June 30, 2007

Coming Attractions

Between now and June there are a variety of things happening in the life of Riverview. If you click on "Read More" you can find out what they are.
(Scroll down to read new posts, this will stay on top until the end of June)

April 1: UCW Ham Supper at 5:30pm
April 6: Good Friday worship at 10am, Ecumenical walk starts from Riverview at 11am
April 8: Easter Celebration and Communion Service
April 15: Guest Preacher from the Gideon's
April 21: UCW Rally in Fort Frances
April 22: Soup and Sandwich lunch. Film and discussion at 1:00pm. We will be watching An Inconvenient Truth
April 27-28: Living the Welcome event in Thunder Bay

May 3: Extended Care worship at 10:45am
May 5: Music in worship workshop at Knox United in Fort Frances 10-2
May 6: Camping Sunday
May 7: UCW meeting at 7pm
May 10: CHurch Yard Clean Up 6pm
May 13: Stump the Preacher in worship, Mother's Day brunch following worship
May 27: Pentecost Sunday, Communion will be celebrated

May 31-June 3: Conference Annual Meeting in Dauphin
June 4: UCW Meeting
June 13-15: Cambrian Presbytery Executive Face-to-Face meeting
June 17: Father's Day BBQ
June 24: Outdoor worship and Church Picnic

June 26, 2007

Looking Forward to July 1, 2007 -- 5th Sunday After Pentecost, Canada Day

The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
  • Galatians 5:13-25
  • Psalm 77:1-2, 11-20 (VU p.791)
  • Luke 9:51-62

The Hymns are:

  • #382 Breathe on Me Breath of God
  • #356 Seek Ye First
  • #577 I’ve Got Peace Like a River
  • #646 We Are Marching (sung twice)

The sermon title is Freedom and Spiritual Fruit

Early Thoughts:THere is a bumper sticker (or perhaps a church sign) out there that reads God wants Spiritual Fruit, Not Religious Nuts. The slogan reminds us that we are called to let the spirit work and grown in and through us, not to be annoying about our faith.

In his letter to the Galatians (as in many of his letters) Paul talks about our freedom. Freedom, release from bondage is indeed one of the central themes (what Marcus Borg calls macro-stories) throughout Scripture. But Paul uses it a little differently here than many of us might today.

Many people in the here and now think freedom means we can do whatever we want. Our confining restraints have been removed and the road ahead is clear. SO freedom means we can drive however fast we want, or we can cut down any trees we want, or we can make as much money as possible and who cares who loses out. Biblical freedom is far different. Biblical freedom is not just freedom from but also freedom to. THe people who followed Moses into the desert were not just freed from slavery but they were freed into a new covenant relationship. SO it is for the freedom Paul talks about.

Paul calls us to be freed from those worldly things that enslave us (among them idolatry, envy, strife) and freed into a different type of slavery, one based on love for neighbour, one willingly taken on.

Near the end of this passage Paul talks about that spiritual fruit. He reminds us that when we live into the freedom of Christ the Spirit moves within us. And when the Spirit moves within us we are led to such things as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This is where oure freedom leads. Not to a place where we have no restraints but rather to a place where we can choose to align our lives differently.

This Sunday is Canada Day, a day when we honour our history, a day when we celebrate our freedom. What a difference might it make if our citizenship was governed by the fruits of the spirit rather than by the nuttiness (religious and otherwise) of the rest of the world?

June 19, 2007

Looking Forward to June 24, 2007 -- 4th Sunday After Pentecost

This week we worship out at French Lake. Then we will have a church picnic for those who are interested. To allow travel time to the lake, the service will begin at 11:00 instead of 10:30.

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: 1 Kings 19:1-15a
  • Psalm 43 - paraphrased by Jim Taylor
  • From the Gospel: Luke 8:26-39

We will sing mostly camp-type songs to guitar accompaniment (not necessarily in this order)

  • Uyai Mose (from More Voices)
  • Give Me Oil in My Lamp
  • Joy is Like the Rain
  • We Are One in the Spirit
  • I've Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy
  • This Little Light of Mine

The sermon title is The Stillness of God

Early Thoughts: This passage from 1 Kings is one of my favourites. The realization that God is present not in the grandeur of storm and wind but also in the stillness of deep silence hits home. It hits home because more and more we are living in a world that defies silence. There is always noise in the background of our lives.

At the same time as our lives get busier and noisier more and more people are naming a spiritual emptiness in their lives. This used to be filled by the church but churches seem to be missing the point. Have we too become too much a part of the noise and busy-ness?

How do we encourage people to seek out the stillness of God? It seems to me that part of the answer is to become comfortable with quiet. So this Sunday, as we sit in the Teaching Place out at French Lake we will take time to sit in silence and listen to the stillness around us.

We will also ponder the sound of silence as Simon and Garfunkel sang about. We will try to remember that prophets speak in the time when all other voices are speechless. We will be reminded that sometimes noise is just noise. And we will ask why we are son uncomfortable with silence.

Maybe that uncomfortableness is just because we are confronted with the overwhelming sense of The Other. and we aren't sure what to do with that.

Great Training Opportunity!

Calling Lakes Center (formerly known as PCTC) is a United Church training center located in the beautiful Qu'Appelle valley of Saskatchewan. One of the programs they offer is a program for Licensed Lay Worship Leaders. Normally it involves travelling to the center for 6 weekends over a period of 2 years.

BUT-- an opportunity has come for people in Northwestern Ontario to take part in this program closer to home. Calling Lakes Center will take the program on the road starting this November. The place will likely be in Thunder Bay. They need a minimum of 10 paricipants to run the program.

The program is aimed at those who are interested in providing worship leadership when the regular minister is unavailable for some reason--either the charge is vacant or the minister is away--or for those who are interested in doing pulpit supply not only in their home congregation but in neighbouring churches as well. IT discusses all elements of worship planning and leadership, possibly including training around sacraments in line with the newly created role (as of General Council 39 last summer) of Sacraments Elder.

It is expected that the cost would be $300 per weekend for somewhere between 3 and 6 weekends over 2 years (depending how the center chooses to run the program). However at last week's Executive meeting it was decided that Presbytery would offer to provide 1/3 of the registration fee for United Church participants. Also Presbytery will help find billets in Thunder Bay.

This is a great opportunity. Anyone who is interested in encouraged to contact Gord for more information. Or if you know someone you think would be good for this please pass the information on to them.

ADD: The deadline for registrations is Sepember 30

June 12, 2007

Looking Forward to June 17 -- 3rd Sunday After Pentecost

This Sunday is also Father's Day and so all are reminded that we have our annual Father's Day BBQ at 5:30. Tickets still available.

The Scripture Readings for this Sunday are:
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: Galatians 2:15-21
  • Psalm 32 (VU p.759)
  • From the Gospel: Luke 7:36-8:3

The Hymns are

  • 238 O Lord My God
  • 684 Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
  • 271 There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy
  • 424 May the God of Hope Go With Us

The Children's Story will use 1 Kings 21 to talk about issues around Whose Land?

The Sermon Title is: Indecent Risk – Amazing Forgiveness

Early Thoughts: What boldness, what courage, what out and out chutzpah. This woman takes an incredible risk here. Instead of being welcomed and praised by Jesus she could just have easily been tossed on on her ear. She is already a woman of ill-repute, this scene would have confirmed that. And yet for her risk she is to be congratulated. By daring to act in a way to defied cultural and social norms she allowed those norms to be challenged and questioned.

Taking risks is a touchy thing. After all, there is always the chance that we will fail, or be rejected, or get laughed at, or even get totally ignored. But I am convinced that unless we risk and embrace the possibility of failure we never move forward. In fact, I am pretty sure that we don't fail enough. We don't fail enough because we don't test enough. We have this strange idea that everything has to work, everything will be the "next big thing" or the cure whatever ails us. But people who work in product development and marketing will tell you that for every "next big thing" there are somewhere between 9 and 99 "failures"--that's right, a 10% percent success rate is wildly successful, the actual rate may be closer to 1%.

What would it mean to take indecent risks? What would it mean to act outside of what is expected? Are we willing to chance that we find forgiveness and new life and relationship there? Or are we still too worried about looking foolish, of being condemned as being abnormal?

At our conference annual meeting last month the theme speaker gave us this equation: MC=fp x fv x fs. This translates to Movement for Change = felt pain x future vision x first steps. Many of our churches and communities have the felt pain, we have it in spades. Some have developed a future vision, a hope for where we might get to. The place where we often fail is the first steps, the risk of stepping out onto the water to see if we sink or swim. God grant us the courage, the daring, the unrivalled chutzpah, to take the indecent risks, to embrace the possibility of failure, and find new hope and new relationship.

Moderator Health Update

Last month it was mentioned that the Right Rev. David Giuliano needed major surgery.

David had his surgery on MAy 28 and it went very well. For an update on how he is doing click here.

June 07, 2007

United Church on Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the latest craze for information on the Web.

HERE is the wikipedia entry on the United Church of Canada. It appears fairly accurate.

June 05, 2007

Makes You Think

Just found a blog out there which made me think about what it means to be welcoming and what it means to build community.

Check out Church Redone

Looking Forward to June 10, 2007 -- the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

The Scripture readings this Sunday are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: 1 Kings 17:8-24
  • Psalm 146 (VU p.868)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: Galatians 1:11-24
  • From the Gospel: Luke 7:11-17

The Hymns are:

  • 232 Joyful, Joyful We Adore You
  • 245 Praise the Lord with the Sound of Trumpet
  • 307 Touch the Earth Lightly (tune 409)
  • 427 To Show by Touch and Word

This Sunday is Anniversary weekend. 82 years ago the service was held to mark the formation of the United Church of Canada. We will talk about this during Children's Time.

For the sermon this week we will hear a report from Elvin, Christina, and Gord about the Conference Annual Meeting last week.

And don't forget that the Father's Day BBQ is on June 17. Tickets are available now!