Lent V




Watch this week’s service on YouTube by clicking:

March 17 Worship Service Video



Join us for Worship Sunday at 10:00 AM followed by fellowship and refreshments in the HeBrews Café



  • Mark your calendar:      

         Sunday, March 24            10:00 AM            Palm Sunday

         Friday, March 29             11:00 AM           Good Friday Service

         Wednesday, March 27   7:00 PM             “Let’s Talk…and Listen”   Mental Health Support Group

         Sunday, March 31           10:00 AM           Easter Sunday                                                                                                             

         Saturday, April 6              Quiz Night                                                                                                                                    

        Saturday, April 13            Rummage Sale (volunteers needed)

        Saturday, April 20            “SoulCollage” Spirituality Workshop

         Tuesday, April 23              Bridge Luncheon (Roof Project Fundraiser)


  • For news and events please have a look at Life & Work on our website: Life and Work


  • 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/  We have begun to receive donations for this summer’s Roofing Project which will be held separate from Operations and Mission & Service. Thank you for your generous support.



Dear Friends

Welcome to worship for Sunday, March 17, 2024.

We all have favorite expressions. Who knows where we pick them up but for some reason they stick with us and we can pull them out when they are appropriate. But recently I had a ‘moment’ when one of my common expressions dropped on one of my friends with a resounding flop.

I simply said, “well, let’s throw it up the flagpole and see who salutes.” I have used the phrase in innumerable places for longer than I can remember. I have no idea where or when I picked it up. But on this occasion my (younger) friend replied with a bemused “What?”. “You know”, I repeated, “up a flagpole. See who salutes.” (I have often found that saying the exact same thing a second time really helps understanding…not!!) But the reference was falling on deaf ears. This person had not heard it before and had no idea what I was trying to say.

Now, as a preacher, I have more experience than most at saying something and finding that the other person doesn’t know what I am talking about. But we are who we are and I am not going to give up on a perfectly good idiom without a little bit of defence. At least not until I find a better one to replace it. So I enjoyed the moment and explained what I meant by flagpole…and salute. Afterall, it is one of my major approaches to ministry.

In the annual report I wrote about a recent conversation with an ecumenical colleague who had asked about how things were going in our church. My deeper response was that we were delighted by the return of many things from our pre-pandemic way of being. I had to admit that some of our larger annual events have given way to more smaller initiatives that are still getting off the ground. Men’s Lunch, Senior’s Fellowship, and Still Waters Grief Support are some examples of that. So too are the workshops we have had on reconciliation and climate change. In the same vein are some worship themes and experiments. What all of these examples have in common is that we try, and if they work, great, and if they don’t work, we learn from them. Not everything has to take off and be exceedingly successful to be worthwhile. The most important thing is that we give it a go. You know, like putting it up a flagpole…and seeing who salutes.

Kirk Hadaway, in a book called “Behold, I Do A New Thing” calls this ‘creating a culture of permission giving” and says it is a fundamental dynamic of a church that seeks to be incarnational. “Creating a culture of permission giving” is another one of my favorite expressions though I tend to reserve its use to within the church. My outside-of-church friends always look funny at me when I use church-talk with them. But I can describe this type of ministry easily, let’s be comfortable trying new things, asking new questions, praying new prayers.

We have a couple of new endeavors coming up. On Wednesday, March 27 we are inviting anyone from our community to join us for an evening we are calling “Let’s Talk…and Listen.” It is a follow-up to the mental health awareness evening we held in January. This time we are going to be more circular (literally and figuratively) as we try to discern what being a supportive community means in the area of mental health. It is a tentative first step and we will learn along the way. But if you don’t try, you don’t know.

On Saturday, April 20 my colleague Rev. Nancy Finlayson will be hosting a spiritual development workshop called “SoulCollage” which may be an unfamiliar expression to you but seems to be exactly what it sounds like, a program of using the art of collage making to explore our deep relationship with God. Nancy knows this program well and is excited about sharing it with our congregation. More information about this, and all of our programs, is available on our website.

Creating a culture of permission giving also means that you may have an idea you want to see at Charleswood United Church. We’re here to help and resource you. We have space and time and means of communicating. If your idea for ministry fits with the overall mission of our church, then we are here to help you.

Will these programs work? Will they grow? Will they last forever?!? I don’t know. But I know this, we can put them up our flagpole and see who salutes.


Grace and peace,




  • Through the United Church of Canada’s membership in the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, an appeal for donations has been issued for the Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East. For more information and to donate please visit:  Humanitarian Crisis in the Middle East Appeal