August 14, 2006


Gord will be on vacation from August 16 to September 13. A special thank-you goes to those who are providing service leadership in his absence:
  • August 20 -- Noreen
  • August 27 -- Elvin
  • September 3 -- Joan
  • September 10 -- Marj

As a part of this time Gord will be taking one week of study leave to go on retreat. After his return he will share what that experience was like.

Just as a reminder, General Council is meeting this week in Thunder Bay. Keep up on what is being decided by visiting the UCCan website.

August 10, 2006

COming Attractions!

In addition to the Bible study mentioned earlier (scroll down a couple posts for more) here are some other Christian Education possibilities for the Fall/Winter of 2006-07.
  1. The music of Advent and Christmas -- a four week study overlapping with the end of the one on Jesus' Prayer. Each week we will look at and discuss some of the hymns in Voices United for the Advent and Christmas season (likely one week on Advent and 3 on Christmas, or two and two). If we are able to have musical leadership we may sing some of them as well. Sunday evenings or afternoons starting November 26.
  2. Exploring the Heart of Christianity -- a 12 week study starting in early-mid January. This study looks at Marcus Borg's book THe Heart of Christianity. As with the fall study on Jesus' Prayer, participants would be asked to purchase a copy ($20.95 plus shipping and taxes) for the study. Also this will be offered in both an evening and an afternoon session should need/desire be there. This study can double as a confirmation program for adults or teens interested in making a profession of faith and becoming what the United Church calls "full members".
  3. Something for Easter. The Easter story is the core of our faith. I am looking for ideas for some sort of study to meet for the 4 weeks of April to help us explore the mystery of Resurrection.

August 07, 2006

Looking Forward to August 13 -- 10th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • From the Hebrew Scriptures: 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33
  • Psalm 130 (VU p.853)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
  • From the Gospel: John 6:35, 41-51

The Hymns this week are:

  • 232 Joyful, Joyful We Adore You
  • 20 On Jordan's Bank
  • 626 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
  • 422 God Be With You Till We Meet Again

The Sermon will be based on the Ephesians reading and is titled God's Transformation -- How Can we become Imitators of God?

Early Thoughts: The first three times I read this passage I was left wondering what to do with it. Do I ignore it and preach about the upcoming meeting of General Council (which starts this Sunday)? Do I preach on one of the other passages? I simply didn't see what I could have to say about this one. But then I read it again and saw the way in.

This passage is a call to be transformed. It talks about putting away falsehood, about thieves giving up stealing, about putting away bitterness, anger, slander and malice. Then comes the real kicker. It calls us to be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love. Oh yeah, that sounds nice and easy doesn't it?

In her piece Imago Dei Jill Warner writes:

Imago Dei, Imago Dei,
Born in the Image of God are we.
Imago Dei, Imago Dei,
Called to compassion, born to be free.
How shall we live as images of God?
How best reflect the wonder of our maker?
Humbly we will walk, with mercy respond
And know the Essence of Love is always with us. Refrain

How shall we love the neighbour filled with greed?
How best respond to those consumed by hatred?
Look beyond the fear that keeps them from knowing
The Abundance of Love that's always with us. Refrain
©2004 Jill Kirsten Warner

How indeed do we live as images of God? How can we be imitators of God? By letting the Essence of Love flow into and change us. Being one of the people of God means allowing ourselves to be transformed, changed. It means remembering that we are created in God's Image and that we have a responsibility to live that out. That is what this passage is telling us.

It sounds hard doesn't it, to change our ways? But it is possible. That is the key, the important thing to remember, it IS possible. With the help of God it is possible to live as an imitator of God, to let God shine through all we are and all we do. The last verse of Imago Dei says:

Then shall we see the images of Christ.
Then shall we know that God is in our neighbour.
Humbly we will walk, with mercy respond
And know the Essence of Love is always with us. Refrain
©2004 Jill Kirsten Warner

There it is. It is possible. And when we start to live it out for ourselves we see God's imitators living around us too. And if we all start to do that, what a wonderful world that would be.

Bible Study for the Fall

Starting the week of October 16-20 a 7 week Bible Study looking at the Lord's Prayer (aka The Prayer of Jesus).

We will be using Becoming Jesus' Prayer as our study resource. All participants will be asked to get a copy of this book (it lists for $12 plus shipping and tax). However, we can get names and then order en masse through the church office in the hopes of saving shipping costs. More details will be arranged and announced when Gord gets back from vacation in mid-September.

If there is a need/desire this study will be offered at two different times per week -- once in the afternoon and once in the evening. Actual days will be finalized in September. If you are interested in this study please call and leave a message on the phone in the office.

In order to ensure books arrive in time we will need a good idea of how many copies to order by Sunday October 1 (the day of the Harvest Supper).

August 03, 2006

Where Do We Go From Here?

Goals, vision, a plan for the future. These things are vital for the growth and health of any organization.

This fall the Board of Riverview will be doing some work around visioning, with the hoped outcome to be the presentation of some proposed congregational goals to the Annual Meeting (which will be on the 5th Sunday of 2007 -- February 4). We will take the first 15-20 minutes of each Board meeting to do this work. There are 4 items of discussion:
  1. Who are we? Why are we here?
  2. SWOT analysis Part 1 -- Identifying our Strengths and Opportunities
  3. SWOT analysis Part 2 -- Identifying our Weaknesses and Threats
  4. Prioritizing and Goal Setting based on the first 3 discussions (this may require more time and a separate meeting to complete)

IF any congregation members have ideas to feed into this discussion they are warmly welcomed by the Board. Please talk to Gord or one of the Board members. OR, if you prefer, you can put your thoughts in writing and give it to one of us or leave it on the offering plate.

A Prayer

As we quickly approach the beginning of the 39th General Council (see more detailed information here) I offer the following prayer:

Creator God, who calls us to live, and work, and be together in community,
we confess that sometimes we find it hard to do that.
Sometimes we find it hard to admit that other members of the community
might have a different vision of who we are.
Sometimes we find it hard to listen and so we attack.
Sometimes we find it hard to hear and so we stop trying.
Creator God, who calls us to grow and mature as people of faith,
we pray that we would be able to listen and hear and hope.
At this time we pray particularly for the Commissioners to the 39th General Council.
As they gather together from the depth and breadth of this thing we call the United Church of Canada,
which is in turn merely a part of your much larger body,
may they come with hearts, minds, and souls ready to listen.
May they be ready to listen to those with whom they agree and to those with whom they disagree.
And may they be ready to listen for your voice.
God who calls us to be the church,
grant that these men and women, young and old alike,
will hear your voice and hear what and who you are calling the United Church to be.
Help them to translate that vision into action with wisdom, compassion, and excitement.
These things we pray in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the one we call Christ,
the one in whom we are all united despite our differences,
our Teacher, our Redeemer, our Friend.