Christmas Blessings

from Moderator Richard Bott

In his Christmas message for 2019, Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada invites us to listen to the stories about Jesus. He highlights the two narratives of the birth of Jesus, from Matthew and Luke.

Christmas is many things to different people, but for followers of Jesus’ Way this season is a time to remember the central figure of our faith.  Listen to the gospel stories about Jesus’ birth.  What do they say to you?

Hear the message here.

Christmas Message

from the National Bishop and Primate

“We stand
at the door of the manger
in anticipation”

 

 

Bishop Susan Johnson, National Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and Archbishop Linda Nicholls, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada share their Christmas message to Anglicans and Lutherans across Canada.

Dear friends in Christ,

Once again, we stand at the door of the manger in anticipation.

Once again, our dreams for the world have not yet been fulfilled.

We hear the cries of the earth groaning and cracking under the effects of climate change. We hear the cries of refugees driven from the countries they love by war or drought or economic collapse only to be refused at border after border. We hear the cries of hatred and polarization pulling us apart nation by nation. We long for the fulfillment of the peaceable kingdom promised in the vision of Isaiah 11 where one will rise from the stump of Jesse who lives by righteousness and is faith filled with the spirit of wisdom, counsel and the fear of the Lord, and all will live in peace.

Once again, we stand at the door of the manger knowing that the child born there is the one in whom all hope can and will be fulfilled. In the face of powers and systems that abuse we need once again to see the face of God in that most vulnerable baby. We need to remember how he lived in this world and calls us to follow the way of forgiveness, grace and love. We will be touched again by the ordinariness of a young woman and her partner willing to be parents of this child as we are called afresh to our vocation of bearing Christ into the world.

Once again, we stand at the door of the manger knowing we will find the hope we need to turn back into the world God loves and give ourselves to proclaiming this Good News.

May our hearts be renewed in this hope as we enter the manger again.

The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Archbishop Linda Nicholls
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada

found on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s website
and the Anglican Church of Canada’s website

 

Christmas Eve

Come!
Let Us Experience Awe, Wonder, and Mystery
as we celebrate the birth of Jesus!

Tuesday, December 24th at 7:00 pm at the Church of St Paul

The Church of St Paul will be hosting the Parish’s Christmas Eve Service.  Leslie Stirling and the Rev. Keith Peterson will be leading a service filled with readings, music, and candlelight.

Community Carol Sing

The Church of St Paul hosts

Caroling, Readings, and Christmas Music

Sunday, December 22nd at 7:00 pm

Glenn Andrews will be acting as host for the evening as well as bringing many of his fellow musicians together to form our very own Carol Sing Orchestra. We try to cover everyone’s favourite Christmas carols and all the songs about reindeer, snowmen, and Santa Claus. It is a fun family event with refreshments to follow.

Cowboy Church at the Church of St Paul

Sunday, December 15th
at 7:00 pm

 

 

Continuing a long tradition beginning with the Anglican folk in Barriere, Church of St Paul will again be hosting this unique Advent service.  The congregation is excited to have Butch Falk, Geordie West, and Rev. Isabel Healey-Morrow taking part. The service will be followed by refreshments and visiting in the activity room.

 

 

Christmas Cantata ~ Saturday, December 14th

Voices United Community Choir

Presents

I Hear the Prophet Callin’

Saturday, December 14th

4 pm

Dutch Lake Community Centre
209 Dutch Lake Road
Clearwater, BC

Admission by Donation

Proceeds will go to Forest View Place to purchase much needed and costly chairs.

This is a wonderful opportunity to hear the Christmas story through song.  The music and lyrics of the cantata were written by Pepper Choplin, one of the Choir’s favourite composers.  He blends Appalachian, Irish, Latin, Cajun, and early American folk styles with traditional carols.  In his notes about this cantata, Choplin writes

I’ve used a recurring melodic theme to lead the way through the events.  The musical narration directs us to the different “stations” of the Christmas story:
I hear . . .
the prophet calling . . .
a mother singing . . .
the shepherds calling . . .
I see the star of glory . . .
I hear the people singing . . .

The choir will also sing two anthems.  Following the cantata, there will be an opportunity for the audience to join the choir in singing a few well loved carols fitting this season of hope, peace, joy, and love.

This forty voice choir is sponsored by Trinity Shared Ministry.  The singers gather each October and meet weekly until December when a Christmas cantata is presented to the community.  It is a marvellous opportunity for those who enjoy singing in harmony.

 

Praying For Creation

Daily Devotions for Advent from Lutherans Connect
Begin on December 1st

“With Limbs Adorned In Glorious Glow” ~ Image by sagesolar
https://flickr.com/photos/sagesolar/26263282734/in/photolist-G1NbXy

The following description is from the Lutherans Connect post on their Facebook page.  You are able to access the devotions from their blog or their Facebook page.

Many of us long to be able to spend some time in spiritual practice, but often have trouble doing so amid the many pressures and demands of our daily life. Advent is a time in the church when we anticipate the coming of Jesus’ birth, and long for the sense of renewal in the world that this particular birth promises. Join us this Advent as we seek to make space in an ever more challenging world to hear and feel God’s presence within us and around us.

Our Advent theme is “Praying for Creation”. Inspired by National Bishop Susan Johnson’s call to a year of prayer that began in September, we will take a look at prayer itself, its history and some of the many ways that human beings continue to praise, lament, seek, and petition God. We will be blessed by many beautiful stories of prayer, submitted by members and friends of the Lutherans Connect community. We will see how those among us have turned to prayer in good and bad times — finding both challenges and blessings on that path.

In addition, and reflecting on the current climate emergency, we will reflect on what it means to be living in God’s creation when that creation is increasingly at risk, endangered and on the verge of irreversible change. How can the new creation promised by the birth of Jesus inspire us to make changes in our own lives today? How can we calm our anxious hearts while simultaneously acting to build that renewed world?

Join us from December 1st to December 24th and find out. And may God bless you and give you peace on your Advent journey.

 

Advent Message from the Moderator

Unwrapping Advent

The Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott, Moderator of the United Church of Canada

This Advent, Moderator Richard Bott reflects on his baking skills and invites us to unwrap and celebrate what is most dear to our faith.

As we look toward the season of Christmas, it’s often a time filled with patterns, habits, and traditions, and sometimes a sense that it’s not quite right, not quite what it used to feel like, not quite what we expected.

But are expectations from the past getting in the way of how we experience the present?

Advent is a season of unwrapping something new in our faith life. This year, let’s take some time to unwrap what God has wrapped for us.

To view the full Advent message, download the video here: http://bit.ly/2pvLrLx

~ adapted from the United Church of Canada E-ssentials – November 19, 2019

Gathered at the Table

A mini-devotional for Thanksgiving days, praying with Jesus at a feast
From Lutherans Connect

“Autumn Orange” by Jerzy Durczak

The leaves have turned and the weather brings the promise of change. In this autumn time between the season of creation and Advent, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, how can we invite Jesus to be gathered with us? How can we make room amidst the settled routines of school and work, sports practice and evening meetings to prepare our hearts for the thanks we truly feel? For the first time, Lutherans Connect is offering a special five-day devotional for the Thanksgiving holiday, to help us calm our hearts and minds and make room for grace. Beginning Wednesday October 9th, LC† Gathered at the Table will offer devotions in preparation for a feast.

Our focus is on Jesus’ friendship and his own meal of thanksgiving with the family at Bethany. In the wider circle of his followers, Jesus’ closest friends were Mary, Martha and Lazarus. At a feast to celebrate and give thanks for the raising of Lazarus, on the night before what will become Palm Sunday, Jesus sits down to eat with people he loves and has helped to restore, even as he waits in knowledge of the events ahead of him. Mary’s gift of nard, the rising political tensions and fears of well-being for both Jesus and Lazarus — are all part of their time together. As we ourselves gather in families and with friends, amid our own tensions and burdens, joys and celebrations, we too may be preoccupied with the sometimes overwhelming news cycle of politics and discoveries, or even just the challenges of our own fears for the future. How can we invite Jesus to be with us in our anxiety and uncertainty, and in our gratitude and belonging, so that we may experience a harvest of spirit?

Join us on October 9th and find out.
And may God’s abundant peace find you in your own feast gatherings!

~ from the Welcome Page of the Lutherans Connect Gathered at the Table blog

You may access this devotional from their blog or their facebook page.

Hurricane Dorian Relief

All Three of Our Denominations Have Responded
to the Impact of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

A road is flooded during the passing of Hurricane Dorian in Freeport, Grand Bahama, the Bahamas on September 2, 2019.
Credit: AP Photo/Tim Aylen

For information about the response and how you may donate, follow the links.

United Church of Canada:
As of mid-September United Church people have given over $35,000 to support global partners responding to humanitarian needs in the Bahamas.

Anglican Church of Canada:
Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund has released $20,000 to Episcopal Relief and Development towards the emergency relief for people affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada:
Canadian Lutheran World Relief is responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas through its partners, ACT Alliance.