April 29, 2008

Looking Ahead to May 4, 2008 -- 7th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:

  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 1:6-14
  • Psalm 68 (VU p.787)
  • From the Letters of the Church: 1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
  • From the Gospel: John 17:1-11

The Hymns this week are:

  • 374 Come and Find the Quiet Centre
  • 356 Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
  • 274 Your Hand, O God, Has Guided (vss. 1, 3-5)
  • 217 All Creatures of Our God and King

The sermon title is Abandoned to Suffer??

Early Thoughts: SOmetimes it is so easy to feel alone. It is easy to wonder why we suffer (whatever suffering means for us). ANd in fact this is something Christians have faced for centuries.

This passage from 1 Peter is directed at Christians who are facing, or are about to face persecution from the ROman Empire. ANd to be frank, I am not sure how helpful the writer's advice is.

"Keep the Faith!" makes a great rallying cry but there is little about how to do it. When one's life is on the line how does one find the fortitude to keep on keeping on?

In many ways I suspect that this facing persecution (which some embraced as a path to martyrdom) left some believers wondering why GOd had abandoned them to this fate. After all, that is a common response to times of hardship -- to wonder why we have been abandoned, or why this horror has been inflicted on us.

I hear some of that feeling around town lately. Why do we have such hard times? Why is life so unfair?

I can't provide answers for all those questions but there is wisdom in the stories of persecution. The Early Christians were able to "Keep the Faith" because they were confident that even in the midst of their troubles GOd was with them. God wasn't taking away the hardship but GOd was with them. Those earliest followers could have, after watching Jesus taken away from them into heaven, lost heart and hope. But instead tehy dedicated themselves to prayer and service. From their dedication grew the dedication and faith of the martyrs at the time of 1 Peter. We can make their choice. In the face of hardship and persecutin and feelings of abandonment we can choose to lament and give up, or we can choose to lament but keep going. God will not likely turn the economy around. But God will not leave us alone in our suffering. Thanks be to God!

April 24, 2008

Board Meeting News

The monthly Board meeting was earlier this evening. Expand the post for some notes about what was discussed.

  1. The Honouring our Neighbour's Faith Study group has wrapped up for this year. It may restart in the fall.
  2. Tickets for the Fiddle concert on May 10 are selling well. Some help will be needed to help set up the day beforehand
  3. On Sunday May 11 we will have a Mother's Day brunch following the service. As that Sunday is Pentecost Sunday we will also have communion that morning.
  4. On Father's Day, June 15, we will have our annual BBQ.
  5. As of April 24 the deficit for the year is $9 671, however this does not include revenue from the Talent Auction earlier this month.
  6. Good News! the monthly gas bill for the church has been lowered substantially.
  7. We have received a quote to put eavestroughing on the church building. To pay for this project we will be launching a "Buy a Foot" campaign. The cost is $10/foot.
  8. We are having 2 spring cleaning bees. The outside one will be at 6pm on May 15 and the inside one will be at 9am on June 7.
  9. We heard a report from the UCW Rally which took place last weekend.
  10. We are planning to have a worship service and picnic out at French Lake again this year, likely on June 22.
  11. The Board is in the process of reviewing various congregational policies, two more were reviewed tonight with others to follow next month.

The next Board meeting will be at 6:30 on May 29.

Ontario Child Benefit

Here is information about a provincial program to help low-income families:
The Ontario Child Benefit is a government program to help low-income families provide for their children. Beginning in July 2008, eligible families will receive up to $50 per child each month.

Your eligibility is based on the number of children in your family and your family income. You may be eligible if you:
* Have a child under 18 and are in a low-income family
* Have filed your income tax return and so has your spouse or common-law partner
* Are registered for the Canada Child Tax Benefit
* Are a resident of Ontario.

For more information, please visit www.ontariochildbenefit.ca.
Brochures are available to download in 23 languages. You can also call toll-free

April 22, 2008

Looking Forward to April 27, 2008 -- Easter 6, Camping Sunday

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 17:22-31
  • Psalm 148
  • From the Gospel: John 13:31-35

The Hymns this week are:

  • MV #122 This is the Day (Insert)
  • This Little Light of Mine (insert)
  • They’ll Know We Are Christians (insert)
  • #289 It Only Takes a Spark

The Minute for Mission this week will be about the 7 Wonders of the Conference, ballots will be available so vote casting/stuffing can begin.

The Sermon this week is Church Camping – an Experience of Loving Community

Early Thoughts: On the last Sunday of April we are invited to remember the importance of camping ministry. Church camping is outreach, it is christian education and nurture, it is fellowship. For a week at camp we set up a new community, one that works a bit differently from the communities where we live the rest of the year. This week we will have a presentation about the camp that this church participates in with the rest of the United Churches in our district. ANd maybe we will get excited again about the possibilities that camping brings.

April 17, 2008

Voting Begins

The Conference of MAnitoba and Northwestern Ontario is having a fundraiser for the Mission & Service Fund. THE fundraiser is called the 7 Wonders of the COnference. For the last while foks have been invited to submit nominations.

Now the voting begins. Votes are $5 a piece for the M&S fund. This is certainly a case of "vote early, vote often" since there is no limit on how often one may vote. SOme plans for vote-stuffing have already been discussed by some nominees/nominators. (And indeed vote stuffing is encouraged since each vote os a fundraiser)

Riverview's pie making is one of the nominees! Can we get it into the top 7???!!!???

Check it out, information about how to vote is available at the link. ANd there will be more information shared soon at a church near you...

April 15, 2008

Looking Ahead to April 20, 2008 -- 5th Sunday of Easter, Earth Day

The Scripture Readings this week are:

  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Genesis 2:4-15, 18-22
  • Psalm 8 (VU p.732)
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Exodus 3:1-5

The Hymns this week are:

  • 217 All Creatures of Our God and King
  • 296 This is God’s Wondrous World
  • 307 Touch the Earth Lightly
  • 303 For Beauty of Prairies

The Meditation/Discussion title is: Holy Ground

Early Thoughts: What does it mean to talk about the Earth as holy ground? How does it change our attitudes to realize we walk on holy ground? OR does it?

These are hard questions to face. For those of us in resource-based communities much of the enviro-talk spells economic disaster. What does it mean to talk about less forestry/tree harvesting? What about closing power plants (and NOT replacing the power they produce)? On the other hand, some climate change models move this area right out of the boreal forest. What does that do to our economic base?

This Sunday we will pause to reflect on what it means to walk on Holy Ground. We will also take time to talk with each other about these questions.

Change is inevitable. The question for us is will we help shape the change or just be shaped by it? How do we respond to a changing world and a changing climate?

April 13, 2008

Bulletin Cover Collage

Many thanks to Lorena for this striking addition to the church decor!

April 07, 2008

Looking Ahead to April 13, 2008 -- 4th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings for this week are:
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 2:42-47
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: 1 Peter 2:19-25
  • From the Gospel: John 10:1-10

The Hymns for this week are:

  • 371 Open My Eyes, That I May See
  • 747 Psalm 23
  • 688 O Day of God, Draw Nigh
  • 427 To Show by Touch and Word

The Sermon title is Communal Support

Early Thoughts: Early in our faith story we hear the question "am I my brother's keeper?". It appears that the answer may well be yes (sort of).

This passage from Acts talks a little bit about how the Early JEsus-community (this is before an organized church or the term Christian came about)tried to operate itself. ANd it appears that they were caring for each other in a way that most people these days would call communist.

But of course Marx has nothing on this group. THe early church sharedd what they had, not out of political-economic theory but out of faith. It was their way of living in the Way of the One who taught to love your neighbour as you love yourself. THey not only shared their wordly goods, they worshipped and prayed and ate together. Everything was done in common, life was shared completely.

We have a duty to care for each other, to that extent we are our brother's and sister's keepers. We are called to live so that all can live abundant lives. We are part of a community of faith. ANd you can't spell community without commun(e). Communal support is part of our faith.

April 05, 2008

Talent Auction

On Saturday April 5 Riverview will host a Dessert Party and Talent Auction.

The dessert party and silent auction will begin at 6:30 and the live auction (with Lanny Cross as auctioneer) will begin at 7:00.

IF you have something you wish to add to the auction please let us know at the church.

If you have any questions please call the church office.

April 01, 2008

Looking Ahead to April 6, 2008 -- 3rd Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Ezekiel 37:1-10
  • Psalm 116 (VU p. 836)
  • From the Letters of the Church: 1 Corinthians 15: 35-44
  • From the Gospel: Luke 24:13-35

The Hymns this week are:

  • 382 Breathe on Me Breath of God
  • 182 Stay with Us Through the Night
  • 183 We Meet You, O Christ (tune??)
  • 586 We Shall Go Out With Hope of Resurrection

The Sermon title is New Life, Changed Life

Early Thoughts: Resurrection is more than resuscitation, it is transformation. Maybe that is part of why it is so hard to see?

One of the striking points of the appearance stories is how often Jesus' friends don't recognize him after the Resurrection. In John's account Mary mistakes him for the gardener, in this passage from Luke he is seen as simply another anonymous traveler on the road. There is a message there. There is a hint that there is something transforming about resurrection, where what is raised is not really the same as what has died.

Last week we talked about the seed that falls into the ground and dies to be reborn. That is indeed an old and wonderful metaphor for the Easter event. But, like all metaphors, it is limited. The limit of the seed metaphor is that a seed will always give the plant from which it came. One doesn't plant a sunflower and expect to get tomatoes (or if you do, prepare to be disappointed). In someways that is what Resurrection is. But in someways it isn't. There is transformation in the seed, but the transformation of Resurrection can be far deeper.

This week I am thinking of the butterfly. AS a child I remember having trouble believing that butterflies and caterpillars were the same animal (at least when I was first told -- I did catch on eventually). There is certainly a link between the two but the transformation is total. The end result looks little like the beginning. In my mind this is a side to resurrection we need to remember more often.

When we pray for resurrection to be made real in our lives we need to remember that we are praying to be transformed. The new life is a changed life. And yes, we do need to be changed to be resurrected. What would that type of resurrection mean in our world today? How do we embrace it?