Jan. 8, 2021
We are entering a new year filled with new hope of healing and health. But we have a ways to go before we can ease up on our COVID safeguards. If you find fear and anxiety beginning to set in again, or if you are dealing with other anxiety-provoking issues in your life, you may find the attached list of resources helpful. Recently, someone facing a major health concern asked me for scripture readings and prayers that would help them deal with anxiety and fear. I compiled a list of scripture readings, meditations, prayers, chants and a hymn that I have found helpful for me. Perhaps these resources may be your friend as well.
Hope does lie ahead. The light is coming. Hugs and singing are on their way. Dinners with family and friends will happen again. Travelling will open up. We can be certain of all of this. But in our certainty, may we release our grasp of it. We have much careful preparation to do in our society to make this hope a reality for all—especially those most vulnerable. And we need to stay as present as possible in this time of not yet.
I offer you a poem, written by one of our congregants who has asked to remain anonymous. It helps us not rush into the not yet, but relish the gifts of now. Not rushing and tripping ahead, cutting corners before it is safe, but staying patiently on the path we all must walk.
fog that lifts
rainbows that colour
music that soothes
ideas that inspire
books that unfold
friends who understand
cats that stroke
letters that touch
people who appreciate
fires that warm
soups that heal
lovers who embrace
eyes that reflect
cards that reveal
God, who love
you and me
New Year’s blessings of healing and hope,
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 Manitoba retreat of renewal. In case of emergency pastoral care during this time, please call Rev. Earl Gould at (204) 888-1543.
Canadian Foodgrains Bank – Our Thanksgiving Offering collected $1220.00 for the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to help end global hunger.
Sunday School News
This week’s Sunday school lesson on Jesus’ Baptism 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 email@example.com.
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.
Zoom Sunday school Information:
Zoom Meeting is 743 937 1522
Pass code 042976
Public Face of Westworth
The Winnipeg Free Press published an amazing story of the contributions of many Westworthians to the annual turkey drive for Rossbrook House. This is Westworth at its best!!! Thanks to the many congregants who cooked, sliced and delivered a turkey this year for Rossbrook!
Annual Report Deadline Please have your reports sent to firstname.lastname@example.org 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 and Strengthen Immune System
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 and help to strengthen your immune system. The workshop will be through Zoom on Saturday, Jan. 16 from 10:00-11:00 am. To register, please email Nancy at email@example.com
Over the Christmas break, a number of us were deeply moved while watching this YouTube version of the Messiah. It offers a postcolonial, feminist, queer critical performance of the Messiah within the stunning scenery of Canada.
We will be offering a debriefing of this performance on a Zoom discussion Thursday, Jan. 14 at 7:30 pm. Julie Lumsden, a Métis soprano in this performance, will be joining us. If you are interested in being part of this discussion, please watch the free, 1 hr. 20 min. performance prior to the discussion. Let the office know of your interest in joining the discussion ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) so that Heather can send you a Zoom invitation.
Here’s the link to the YouTube performance: https://youtu.be/5noVWnVp9fU
Here is a review from the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/21/arts/music/handel-messiah-canada-indigenous.html?fbclid=IwAR2h5t-0unYuogrGm6_QueOz3hybQFUftVK61w5f4s5g0c3CYhDCafL9Pqg
Being Black in Canada
Jan M., one of our newest members of Westworth, recommended this free 1 hr. CBC Gems documentary. It is a great follow-up to our fall discussion on anti-racism. It helps us to understand the insidious prevalence of anti-Black racism that permeates our Canadian society—one of the first steps that people with White privilege need to understand if they wish to be allies with those who experience racism on a daily basis. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnElRCTrMpw
If any of you have recommendations of books, documentaries, YouTubes, etc., pass them on and we will consider them for posting in a congregational email.
Estate Planning Workshops
A series of 3 workshops on Estate Planning will be held January 27th, February 3rd and February 10th
7:00-8:30 pm. The workshops will be held on Zoom and include informative presentations as well as question and answer sessions.
Presenters include retired lawyer Eleanor W., Philanthropic Consultant and former minister Norm V. and Rev. Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd.
Topics to be covered include Legal Aspects of Wills, Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives, Organizing for Death, Charitable Giving as part of your estate planning and the role of the Church in planning funerals; what the Church can do and what Funeral homes must do. More information will be posted in the bulletin next week.
To register please send an email with “Estate Planning” in the subject line to email@example.com . Please include your name and phone number. You will be sent a Zoom link closer to the workshops.
To allow for good discussions and question and answer participation there will be a limit of 25 participants.
2020 PLEDGES AND DONATIONS from January to Nov. 30 received from identifiable givers
|M&S||$ 44,441||$ 39,963|
|Westworth Operations||$ 268,821||$ 252,291|
|Total||$ 313,262||$ 292,254|
Total of all donations from Jan.-Nov. 30, including open plate, for the past 3 years.
2018 $257,496 2019 $281,509 2020 $292,254
Tinted glass panels: We have sold $875 worth of glass panels to date. If anyone is interested in buying the leftover panes or pieces of glass, please contact our church office. Thank you.
The Outreach Team expresses profound gratitude for the support so many of you have given to initiatives since the pandemic began in in March. In December, seventeen turkeys, cut and sliced along with gravy were delivered to Rossbrook House, and dozens upon dozens of home baked cookies were delivered to West Broadway to help them celebrate the “12 Days of Christmas”. The Pantry at WB received your gift of close to $3000.00! Your commitment to others in our community and beyond is truly inspiring.
- West Broadway Community Ministry:
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.
- 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.
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
Readings & Prayers to Help bring us through Anxiety & Fear
Compiled by Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd Dec. 2020
28 ‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’
6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
29 God gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint.
13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, ‘Do not fear,
I will help you.’
Psalm 46:1-3, 10
1 God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
10 ‘Be still, and know that I am God!
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
Sit comfortably with your back as straight as possible and your feet flat on the floor. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply so that you feel your diaphragm expand. Breathe out even slower. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Slowly, slowly. Deeply, deeply. As you breathe in, picture God’s breath of love flooding your body. As you breathe out, release fear. Breathe in slowly and breathe out even slower. Breathe the Spirit of peace into any places where you hold tension. Breathe out tightness. Slowly, slowly. Deeply, deeply. Breathe the Spirit’s healing energy into your abdomen. Breathe out energy that is stuck. Continue for a few moments with a body scan. Breathe in the Spirit of peace into any place that is tight or painful and release it on your out-breath. Slowly, slowly. Deeply, deeply…
…Now imagine that you are walking through a field of wildflowers on a warm, sunny day. There is a slight breeze. All is at peace. There is a little path you are following that meanders through the flowers. You walk slowly, slowly along the path, breathing in the smell of most earth subtly scented by wildflowers. Butterflies are fluttering around you.
Ahead is a grove of trees. Your path leads into the grove and you are now walking in dancing sunlight streaming through the branches. It is cool and refreshing in the grove. The maple trees wave their leaves while the speckled alder leaves shimmer as they rustle. The pine and spruce trees bathe you with the invigorating aroma of their oils. Breathe in deeply their gift that strengthens our immune system. As you stand still in the shade breathing deeply and slowly, you notice a deer silently watching you from a distance. The air is filled with the songs of birds as they flit from branch to branch.
You sense a deep gratitude welling up within you for God’s creation. You are at peace; you are one with God’s creation—you are one with God. And it is so very good. You find your worries and your concerns beginning to lift as God helps you to hold them. You are feeling the Spirit move deeply within you with every breath. You are also becoming aware of how connected you are to the rest of nature. You both give and receive in your intimate relationship with creation. Through nature, the Creator is giving you the inner strength and healing that you need to carry on. Breathe in deeply and slowly the renewing energy of nature; breathe out the stress and tension that block the healing. Breathe in deeply and slowly, breathe out even slower. Now, spend a couple of minutes of silence in God’s creation…
…It is now time to return. You begin to walk back through the trees toward the bright light on the path at the edge of the grove. You give thanks for the trees and the bushes, the deer and the birds. As you walk back onto the bright, sunlit path, you give thanks for the wildflowers nodding their blessing.
As you gradually come back to the room, you bring with you an assurance that you are not alone; you are held by the beauty of nature in the palm of its Creator. When you are ready, slowly open your eyes.
Prayer as a Chant
St. Theresa of Avila wrote a beautiful prayer that helps me stay in the moment and focus on God’s deep, inner peace. While the love of family, friends, students and church can hold you up, it is God’s love that can go deeply inside and help to release the tight grasp of fear and anxiety. It is this to which St. Theresa refers. She lived in Spain in the 1500s and was a founder of convents and a writer of mystical forms of prayer. She endured tremendous physical suffering and found a deep spiritual peace and union with God through this prayer.
Nothing shall trouble you. Nothing shall frighten you.
Those who have God shall not go wanting.
All comes and all shall go; God never waivers.
Patience shall bring us through what befalls.
God alone is enough.
The following hymn is written by a member of the United Church.
VU 82 “A Light is Gleaming” by Linnea Good
A light is gleaming, spreading its arms throughout the night, living in the light.
Come share its gladness, God’s radiant love is burning bright, living in the light.
When light comes pouring into the darkest place,
It hurts our eyes to see the glow.
Sometimes a word of hope reminds us of our fears,
our memories and tears.
When night is round us and every shadow grows,
A star is there to light our way.
It tells a story of Jesus who came near to say:
God’s light will ever stay.
And Jesus showed us a brighter path to walk.
He showed us things we hadn’t seen.
Now we, like Jesus, can help creation shine,
And this will be a sign.
So let us live in the brightness God has giv’n,
And let us rise to see the dawn.
We trust that God is here a-sparkle and ablaze,
Warming all our days.
I have found the following exercise inspired by Donna Eden and Prune Harris to help me.
Tap your forehead to bring your attention to the moment. Then place one hand on your forehead and the other over your heart. Breathe slowly, and keep the hands in place for about a minute. While keeping one hand over the heart, move the other hand to the side of the head with the heel of your hand over your temple and the fingertips touching the top of your head. Hold in place for a minute. Then switch hands, placing one over the heart and the other sideways over the back of the head with the thumb touching the nape of the neck. Hold for a minute. Keeping one hand over the heart, move the other hand to the other side of the head and hold for a minute.
During stress and in shock or emotional angst blood leaves the frontal lobe of the brain. Holding the forehead is calming and helps blood return to this area. Holding all four positions helps to calm the nervous system, allowing you to be more fully present in the moment. It can move you from the worries and concerns of the future to a place of gratitude in the present. It also helps relieve middle-of-the-night worries that keep us awake.