- Written by Heather
19 March, 20
25 March, 2020
Dear Stony Plain, Mewassin Family,
I want to reach out to all of you once again, to offer support during this confusing, frightening and often overwhelming time in our lives. Many of us are isolated from family and friends, those very things that bring us comfort in times of struggle. Many of us are anxious about the health and safety of the people in our lives, especially those most vulnerable. And most of us are missing the uplifting connections we feel when we gather to worship in one another’s company. These are difficult days.
How might we pray during this time? If we express our fear or anger or confusion, are we showing a lack of faith in God? Not at all! Part of being human is experiencing unwelcome emotions, such as fear, anxiety, anger and sorrow. We need to express these emotions so that we can move beyond them. When we express them in our prayers, we offer an ancient practise of lament. Many of our favourite Psalms are songs of lament. Jesus, in Matthew called weeping a blessed state and himself wept when his friend Lazarus died. Praying a prayer of lament is not a sign of weak faith or ingratitude. Rather it is a prayer that strengthens our belief that God is present in all parts of our lives. It strengthens our belief that God’s compassion reaches out to us through our pain. And our God receives prayers of lament with a heart open wide.
During the shut down of our buildings, I will be posting prayers and reflections on the Website.
There are several United Church worship services posted on YouTube under the heading United Church of Canada. As well, many United Churches are live streaming services on Sundays. Check any church website for information on times. If you are not able to access these, I would like to invite you to look at the brief service of prayer below. At 10:30 on Sunday, sit quietly and let’s read this together. We may not be together in person, but knowing that others are praying with us may help us to feel closer to one another.
As always, I am available to you via telephone should you need anything.
May God grant us peace as together we journey through these days.
Reverend Heather Koots
- Written by Cameron Park
Heather will conduct Sunday worship service teleconference: If you would like to do so, you can join her by telephone, at 587-328-1099 (meeting ID is 3522591770 #), or by computer at https://us04web.zoom.us/j/3522591770 (use computer audio), if your computer has the Zoom application. If it does, it is suggested that you go to the meeting link prior to the meeting, load, and test.
Church doors will be locked until further notice: The church office is still operating for phone, email and regular mail. However all worship, meetings and other gatherings are suspended until further notice. This is to minimize the spread of the current COVID pandemic.
STONY PLAIN UNITED SPRING FLOWERS FUNDRAISER: Spring is just around the corner, so please take a look at Vesey’s spring catalogue and order some plants, bulbs or seeds! Deadline for regular orders is April 19. NEW THIS YEAR Items such as vertical or saddlebag gardens benefit from an early start. Please use a separate order form and get it in by April 5. Cheques payable to Stony Plain United Church, please. Happy Gardening!
SAT MAR 28: MAiD101 (An introduction to Medical Assistance in Dying) On hold
SUN MAR 29 BREAKFAST: On hold
NORTHERN SPIRIT REGIONAL COUNCIL: The website is now in place www.northernspiritrc.ca Be sure to check it out!
ANNUAL REPORT: If you have already picked up a copy, please bring it with you to the meeting(s) you attend.
WED MAR 18, WORSHIP COMMITTEE: To be rescheduled.
WED MAR 25, 7:30 PM – MEWASSIN GENERAL/BOARD MEETING: on hold
SUN APR 5 VIDEO LECTURE SERIES AT STONY PLAIN: After church, we will have coffee/light lunch and watch Lecture 4: ‘2020 Vision - Re-Imagining Church - A Simple Model to Restore a Broken Church’, Patrick Darnell, TEDxAugusta, 2018. (On Hold, a link will be provided to watch at home.)
DEADLINE FOR VESEY'S ORDERS:
Early Start items: April 5.
Regular Orders: April 19.
- Written by Jon
We have a directive from Alberta Health cancelling events, including Worship (see below). Also we have received a recommendation from the national church to suspend worship, etc.
Many of our members are over 60 putting them in the COVID high risk category.
For more information click the link below.
Many of us in our congregations are in the high risk group of the Novel-Corona Virus (COVID-19). While this pandemic is still in its early stages we can take simple measures to minimize risk of its transmission. There are three main things we can and should each do according to the major health authorities.
1 - Wash your hands with soap and water. (Alternatively use a hand sanitizer.)
2 - Avoid touching your face.
3 - Keep a safe distance from others (1 to 2 meters)
Other things we can do include the following: Cover your cough or sneeze. Cough into your elbow or under your coat to contain fine droplets from your breath. Don't shake hands or hug when greeting people. Touch elbows or feet or bow or other gesture to minimize person to person contact. If you want to use a facial mask make sure you understand correct fitting and use methods. Incorrectly used masks may actually increase risk of transmission.
Below are links to some health authorities for more information.
- Written by Jon
Is our world just falling apart at the seams? What to our future generations have to look forward to? What things can we do or not do to improve our world for ourselves and others? With so much sensationalism in the media and gossip on social media, how do we sift through so much information in order to set our priorities and form our own opinions?
This program consists of some recorded lectures that are available on the internet from world class academics and experts. We can listen to them present facts and hopefully lead us to better understand world issues. We will show these lectures right here in the church for you to enjoy and learn. Then we will follow up with some discussion. The links are noted so you can watch again or share with a friend.
Apr 05 - Lecture 4 - 2020 Vision - Re-Imagining Church - A Simple Model to Restore a Broken Church, Patrick Darnell, TEDxAugusta, 2018
Historically, the American church has been one of the most powerful sources of community change and strength – but with a rapid decline in congregations, something has gone terribly wrong. As a society we need to start radically re-thinking the church and its role in our faith and communities. Surprisingly, the path forward does not lie ahead of us, but in our deepest roots.
Feb 02 - Lecture 1 - 2020 Vision - VL-01 New Insights on Poverty by Hans Rosling
Feb 16 - Lecture 2 - 2020 Vision - VL-02 Clean Disruptions - Energy and Transportation, Tony Seba
Mar 01 - Lecture 3 - 2020 Vision - VL-03 A New Perspective on Climate Change, Matt Ridley
- Written by Heather
A BRIEF WORSHIP SERVICE FOR MARCH 29, 2020
As a candle is lit ...
We light a light in the name of God who creates life.
In the name of the Saviour who loves life.
In the name of the Spirit who is the fire of life.
Holy One, we gather before You with hearts open.
We gather before You with hearts afraid.
We gather before You with hearts of compassion for one another.
We gather before You with hearts that ache.
We gather before You with hearts of gratitude.
Holy One, we gather before You, for You have already gathered us to Yourself.
Hymn: VU # 381 'Spirit of Life’ (sung twice)
Spirit of Life, come unto me. Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion.
Blow in the wind, rise in the sea; move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice.
Roots hold me close, wings set me free; Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.
Psalm 22:1-5 A Psalm of Lament
Romans 8:31-39 God’s love in Jesus Christ
John 11:1-45 The death of Lazarus
Take a moment to reflect on these lessons.
How do they speak to you?
Where do you hear words of comfort within them?
What pictures do you have in your mind as you read?
May Wisdom and Grace fall upon us as we listen to the Word of God. Amen.
Prayer: The following is adapted from a prayer offered by the United Church Moderator Richard Bott.
In this time of COVID-19 we pray:
When we aren’t sure, God, help us be calm
when information comes from al sides, correct and not, help us to discern.
when fear makes it hard to breathe, and anxiety seems to be the order of the day, slow us down Lord.
Help us to reach out with our hearts, when we can’t touch with our hands. Help us stay connected when we have to be physically distant.
For all those working tirelessly to confront this pandemic, we pray.
For those who are affected by this virus, we pray.
We pray for safety, for health, for wholeness, and for the wisdom to act responsibly.
Help us O God, that we might help each other.
May we do all that we are able.
In the love of the Creator,
In the name of the Healer,
In the life of the Holy Spirit
that is in all and with all, we pray.
May it be so. Amen
Hymn: VU # 400.
‘Lord, Listen to Your Children Praying’
Lord, listen to Your children praying.
Lord, send Your Spirit in this place.
Lord, listen to Your children praying.
Send us love, send us power, send us grace.