“Spirit, open my heart to the joy and pain of living.
As you love, may I love, in receiving and in giving,
Spirit, open my heart.”
It’s the weekend of celebrating Pentecost, the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the faithful. Of all the Spirit stories in scripture, this is the one that is most inclusive, and empowering for the faithful as a body. Many call it the “birthday” of the church. It reminds us that God’s presence and strength is accessible to all.
This week I met with many other Ministry Personnel throughout the Canadian Shield Regional Council and it is clear that while buildings are closed, ministry is happening and the Spirit of God is alive in the community through all of you as you share in the joy and the pain of living this time. You are making love visible, and that is worth celebrating.
Love made visible involves being good allies and citizens. We are horrified and outraged by the racial violence reported especially. It is important to pray for peace and understanding and change. It is also important to let God work change in us. There are good resources for our own personal growth on the United Church of Canada webpage under Racial Justice, including: https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf “Unpacking the Invisible BackPack”. As we grow in awareness, the Spirit opens our hearts. Layla Saad’s downloadable “Me and White Supremacy Workbook” is also an excellent resource.
Another important resource is any opportunity to learn from other cultures and struggles.
You are invited to tune in tonight, Friday May 29, at 7pm to hear James Walker speak about his participation in the United Church Pilgrimage to Israel/Palestine last summer. This is presented by the Manitou Intentional Learning Community. Another resource - A Virtual Labyrinth Walk for Pentecost - is posted on the MILC website http://www.manitoulearningcommunity.com/.
While I am trying to check in with folks by email, phone or Messenger, I know that so many of you are regularly keeping the circle alive and I am grateful for that. As someone mentioned this week, some of us are getting to know what it feels like to be shut in, and through this experience, we are gaining new compassion and wisdom through the “ joy and pain of living.”
After the Great S’mores Challenge, the Big Worm Challenge has been set by the Young Families. Take a picture of the biggest worm you see after a rain, and post it if you are part of that Facebook Group, or email it to me and we will share your finds. You are not required to harm the worm, or do anything else with it….just share the picture. Celebrate Creation!
The Mission Food Drive/ Covid Hair Cut Project is set to go for tomorrow, Saturday, May 30. I expect that by Sunday morning, my hair will be much shorter, as Tim will take up the haircutting scissors in response to your generosity. (Word has it that he actually HAS watched a how-to tutorial.) Thanks to Anne, Cameron, Findley and Sam for setting the challenge and managing the project. Thanks to YOU for your generosity!!
Worship is continuing in an online format at our YouTube Channel, St Peter’s United Church, Sudbury. Here is the link for this week's service - Pentecost Service - May 31 . Thank you for tuning is and for participating as Bell Ringers and Scripture Readers and Prayer leaders. We are using a mixture of music recorded at St Peter’s, and hymns with music specifically recorded for Voices United Users. Thanks to Judy and Doug Hallman for putting the music together.
I have been seeking a method of presenting multiple voices in prayer, resulting in a recent experiment using Zoom. Thanks to the folks who offered themselves and their time for that experiment, and for those who offered feedback. We are working out the bugs in that and hope to try again soon. We will put out the call for participants again shortly.
While the Province and City begin to open businesses a bit more, Churches and other Gathering Places will take much longer to carefully determine what activities can safely take place. Utmost caution is necessary and we will be abiding by the best advice of Public Health and United Church guidelines that are being carefully crafted. Simply put: NOT YET. Carefully distanced efforts, such as taking drop- off food/donations for the Mission and Shelter, filming for worship, etc will continue according to protocols, but group gatherings are not possible yet. Thank you for your patience. We want everyone to stay well.
If you need information church related please call:
We continue to check on folks by phone and email. Connect leaders are checking on their groups. Individuals are reaching out. We have a list of volunteers to help with things like grocery pick up or so let us know if you need a hand. ( Dawn: 705-692-1263; Charles 705-674-0824 )
We continue to be concerned about the needs of the clients of the Mission and Shelter down town. All the service agencies prefer financial donations so they can optimize their purchasing power, so we are not collecting goods. Currently, the best help is to make financial donations to the Sudbury Foodbank, the Elgin Street Mission, or the Blue Door Soup Kitchen or Reseau Access Network Sudbury. Here are the links:
As we continue in this challenging time, know that you are loved.
May you be strong.
May you be brave.
May you be whole.
May you be at peace.