March 24, 2022: March 27 newsletter is attached as a file below.
This afternoon when we visited St. David's, we met Rev. Nancy Nourse who will be joining us May 1 along with her congregation from Northminster United. They are in the process of selling their church so the Northminster congregation needed a church home for the time being and we needed a minister to fill Rev. Peggy's shoes. Rev. Nancy has worked with St. David's previously when she was the Presbytery lead when we were seeking a pastoral care minister years ago. That was when Rev. Kelley Werner was called to be our Pastoral Care Minister.
St. David's was a busy place with a new canine friend keeping Chantal company. Welcome to Meatball, Chantal's new puppy. Of course, Roberto was there as he is usually on Thursday and we were really there to meet with Allan Buckingham from Rundle United in Banff. He is our video guru and we needed his solution to the video issues we had last Sunday on Youtube. Sound in church was just fine but for the 35 viewers at home, they had quite a time listening through the buzzing and static that was part of the livestream. Allan worked with Deb for an hour or so -- he assures us that all is ready for flawless transmission on Sunday.
Also at church this aft were Peter Adams and Dave Rider who have been kept busy after hours assembling the new furniture that has found a home in the foyer and Tatanga Mani room. Gone are the brown 'swallow-me' chairs!! Thank you to Brent and Chantal for their big shop last week.
Last Sunday, the sanctuary was nearly full for the first time in a long while as we gave a home to the Ukraine Foundation of Calgary in support of a fundraising activity to help friends and relatives displaced by the conflict at home. The musical talent shared by five string musicians along with the pianist and a soloist was absolutely aweseome. I saw many St. Davidians who came along to support the Foundation. Well done.
Change is in the air at St. David's (just like Spring, from time to time between snow falls!) Have a great week; we will see some of you on Sunday (service) and/or Monday (Book Study) and/or Wednesday with Amy and/or Bible study on Thursday!! It's a great place to be.
March 18, 2022:
This is a special day in my family. It marks the passing of Dave's dad and my mom -- 10 years apart. We miss both of them greatly and marvel at the frequency they are mentioned along with Dave's mom and my dad. We celebrated my youngest brother's 60th birthday on Wednesday and as has been our practice over the years we took a sibling picture. As oldest kids in our families, we have inherited the family albums which are shelved in a special room on our lower floor. There we are surrounded by amazing memories.
At St. David's, Chantal and Brent went shopping last Monday for new furniture for the foyer and the Tatanga Mani room. The "swallow-me" brown leather chairs will be finding new homes while the new furniture will take their turns at showing us their welcome. The new table and chairs are quite beautiful and will be well used as we return to our pre-COVID programming. I do suspect, however, that the ease of meeting on ZOOM will continue to bring us together virtually. On Thursday morning there were 12 of us in attendance as we considered the 'Love' chapter by Paul in I Corinthians: 13. (Our picture is below.)
If you haven't taken the opportunity to view the Pi (e) Day Service on Youtube, you might want to do that this weekend. The Youtube address can be found on the Home page. Meanwhile Amy continues to lead us through Lent, Brent and his choirs provide their ministry in song and the Tech team (Deb, Hugo and me) continue to make sure that you can hear and see the services.
We noted that the usual lake that develops across the street from the church is diminishing as we speak. The warm weather is a promise of springtime. Enjoy!
March 7, 2022
How wonderful it was to be back together in church. Truly, we had more people joining us online that in-person but it was great to see folks we hadn't seen for a very long time. Upstairs in the balcony were Deb on computer and me on the Sound with Hugo on standby and Iris on screens (Oops). David was with us upstairs as well, making sure that Iris was kept busy. Following service, Hugo and Iris helped tape a segment for an upcoming service with Amy. After church, as well, while Betty Smith was running the zoom community gathering, the sanctuary choir was taped for a future sharing of their awesome ministry of music. Their anthems during yesterday's service were meaningful and fitting for the first Sunday of Lent.
We mourn the passing of a well known United Church member and former clergy, Rev. Bill Phipps. Many of us worked with him over the years. His passion for peace and justice was incredible. His service will be held online Tuesday at 1 p.m. https://www.youtube.com/HillhurstUnitedChurch
March 3, 2022
March 6, 2022 Newsletter is attached as a file below.
Last night, after returning from our Ash Wednesday evening service, the image I saw in the mirror was one with a forehead marked with a sooty cross. Lent has begun. Amy asked us to write down something that we were willing to give up during the next 39 days and she encouraged us to include ways we were thinking along with challenges we were facing. Our folded pieces of paper were ritually burned and the ashes were used to mark our foreheads in an age old tradition. From Britannica Online Encyclopedia, we are told that penitents and sinners in Rome, on the first day of Lent began their preparation sprinkled with ashes and dressed in sackcloth, for restoration to the sacrament of the Eucharist on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter. The practice after the fall of Rome began with the placing of ashes on the heads of entire congregations as a symbol for the beginning of Lent. In various Christian denominations there are different rituals with St. David's being no exception. Over the years (prior to COVID) we gathered in Robertson Hall to enjoy our pancake supper (Shrove Tuesday) and then joined in a worship service, sometimes in the sanctuary and other times in the Hall. We were most often arranged in a circle/oval formation and a meditative service reminded us to ponder our mortality and prepare our own hearts for Easter.
This year was a year of new beginnings for us. St. David's doors were open for all and, for those who were unable to be present in person, the service was livestreamed on Youtube for viewing. The beauty of this is that we are able to listen to the music, the readings, the message when we are able. We did have the opportunity to return to service at St. David's during Advent for three short services before Wave Five forced our doors to close. I remember our last major event at St. David's on March 15, 2020. We celebrated Pie Day (Pi Day -- 3-14) after service. As well, ACTS Lenten Retreat was held at Mt. St. Francis on a clear sunny winter afternoon. Little did we know what our journey to the present would mean.
I remember years ago hearing one of our parishioners saying that he would like it if every day of the week he and his family could be involved at church. Well, Sunday service (or two), Monday Night Book Study, Tuesday (4th) Council Meeting, Wednesday Pastoral Ministry gathering and Healing Touch (1st), Thursday Morning Bible Study and evening Choir practices and Friday evening (1st) Friendship Group can keep a person pretty busy these days. The reality is that we can participate nearly in all these programs from our home -- sometimes a real advantage. It will be interesting to watch our future unfold with COVID as a memory and not a day-to-day challenge.
Amy will be leading us in worship through Lent and Easter. We are most grateful for her leadership at this time.