February 11, 2010

National M&S Fund totals for 2009

                               2008                 2009      $Change    %Change
from Cong.    27,300,852      26,507,150      -793,702          -2.91
from UCW      2,010,613         1,895,922      -114,691         -5.70
for WDR            404,030            521,096       117,066         28.97
Total             29,715,494       28,924,168      -791,327         -2.66
Goal             31,500,000       32,500,000                               3.17
% of Goal           94%                 89%


February 08, 2010

Looking Forward to February 14 -- Transfiguration Sunday

The Scripture REadings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Exodus 34:29-35
  • Psalm 99 (VU p.819)
  • From the Gospel: Luke 9:28-36

The hymns this week are:
  • #371 Open My Eyes, That I May See
  • #585 Jesus Bids Us Shine
  • #104 We Have Come at Christ’s Own Bidding
  • This Little Light of Mine (insert)

The Sermon title is Shine On!

Early Thoughts: It has been said that we all carry a spark of the Divine light. What would it take to let it shine?

Both of our passgaes this week talk about people shining. Moses in the desert and Jesus on the mountain top. IS this shining a literary device? Or is it something else? IS it a way of noticing that someone has been changed, even if the viewers have trouble describing just how?

What do Moses and JEsus hve in common in these stories? THey both start to shine when they are in relationship with God. Moses removes the veil that masks his shining when going to commune with GOd. Jesus starts to shine when he is praying. COuld it be that GOd is shining through them?

It is my belief that part of what we are called to do and be is to connect with the Divine in our lives. WE need to fan the spark that lives within us, we need to access it's spiritual-psychic energy. But we can't stop there. THe moments when we feel the spark glowing in us are often called "mountain-top moments". ANd it is tempting to stay there in the glow.

But we can't. AS much as we are called to be in relationship with the Divine, we are also called to share the glow with the world around us. WE are called to shine in the dark places of people's lives. We are called to be light to the world. In short, we are called to shine on. To do that we need to access the light, to make it a part of us. Then we can leave the sanctuary and go back into the world where our living and our ministering happens.

Conference Annual Meeting

The theme for the Annual Meeting of the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario (MAy 27-30 in Killarney MB) has been announced. It is Who Do You Say I Am? and will be looking at JEsus and our understanding of him. Riverview is in need of a representative to attend since at present it looks like both Gord and Elvin will be unavailable.

You can read more about what is planned here

February 04, 2010

This will be An Interesting Process...

In 2 years all Pastoral Charges will be asked to vote on our words of faith. The following is from the National Website:

In August 2009, meeting in Kelowna, British Columbia, the 40th General Council adopted the following proposal:

That the 40th General Council 2009

1. in the area of Doctrine, The United Church of Canada recognizes the primacy of Scripture, with the “Doctrine Section of the Basis of Union,” “1940 Statement of Faith,” “A New Creed,” and “A Song of Faith,” each being recognized as a “subordinate standard” of the United Church as contemplated by Declaration 28(b) of The United Church of Canada Act.
2. declare that “Doctrine” of the United Church for all purposes in the Basis of Union, By-Laws, and Appendices of The Manual be those subordinate standards, subordinate to Scripture, that are so approved by the United Church in accordance with the conditions contained within The United Church of Canada Act; and
3. authorize a remit to Presbyteries and to Pastoral Charges to test the will of the United Church with respect to these declarations and recognition.

Motion: John Young/Doug Wright

This remit is what is known as a Category Three remit requiring that a study process be available in the church for two years prior to its release. The formal remit will be issued by the Executive of General Council between January and May 2012.

This background document [PDF: 36 pp/168 KB] is provided to the church to enable it to prepare for the remit and to encourage study of its implications.

February 03, 2010

What will the REaction Be?????

THe lease on the office space currently being used by the General Council Offices will come due in a couple of years. IT is a given that GCO will not get nearly as good a deal at renewal, and so the current space will not be affordable. Since you need to plan well in advance to move the national office, a Task Group has been created to investigate the future location.

In this week's Conference Weekly News was this blurb:
Re-location of General Council Offices - Last November, the Task Group on General Council Office Relocation invited all Conferences to submit Expressions of Interest concerning their willingness to host General Council Offices. The deadline for submissions was January 29, 2010. Here is the Conference of Manitoba and Northwestern Ontario’s Expression of Interest. Our appreciation and thanks go to Caryn Douglas who worked diligently and pulled this package together on our behalf. Thank you Caryn! The Task Group received three submissions. The other two being Ottawa and Bloor Street United in Toronto. We are expecting a recommendation and decision at the 2010 fall meeting of General Council Executive.

TIme will tell what recommendation gets brought forward and what decision gets made.

A Hymn of Call (VU #563)

February 02, 2010

A Map of the United Church

What does it look like to be a national church?

This map will show you one way to answer that question. It plots all the Pastoral Charges in the United Church of Canada according to their mailing address.

February 01, 2010

Looking Ahead to February 7, 2010 -- 5th Sunday After Epiphany

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Isaiah 6:1-8
  • Psalm 138 (VU p.860)
  • From the Jewish Scriptures: Jeremiah 1:4-10

The Hymns this week are:
  • #315 Holy, Holy, Holy
  • #509 I, The Lord of Sea and Sky
  • #562 Jesus Calls Us
  • #675 Will Your Anchor Hold

The Sermon title is Why Me?

Early Thoughts: Ever been asked to do something you felt totally unequipped to do? Ever wondered why they didn't ask somebody else?

If so you aren't alone. Just look at the two passages we are reading this week. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah have very valid, in their minds anyway, reasons why GOd should choose someone else. And we find that elsewhere in Scripture. And certainly you find it often in the church. "Why me? There must be a mistake. There must be someone better" is a common response to God's call.

But the result of the story is equally common. In the end the objections are overcome somehow (of course if they weren't overcome we likely wouldn't hear the story I guess). GOd has a way of using people who are unqualified, who don't want the job, who are sure a mistake has been made. ANd sometimes as the story gets told the very thing that a person thinks makes her/him ineligible for the job is the reason he/she was called in the first.

Why me? IT is a valid question, but only if we are willing to explore the possible answers. It isn't valid as a way out. God calls the strangest people to the strangest jobs. OFten they are reluctant. OFten they feel not up to the task. But still God calls. ANd it is my belief that if it is really God who calls then two things are true: 1) there is no escape in the long run and 2) the task is possible.

WE'll explore this some more on Sunday.