We hope that you are each keeping well as we all try to do our part to keep our social distance. It is difficult for those who are isolated and under enforced lockdown and we will try to keep in touch through phone, email and regular mail. Below is an update from our congregation.
We have been working behind the scenes to record an online worship service last week and were able to make it available on our website as of last Saturday evening. We had some difficulty with the links, but they have now been fixed. Click on “Online Worship—Fourth Sunday of Lent” on the home page and it will take you to the video saved in three parts (kind of like binge-watching worship!) We plan to continue with the same format of recording and posting for the next few Sundays and for Good Friday. We have tried to identify those who do not have access to a computer and we have mailed these folks the bulletin and bulletin, asking that if they do not wish to receive these to let us know.
Our Palm/Passion Sunday service on April 5 will include the voices of our children and youth recorded from their homes (thanks to Peter for this idea). We will also be celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion virutally and invite you each to have bread and juice prepared to share with one another in your home as you watch the service.
Council met last night and decided that, in light of recent provincial government restrictions, our building will be closed to the public until at least April 20. Staff will continue to work onsite or at home and are available through phone or email. On-line worship will continue at least through April 19.
Maggie Barnett has been emailing online resources to families with children. These include our online Sunday School curriculum and upcoming Vacation Bible School materials. The Spring Break VBS program ‘Avengers God’s Game’-Superheroes of the Bible is available as a Power Point presentation or can be e-mailed to any families that would like it. Please contact Maggie by e-mail email@example.com , if you are not receiving these.
We have a list of 10 volunteers who have offered to run errands or make deliveries for any who are unable to leave their residences. If you would like this assistance, please do not hesitate to call our office, as our volunteers are standing ready.
Volunteer Callers Needed
We do need more volunteers to help us call our members and adherents just to check-in with them. If you are willing to make some calls, please let Maggie Barnett know. She is coordinating our call list: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
We have purchased a Zoom license that allows us to have meetings and small group gatherings online. Participants need to have a smartphone, laptop or ipad that can video them. However, people may also join in by phone. If any Committee Chair, Team Leader or Small Group Facilitator would like to try this, please contact the office.
If you would like to offer prayers for others, please let Loraine know. She is setting up a confidential prayer circle and will send you prayer requests. If you have a prayer request, please email or phone . Please pray for the following, who have agreed to have their names included in this email.
- J* G*, who is back in hospital with pneumonia.
- John E* as he grieves the passing of his husband, Edward L*. Please also pray for John’s father, Tom and family as they all grieve the loss of Edward.
- Rev. Lt. Lesley Fox, who continues to serve overseas as chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces and is stationed in Britain. She is working from her home flat and the whole country is in lockdown. She writes, “It’s eerily quiet here, except for the sound of helicopters overhead and ambulances on the ground. It is very much like living in a war zone…I’m watching Canada, and am very proud of the way Canadians have responded and continue to respond to this pandemic and doing so quickly. The UK has been slower to respond, and we will have many many more deaths…I hope that you and the congregation are keeping well and healthy.”
- those from our congregation in palliative care and those in isolation
- health workers around the world who are risking their lives and working around the clock
- those who are sick and others who have lost family members
- those who have lost jobs, businesses and sources of income
West Broadway Community Ministry Update
- Volunteers are handing out approximately 100 bag lunches every day at the Broadway St. door. Last week, WBCM/1JUSTCITY staff have made the lunches and packed them with the assistance of volunteers. This week, WB will receive lunches on 2 days from churches that have commercial kitchens (we have to insist on this for the time being) and 1 day we will receive donated pizza.
- West Broadway has had 2-3 volunteers/day working with the staff to assemble lunches and hand out emergency food.
- There have been 2 volunteers/day working in the computer room/pantry area packing emergency food kits. People in need can phone ahead to ask for emergency food, and we will fill these to their specifications/needs. Also available are generic kits to hand out for those who do not/cannot phone ahead.
- Monetary donations are desperately needed. Donations for emergency food may made be made directly to West Broadway on their website: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/15537
A Pastoral Note from Loraine
In this challenging time of social isolation, we will do everything we can to keep everyone informed of what is happening in the church. Please let us know how we can support you and if you are able to help us support others. I am seeing generous offers of community care popping up everywhere, and this gives me hope. I believe that God will use this challenging time to give us even greater opportunity to be Christ’s hands and feet to one another.
To close this email, I offer you an excerpt from Kitty O’Meara, which I used in my sermon last Sunday:
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still.
And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
Remember to breathe deeply the Holy Breath of God that eases our fears and anxieties. We are all in this together and we will get through this together. Please call or email me if you need assistance and I will do my best to help you find what you need. With God, all things are possible.
1750 Grosvenor Ave.
Winnipeg, MB R3N 0H9
Westworth United Church (204) 489-6974 Ext. 20