May 15, 2020
This week I am grateful. Thanks to the skilled facilitation of our Council Chair, Pat S., we had a good Leadership Team meeting last week via Zoom where we were able to talk about how to creatively continue our essential ministries at Westworth. The Team Leaders and Committee Chairs will be taking these questions back to their various groups as we all try to plan for a future that seems “unplanable” at the moment. I believe that our leaders left the meeting feeling hopeful, even if still overwhelmed by the mountain of unknowables.
These times are particularly challenging for those of us who live in the future. Trying to live in the now and allow the future to unfold in time is quite the discipline! Over the next couple of weeks, we will receive information and direction from our provincial government that will help guide us in our plans at least for the immediate future. We hope to have more news for you in a couple of weeks about Westworth’s unfolding ministry. Please continue to pray for wisdom.
What is clear is that we will be continuing at least our online worship for the foreseeable future. Peter S. has worked miracles, but as his work picks up again, he will need to step back from the countless hours he has been putting in each week. We are purchasing the final pieces of equipment that will allow us to live-stream worship, which will require significantly less hours. We need the help of someone with AV experience. If you are at all interested or have questions, please let me know!!
Next week, I will be on study leave as I work on a manuscript arising from my sabbatical last year. As part of this, I will be contacting the churches I visited last year to find out how they are maneuvering through this lockdown. Let’s find out how they continue to thrive! I am grateful to Rev. Larry McPhail, who will be leading in worship for May 24, and for Rev. Heather Robbins, who will be on call for emergency pastoral care May 19-25. She may be reached at (204) 889-7609.
With gratitude for the fine leaders Westworth has,
From your CE Team:
It rained!! We hope you feel free to visit our building’s stairs and sidewalks to recreate your art work, hop scotch games and terrific messages. If you haven’t had a chance to decorate the concrete, please feel welcome to do so! Need chalk? Contact Dianne S. at email@example.com and she will get some to you.
And the rain will bring flowers! To your doorstep! Traditionally our congregation, USUALLY our children, plant flowers in the beds at the front of the building. This year the flowers will come to the doorsteps of our young people’s families sometime during the first week of June. They may take them to the church along with trowel and watering can to plant in the bed to the east of the front steps, or plant them at home as a reminder that we continue to care for all of our congregants during these unusual times.
The Worship Team would like to thank those who have made it possible for all of us to continue worshiping with our Westworth Family virtually each week. Many hours have gone into the initial set up, the weekly set up, planning, rehearsals and production. We would like to recognize the contributions of Kim O., Peter S., Ray M., Christine T-S., Clarence F., Teresa S., Dorcas W. and Debbie M. Their time and effort ensured that we did not miss a Sunday without faith and hope.
A special Thank You to Loraine who has been the calm in the storm. Her leadership and quick thinking has kept our church going and flourishing while others unfortunately have not had the same. We have had many people from across Canada send notes of thanks for her messages during these stressful times. We at Westworth are very fortunate and thankful to have you leading us Loraine.
From your Outreach Team
Guaranteed (Universal) Basic Income Information:
Responding to the CERB (Canadian Emergency Response Benefit), fifty Senators on Parliament Hill, from across affiliations and regions wrote to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister calling for support of a basic income strategy for all Canadians.(see link: https://ubiworks.ca/50senators/).
After much consultation, on May 1, the Bishops of the Anglican and Lutheran churches from every region of Canada, from sea to sea to sea, also sent a letter to the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister asking that work toward a Guaranteed Basic Income be developed now. The entire letter can be read by clicking this link. http://www.rupertsland.ca/2020/05/guaranteed-basic-income-for-all/.
During their May meeting, the members of Westworth’s Outreach Team discussed grave concerns that COVID and its social impacts will only deepen unacceptable levels of poverty and inequity throughout the country, and that a new model of guaranteed basic income is badly needed. Although the National United Church is working on its own policy around a Guaranteed Income strategy, the Outreach Team realized that an initiative was needed immediately. At the behest of the Outreach Team. The Council of Westworth United Church gave support to their request that the United Church give support to the letter written by the Bishops. The Region approved that support. We invite you to read the letter to all communities of Faith in our Region can be found here: https://prairietopinerc.ca/action-invitation-support-universal-basic-income/
In their letter, the Bishops note that, “although the recent Canadian experience with the COVID-19 financial support programs such as CERB has been a positive start, gaps have remained. A Guaranteed Basic Income for all would ensure no-one is left behind.”
Racism and COVID-19
New Canadian challenges are arising this week from violent incidents of racism in Vancouver directed towards those Asian identity. The United Church has just released an analysis of how the curve of racism in Canada is rising with the curve of COVID. It reads, “While there is presently no vaccine against either…COVID-19 will eventually be eradicated. Racism will continue to mutate unless we make collective efforts to stop the spread.” The report then lists a number of concrete actions we can all take to slow the spread of racism. I commend this report for your consideration: https://shiningwatersregionalcouncil.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/COVID-19-and-Racism-Pandemic-SWRC-revised.pdf?mc_cid=67e7b99f7f&mc_eid=aa4c07e07f
Mission & Service partners responding to COVID-19
Community health educators demonstrate handwashing techniques at an agriculture cooperative in Cambodia as part of the response to COVID-19.
Credit: ACT Alliance/LWF
People of the United Church have asked how they can support our church as we reach out to partners and the vulnerable communities they work with during this time of pandemic. The United Church is now accepting donations to help support Mission & Service partners in the global South as they work to meet the needs of these communities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the communities are already living with hunger, lack of access to water, crowded living conditions, and limited health care. COVID-19 has further exacerbated these heartbreaking realities. To learn more and support this appeal, visit COVID-19: Global Response.