A candle burns, the sign of our faith. God of the Baptizing One, come to us again this Advent. May we have a faith that renews our lives. May we live in the light of your promises. (A prayer from the Iona Community, printed in Candles and Conifers.) 

Hymn      Good Christian Friends Rejoice #35VU

Scripture Lessons:    Philippians 4:4-7

                                  Isaiah 12:2-6

                                  John 3:7-18


Prayer: Bright star-maker God, travel with us through Advent. 
Shine into our dark corners. 
Lead us into ways of justice.
Warm us with joy and wonder. 
Bring us to new birth. (A prayer by Ruth Burgess printed in the Iona Community’s Candles and Conifers.)

We await the Christ, the one who will reveal God to us. 
He comes to us as sparkling light: twinkling with joy and playfulness. 
He comes to us as everyday light: Brightening the ordinary world around us. 
He comes to us as softened light: creating a gentle, healing space in the shadows. 
He comes to us as a focused spotlight: bringing truth and Justice into stark relief. 
This is the Light of the world— Jesus Christ, coming to shine among us. (by Jessie Jessop, Broomhill Methodist Church and printed in the Iona Community’s Candles and Conifers.) 

Hymn     Joy to the World #59VU

Final decisions have been made. Each congregation has chosen what they believe is best for them. 

In Howick, this Sunday is White Gift Sunday. If you have non-perishable food items to contribute, you can bring them to the church this Sunday. Debbie Beattie will be leading the service at 11am. 
Next Sunday, December 19th will be Communion Sunday. The service will be held at 9:30am. 
There will be a Christmas Eve service for the Howick congregation. It will be held at 7:30pm. 
There will be no Sunday service on December 26th. 
We will be holding a Sunday service January 2nd at 11am. 

In Ormstown and Franklin this will be White Gift Sunday as well. This year we are collecting non-perishable food items for La Bouffe Additionelle, possibly for the Christmas baskets, but also for the New Year. 
In Ormstown on December 19th at 11am there will be a hybrid service, for people to be present inside the church, but also to hear the service outside in the parking lot through their car radios at FM frequency 87.7. (If you have food to contribute we can still take it this Sunday as well.)
In Franklin there will be a Candlelight Christmas Communion service on December 19th at 7:30pm. 
There will be no Christmas Eve service in Ormstown this year and no Sunday service will be held on December 26th or January 2nd either. Services will begin again on January 9th. Location TBA. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Sunday, December 5, 2021 The Second Sunday of Advent


Candlelighting: A candle burns, the sign of your Word. God of the prophets, come to us again this Advent. 
May your Word be a lamp to our feet and a light on our path. ( from the Iona Community’s Candles and Conifers.) 

Hymn:      Hark the Glad Sound #29VU

Scripture Lessons:       Malachi 3:1-4

                                     Luke 1:67-79 p.900VU

                                     Luke 3:1-6


Prayer:  Child of promise 
Revealer of God come
Bringer of life come 
Come to the beaten and the battered
Come to the despised and the rejected
Come to all in whom the divine image is still distorted
We wait in joyful expectation
Come not as a distant emperor but as a helpless babe
Come not as a prince in a golden palace, but as a displaced and frightened refugee
Come not as a man of power, but in love and compassion 
Come to those outcast like shepherds in the field
Come to the rich and poor, young and old, male and female 
We wait in hopeful anticipation 
Come to bless all creation with your love
Come to bring salvation to the earth
Come to rule with Justice and in peace
Come, child of promise, open the windows of our hearts
Come Christ of compassion open the doors of our churches
Come prince of peace, open the pathways to our lives
We wait with all the people of the earth
Child of hope we welcome your coming
Child of life we welcome your coming
King of glory we welcome your coming. (by Christine Sine and printed in the Mission and Service Advent newsletter, 2012)

Hymn:      Hark the Herald Angels Sing   #48VU

FYI: Some plans have been made for the Advent-Christmas season, and some are still to be made:

Next Sunday, December 12th will be White Gift Sunday in Franklin and Ormstown. 

December 19th will be Communion Sunday in Howick. In Ormstown we will hold a hybrid service, both inside the sanctuary and also broadcast to the parking lot via FM transmitter (frequency 87.7) Franklin is planning to hold a Candlelight Christmas Communion service at 7:30pm. 

St Paul’s will not be holding a Christmas Eve service this year. 

More decisions still to come. 

Keep in mind that there are Gifts with Vision catalogues available in our churches and there are even more choices available on their online catalogue found at gifts with, including giving vaccines to people around the world.