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Emergencies at Home and around the Globe

The United Church of Canada Offers Ways to Respond

Schoolchildren wade past a waterlogged railway street in the rain in Mumbai, India
Credit:
Associated Press/Rajanish Kakade as posted by United Church of Canada

The United Church of Canada is monitoring several situations around the world where people are facing the effects of extreme weather events. Please join us in praying for those impacted by these events, our partners in the regions, and those who remain in harm’s way from approaching storms. Find out more about the United Church response to these situations and how you can help.

  • The United Church of Canada is accepting donations for relief efforts related to Hurricane Irma. The United Church of Canada works with several churches and agencies throughout the Caribbean region, including ACT Alliance, the Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas, the Cuban Council of Churches, and the Karl Lévêque Cultural Institute. This provides multiple ways that the church can assist people affected by Hurricane Irma to assist with evacuations and emergency shelter where necessary, and to plan for post-storm responses.
  • In the United States, our full communion partner, the United Church of Christ, is initiating responses to the ongoing wind and flood disaster on the Gulf Coast. The United Church of Christ is accepting donations for these efforts.
  • Floods in parts of southeast Asia are causing significant hardship and loss of life as well as property. The United Church of Canada has responded to emergency relief efforts in India through Mission & Service partner ACT Alliance. We have also contributed to an ecumenical emergency response in India through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. We continue to monitor the situation and discern how best we can offer support and prayer. And we ask people to pray for all those affected.
  • Close to home, First Nations communities in northern Manitoba are experiencing devastation from forest fires requiring evacuation. We are tracking this situation closely and are working with our Indigenous colleagues to determine an appropriate response from the people of The United Church of Canada. Please join the Aboriginal Ministries Circle in prayer.

Faith communities and individuals can use the prayer, “Gather Us, Great Creator” to pray for all those who are being affected by extreme weather events.

Churches Call for Dialogue and Nonviolent Resolution with North Korea

World Council of Churches Reports on the Work of Member Churches

In an August 17th post on the World Council of Churches’ website, concern for the situation developing between North Korea and the United States is voiced.

 

As the recent developments of nuclear weapons and increased tensions between United States and North Korea leaders can bring the world to the brink of war, churches around the world are calling for bilateral dialogue, expressing their commitment to peace and nonviolent resolution.

. . .

At this time of heightened tension around the Korean peninsula, United Church of Canada stands with its global partners in their calls for dialogue to reduce tensions and renew international efforts to promote peace and reconciliation.

“The United Church of Canada has a long history of mission relationships in Korea spanning well over 100 years”, says Patti Talbot, who is responsible for United Church Partnerships in Northeast Asia. “When peace is threatened, Christians and other people of faith need to be present and active.” The United Church affirms the courageous witness of its global partner, The National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK), which continues to urge the South Korean and other governments to engage in dialogue, de-escalation, and disarmament, rather than taking steps toward military action.

Read the entire article here to get a sense of how other churches and church organizations are responding to this crisis.

Annual Parish Worship Service and Picnic

June 25th, starting at 11:00 am
at the Church of St Paul

Providing the weather cooperates, the congregations of Trinity Shared Ministry and the Church of St Paul will hold the annual Parish Worship Service on the lawn beside the Church of St Paul.  Following worship, the traditional picnic of hotdogs, salads, and desserts will be held with folks choosing to sit inside or out.

 

This year, the Church of St Paul congregation is hosting which means they are responsible for the hotdogs and all the trimmings; Trinity Shared Ministry, the salads.  Desserts are welcome from either congregation.  Bring a lawn chair!

Online Devotional for Pentecost

Voices of the Spirit

 

Lutherans Connect has provided online devotionals for the major seasons of the Christian year.  Each devotion includes art, music, readings, and reflections.  The series for Pentecost will begin on Sunday, June 4th.

 

Here is the post describing “Voices of the Spirit”.

Many of us desire to spend more time in spiritual practice than we do, but often find it challenging to make space for it in our lives. In the summer months, many faith communities transition into a time of less programming and it can become easy to fall out of spiritual practice.

In the spirit of our ongoing seasonal devotional projects, Lutherans Connect invites you to make space for reflection during the first five weeks of the Pentecost season of the church. To assist you, we will offer a meditation every other day, bringing together scripture readings, poetry, songs and reflections, from a range of ecumenical traditions.

Our project for Pentecost brings together aspects of both the Advent 2016 and Lenten 2017 projects. Taking inspiration from the Acts 2 description of how the presence of the Holy Spirit in the upper room opened the ears of those gathered, our theme this summer reflects on the capacity of language to open our hearts and minds to other peoples, communities and traditions.

For eighteen days, starting on June 4th and going every other day until July 8th, LC† Voices of the Spirit will imagine a world in which we hear and understand the languages of those we live among. Some of the languages present at the time of Pentecost will be explored. Most other times we will hear about the languages of our own land, including those which have been lost and are being reclaimed and recovered by Indigenous communities. And we will also reflect on the languages brought to this land by recent immigrants, some of whom have ancestral ties to the upper room. What are the stories of faith and spirituality that we carry with us in our languages? How do these unite us more than we may think?

Join us on Sunday, June 4th and experience the wonder of the disciples as we discern together “what does it mean” to be able to really hear each other’s voices? And blessings on your Pentecost!

You can access the devotions through the Lutherans Connect blog or their facebook page.  For the latter, you would need to log into facebook.  If you like the page, the posts will appear in your timeline.

Global Day of Prayer to End Famine

An Invitation from The World Council of Churches
for May 21, 2017 to be a Day of Prayer for the Ending of Famine

A girl carries water in a camp for over 5,000 internally displaced persons in an Episcopal Church compound in Wau, South Sudan. © ACT/Paul Jeffrey

 

As more people face famine today than any time in modern history, the World Council of Churches (WCC) together with the All Africa Conference of Churches (AACC) and a range of faith-based partners and networks invite a Global Day of Prayer to End Famine on 21 May 2017, in response to the hunger crisis.

~ from the World Council of Churches’ website

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35.)

 

Creator,
We pray, with others around the world,
for those facing extreme hunger and starvation in
South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Yemen.

Redeemer,
Let us be part of a world response
that cares for all people in need with love.

Sustainer,
Help us, with others, answer the call to end famine
and eradicate poverty.
Amen.

— a prayer for the Global Day of Prayer to End Famine, May 21

~ from the United Church of Canada’s website

Read “Called to Care for Our Neighbours”, a letter to the United Church of Canada faith community from the Moderator, the Right Reverend Jordan Cantwell.

Lutheran World Federation Assembles in Namibia

Liberated by God’s Grace

The Twelfth Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation met in Windhoek, Namibia from May 12th to 16th.  As well as being an opportunity for a global commemoration of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, this assembly centred around the theme “Liberated by God’s Grace” and examined three sub-themes:  salvation, human beings, and creation.  Each sub-theme echoed Luther’s public opposition to some of the practices of his time with the admonition “not for sale”.

The Lutheran World Federation holds an Assembly once every six years so that delegates from its 145 member churches may gather to determine its vision and priorities, to examine issues facing its member churches, and to elect its leadership.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada belongs to the Lutheran World Federation.

For more information, go to the Lutheran World Federation Assembly website or check the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s facebook page.

Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Writes an Easter Message

The Cross of Christ and the Power of His Resurrection

By Fred Hiltz, Archbishop and Primate on April 13, 2017

In many places the large rough wooden cross carried into the Good Friday liturgy remains in place throughout the first few weeks of Easter. But now bunches of spring flowers surround its foot and a good length of white linen is draped over its arms. Once a cruel instrument of torture and death, it has become for us a wondrous sign of hope and glory in Christ.

When that cross on a hill outside the city wall looked to the world like a “tree of defeat” for the mission of Christ, an end to the kingdom he was proclaiming, God made of it a “tree of victory”. Now its limbs point the gospel in all directions, to the very ends of the earth.

In his dying “Christ was reconciling the world to God, not counting our trespasses against us and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us”. (2 Corinthians 5:19, 20). Through his rising that magnificent work continues in the world. Christ breaks down the barriers we are so prone to erect, and he gives us the grace to make of all the debris the very paths on which we can walk reconciled and renewed in our love and respect for one another as children of God.

We live in a time when the world is in desperate need of reconciliation. In headline after headline, and image after image, we are confronted with so many atrocities committed in the name of religious extremism or political clout. If we are to be about the healing needed within and among the nations, there needs to be a renewed effort for global dialogue, in the search for common commitments and an unwavering resolve in abiding by them. There needs to be a renewed trust in the power of God working through all of us, to bring about the transformation for which we long.

In their joint Easter Message the Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches in Jerusalem have said, “It is our prayer that the hope established through our Risen Lord will enlighten the leaders and nations of the whole world to see this light, and to perceive new opportunities to work and strive for the common good and recognise all as created equal before God. This light of Christ draws the whole human family toward justice, reconciliation and peace and to pursue it diligently. It draws us all to be unified and to be at harmony with one another. The power and resonance of the Resurrection permeates all suffering, injustice and alienation, bringing forth hope, light, and life to all.”

Well rooted in Saint Paul’s deep desire “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection” (Philippians 3:10) these Church Leaders are speaking a word of hope in troubled times.

With them I pray that we may know afresh the power of Christ’s Resurrection; that we who are signed with his Cross in baptism may embrace the newness of life to which he leads us and all the world.

With blessings for Easter,

The Most Rev. Fred Hiltz
Archbishop and Primate
The Anglican Church of Canada

~ from the Anglican Church of Canada website

Easter Message from Moderator of United Church

This is Resurrection

To be an Easter people is to be those who embody that fierce, unrelenting love that says to the forces of death and hate that continue to operate today: “God is a God of love and of life, and we will be a people of love and of life.” May it be so for us this Easter. May we be a resurrection people.

~ published April 11, 2017 on the United Church of Canada’s Website

Moderator Jordan Cantwell

To view the Moderator Jordan Cantwell’s Easter message go here.

This is the transcript of the video message:

Friends, two-and-a-half months ago, a gunman walked into a mosque in Quebec City and killed six people, wounding 19 others. Something in all of us died that day.

But friends, that is not where that story ends because in the days and weeks following that tragedy, people across this country and around the world came together and formed communities of love and solidarity and resistance.

I was at home in Saskatoon visiting my family when this happened, and one of the local mosques invited the community to evening prayers. And people showed up in such numbers, it was standing room only. There were people of all faiths and no faith, of all different ethnicities and language groups, all coming together to offer words of encouragement, of hope, of support, and of resistance.

And something changed for us because more of these kinds of events have been happening ever since: a prayer vigil, an interfaith gathering for prayers and peace in the public square in front of city hall—a first for Saskatoon, as far as I know. And this is just one of many stories like this that are unfolding across this country.

Friends, this is resurrection. Resurrection is the power of love that confronts the forces that deal in death and hatred and says “You will not have the final word.”

Easter is the time in our church season when we celebrate that resurrection, and we often do it with much joyfulness and a lightness of spirit. But I am reminded that the gospel texts, when they tell the story of those who encountered the empty tomb and the risen Christ, their response in the moment was to be astounded, to be confounded—fearful even—and yet there was a spark of hope that was lit.

And from that spark they ran and told others. And from that, communities of life and love emerged. That is what it means for us to be an Easter people—to be those who embody that fierce, unrelenting love that says to the forces of death and hate that continue to operate today: “You do not get the last word. We say no. We resist. Because God is a God of love and of life, and we will be a people of love and of life.”

Friends, may it be so for us this Easter. May we be a resurrection people.