May 28, 2009

Board Meeting Highlights

The Church Board met yesterday at noon. If you expand the post you'll find some highlights from the meeting:

  • Sunnycove Camp this year will be July 20-24. Forms are now available from Gord.
  • Instead of having a BBQ on Father's Day this year it will be held on Tuesday June 16th from 5-7. Tickets will not be presold, instead it will be pat at the door. Family for $10 and singles for $5
  • Although we are running a deficit we continue to be doing better than last year at this time.
  • Gord will be on holidays from July 29-August 26 this summer
  • We are looking into getting some handicapped parking signs for the lower parking lot along with a sign directing folks to the handicapped washroom
  • Riverview has applied for a grant to cover half the cost of needed renovations to the bathroom in the manse, Presbytery has endorsed the request and forwarded it on. The Board has made a decision about who will be contracted to do the work and the work will be done while the Waldie family is on holidays.
  • There will be a cleaning bee for the interior of the church on June 17th at 9:30
  • Public WOrks has been reminded of the clean up they have yet to do beside the upper lot and the broken catch basin cover on the hillside. If needed, they will be reminded again until these items have been attended to.
  • On June 28th we will have worship at the Teaching Place at French Lake. To allow for travel time worship will begin at 11:00 that week. All are encouraged to remain for a picnic lunch following the service. Quetico Park will not charge for those attending the worship service but anyone remaining for a picnic (and hopefully it will be warm enough for a swim!) is asked to buy a day pass.
  • The UCW will have their summer potluck and gift exchange at 6:00 on June 1st.
The next regular Board meeting will be in September at a date yet to be determined.

May 26, 2009

Looking Ahead to May 31, 2009 -- Pentecost Sunday

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm 104:24-35 (VU p.827)
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 2:1-21
The Hymns this week are:
  • 402 We Are One
  • 296 This Is God’s Wondrous World
  • 198 Come, O Spirit, Dwell Among Us (tune 374)
  • 481 Sent Forth by God’s Blessing
This week being Pentecost Sunday we will celebrate the Sacrament of Communion.

During Children's Time we will talk about the birthing of the church.

Our sermon time this week will be given to a report from last week's Annual Meeting of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario.

(Note: A summary of the meeting can be found here)

May 19, 2009

GC 40

Every three years the General COuncil of the United Church of Canada meets. This August they will be meeting in Kelowna.

FOr those who want to keep up with what will be happening there is a website with information here ( It is expected that this site will be updated frequently over the next few months. It also has information about how we will be able to follow -in real time- what is happening at the meeting.

Of the information currently on the site, I would encourage people to check out the State of the Church document.

Looking Ahead to May 24, 2009 -- 7th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 1: 15-17, 21-26
  • Psalm 1 (VU p. 724)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: 1 John 5:9-13
  • From the Gospel: John 17:6-19
The Hymns this week are:
  • #395 Come In Come In and Sit Down
  • #365 Jesus Loves Me This I Know
  • #120 O Jesus I Have Promised
  • #649 Walk With Me
This weekend marks the Annual General Meeting of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario. Thanks to Brian for providing worship leadership while Gord is off in Winnipeg.

May 12, 2009

Looking Ahead to May 17, 2009 -- 6th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture REadings this week are:
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 10:44-48
  • Psalm 98 (VU p.818)
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: 1 John 5:1-6
  • From the Gospel: John 15:9-17
The Hymns this week are:
  • #574 Come, Let Us Sing of a Wonderful Love
  • #289 It Only Takes a Spark
  • #333 Love Divine All Loves Excelling
  • #646 We Are Marching (sung 3 times)
The Sermon title is Servants of the Big L-O-V-E

Early Thoughts: Can love actually be commanded? Or can it only be encouraged?

It was a song we used to sing at camp
A new comandment, give I unto you
that you love one another as I have loved you
that you love one another as I have loved you
and by this shall all men know that you are my disciples
that you have love one for another
But what does it mean to command people to love each other? Is it like the parent telling siblings to stop fighting and "love each other"? Is it commanding a feeling or is it commanding behaviour -- not "feel love" but "act lovingly"?

Generally speaking when the Gospels command us to love we need to see it in the second form. You can't command a feeling after all. Mind you, as most parents will tell you, it is hard to command loving behaviour too. So maybe it is strong encouragement after all.

Following The Way is all about love after all. It is all about acting in a loving way towards our neighbours and our enemies. It is all about seeking God's justice for all people. And we do this because we are, at the same time, servants and friend of the one who came to teach about God's love. We love because we have been loved. We act lovingly because we have recieved loving aaction. We are servants of love because we are born into the arms of God who is love.

JEsus tells his friends that they are to love each other, to love the world with a sacrifical love. Acting lovingly means making sacrifices. IT is a hard way to live. It is not romantic. It is sometimes dirty and bloody and arduous. But as servants of the One who is LOVE we really have no choice.

May 05, 2009

Looking Ahead to MAy 10, 2009 -- 5th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Letters of the Early Church: 1 John 4:7-21
  • Psalm 22:23-31 (VU p.746 Parts 3 & 4)
  • From the Gospel: John 15:1-8
The Hymns this week are:
  • #232 Joyful Joyful We Adore You
  • #588 Many Are the Lightbeams
  • #299 Teach Me, God, to Wonder
  • #427 To Show by Touch and Word
The Sermon title is: Pruned and Trimmed, Ready to Bear Fruit

Early Thoughts: What needs to be pruned or trimmed in our lives? Are we willing to let the pruning happen? Are we ready to be as aggressive as we need to be with the shears?

Gardeners will tell you that pruning is essential for growth. Pruning is not just a way of shaping a plant or keeping the tree from growing into the power lines. Proper pruning focusses the energy of the organism, of encouraging it to be productive. A plant that is not pruned can becomed to intergrown -- I remember attacking a bush on the church grounds where the branches were all intertwined with each other. Unpruned growth can choke off the core. The energy of growth in an un (or under) pruned fruit tree is dissipated while proper pruning allows the energy to go into fruit production. And in some plants pruning causes more growth to happen than otherwise (anyone who has dealt wtih a wild lilac hedge can attest to that -- the more you cut it back the more it sends out suckers).

But most of us are too timid with the shears. Most of us are afraid to cut back enough. "What if it doesn't come back?" "WHat if I kill it?" "It looks so nice and full as it is." SOmetimes we just have to prune heavily (although some advice from people who know what they are doing always helps) and selectively and wait for the benefits to come. And yes, sometimes if we do it wrong or at the wrong time of year it means we have a season of no flowers or a year of lower fruit output.

ANd what does this have to say for us as individuals and as a church? WE need to know when to prune our lives too. Sometimes it is pruning the accumulation of "stuff" that we have built up. SOmetimes it is pruning the activities that fill our days. And for many of us the pruning of our lives as individals and communities is just as hard as hacking off that lovely branch on the apple tree.

Is God calling us to prune our lives so that we can grow? Is GOd calling the church to cut away that which is no longer useful and cast it into the fire? Is God calling the church to be more selective about where we put our time and money, dropping traditional activities to allow space for growth in other areas? Do we need to be free with thte pruning shears so that we too can be fruitful and strong?

GIve it some thought and on Sunday we will explore it some more.