Congregational Email Update
July 30, 2020
This will be our last congregational email until September. I will be taking 2 weeks holiday to see my parents in Victoria the first week of August and to rent a cabin in Nopoming Provincial Park the last week of August. The middle two weeks I will be taking study leave to work with an editor on a book about my sabbatical learnings last year on what makes churches thrive.
Staff will be working on grounds and building maintenance during the month of August. In September, we will move into Phase 2 as we reopen our building. Further information is below. A huge thanks to the members of the Safe Reopening Committee, who have put in hours upon hours of research, writing and editing the report to help us be as safe as possible when we begin to gather again.
Peter S. will continue to expand and improve our AV capacity so that we will be ready to offer in-person, live-stream and recorded services in the fall. July was a bit rocky as we worked out a few kinks, but the final July 26 service worked well, so we are making progress. Thanks for your patience and thanks to the Techie Team of Peter S., Bruce B., Kim O. and Ron B.
For those who are choosing to return to worship in the building as of Sept. 20, please be prepared for changes! We have put a “fun team” together, who will be making our church as welcoming and uplifting as possible in the midst of the restrictions. Some of you may not feel ready to return to church. You may not feel safe until there is a vaccine. Or, you may feel uncomfortable with the safety protocols that we are introducing. We hope that you are able to connect with our community through our online worship services that may be accessed through our website. We have found that these online services are also reaching yet others who cannot attend because of physical limitations. For those who do not have access to a computer, we are mailing copies of the congregational emails and sermons unless they have indicated that they do not wish to receive them. Please contact the office if you would like to be added to this mailing list.
These remain unsettling times and there are as many different types of responses to these changes as there are individuals. Some remain cautious and isolate while others are relaxing their guard. Our emotions are just as varied—relief, fear, anxiety, frustration, disappointment, hope, eagerness, anger. It’s a strange mix in a strange time. We are tempted to judge those who respond differently from us. I would ask us to try our best not to be critical of one another. We each have our reasons and our own stories. May each one of us, regardless of our positions or preferences, try to be open-hearted with one another. When we look at each other with compassion instead of critique, we are looking with the eyes of Christ.
May God bless you with kindness and joy during this month of August.
Condolences and Celebrations
Our condolences to Pat C. and family on the passing of her sister-in-law Joan C. and to Heather R. on the passing of her sister.
Congratulations to Tom & June M., who will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Aug. 26. Congratulations also to Gordon T., who will be turning 100 on Friday, July 31. For those who wish to join the car caravan to drive by the church on this day between 11:20-11:50 am, please drive from west to east so that you will be on the south side of the street beside the church.
News from the Safe Re-Opening Committee
Who says summer is all about lazy days and sunshine! Your Safe Re-Opening Committee has been hard at work preparing for the safe re-opening of our church building in September notwithstanding changes in the Manitoba government guidelines.
Here are some materials to check and dates to remember:
- “Because There is Hope Here: A Safe Re-Opening Plan for Westworth United Church” is posted on the Westworth United Church Website. You’ll find it under Home in the file titled Documents.
- A congregational Zoom meeting is planned for Thursday, September 3, 7:00-8:30 pm for those who wish to hear more about the plan, and still have questions. Below is the Zoom link https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81929612703 You may need the following numbers:
Meeting ID: 819 2961 2703
You may also connect by phone with this local number: (204) 272-7920
3. A training session for ushers and greeters is planned for Thursday, September 10 7-9. Thanks to all who have already volunteered for learning about a new modified volunteer role. If you are interested please contact the church office.
- On Sunday, September 13 we will have a “soft” re-opening for Worship where representatives from a number of leadership teams and worship volunteers will be invited to attend and make note of changes that will need to be made prior to the September 20 opening. This service will be live-streamed at 10:45 am and may be watched on our Youtube channel, accessed through our website. It will also be recorded, as per our previous services, and posted on our website.
- The church building officially re-opens on Monday, September 14. Remember this is a modified re-opening so you will need to call ahead to schedule a meeting before entering the building as the doors will remain locked. Westworth’s small groups may begin meeting in the church at this time. We will not be including rentals, outside groups or walk-ins during this phase.
- Finally, in-person Worship services begin September 20! Because of current Manitoba guidelines, attendance is limited, and pre-registration is required. Don’t forget to call the office on Friday, September 18 if you’d like to attend, and subsequent Fridays for future worship services.
We are all looking forward to re-opening our building, knowing that many things have been put in place to protect the health and safety of us all. However, we understand that some of us will not be comfortable returning at this time, and we totally understand. On-line Worship, Zoom meetings, and other means of communication will continue as we stay in touch with our church community and reach out to others.
Ushers and Greeters
Are you interested in becoming or continuing your role as a Westworth usher or greeter as we implement our Safe Re-Opening Plan? Your friendly faces and informed directions will go a long way to making the congregation feel welcome and safe as we begin to have in-person Worship once more.
Because the duties of Ushers and Greeters have been modified so as to be in line with Manitoba guidelines, we are asking all those interested to attend an information session on Thursday, September 10 from 7-9 pm at the church where we will “walk through” what will happen before and during worship.
If you are not yet sure about ushering or greeting this fall, and would like to hear the presentation first, that’s fine! We understand that everyone’s situation is unique and respect your decisions. We are also grateful to those ushers and greeters who are unable to help out at this time.
Please call the office ahead of time to register for this information session.
Thanks for your support.
Your Safe Re-Opening Committee,
Eunice P. (Chair)
Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd
August and Labour Day Weekend Worship
Please consider joining St. Andrew’s River Heights for virtual worship during August and September 6. You may access their live-stream worship services on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/St.AndrewsUnitedChurch/?ref=bookmarks or on their website: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQzSpXTylZ2B-L9WAcbB7cg
Emergency Pastoral Care
In case of emergency pastoral care during the month of August, please call Rev. Karen Lumley from St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church at (204) 250-5073.
Office Hours. Heather will be on holidays August 10-31. As of Sept. 1, Heather L. will return to work in the church building and will be available through emails or office phone. The building will remain locked during our Phase 2 reopening, but in-person appointments inside the church building may be made as of September 14.
2020 Pledges and Donations from January to June 30 received from identifiable givers
|M&S||$ 44,441||$ 21,998|
|Westworth Operations||$ 268,821||$ 141,805|
|Total||$ 313,262||$ 163,803|
Total of all donations from Jan.-June 30, including open plate, for the past 3 years.
2018 $141,512 2019 $156,715 2020 $163,803
Emergency Response-Covid 19: The latest figures from the United Nations predict that more than 250,000,000 people will suffer from severe hunger by the end of the year because of COVID-19. That’s more than double the number of people who are suffering now. You can help. Make a gift to the United Church’s COVID-19 Global Response appeal and help save lives. Make a gift today to help those affected by the pandemic in the Global South. Working closely with Mission & Service partners, the United Church and our members are helping provide food and other essential services to communities in crisis. Please be sure to note “Emergency Response—COVID-19” on the face of your cheque and send to: The United Church of Canada, Philanthropy Unit – Emergency Response, 3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4.
From Your CE Team:
Online Vacation Bible School: Join Julia and Maggie for Zoom VBS 2020, August 24-August 28th We will be having fun with ‘Avengers-God’s Game’: Superheroes of the Bible. We will be online with Zoom from 10.00am-noon each day. Contact Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org to register until Aug. 7. Maggie will be back in the office Aug. 17 and she can be reached at email@example.com.
Windows on the world!
The 88 existing windows being removed and replaced are for sale. They are $25 each or 2 for $40. Each is approximately 35” x 18”. They are in pastel shades of rose, blue, green and yellow. First come first served. To reserve yours send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include your name and contact phone. You will be contacted. They will be available after the installation is complete which is now scheduled for mid September. We are unable to store any unsold.
Prairie to Pine Regional Council Volunteer Opportunities
You have gifts and skills to offer! Your congregation is a vital part of the United Church, and there’s also a whole wider church world out there that needs your gifts. Every month in Prairie to Pine Regional Council new opportunities come up, and somewhere there’s a good fit for your interests and sense of call. From committees to short-term task groups, from finances to personnel to social justice, there is always a need for what you can bring. Have a look at the latest opportunities here.
Prairie to Pine Regional Council is the United Church in Manitoba and NW Ontario and carries a wide range of responsibilities and opportunities. The Nominating Committee is responsible for finding a good fit between people and needs. We would be delighted to talk with you further and help you discern. All questions are good questions and we welcome conversation with you.