This has been a heavy week as we have sat with the news of the discovery of 215 bodies of children buried in a mass, unmarked grave at the Kamloops Residential School. You will find below a poignant prayer about this from our Moderator, along with photos of how our church is commemorating this travesty. How can we, as Christians whose denomination also ran residential schools, respond to this news? If we choose to be allies, our first step is to simply listen. As difficult as these stories are, we need to be able to sit in the fire and listen to their pain and the horror. The photo below shows the camp at the legislature in front of the shoes placed on the steps. When Nancy & I were there early Wed. morning, we listened to a woman standing alone with her drum, crying as she sang an honour song for the children. I’m still stunned and know that its full impact hasn’t hit me yet. The enormity of this travesty will grow even larger as we hear of additional mass burial sites at other residential schools—maybe even some of the ones the United Church ran. And that’s why our first step must be to humbly listen—not to try and fix things, but accept responsibility, even as we accept the benefits from the colonial system.
It’s a heavy load to carry, but not nearly as heavy as the pain we saw on Wednesday of family and friends grieving their missing children. Walking in solidarity requires humility, compassion and a resolve to do all we can to support initiatives that raise up the truth and work towards healing and reconciliation.
2000 years ago, Jesus risked ridicule, suffering and even death to walk alongside the dispossessed of his time and to challenge authorities who kept firm boundaries between the powerful and the powerless. May Jesus guide us in how to be faithful allies today. May he give us the courage to listen with our hearts and to unfurl fists that cling and resist into upturned hands that empty into prayer. May his hands be our hands, his feet our feet, his eyes our eyes, his tears our tears.
In hope of healing,
AFTER-CHURCH ZOOM CAFÉ
We will hold a Zoom Café after the church service this Sunday. This will allow us to see each other and have a brief visit after our long absence from one another. We’ll start at noon, to give the online worship team time to go home, for a maximum of 45 minutes. The Zoom link is below. If you can’t connect by computer, you can still call the number below to connect by telephone.
June 6, 2021
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 870 9198 1689
Dial 204 272 7920
NOTICE OF RETIREMENT
Debbie McLeod, our lovely Director of Music, has submitted notice of her retirement from her position at Westworth United Church. Debbie was recruited into her role 7 years ago, and she will be leaving us at the end of June, 2021. We wish you all the best in the next exciting and rewarding stage of your life, Debbie.
We will all miss you so much.
Ministry & Personnel Committee
TRIBUTE TO DEBBIE MCLEOD
Although Debbie’s announcement of her retirement as Director of Music came as a surprise to all of us, I have been worried about her burning the candle at both ends to juggle increasing responsibility for care of her grandchildren with her dedication as our Minister of Music.
You all know about her gifted musical abilities as choir director, organist and pianist. What you may not know is that she regularly has arranged our music and composes pieces from time to time. During this past year, she has had a few occasions to play with Dorcas during our online services and coach some of our soloists, but apart from that has not been able “make music.” Although this has caused her much sadness, Debbie soldiered on with a brave smile and took on weekly typing of the PowerPoint slides and researched copyright for all of the music. She and Gord also offered to monitor the soundboard with its limited feedback, which made every Sunday a bit of a guessing game. Still, she was most willing to help out and offered sound advice to our online team (pun intended).
I appreciate Debbie as a colleague not only of music but also of faith. Debbie has been clear from the very beginning of her ministry with us that music is in the service of worship, and not the other way around! Her deep faith has guided her sensitive selection of music appropriate not only to certain voices but also to certain liturgical seasons.
I also appreciate Debbie’s compassion and care for those going through difficult times, whether that be members of the choir, the staff or congregants. She has a heart of gold.
Lastly, I can count on Debbie for pulling out her groaner jokes right when she thinks we could all do with some levity.
We offer Debbie our prayers and hopes for a retirement that will be eased in demands and allow more time for Debbie to enjoy playing and composing to her heart’s content. Of course, we hope that Westworth might still be home for her and Gord—at least at some point after a well-deserved break.
Debbie and Gord—you will remain in our hearts and prayers.
ENHANCED AV SYSTEM
As we move ahead to improve our AV capabilities, a working group was formed and members are Allan M (Property), Julia S (CE), Peter S (Communications), Dorcas W (Worship), Sharon S (M&P) and Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd. The vendor will be selected shortly, after which time we will have further details regarding time lines for the start and completion of the installation, etc. We are committed to keeping everyone informed as the project continues. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact Peter S at firstname.lastname@example.org and he would be pleased to receive your messages and answer your questions.
UPCOMING WORSHIP SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS
Blessings of the Wheels.
Join Moderator Richard Bott in a special service celebrating the 96th Anniversary of the United Church of Canada. Richard is a creative liturgist who will lead us in inspirational worship. You are invited to have water ready for the service!
UNITED CHURCH UNION DAY SERVICE OF CELEBRATION
June 13, 2021
Open Heartedness in a Time of Closure
June 27—July 25
St. Andrew’s River Heights will be joining virtually in these services.
This week’s Sunday school story is ‘A Good Ruler’.
Keep checking our Face Book page as Julia will continue to read a bible story for you each week throughout the summer.
Join me and your Sunday school teachers for Blue Jean Sunday school, June 6th and 13th at 10.15am. Our theme this week will be about ‘Images of Jesus’. Then join the online service starting at 10.45am this week following Zoom Blue Jean Sunday school .
The bible story is read by Julia, and The Lord’s Prayer is 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.
The Bible Story is also available here: https://www.facebook.com/167751653256851/videos/176395321080423
Sunday School Zoom Information- Please note this is a NEW Meeting ID and Passcode
Meeting ID: 889 9495 5678
WEST BROADWAY COMMUNITY MINISTRY
Making a Difference at Home …..
The staff and volunteers at WBCM continue to work hard to provide coffee, snacks and a nutritious lunch each day for the guests at West Broadway. We are grateful to all of you who continue to assist in supporting this vital ministry. Plans are now being made for a special treat for Westworth’s June lunch. We will offer a BBQ like none other, complete with “gourmet fixings” (fried onions mushrooms. choice of cheese), choice of drink, bags of chips, and ice cream, along with giant cookies and fruit. Your generosity has made all of this possible. We are grateful to all of you who continue to assist in supporting this vital ministry. Cheques may be sent to the Westworth office with the memo line indicating “WBCM lunches”.
Thank you for your continuing support for the folks in the West Broadway area. Cheques to Westworth with “WBCM Pantry” on the memo line are gratefully received!
Making a Difference in the Community …..
Prayer for the 215
Pray for the families of the 216 children found in an
Unmarked grave –
Pray for the survivors whose wounds are once again
Laid bare –
Pray for ourselves so that we may act with compassion
And understanding ….
O God, we are grieving.
O God, we are shocked.
O God, we are horrified.
But, God, if we truly listened, we can’t be surprised.
The Elders and the Communities had already told
the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,
told the governments and the world,
the stories of the children, dead and buried,
unnoted by the settler systems,
but never ever forgotten by their siblings, their parents,
We grieve for the Indigenous children,
taken from their homes and parents by the government,
handed over to the responsibility of the Christian church,
the children who died under its care,
never to be held by their families,
never to be returned to their communities –
not only the 215 children of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc
and other Indigenous communities along the west coast and interior
whose bodies have now been found
on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds,
but all of those children
whose bodies have not yet been found
who died in any of Indian Residential Schools.
We grieve for the survivors of the Indian Residential Schools,
the children who did come home,
but were changed by their experience,
the children who grew up,
and have the trauma of remembering, again,
what happened to them.
Even as we give thanks for their families and communities,
who hold the stories of the children,
who have kept searching,
who keep searching,
we grieve that that search is even necessary,
that even one child was taken,
that even one child died,
that even one child’s death went unnoted by the system.
Help us to stop, to sit in silence.
to remember the names we do not know.
May their spirits have peace,
and their bodies be brought home to their lands.
Help us to take this grief,
and turn it into right action –
action that works for right relations –
action that works for healing and justice and hope.
don’t let those of us who are settlers
and descendants of settlers,
newcomers to this land,
let the horror, the shock, and the grief,
just be an outpouring of words,
or ineffectual hand-wringing.
Let this be a moment that changes,
a moment that transforms the brokenness,
that we might walk in right relations,
for the good of your children,
for the good of your world.
These things we pray,
in the name of the one who brought Creation into being,
in the name of Jesus, our teacher and friend,
in the name of the Holy Spirit,
whose wings spread across the sky.
Amen and amen. – Richard Bott, Moderator
Thank you M & S
True or false: The United Church of Canada was formed in 1925 in part so the founding denominations―Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational―could combine their finances to do more mission work in Canada and around the world?
If you guessed true, you are right.
From the very beginning, our United Church was formed out of a desire to come together and serve others like Jesus did. Through Mission & Service, we have been helping to save and transform lives, inspire meaning and purpose, and build a better world for 96 years.
Today, we are as committed as ever. Together, we turn compassion into action every day.
To put it simply, we help.
In Canada, we help people in need by supporting homeless shelters, food banks, soup kitchens, and refugee programs. We reach out to young people on campuses and through camping. We care for people who are sick or at the end of life by supporting addiction, mental health, and counselling services and hospice care.
Globally, we help people access clean water, food, and medical care. We support skills training and economic development. We help with peace-making and sustainable agriculture efforts. We provide disaster relief and advocate for the rights of those who all too often don’t get a say, like children and migrant workers.
We also support opportunities for people to grow spiritually in all kinds of ways.
Locally, we subsidize theological schools and education/retreat centres. We support events that promote spiritual development and personal reflection. We inspire new and innovative ministries, and sustain communities of faith that are remote or in need. Globally, we support church organizations that work with theological schools, offering practical training in agriculture and health.
It’s a win-win. We trust that when people are in tune with their meaning and purpose, they will naturally want to help change lives and make the world a better place for all.
Thank you for your gifts through Mission & Service.
Your support makes a world of difference.
Crestview United Church
Sunday, June 6 at 10:30 a.m.
On June 6th, we invite you to join us as we celebrate our church, Crestview United, officially become an Affirming Congregation. This service will include the presentation of the official certificate by Reverend Ken DeLisle, who will be representing Affirm United /(S’Affirmer Ensemble).
We are pleased to have guests participating in the service and there will be greetings from friends of Crestview United Church past and present.
Please find the You Tube link for the service on our Facebook page at www.facebook/crestviewunited
Little Britain United Church
Sunday, June 6 at 10 a.m. (Zoom)
Little Britain United Church in Lockport, Manitoba cordially invites you to our Celebration of becoming an Affirming Ministry in the United Church of Canada.
The Celebration will be held on Sunday, June 6th, 10 am over Zoom.
Our service, led by our Minister Beth McLean, will be a special time of music, greetings, prayers, readings and reflection.
Please RSVP to email@example.com if you wish to attend and we will send a zoom link to join our celebration a few days before the event. Wear your rainbow colours! If you wish you send any messages or photo’s, also send to firstname.lastname@example.org