Watch this week’s service on YouTube by clicking: June 25 Worship Service Video



Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00


  • Please join us after the service in the Van Roon Community Hall for HeBrews Café, refreshments and fellowship after worship.



Dear Friends

Welcome to worship for Sunday, June 25, 2023.

I’m the first to admit that church and state make strange bedfellows. Theocracy is the word for when a nation’s laws are based on a religious system. It is almost always an unmitigated disaster, primarily for the overt exclusion of the rights of human beings who do not share that faith, and of the remarkable consistency of religious people to fail to act religiously.

In the American system, the separation of church and state was always about preventing the government from making one particular religion ‘official’. It was clearly intended to prevent this new country from falling into the trap of having a state religion the way the Church of England was. Many early Americans were Pilgrims, Protestants, and Reformers who left England precisely for that reason. Lest you think that is “all so 18th century”, the recent coronation of King Charles was an unabashedly Anglican service. Even the vow to protect freedom of religion was done so in a uniquely Church of England manner, administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

But even if ‘official religion’ is off the table religious people have opinions about law and governance as much as everyone else does. Primarily because, you know, we’re human. Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist preacher who advocated for equal rights to be legislated not just proclaimed. At the other end of the spectrum evangelical conservatives routinely advocate for laws that reflect their particular values and beliefs. Church and state is not a right/left issue.

In 1912 a highly influential book by an American theologian Walter Rauschenbusch called “Christianizing the Social Order” laid out the principals for American society (and subsequently Canadian) to be based on the ethical values of Christianity even if the church didn’t aspire to govern. It was a phrase that continued to be used in United Church of Canada documents in the 1920’s and 30’s. If you have heard of Suffragette Nellie McClung, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, or Tommy Douglas and socialised medicine, then you are nominally familiar with the influence of Rauschenbusch.

It’s a long history. Moses told Pharaoh that the economics of slavery was over because God had told him so. Jesus told an audience that if Caesar wanted his coin back (in taxes) then Caesar was entitled to his coin. As long as one didn’t give Caesar the loyalty one owed to God. But neither did Jesus have any interest in being made a “King” as he so eloquently instructs Pilate. It has always been something of a paradox that while Christians do not and should not desire to rule the state, we have always had something to say about freedom, equality, justice, and human dignity in the places where we live.

All of which brings me to Canada Day. It is not a religious holiday and should not be construed as such. The perspective of faith communities might be to celebrate a country where religious freedom, though sometimes threatened, continues to be something protected. It might also reflect that faith communities are part of the Canadian mosaic and make tremendous contributions to Canadian society, something for which we are grateful.

Faith communities are also examples of citizens who do not make an idol out of patriotism but rather keep it in proper perspective. A flag is not a cross and should not be treated like one.

Canada has many challenges and continues to struggle with reconciling itself with its colonial past. But we have so many things to be thankful for. Canada is a place of exceptional beauty, remarkable achievement, unmatched diversity, and unparalleled potential. God has blessed us in this place. A little celebration cannot hurt.

Happy Canada Day


Grace and peace,





  • Michael Wilson’s book “A Pastoral Pandemic: Remaining Connected in a Time of Disconnection” is available in store and online through CommonWord Bookstore (Canadian Mennonite University). For more information visit:


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