February 27, 2006

Looking Ahead to March 5, the First Sunday of Lent

This Sunday we will be celebrating Communion. It will be served "Presbyterian style" instead of our habitual intinction. Of special note, the trays of glasses we are using were passed to us by St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church when that congregation was dissolved.

The Scripture Readings for March 5 are:
The Hymns for March 5 are:
  • 457 As We Gather at Your Table
  • 468 Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ
  • 480 Let Us Break Bread Together
  • 481 Sent Forth By God's Blessing
For sermon time we will be having a drama written by Rev. barb janes. In this scene Wesley (representing the Methodists) and Knox (representing the Presbyterians) come before a Judge to settle the issue of how the United Church of Canada will celebrate Communion. Thanks to Paula and Elvin for assisting in the drama.

Also this week Elvin will be giving a report from Presbytery. Come and hear about the fun we had last weekend!

February 20, 2006

Upcoming Dates

Some dates of Interest:
  • Sunday February 26 -- Gord and Elvin will be away at the February meeting of Cambrian Presbytery. Also this is the deadline for newsletter submissions.
  • Thursday March 2 -- World Day of Prayer service at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church
  • Sunday March 5 -- First Sunday of Lent, communion will be celebrated using the "Presbyterian" form of serving.
  • Monday March 6 -- UCW meeting and potluck at 6 pm in Boyle Lounge.
  • Sunday March 12 and March 19 -- on each of these Sundays we will be celebrating the sacrament of Baptism.
  • Thursday March 16 -- Riverview will be leading worship at the Extended Care Wing at 10:45 am

Looking Ahead to February 26th, Transfiguration Sunday

The Scripture readings for February 26 are (click here to read them):
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: 2 Kings 2:1-12
  • Psalm 50 (VU p.775)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: 2 Corinthians 4:3-6
  • From the Gospel: Mark 9:2-9

The hymns will be:
  • 395 COme In, Come In and Sit Down
  • 341 Fairest Lord Jesus
  • 104 We Have Come at Christ's Own Bidding
  • 679 Let There Be Light

A big thank-you to Lorraine for providing worship leadership while Gord is at Presbytery this weekend.

February 18, 2006

Congregational Life Committee

Announcing the formation of the "Congregational Life Committee" of Riverview United Church.

This committee will serve to find ways to increase the connections within the Riverview family. Sometimes that will happen by organizing group activities. Sometimes that happens by sending condolence, get well, birthday, congratulations, and "thinking of you" cards. If you know someone who could use a card from the church please let the office know.

In Our Prayers

Among the many we hold in prayer we remember our brothers and sisters in Minnedosa Manitoba. One week ago the United Church in Minnedosa was set afire in the middle of the night. The church building was totally destroyed. As we remember them in prayer we follow their story of resurrection at minnedosa united church

February 13, 2006

Lenten Study

Water of Life, a study put out by the United Church. This study is about water:
Water is a sacred gift that connects all life. Access to clean water is a basic human right. The value of the Earth's fresh water to the common good takes priority over commercial value. Fresh water is a shared legacy, a public trust, and a collective responsibility...
Five sessions explore the following themes:
  • water as a matter of faith
  • water in the Canadian context
  • Aboriginal peoples' water rights
  • water in the global context
  • what can we do—strategies for action
If you are interested in taking part in this study let Gord know. There is also a Lenten devotional book along the same themes for personal daily use.

Looking Ahead to February 19, 7th Sunday after Epiphany

The Scripture readings for February 19 are (click here to read them):
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 43:18-25
  • Psalm 41 (VU p.765)
  • From the Letters of the Church: 2 Corinthians 1:18-22
  • From the Gospel: Mark 2:1-12

The hymns will be:

  • 326 O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  • 605 Jesus, Teacher, Brave and Bold
  • 578 As a Fire is Meant for Burning (tune 374)
  • 649 Walk With Me

THe Sermon title is Evangelistic Passion. Some early thoughts:

Imagine it. To be so convinced of the importance of getting your friend to meet Jesus that you are willing to dig a hole in someone's roof. What passion, what depth of feeling that must take.

I think the church needs to recover that sort of passion for Jesus. I think that we need to reclaim evangelism. That's right I said evangelism. Evangelism is a word we don't use much (or enough) in the United Church. It is one of those words we have left to other Christians to define and since we don't like they way they do it, we say that we aren't into evangelism. I think we need to claim a definition and style of evangelism that works for us.

Last week we heard about a leper who was so moved by his healing encounter with Jesus that he couldn't help but tell everybody. This week we hear about a group of people who are so convinced that Jesus has an answer that they will do whatever it takes to get their friend in that room. What keeps us from shouting out what God has done for us? What keeps us from saying to a friend "you might find an answer here"?

Unless we in the church can learn to share our faith and invite others in we risk becoming a meaningless sub-culture. We have to reclaim evangelism as something that we do in our own way--not just something that those other people do. The only challenge (especially for those Introverts among us) is "how?".

February 08, 2006

Lenten Sermon Series

In three short weeks we will be entering the season of Lent. Lent is a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) when we prepare for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. In the early church, Lent was a time of preparation for new converts. They would spend the season learning about Christianity and what it meant to be a Christian. Then on Easter Day they would be baptized.

Remembering this history I am thinking of doing a sermon series on the church, specifically on the United Church of Canada. There are 5 Sundays in Lent before Palm Sunday. What 5 topics about the United church would you like to hear sermons on? As we will have communion on March 5, the 1st Sunday of Lent (since we celebrate communion on the first Sunday of every Church season) the likely topic for that day will be United Church approaches to communion--look for a possible "People's Court" drama. Other topics might include: Baptism, weddings and funerals, United church history and structure, what do we believe?, the difference between membership and full membership, our future, etc. Let me know what topics you think are worth a sermon.

February 06, 2006

Looking Ahead to February 12, 6th Sunday After Epiphany

The Readings for February 12 are (click here to read them)
  • 2 Kings 5:1-14
  • Psalm 30
  • Mark 1:40-45

The hymns will be:

  • 312 Praise with Joy the World's Creator
  • 679 Let There Be Light
  • 593 Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us with Your Love
  • 427 To Show by Touch and Word

In honour of the beginning of the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy the Children's story will be Olympic Peace.

The Sermon title is The Cost of Healing. Some early thoughts:

I am thinking that one of the most important parts of the Gospel story is the end, the part where we are told that Jesus couldn't go into towns anymore because the leper didn't keep his healing a secret. I have heard many people explain this as being due to the crowds that then surrounded Jesus wherever he went. But I have always read it differently.
Ritual purity plays a major role in Biblical Judaism (see Leviticus and all the laws that make up the purity code) Within that tradition, to touch something or someone who was unclean/impure would then render you ritually unclean. Mark tells us that in healing the leper Jesus touches him (which is a common part of most healing stories) this would mean that Jesus is now unclean. By choosing to restore the outcast to community he has become outcast.
If we as Christians are called to restore the outcasts to community, to bring healing into troubled relationships and societies, then we have to be willing to pay the cost. We have to risk being seen as unclean. When we think about those who are untouchable, where do we put ourselves?

February 05, 2006

Summer Camp

It is a few months away yet (on this -27 degree morning) but we have the dates for Sunnycove Camp this summer. The camp itself will run from Monday afternoon July 24th until Friday July 28th. Leaders will be arriving on the afternoon of Sunday July 23rd.

Every year the United Churches in the Rainy River District hold a camp at Sunnycove in Fort Frances. All children aged 8 to 14 are invited. Also there are positions available for youth leaders ages 15-18. We are also looking for adult leaders. Registration forms and leader applications are not yet available. More information will be posted as it is known. If you have any questions hit the "contact us" link above.

February 02, 2006

Presbytery Youth Event

Whenever Cambrian Presbytery meets there is a parallel youth event for people in Grades 7-12. The event in February is called :"It's Not Just Noise" and will be looking at music. You can find more information and the registration form here or you can contact the church.