MAY 19, 2019
As the congregation gathered on Sunday morning, the church was filled with the beautiful music from the Sanctuary Choir as they practised before service. In the kitchen off the TM room, Sacred Service team members were preparing for community time following service and, in the balcony, PSALT team members were preparing sound, light and projection for the service. Candles were lit. Greeters met the gathering congregants. With the Spiritual Travelers back from their adventure, the conversation was lively. Today's service was a reminder about how very blessed we are to be able to worship freely in safety.
Rev. Peggy built her reflection upon lectionary readings from Acts 11: 1-18, John 13: 34-35 and 1 John 4: 16-20. Entitled "Transforming the World, One Dream at a Time,” she drew our attention to recent events that have made attending houses of worship a dangerous venue. Right from the opening video http://www.thewaytohappiness.org/thewaytohappiness/precepts/respect-the-religious-beliefs-of-others.html Rev. Peggy reminded us that "Within religion, pluralism acknowledges that there are a variety of ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life all of which offer diverse resources of wisdom."
Referring to the scriptual texts read by Eldon Godfrey and quoting from the likes of Robert Muggah,Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Robert Lauder, Walter Brueggemann, Mike Ghouse, John Spong, Brian McLaren and Jean Rowe, she concluded, "Cultivating pluralism within our faith means not only accepting the other but also actively engaging compassion that transforms ignorance and hatred into authentic connection."
The Sanctuary Choir's Anthem was Spirit, Like a River (Parker and Lantz) and their Offertory, In a Twinkling of an Eye (Angerman and Barrett) had us tapping our feet and clapping. Accompanied by Garrett Krause and directed by Brent Tucker, the hope embedded in their words sent us back to our lives knowing we are not alone. God is with us.
MAY 12, 2019
Christian Family Service Sunday morning involved lots of singing, lots of stories and lots of clapping and applause as the Faith Questers presided over the service under the leadership of Alison and her Ministry of Families. Parents had been invited to suggest two 'superpowers' that each of their children demonstrated and these qualities were woven into the service. Bibles were presented to the Grade Four grads and the Grade Sixers were welcomed into the Youth Group. Brent assisted Alison in leading the songs of worship and when the new SDUC T-shirts were revealed, they were worn with pride.
MAY 5, 2019
Snow and sunshine - springtime in Calgary. Reflecting on Spiritual Resurrection, Rev. Peggy and Scripture Reader, John Wilkes, guided us through biblical transformational journey of hope, not taking things personally, reverence and optismism.
The value of the month, Unity, was introduced by the Pastoral Care Committee, Linda Michel. Both Opening and Closing the service Sunday morning, this vital committee is in the process of working with the newly struck Needs Assessment Committee to determine what will work out best for St. David's in the coming year.
The Seeds of Meditation this morning gave pause for reflection:
"Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the onging processes of growth,
renewal and transformation in our lives. (Mary Ann Brussat)
Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun,
and we shall soon see the results of their love! (Sitting Bull)
Rev. Peggy and Scripture Reader, John Wilkes, shared a reflection on Spiritual Resurrection (transformation) as John, seated in the congregation, read selected scriptures dealing first with Hope (Hebrews 6:19) then moving onto "Not taking things personally" (Romans 12:3), Reverence (Ephesians 4:26-32) and finally to Optimism (Luke 12:22-28).
Music Ministry this morning reinforced the focus on transformation with the congregational singing of "As Comes the Breath of Spring" (#373 VU), "In the Bulb, there is a flower" (#703 VU) and, to the tune of VU #333, "Song of the Centre" words by Marty Haugen. The Anthem sung by the Sanctuary Choir, directed by Brent and accompanied by Garrett Krause, was "Amen and Amen" (Dennis & Nan Allen) and the Offertory "O Church, Arise (arr. Russell Mauldin).
APRIL 28, 2019
"To Live with Respect in Creation" was the theme of reflection Sunday morning at St. David's. During the previous hours, Calgary was beset with a first rate blizzard with lots of snow and wild winds to keep us close to our homes. Truly creation is to be respected!!
Two quotations for the seeds of meditation were the focus prior to service: "You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of a difference you want to make" (Jane Goodall) and "One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between man and nature shall not be broken." (Leo Tolstoy) Bruce Clark on organ played "Festival Piece on 'Nicaea'" (J.B. Dykes) while we sat quietly awaiting service.
With Debbie Stockdale presiding, she informed us that it was really Brent and the Angel Voices who initiated the theme for Sunday service with their ministry in song including the Introit Adoramus Te, Christe (Orlando di Lasso), Anthem My Land (arr. Roger Emerson) and Offertory, Will the Circle Be Unbroken (arr. J.David Moore). From their position on the floor with the congregation, their voices seemed to surround us.
Debbie's reflection title comes from "The New Creed", found on page 918:
A New Creed (1968)
We are not alone,
we live in God’s world.
We believe in God:
who has created and is creating,
who has come in Jesus,
the Word made flesh,
to reconcile and make new,
who works in us and others
by the Spirit.
We trust in God.
We are called to be the Church:
to celebrate God’s presence,
to live with respect in Creation,
to love and serve others,
to seek justice and resist evil,
to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen,
our judge and our hope.
In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.
Debbie and Michael Stockdale's Reflection can be found by returning to the Home page and opening "Sermons" from the top of the page.
EASTER WEEK: MAUNDY THURSDAY, APRIL 18, 2019; GOOD FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2019 AND EASTER SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2019
Easter Week was truly a memorable week at St. David's as we wended our way through the week, beginning on Thursday evening when we gathered for a combined communion service and pot luck supper. With Alison, Rev. Peggy and Brent we were reminded of Jesus' last supper with his disciples. We shared special bread and juice at tables for four after gathering around a communion table with lit candles flickering. We returned to the shared table following our meal for final words and the extinguishing of the votive candles.
Our next step would be Good Friday morning where we gathered to remember the crucifixion of Jesus. This was our final time with worship in the round. Rev. Peggy and Alison were our leaders for this very special service. Members of the congregation walked with Alison and Rev. Peggy as we reviewed the Stations of the Cross in word and image. Music ministry came from the balcony as the sounds of the choir drifted over and surrounded the circle of worshippers. A trio featuring Kerry Duncan McCartney, Alison Demeter and Christy Brekke concluded the service.
And, then on to Sunday morning - Easter morning - with the colours changed from the somber purple of Lent to the glorious shades of Easter white, we gathered. The orchestra greeted us as we arrived and we were handed spring flower blossoms which we knew would soon adorn the cross. Beautiful potted flowers adorned on the chancel and the list of "Easter Blessings" - both in memory of and in honour of family members no longer with us or far away.
This was an amazing week. We are so indebted for the leadership of St. David's - Rev. Peggy, Alison and Brent - for their ministry in word and song. Thank you.
APRIL 14, 2019
Calming harp music greeted us this morning as our musical guest, Olivia Ritchey, shared her talent with us. In our circular formation with the Lenten Candles and the Christ Candle awaiting us on the Communion Table, we suspected there was a reason that the round table that had centred us during the first five weeks of Lent was no long there. We were soon to find out as a host of people dressed in brown robes, carrying palm branches entered and formed a circle around us. Alison, in Faith Chat, had Super girl and Batman as her partners in conversation as one more time we heard the story of Jesus' entrance into Jerusalem to the shouts of Hosanna. Our voices joined together with the triumphant sounds of the organ as we sang in joy and expectation, much as the people in Jerusalem would have done so long ago. Silence fell as the actors, young and old, filed out of the sanctuary and quietly reappeared without their robes.
Rev. Peggy along with scripture readers Meryl Arnott and Eldon Godfrey, reminded us of the stages of the Passion, moving through each with scripture and reflection. Our hymns, with words often written by Rev. Peggy were sung with enthusiasm, the moreso due to the close presence of the Chamber Choir in our midst.
As the service progressed, the cross was carried to the base of the steps, where it will stand until Easter Sunday. Rev. Peggy, with a blessing offered exited while we remained behind to listen to Brent's organ postlude. Palm Sunday service introduced what would be following during this Passion week and, as we left, what we had heard and had witnessed would go with us.
APRIL 7, 2019
Six members of our Youth Group along with Alison, Ministry of Families, and Rev. Peggy guided us through this fifth Sunday of Lent. The Lenten Celebration of Communion was part of this very thoughful worship experience. The Sanctuary Choir, directed by Brent Tucker with Garrett Krause on piano contributed to the message of finding "A Time for Every Matter." Their anthem was Shine the Light (Lee and Susan Naus Dengler) and their offertory was an invitation to communion, Come, Share this Feast of Love (Mary Kay Beall & Lloyd Larson). Tiana, Taylor, Laura, Lauren, William and A.J. invited us to consider of what we think we do not have enough. Not (strong, smart, capable...) enough was their message to us with the assurance that we have (or are) all that we need. During communion, congregants were encouraged to bring with them their slips of paper upon which they had written their personal misgivings about themselves. "Not _________ enough." The closing communion prayer follows.
Faithful and loving God, you are in all of life as amazing grace and love. By this grace and love, we are inspired not to be overcome by the busy lives we live. With the taste of the bread of life still upon us, with the taste of the cup of love still upon us, as we move into our lives, may we take a rest from the voices of the world that tell us that we are "not enough." May we ignite the divine spark that lies uniquely within each of us so that our light may burn brightly. Amen.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to find the Worship Folder and Lenten Practices Lent Five for April 7, 2019
MARCH 31, 2019
Seated in the round with the Worship Candles of Lent in the centre, we listened to music performed by our guest musicians, Jamie Ching on clarinet and Cindy Zhang on piano as we gathered to reflect on the Seed of Meditation, "How can I create space in my busy life to flourish in the ways of compassion, love and justice?" Our opening hymn invited us to "Come and Find the Quiet Centre."
"Come and find the quiet centre in the crowded lives we lead. Find the room for hope to enter, find the frame where we are freed: Clear the chaos and the clutter, clear our eyes that we can see All the things that really matter, be a peace and simply be."
Faith Chat this morning featured the story of Baby Moses and the courage of Marian, big sister, to save her little brother at a time when boy babies were not allowed to live under the Pharoah's orders. Catgirl, Iris Goadoué-Wallace, talked about "doing the wrong thing for the right reasons" in her dialogue with Alison.
This Sunday, four members of the congregations, representing three generations, were asked to speak to the theme of "Reconnecting to an Unhurried God." Brenda Wallace spoke of the lessons in time management and just-in-time response learned from her mom and other mentors. Denise Carroll spoke of the peace that nature affords her and how her family keep her grounded in her busy schedule. Daughter Tiana Carroll spoke of the five things that keep her on target: field hockey, family time, friends, willingness to share thoughts and volunteering with disabled children. Finally, Richard Christmas spoke of his career as a veterinarian and the journey now in retirement to be "consciously mindful of enjoying food" and to recognize that time anxiety is a learned behaviour and a "burden on our lives." (See Sermons on the Home Page for more information)
These reflections followed the reading of Ecclesiastes 3:1-13 by Bill Way and Heather Chubb-Way - the very familiar reading about Time and Seasons of our lives. As always the text to the hymns written by Rev. Peggy along with the circle of singers added a depth to the service that takes us into the coming week, refreshed and grounded.
MARCH 24, 2019
Sunday morning, Rev. Peggy and Brent's Angel Voices continued the exploration of "busyness" in today's life style and and our intentional fasting from that busyness. The Seed of Meditation, an invitation to quiet reflection and the settling of our souls, was "To let go does not mean to get rid of. To let go means to let be. When we let be with compassion, things come and go on their own." (J. Kornfield). Scripture readings, coming from Isaiah 43, Luke 10, Ephesians 4 and Philippians 3 and 4, were part of our invitation to "take note" of what God was saying to us through scripture, music and reflection.
Rev. Peggy's inspirational text for the hymn, "The Voice of God", can be viewed in the file attachment for Ministries/Worship as can her adapted text to the congregational hymn, "Take Time to be Holy." During the offertory, the Angel Voices gathered around the Lenten Candles and sang Dona Nobis Pacem (Mozart) - "Grant Us Peace."
Lent IV, next week will continue the series, "Reconnecting with an Unhurried God."
MARCH 17, 2019
Continuing with the theme of "Reconnecting with an Unhurried God," we celebrated our story of becoming an Affirm Church. Our guests this morning were Rainbow Elders and our guest speaker was Rocky Wallbaum. Jennifer McTavish, Chair of Affirm Committee, introduced Rocky. You will find a recap of what Rocky had to say on the Home Page/Sermons (at the top of the page).
The Sanctuary Choir, seated in one of the quadrants of our worship circle, chose as their anthem, "Be Not Afraid" (Craig Courtney) and "Bow the Knee" (Arr. Tom Fettke) as their offertory. Rev. Peggy's text to our Hymn during the reflection, "God of Courage", v. 4, offers this message: "Life is sacred, life is precious, life of each, a gift of grace. God's own presence finds expression in each cherished human face." The Reading by Wendy Dey was from 1 Corinthians 13: 1-13 followed by a Litany of Love based on the reading.
Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to view the Worship Folder for March 17, 2019. You will also find the Lenten Practice for Week 2 of Lent.
The Prelude and Postlude featured Amelia Sharp on cello and her mother, Akiko Sharp, on piano.
Our Seed of Meditation was the serenity prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the thngs I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."
MARCH 10, 2019
Today is a double blessing with the first in the series of Lenten reflections by Rev. Peggy as well as the ACTS Annual Mt. St. Francis Retreat beginning at 11:30 this morning. Many of us will be present to hear what Rev. Peggy has to say, however for those who will not be there, scroll below to open the Worship Folder for March 10, 2019 and the daily Lenten practice that we can follow as the days of Lent prepare us for Easter Sunday. A transcript of Rev. Peggy's Reflection is attached to the Home Page/Sermons.
MARCH 3, 2019
On Sunday morning, March 3, 2019, Debbie Stockdale, Pastoral Care Ministry, reflected on "Holy Mystery on the Mountain Top." Music presentations by the Sanctuary choir and congregational hymns were woven into the theme of transfiguration. See Sermons on the Home page for a summary of Debbie's reflection.
The SEED OF MEDITATION quoted Desmond Tutu: "God places us in the world as his fellow workers-agents of transfiguration. We work with God so that injustice is transfigured into justice, so there will be more compassion and caring; that there will be more laughter and joy; that there will be more togetherness in God's world." Please scroll to the bottom of this page to see the Worship Folder for March 3, 2019.
FEBRUARY 24, 2019
"An enchanted life has many moments when the heart is overwhelmed with beauty and the imagination is electrified
by some haunting quality in the world or by a spirit or voice speaking from deep within a thing, a place or a person."
While we were invited to consider the above quote from Henry Louis Mencken before the service began, we were privileged to listen to guest musicians, Jamie Ching (clarinet) and Cindy Zhang (piano).
On Sunday morning, Rev. Peggy opened her reflection by reminding us that "February is heart month and so I thought it appropriate to honour the heart on this last Sunday of the month. Readings of scripture by Margie Oakander were woven into the reflection as was the anthem, "How can I Keep from Singin" by the Angel Voices. Readings selected began with those referring to hard heartedness: Mark 3:1-5; Matt. 15:19 and then to soft-heartedness in Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26; Gospel of Thomas, saying 24; Matthew 5:14-16 and 1 John 4:18.
FEBRUARY 17, 2019
Rev. Peggy's texts to familiar hymn tunes has become a centre piece in our worship services at St. David's. Today, to Tune #559 in Voices United, these were her words:
We, the church, accept all people, fold them in a large embrace;
to belong in sacred family, gives us strength in all we face.
Suffering eases, aloneness ceases, loving deeds to light the way,
through this sacred house of friendship, love and gladness touch our day.
We welcomed Brenda McQueen, McDougall Stoney Mission Society and descendant of Rev. and Mrs. George McDougall, as our guest speaker. Her reflection was entitled, "Memories of the McDougall Stoney Mission -- and where we go from here." Readings came from Amos 9:13 -- "...They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them...", 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9 -- "...we get knocked down but we're not destroyed." and 2 Corinthians 13: 9-11 -- "Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace..." The readings were chosen to lend encouragement to the work of the M.S.M.S. as they set about restoring their mission following the devastating fire of their church. Quotes included "Out of every tragedy, comes new strength." (Rick Riordan) and "While natural disasters capture headlines and national attention short-term, the work of recovery and rebuilding is long-term." (Sylvia Mathews Burwell)
Brenda presented a slide show, depicting the then and now of the ongoing relationship between the McDougall family and the Stoney tribe at Morley. Her passion for the continuing work of the mission spoke for itself. Check out the webpage of the Society: https://www.mcdougallstoneymission.com for more indepth information.
The hymns selected for the service, "Many and Great O God, are Your Works" and "How Great Thou Art" added their message to the theme of the service.
FEBRUARY 10, 2019
"Your inner spirit is rock solid. It keeps you grounded, and reminds you to pause and just be, no matter what is going on around you. This inner power helps you to rise above the waves of worry and tides of trauma and navigate any challenged that comes your way with Perseverance and poise.'
The title of Rev. Peggy's reflection this a.m. was "The Power of Perseverance." Scripture readings, read by Betsy Woolner, Chamber Choir, were Luke 11:5-9 and Mark 10:46-52 along with quotes from Douglas MacArthur - "Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul" and Vince Lombardi, Jr.- "“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”
Rev. Peggy opened with a quote from Goldie Hawn: "The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud --- the obstacles of life and its suffering. The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life. Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. And that calls for perseverance and persistence.
Referring to her mom's accident last year, she and her sisters helped her mom to hope and heal in her recovery. "Tribulations happen. Never give up." This is a choice we make every day. In the process, we overcome bitterness and develop an inner strength that keeps us "blossoming in the mud."
Music ministry this morning featured the Chamber Choir, singing acapella "Mass for Four Voices - Kyrie" (William Byrd) and "Sanctus & Benedictus." Their beautiful voices offered moments of mystery that blended with communion and the lighting of candles.
Next Sunday's guest speaker will be Brenda McQueen from the McDougall Stoney Mission Society.
FEBRUARY 3, 2019
Our Worship Folder had an image of a wooden door, ajar, with the words, "Do not be dismayed by the brokenness in the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you." (L.R.Knost) Deb Stockdale, Pastoral Care Ministry, led the service dedicated to "Love." Her reflection, entitled "Grace Meets Privilege. Yikes," challenged us to think about our place in God's world and the message of Jesus that did not stress our entitlement but rather our service to all God's people, not just us. Check out the recap of Deb's reflection under Sermons on the Home Page.
JANUARY 27, 2019
Pat Nyberg's readings this morning focussed on the theme of baptism: Luke 3: 21-22, I Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:27 and a quote by Thomas Keating as well as another by an anonymous writer. Nancy Erickson and Wendy Warchola are our newest members of St. David's United Church and we welcome them and celebrate their decision to take part in a ritual that dates back so many years. Rev. Peggy reflected on the courage it takes to be baptized. For her, it is "a courageous act and proclamation of our willingness to ... uphold a faith that seeks to love self, others, God and creation and to nurture and create more loving connections with one another." She went on to tell us that in the ancient Christian church, baptism was about connection. "Every baptized person was woven into the community's story in which there was not Gentile nor Jew, no slave nor free, no male nor female...Baptism was a ritual of inclusion and a collective act of acceptance."
"Friends, hear the Good News: as Jesus called the disciples so too does Jesus call us to follow him on the path of love and compassion. Jesus' path is one of forgiveness and renewal. Know that you are loved, forgiven and embraced in the Divine arms of uncompromising love."
The Angel Voices, with Jo Galinis-Ursel as soloist, added their ministry in song with "I Come to Him" (Sally DeFord) and the baptismal song, "Down in the River, to Pray" (Cheryl Lynn Helm).
JANUARY 20, 2019
Service on Sunday was filled with reflections and music centered around the importance of "love" in community. Readings and reflection drew upon quotes from "The Great Spiritual Migration" by Brian McLaren. "Too often love waits in the hallway, hoping to be invited in and taken more seriously." In Faith Chat, Alison had a conversation about commitment (our value of the month) with Spiderman. January's Sacred Service team, under the leadership of the Heynens, helped with the serving of communion during this service and the Sanctuary Choir added their ministry of song to a very meaningful service. The worship folder for January 20, 2019 can be found by scrolling to the bottom of this page.
JANUARY 13, 2019
The reflection at worship was presented by ACTS, St. David's Adult Spiritual Development Ministry led by Wayne Holst. Their Fall Monday Night Book Study, "Book of Joy" in which Doug Abrams, author, covered the highlights of a week spent together with the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu on the occasion of the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday involved over 40 St. Davidians and friends.
With scriptures selected about Joy, the presenters, Wayne, Jock McTavish, Deb Charnuski, Eldon Godfrey and Sheryl Schoenthaler reflected on what the "Book of Joy" meant to them. Hymns chosen were joyful and ministry of song by the Chamber Choir added to the message of Joy.
JANUARY 6, 2019
Our Pastoral Care Minister, Deb Stockdale, presided over the Epiphany Sunday Service. The Christ Candle was lit, completing the advent candle lighting ritual. "Like the light of the star the Magi folllowed, may this light call us to seek Christ. May this light ispire us to share our gifts. May this light brighten our lives with love. AMEN."
With following the light as a theme, we sang "The First Nowell", "Will You Come and See the Light?" and "A Light is Gleaming." heard the reading of Matthew 2: 1-12 about following the star, heard the Sanctuary choir sing "Guiding Star" (Chris Inglis) and "Walk in Light" (Karen Marrolli.)