It's hard to believe that our Christmas season and festivities are now behind us. That time of Advent and celebrating the Incarnation went by so fast. And we pack so much into those few short weeks of the year.
Our house is pretty much returned back to normal. It took a whole evening to pack away the decorations and return everything to its place. As well, the church is back to usual too. The decorations are down and packed away for another year.
Let's hope, though, that the spirit of Christmas, and the gift God has blessed us with is anything but packed away for another year. The essence of the message of the Incarnation is to be carried into our everyday lives and routines. Let's keep the joy alive and continue to celebrate the very nature of God present, visible, active, engaged and recognized all around us and within us too!!
On January 1
we celebrated with Joan and Beth
who received the Order of the Diocese of Toronto
in gratitude for their minsitries
and the living out of their faith.
It was wonderful that many from St. Paul's
traveled down to the Cathedral
to join in this celebration.
Let's support our local Uxbridge Foodbank
as part of our outreach ministry at St. Paul's.
The last Sunday of each month will be
Bring in donations of canned goods, pasta,
rice, or cereal
and place them in the shopping cart
in the entrance to the church
The shopping cart will be
wheeled up the aisle with the offertory
and blessed as we share our abundance
with those in need in our community.
The first Foodbank Sunday
will be Sun January 27.
Thanks to Eileen for getting us a shopping cart
and to Vinces for donating it to us!!
Do you feel weighted down with worry? Does the uncertainty and chaos of life keep you up at night? Are irrational fears your constant companion? Could you use some calm?
In this five-session video Bible study, bestselling author Max Lucado explores God's treatment plan for anxiety found in Philippians 4:4-8. As you follow this prescription - celebrating God's goodness, asking for his help, leaving your concerns with him, and meditation on good things - you will experience God's peace. This is a peace that "transcends all understanding" and will help you reframe the way you look at your fears.
While anxiety is a part of life, it doesn't have to dominate your life. With God as your helper and his promises at your side, you can sleep better tonight and smile more tomorrow. You can talk yourself off the ledge and view bad news through the lens of God's sovereignty. You can discover a life of calm and develop tools for combating the onslaught of anxiety.
Rejoice in the Lord Always
Let Your Gentleness Be Evident to All
Present Your Requests to God
The Peace of God Will Guard Your Heart
Meditate on These Things
Beginning on Wednesday January 30 at 7 pm
in the lounge.
Please let me know if you're planning on coming
to assist with preparation and any copying.
I hope you'll consider taking this time
for you and for God and your
emotional and spiritual well being.
*** Note ... there is no "Lunch & Learn" in January and returning on a new date, the 1st Thurs of the month, February 7 at noon as usual. Pass this along to your friends who join you for lunch, fellowship and learning.
Thurs Jan 10 ... 10:00 am, Communion followed by bible study
Sun Jan 13 ... 8:30 & 10:30 am, Feast of Baptism of Jesus, Communion services
Mon Jan 14 ... 1:00 pm, Coffee & Chat, Tin Cup
Tues Jan 15 ... 7:00 pm, Advisory Board
Thurs Jan 17 ... 10:00 am, Communion followed by bible study
Thurs Jan 17 ... 1:30 pm TAB
Sat Jan 19 ... 2 to 4 pm ... Gay Straight Alliance
Thurs Jan 24 ... 10:00 am, Communion followed by bible study
Fri Jan 25 ... Family Games Night sponsored by GSA
Sun Jan 27 ... Foodbank Sunday
Sun Jan 27 ... 1:30 pm, Communion at Douglas Crossing
Mon Jan 28 ... 7:00 pm, "holy spirits: faith conversations over a pint" at Wixan's Bridge
Wed Jan 30 ... 12 noon St Paul's offering Soup Luncheon at St. Andrews Chalmers
Wed Jan 30 ... 7:00 pm, Spiritual/Faith discussion and reflection group begins
Thurs Jan 31 ... 10:00 am, Communion followed by bible study
We are pleased to be led by Dr. Lydia Pedersen (BA, Mus.Bac., M.Ed., D.Min.), a published hymn writer and workshop leader in the field of hymn writing. Throughout her dual career as music educator and church musician she has championed hymns as a primary source of the formation and expression of personal theology. She chaired the Tunes Subcommittee on the task force that produced the United Church hymnal Voices United (1996), and now teaches an annual seminar on hymn writing at Emmanuel College, Toronto.
The day will provide group and individual guidance and the opportunity to work with others or by yourselves to craft the text of your hymn.
No experience in hymn writing necessary!!!
Come out an explore this creative side
of your faith and spirituality!!!
One of the daily reflections I receive is focusing on "Jesus on Main Street" for the month of January. Beth Fellinger, the author for the month of January, follows Jesus as he journeys through the cities and villages of his day. She writes, “Many stories in the Bible take place as Jesus walks along a road or down a street. That’s often where he encounters people and teaches lessons that still apply to us today.”
She goes on to ask the question, and provides her response, "If Jesus were to walk down Main Street in your city or town today, who and what would he find? There are people who need to meet him there, people who are called to serve, and those who need to be served."
These are worthwhile questions for us to ask in terms of our context of Uxbridge, our mission field that's right on our doorstep. I think we're already well on our way to answering them and responding in a way that is faithful.
One of the initiatives that came out of our appreciative inquiry day in November was the desire to enter a process of intentional listening to others who know our community and the needs that are prevalent. This kind of "needs assessment" can be a valuable way of discerning the gaps and identify other ways we might be able to serve Christ by serving others.
I want to take this a step further, though. I'd be interested in having St. Paul's instigate this discernment process in a way that invites the other churches of Uxbridge to join us. We know that the needs of our community are more than we can address. Perhaps, though, by inviting others into this time of listening, reflection and subsequent action, we can together become aware of ministries that are needed and issues of justice we can become advocates for.
I will be looking for a few volunteers to take a leadership role with me in pulling this "Community Needs" symposium together. If this is something you have an interest in, please speak to me. I think there's a lot to be learned. I look forward to the journey we'll take and the paths we will undoubtedly be called to travel down. I have no doubt that we will meet Christ wherever we are invited to go!!
I offer us this prayer as we desire to recognize and know Jesus even as He walks alongside us through the streets of our community ...
God, we pray that You will visit us,
and make Your presence known in our lives
and in our community of Uxbridge.
Give us faithto believe that You can change our town
through prayer and through acts of love and compassion.
Let Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.
Help us to cultivate Your presence in our lives.
May we choose to partner with You
for transformation in Uxbridge.
Remove the distractions in our lives
that keep us from Your presence
Take away any luke-warmness in my heart
and set me on fire for You.
As we go about our daily routines
may we recognize you in those around us;
and may they also recognize you in us.
Together, empowered by your Holy Spirit
we can do so much that brings hope
and affirms the goodness and value of all people.
We offer ourselves to you
that through us others may be blessed
and learn to recognize you in their lives too.
For our own transformation;
for the transformation of our community of Uxbridge;
we pray in Jesus name! Amen!!
Remember, if you have a question, I encourage you to send it to me in an email and I will do my best to answer it either in a weekly update or in a sermon.
As always, my inbox is open, and so is my office door if you'd like to chat. I'm usually in my office most mornings Monday through Thursday unless otherwise announced due to a meeting. Stop by or make an appointment!