April 26, 2010

Looking Ahead to May 2, 2010 -- 5th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 11:1-18
  • Psalm 148 (VU p.871)
  • From the Gospel: John 13:31-35

The Hymns this week are:
  • #574 Come, Let Us Sing of a Wonderful Love
  • #372 Though I May Speak
  • #333 Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling
  • #427 To Show by Touch and Word

The Sermon title is Old Rules, New Twists

Early Thoughts: But that isn't how it is supposed to work!!! What happens when new interpretations of life and rules stare you full in the face?

To a certain extent that was a crucial question for the early Jesus-movement. As word of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus started to spread through Roman Palestine and beyond more people were drawn to the movement. But did non-Jews have to become Jews first? To answer that question meant looking at old rules. The answer that came to be used meant new twists on old thoughts.

Despite the fact that John's GOspel uses the phrase "a new commandment" the commandment to love your neighbour was not new. It is in fact found in the book of Leviticus (19:19). It is an old rule, one that all the Gospels agree Jesus gave a position of great prominence in Kingdom Life. The new twist was in the interpretaion of who was covered under the rule.

AS times change we need to keep evaluating our old rules. We need to be open to ask if they are still useful. We need to be ready for the possibility that God is throwing a new twist into life, one that may require a re-evaluation of the way we implement the rule (assumong that is that the old rule is still relevant and not in need of being discarded completely).

In your life today where do you find new twists staring you in the face? What old rules are you questioning????

April 19, 2010

Biker Coming to Town

REcently the Church office received word that "Gary Jones, a member of Trinity United Church in Timberlea, Nova Scotia is cycling across cancer to raise funds and increase awareness of thyroid cancer, which he was successfully treated for a few years ago." Gary will be arriving in Atikokan on June 3 and we will be looking for a billet for him. Contact Gord for more information. A story about Gary and his ride is available if you expand the post

Gary Jones passed the test of a lifetime when he underwent surgery for thyroid cancer in December, 1997. Now the long-time trucker and resident of the Bay Road in Timberlea is going to test himself -and his bicycle- on a 4,500 mile ride across Canada to raise money for thyroid cancer this spring..

He’s hoping to meet as many United Church folks as possible in his journey across the country – and is eager to talk to anyone who could put him up for a night along the way.

The ride isn’t just a physical challenge; it’s a spiritual one, according to the bearded, muscular truck driver who has been planning the trip ever since he got a clean bill of health from his doctor in 1998. Now that he’s retired after 38 years on the road, it’s time to hit the blacktop again.

“My life journey has been on wheels”, he says with an infectious grin. “I started with 18 wheels, graduated to 22 and drove from east to west.”

“My mission within my new journey starting in May is to bike west to east on two wheels hauling hope, faith and attitude”.

He’s scheduled to dip his wheel in the Pacific Ocean May 15 and will set an ambitious target of crossing the country in 45 days.

Gary’s attitude is well known in his home congregation where he has done everything from acting in plays to pouring concrete and heading up the church’s famous trucker’s breakfasts where diners are treated to heaped plates of beans and eggs and bacon topped off with pancakes. He’s also renowned for his energetic and enthusiastic speeches to the congregation either celebrating the last church event or advertising the next one.

That energy has also been evident in his fund-raising effort for thyroid cancer – so far he has raised over $9,000 and his goal is $20,000. But Gary is not a man who limits himself in anything.

He’s delighted with the generosity of the local community – businesses and individuals.

There is a long list of supporters on his website garybiking.blogspot.com and it grows every day that he is on the road with his passionate story about the need for cancer research funding.

“Word is starting to spread. Every day for the past two weeks somebody has come up to me and given me $20 or more- every day that happens”, Gary said.

He’s training every day for the journey and wants to get started – and to make friends along the way by billeting at homes along the route.

“I’m anxious to get on with this amazing adventure of crossing Canada by bike and fund-raising because I am a survivor of thyroid cancer,” he said.

So in the meantime it’s hammer down as Gary continues to train on roads around Timberlea, logging the miles to get ready for the big trip.

“My strength and my attitude come from enjoying life. Every day is a holiday,” he said.

“It’s all about smiling.”

Gary invites anyone who would like to support him to visit the garybiking.blogspot.com website for more information. Donations can be made to “Bank of Nova Scotia Cancer Research” or contact Gary at 876- 2415 or at ganmdfjones@ns.sympatico.ca.

Making COnnections Part 2

We now know who our partners for Making Connections (see previous post) are...

Riverview's contact information was given to Bissell Memorial United in Spiritwood Saskatchewan. The paid minister there is Rev. Leigh Sinclair who writes in an e-mail:
Hello from Bissell Memorial United Church in Spiritwood Saskatchewan! I am writing on behalf of everyone here to say hello and introduce our selves as we have been given your name as one of our partners in the 85th anniversary celebrations.

Though we were matched "randomly" it is a very small world this United Church of ours and we have a few things in common. I know your ministry Gord from the youth ministry world and we are both in the midst of pastoral relationship changes. I will also be going to Alberta (though not as far north as Gord) and the congregation here has completed their Joint Needs Assessement and is in the midst of their search.

We are a shared ministry congregation doing everything together with Trinity Lutheran congregation. Thus we have become Trinity Bissell Memorial. We share a building, worship, leadership, youth group etc. etc. We all live in or around the small town of Spiritwood (about 1000 folks) where farming, health care and teaching are central vocations. The closest cities to us are Prince Albert, Saskatoon and North Battleford.

We will be sending you a package in the mail with pictures etc. and will be praying for you in your time of transition. We are honoured to be match with you all!

Riverview has been given the contact info for Parkwoods Pastoral Charch in Don Mills Ontario. They can be found at their website.

Gord has e-mailed them saying:
Blessings and greetings on behalf of Riverview United Church in Atikokan Ontario.

We are a part of Cambrian Presbytery, located just over 2 hours West-Southwest of Thunder Bay. Atikokan is a town of about 3000 folks and Riverview is a congregation that averages 40 folks on a Sunday morning.

We will be sending you some more information about our life as a faith community but we wanted to greet you as soon as possible. In the meantime please feel free to check out our blog at http://riverviewrollson.blogspot.com

Peace and Blessings as together we celebrate the 85th anniversary of this United Church of ours!

So what should we send Parkwoods to help them learn who we are?????

Making Connections

The United Church of Canada turns 85 this year! One of the projects to celebrate this even is called Making Connections Expand the post to read more about it (from the National Website)

Celebrating an anniversary is often an opportunity to make connections, renew friendships, and sometimes even build new relationships.

How many times have you attended family gatherings where distant relatives met for the first time and discovered a shared history? The bonds become stronger when we celebrate and honour our interconnectedness.

This is also true for the family we call The United Church of Canada. Congregations and diverse community ministries span this country from coast to coast to coast. Our global partners and overseas personnel extend our family ties around the world. From urban centres to small towns to rural and remote communities, we are all connected.

This June 10, The United Church of Canada’s 85th Anniversary is a time to remember, renew, rejoice—and make new connections!

Beginning in March we will be inviting you to participate in a special anniversary initiative called Making Connections. Our hope is that you will use the time leading up to Anniversary Sunday on June 6 to initiate and nurture a new relationship with a “distant relative” in the United Church.

To do this we will randomly pair United Church pastoral charges, community ministries, global partners, and overseas personnel with one another. This means each pastoral charge, community ministry, global partner, and overseas personnel will have the potential to begin two new relationships: one with the ministry you are invited to connect with, and the other with the ministry that has been invited to connect with you.

Looking ahead to April 25, 2010 -- 4th Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 9:36-43
  • Psalm 23 (VU p.749)
  • From the Writings of the Early Church: Revelation 7:9-17
  • From the Gospel: John 10:22-30

The Hymns this week are:
  • #217 All Creature of Our God and King
  • #747 The Lord’s My Shepherd
  • #337 Blessed Assurance
  • #424 May the God of Hope Go With Us

Gord is away this week and so we offer a great big thank-you to Elvin for leading worship.

April 16, 2010

Does this Speak to you? What Does it Say?

This ad comes from our brothers and sisters in the United Church of Christ in the US:

April 12, 2010

Looking Ahead to April 18, 2010 -- 3rd Sunday of Easter

The Scripture Readings this week are:
  • From the Gospel: John 21:15-17
  • Psalm 30 (VU p.757)
  • From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 9:1-20

The Hymns this week are:
  • #409 Morning Has Broken
  • #183 We Meet You, O Christ
  • #626 I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
  • #232 Joyful, Joyful We Adore You

The Sermon Title is 180°

Early Thoughts: What does it take to make us turn and go in a new direction? Can we turn our backs on where we were and go the other way?

Paul was, by his own account, a persecuter of the early church. In Acts Luke makes it clear that this persecution was potentially fatal. And yet when he experiences the Risen Christ, when he runs into the reality of Easter, Paul's life and perspective are wholly changed.

Peter was afraid. In the chaos after the arrest of Jesus and the fear that Jesus' followers would be the next to be put into chains Peter vehemently denies that he even knew the man -- much less was one of the most trusted and favoured followers. And yet out of his experience of the Risen Christ he becomes the first leader of the movement that becomes known as the Christian church.

There is something about the resurrection experience that leads people to turn and go in the opposite direction. But maybe that is less than surprising after all. In resurrection we are reminded that anything is possible. In meeting the resurrection truth we are pushed to let go of death.

Many of us find ourelves going the wrong way at times. What would it take for us to be convinced that we need to turn around? More importantly, what would it take for us to actually do it?

April 04, 2010

(image from here)
Christ is Risen
Christ is Risen Indeed!
Happy Resurrection Day!