September 25, 2006

Looking Ahead to October 1, 2006 -- Worldwide Communion Sunday, 17th After Pentecost

The Scripture readings this week are:

  • Psalm 124 (VU p. 848)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: James 5:13-20
  • From the Gospel: Mark 11:20-25

The Hymns this week are:

  • 457 As We Gather at Your Table
  • 245 Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet
  • 664 What a Friend We Have in Jesus
  • 468 Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

This Sunday we will also hear a Presbytery report from Elvin, Christina and Josh.

The Sermon is titled Why Pray?

Early Thoughts: There are so many things that we need to do on any given day. There are so few spare moments. There is always some other demand on our time. Why pray? Why take time out to do something that appears so terribly unproductive as pray?

This summer I used a week of study leave to go on a retreat. During that time I met with a Spiritual Director. As I was talking about feeling drained and tired (she suggested having three children 3 and under might contribute to that--you think?) she asked how often I took time to reconnect to the Source. To be honest, fairly little, not enough most likely. Why pray? Because prayer time is where we set ourselves aside from the world to connect with the One in who we live and move and have our being. Prayer is what can empower us to go forward.

When we don't take time to reconnect and re-establish our relationship with God, then God becomes more distant. (Really this isn't all that surprising -- what happens when you don't talk to a friend for a long time?) When we set aside time to pray, to be in conversation with the Holy we can build a relationship that is tested and tried. Prayer is vital to our spiritual health, just as food and water are for our physical health.

In his epistle James says Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them. In his writings Paul talked about praying without ceasing. WE pray because we know we need God in our lives. We pray because we know we can't do it alone. Why pray? Harder to argue why NOT pray. The challenge simply is to make it a priority, to take "unproductive time" and build ourselves for the productive time (besides who is to define what makes some things productive and others unproductive anyway?).

September 20, 2006

BOard Meeting Highlights

At the recent Board Meeting we:
  • discussed the new Hymn Book Supplement More Voices (see post below)
  • decided to purchase a fire safe for the church office
  • decided to purchase signs advising that no motorized recreation vehicles are to use the church property (this is due to safety and insurance concerns)
  • discussed the questions Who are we? and Why are we here? as a part of Visioning work
  • discussed the AGS Charity Campaign and our part in it
  • got caught up on the life and work of the church

The next Board meeting will be on Wednesday October 18.

New Hymn Book Supplement

The United Church of Canada in conjunction with Wood Lake Books is releasing a supplement to VOices United which, logically enough, will be called More Voices.

THis book will have over 200 pieces of sacred music for congregational singing. SOme of them will push us beyond piano and organ into percussion instruments, guitars, and a capella singing. THere will be pieces from all over the world, with about a third being Canadian.

More Voices is due to be released in February of 2007 (there is a sampler of 21 pieces that has been mailed to every congregation in the country). Each book will cost $15 but if you pre-order by November 15, 2006 there is a 10% discount available. Also available will be an audio CD (MP3 format) that will sell for $110.

At their meeting on September 19 the BOard discussed whether or not to order some copies. A final decision was put off until the next Board meeeting on October 18. IN between now and then we need to hear from the congregation. What do you think? Should we order this book and how many copies? (It is expected that payment would come from the existing Hymn Book Fund and any new donations to that fund are welcomed.)

September 19, 2006

Board Members Wanted!

We are looking for more Board members! At the Annual Meeting in February we will have multiple vacancies on the Board.

We are looking for people who are committed to taking an active part in the life and work of the church. We want people who are excited about the possibilities in Riverview’s future. Do you feel called to this ministry? Do you know someone who you think has a gift to share? Let Gord know.

September 18, 2006

Looking Ahead to September 24 2006 -- 17th Sunday after Pentecost

THe Scripture readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Proverbs 31:10-31
  • Psalm 1 (VU p.724)
  • From the Letters of the Church: James 3:13-4:3, 7-8a
  • From the Gospel: Mark 9:30-37

The Hymns are:

  • 236 Now Thank We All Our God
  • 357 Tell Me the Stories of Jesus
  • 579 The Church is Wherever God's People
  • 649 Walk with Me

Thanks to Lorraine for providing worship leadership this week while Gord is in Keewatin at the Fall meeting of Cambrian Presbytery.

Don't forget that next week, October 1, is Worldwide Communion Sunday and we will join with our brothers and sisters around the world in celebrating the sacrament.

September 14, 2006

Hey! There's FOOD!

It is the fall and that means the UCW Harvest Supper is approaching.

It is on Sunday October 1 and tickets are now available. Call the church office for more information.

September 12, 2006

Looking Forward to September 17, 2006 -- 15th Sunday After Pentecost

The Scripture readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Proverbs 1:20-33
  • Psalm 19 (VU p. 740)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: James 3:1-12
  • From the Gospel: Mark 8:27-38

The Hymns this week are:

  • 409 Morning Has Broken
  • 238 How Great Thou Art
  • 372 Though I May Speak
  • 506 Take My Life and Let It Be

This Sunday we will also hear a report from Christina and Josh, who attended the Children and Young Teens event at General Council last month.

The Sermon is titled And a New Year Begins -- What Lies Ahead?

Early Thoughts: There are many things we call "New Year's". One is the beginning of the calendar year on December 31-January 1 (as it happens December 31 will be a Sunday in 2006 and we will have a special New Year's worship on that morning). Then in the church we talk about the liturgical year which starts on the first Sunday of Advent (December 3 this year). But the one New Year which likely impacts our day-to-day lives the most is the beginning of September.

The beginning of September, for many of organizations, marks the beginning of a new program year. Summer holidays are over, school is starting, which means that people will be around rather than out at the lake, and people are starting to fill in their calendars for the fall/winter.

The concept of a New Year intrigues me. It has the ring of a chance to start over. It has the smell of hope and promise. It tastes of possibility. So what can we do with all this newness, this hope, this possibility.

This summer I spent a lot of time thinking forward, musing on what the future may hold. And the question that spurred some of that thinking was How healthy/viable is Riverview as a congregation? Are we thriving? Struggling? Dying? And what do we do next? As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, the Board will be doing some visioning work this fall to look at some of those questions. But it is the whole congregation's job to do that, not just the Board and minister.

Part of the role of paid ministry is to lead. Part of the role is to step back and let others lead. Part of the role is to lay out in words some of what you see as potential hurdles and potential leaping off points. This Sunday I am planning to do some of that. We will hear about some of what is happening in the larger part of the United Church of Canada. We will talk about what might need to happen here. We may even name some of the real struggles that lie in our path. And the hope is that we can start working together to recapture a sense of vision, a sense of what we can add to the life of Atikokan. Only once that vision is present can we move toward greater health and vitality.