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Join us for worship on Sundays at 10:00
- Please join us after the service in the Van Roon Community Hall as we celebrate the retirement of our Finance Administrator Nancy Jeffrey. Nothing says Nancy we love you and thank you more than eating cake together!!
- This Sunday is our Annual Farmer’s Market (and crafts sale) in support of the Yazidi Refugee Community. It takes place in our parking lot on Sunday, August 27 from 9:00 to 12:00 noon. Yazidi Farmer’s Market
- In your prayers this week please remember our dear friend Eileen Graham who died unexpectedly the week before last. A service for Eileen will be held at the church on Wednesday, October 4. Details will follow. Also, we were saddened to learn of the death last weekend of Max Goldack while in personal care. Please pray for peace for the family and friends of Max and his late wife, Janet.
- For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work
Welcome to worship for Sunday, August 27, 2023.
Given that Canada is the second largest country in the world, so expansive that no one could ever claim to have seen all of it, and so broad that driving across is measured in weeks not days, it is remarkable to be reminded what a small community we can be sometimes.
The first news I heard of the wildfires was that a friend was visiting Kelowna and had to rent a car to leave because flying was impossible. The next news I heard was of a couple I know who had retired there and were circulating pictures of the flames taken from their front porch. In the end they were evacuated but their house was spared. Yesterday I learned about a church in Calgary that had taken in and boarded 50 families who had fled Yellowknife. Pictures from the Northwest Territories were haunting as they showed fire pursuing a single line of traffic out of town.
The recent wildfires threatening Canadian communities are but an extension of a season that has affected all of us. Smoke from fires in the spring across the north drifted thousands of kilometers and impacted the air quality of millions of people. When wildfires (the name says it all, doesn’t it?) have a year like this one we become increasingly aware of two things that should be front of mind all the time. The first is the fragile nature of the earth which is paradoxically an element of nature’s fearsome power. And the second is our deep interconnection. Not only can natural disaster come to any community in any one of numerous ways but the only way they are alleviated is by our willingness to be the ones who receive, help, aid, those who must flee. As the hymn says, we are one.
The ancients knew of the awesome power and potential of fire. Israel described God as appearing to Moses as a voice from a burning bush. Later Israel left Egypt by following a pillar of fire. Isaiah sings that when we walk through fire we will not be burned. Handel invokes the imagery of Malachi in “The Messiah” when he writes that God will purify with refiner’s fire. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is described as fire (one image among many) and we routinely say that the love of God warms our hearts.
Fire is destructive when it is out of control and comes into contact with human settlement and activity. But foresters says that it is a necessary part of the life cycle of forests. At some point fire comes and cleanses and renews and new life emerges.
Let us remember to pray for Kelowna, Yellowknife, Maui, and all the fire-affected communities in this long hot summer. Whether it is our turn to give or our turn to receive, we belong together. Even from a great distance.
Grace and peace,
- Did you know you can support this ministry by e-transfer, automatic withdrawal (PAR), and gifted securities, in addition to weekly or monthly cheques? For Offering Information please visit: https://charleswoodunited.org/support/ Thank you for your generous support.
- 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: https://www.commonword.ca/go/3408.
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- The reading for this week’s service can be found at: Matthew 16:13-20