Dec. 17, 2020
“A blessing speaks from God’s mysterious heart into our own heart, meeting us in our ache for connection and presence,” writes Rev. Jan Richardson, a United Methodist minister in her book Circle of Grace. Do we ever ache for connection and presence with our loved ones this Christmas! We know that light is coming, but how long, O Lord? That question cannot be answered. God will not hurry the time, but God can bless it. So perhaps the question is how can we survive—nay thrive—in this in-between time? How can we find blessing when we can barely find the energy for daily tasks?
Jan continues, “When blessings are spoken upon people, activities or objects, they help us become aware of the link between the sacred and the ordinary.” It is ordinary yarn knit into prayer squares and shawls that we bless. They do not change their ordinary substance, but they become infused with a divine blessing that touches others. Likewise, words or actions of kindness are infused with divine blessing that turns the ordinary into a sacred touch.
Perhaps it’s a renewed appreciation of the ordinary that can lead us into blessing. A second glance of care, a dropped sentence of someone’s despair picked up and reflected back, a follow-up on the Spirit’s nigglings of conscience. In these times, the boundaries separating the ordinary from the sacred become fluid.
As we approach the last Sunday of Advent, whose theme is love, and make our way towards Christmas, whose story is love, may we seek to be Christ’s vessels of blessing.
Previous worship services are still available for viewing on our website. Last Sunday’s service on Dec. 13 included photos from Westworth’s past to celebrate Westworth’s 70th anniversary Dec. 10.
Dec. 20: 4th Sunday of Advent, live-streamed at 10:45 am and available after this time on our YouTube channel.
Dec. 24: Christmas Eve service, pre-recorded and available as of 4:00 pm
Dec 27: Carols & Their Stories, pre-recorded service available as of 10:45 am. St. Andrew’s River Heights will be joining us virtually.
Jan 3: We encourage everyone to watch St. Andrew’s River Heights service at 10:30 am from their website. Go to What’s New on their Homepage and you will find a link to their service. Westworth will NOT be offering a service for this day, to give our online worship team a break.
Jan 10: Live-streamed service at 10:45 am with Rev. Earl Gould
Emergency Pastoral Care
Rev. Earl Gould has graciously volunteered to lead the Jan. 10 service and cover emergency pastoral care for Jan 7-13 so that Loraine and Nancy can have a retreat of renewal. In case of emergency pastoral care during this time, please call Rev. Earl Gould at (204) 888-1543.
Online Worship Technology Update
Peter S. writes, “Over the last few months we have had to make a very rapid transition to live broadcasting of our services. Preparing good quality video is complex and requires a significant investment in computer hardware. We have invested around $3000 in new camera, sound and computer equipment. This is well below the cost of a fully professional broadcast system that some larger congregations use.
Problems are still happening. We have had a number of recent services where there were problems with the sound and we have had to re-record parts of the service and post them on Sunday afternoon.
The source of the problem appears to be the software we were using. This was a free program which is quite sophisticated but support is not always reliable. I am now testing a new program which worked reasonably well last week. There was a problem with the sound being out of synch which can be fixed with a minor adjustment. We will test it out again on the 20th.
The services for Christmas Eve and December 27 will be pre-recorded so any problems can be fixed in advance.
Sunday School News
This week’s Sunday school lesson on Jesus Is Born has been sent by e-mail, it includes all the age groups from N/K to G5/6, with the activity sheets.
If you need a printed copy of the curriculum, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sunday school teachers will be on Zoom this Sunday from 10.15am-10.40am to chat with you. Then join Loraine for the online service following Zoom Sunday school.
This week’s bible story is read by Julia and The Lord’s Prayer read by Danielle, your Sunday school teachers are on the Westworth Face Book page for you to view, there is also a link in the CE drop down menu on our web site.
There will be no curriculum sent out for December 27th as we will enjoy ‘Snack around the Zoom Screen’ where we will talk about Xmas , and how we celebrated it this year.
Listen to ‘Hope is a Star’– a Sunday school favourite on our Westworth Face book page sung by Emily C., and a second version played by instrumentalist Kelsey N.
Zoom Sunday school Information:
Zoom Meeting is 743 937 1522
Pass code 042976
Christmas Office Hours: The office will be closed at noon on Dec. 24 and will re-open Jan. 4, 2021.
2020 Donations– all donations for the 2020 tax year should be received by Dec. 31. Thank you.
Should you require donations envelopes please let the office know and we can relay them to you through the drop off mailbox at the staff entrance.
Next Congregational Email
Will be sent January 8. If you have any news to include, please sent to the office by Jan. 6.
Annual Report Deadline Please have your reports sent to email@example.com by Jan. 10. Thanks for submitting your report so early so Heather can complete as much as possible before her retirement.
Workshop to Renew Energy
Need an energy tune-up? In these stressful times, it takes more energy to do even the most basic of tasks. Nancy P. will be teaching some simple exercises for balancing your body’s energies so that they can function optimally. The workshop will be through Zoom on Saturday, Jan. 16 from 10:00-11:00 am. To register, please email Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Outreach Team is grateful to all of you who have gone the extra mile this year to make this world a better place! Thank you for helping us in so many ways, to share Westworth’s Vision – “to be the hands and feet of Christ”. This Christmastide, we wish you Peace – and most importantly – Hope.
1. West Broadway Community Ministry:
a. Lunches and Pantry: Thank you to all of you who have given so generously to the Lunch and the Pantry programs at WBCM. Please remember that donations continue to be needed – particularly to the Pantry. Please make your cheque payable to Westworth United Church with WB Lunch or WB Pantry in the memo line.
b. COOKIES? COOKIES!!: If you have decided not to bake this year – because nobody will be at your house for Christmas —- or if you have baked, because what else does one do at this time of year – or – you want to bake but don’t know what to do with it — we have an answer for you! West Broadway is planning on a special “12 Days of Christmas” adventure to make the days just a little brighter in the neighbourhood. The Outreach Team invites you to share in the spirit by offering home baked goodies for the celebration. All you have to do is wrap any baking you would like to share (in a container that does not have to be returned, please) and leave it on the doorstep at 153 Overwater Cove on Sunday, December 20. The Wiwchars will gather the boxes and will deliver to West Broadway. Question? Just connect with Ruth by email email@example.com, or phone 204-889-2892. Thanks for considering this!
2. Turkeys for Rossbrook House: Wow! Thank you thank you to all of you who have cooked a turkey and made gravy for Rossbrook House! We are so grateful for your generosity. The guests and staff at Rossbrook will be fed well over the Winter Break!
3. 1JustCity “Just a Warm Sleep” 2020: This winter, with your help, Just a Warm Sleep will be a haven for those in need. The need is perhaps the greatest our city has ever faced. Thankfully, your gift today will have twice the impact. Every dollar donated today a donor will match, up to $10,000. That’s one whole month of 30 people resting safely, with some added bonuses this year.
We’ve expanded our hours as so many of our guests have even fewer options to stay warm. We’ll now offer 12 hours of safety and warmth overnight (instead of 10), open from 8pm to 8am. We’ll also offer a meal at intake thanks to our partnerships with TransCanada Brewery and Fionn’s MacCools.
You’ve heard us say that the numbers of women have drastically increased, so this year we’re adding a second security guard from our partner Bear Paw Security, so we’ll always have a female and male guard to care for all our guests’ needs.
The space will get a COVID-19 deep clean three times a day.
For 30 people to be safe and warm this winter, STARTING EARLY on December 24th, we need you to make a donation of:
$150 to cover everything we don’t have funding for: smiling team members, PPE, TP, rent.
$300 to cover dinner, so everyone gets to go to bed full of nutritious food.
$450 to cover it all.
4. Light a Candle for Love!: During the season of Advent the Outreach Team invites you to place a lit candle in your front window each evening to offer your support for essential workers. These include our care givers in hospital and in care facilities, educators and support staff, those working with marginalized people and folks working in grocery stores. Let’s shine lots of light during this blessed season!
5. New Gifts with Vision Catalogue Has Launched! Have you ordered you gifts yet? There are lots of great new gifts for our partners in Canada and across the world, along with some of your favourite projects from previous catalogues. The world has changed so much since this time last year, and some of the new gifts reflect that, showing how our partners are responding to the pandemic. Your gifts bring help to those who need it most. Shop the Gifts with Vision catalogue and help save and transform lives.