Summer is now fully upon us, begging us to slow down and simply be. The alternating heat and smoke force me to do no other. When I’m able to go with the flow and enjoy the garden harvest and back yard visits, I’m better able to welcome the pace of the season and in turn am better able to welcome both the gifts and challenges of each day. As I pick Saskatoon berries, I’m already tasting Nancy’s Saskatoon pie! As I plan a backyard BBQ with friends I haven’t seen for months, I’m already smiling with contentment. And this helps me to hold daily challenges a little more lightly.
We’re on the cusp of moving out from under the dark cloud of isolation, reuniting with dear ones, rebuilding community with our church and other groups and finding a new pace in a world that is reopening to something familiar, yet different. As we learn to negotiate the next stage in this strange time, we will encounter both loss and gain. Some of our loved ones are no longer with us. New people we have yet to meet in person have joined us virtually. We have staff changes that will bring both sadness of departure and hope of new beginnings. Our building will have a familiar feel even as we notice some things that are different.
Light is dawning, but we still peer through a fog of unknowns. As John 1:5 tells us, “A light shines on in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overpower it.” This is a time for faith, which tells us to open both our hearts and minds to what lies ahead. It will inevitably bring us both challenges and gifts; life is always a blend of both. To be able keep our hearts and minds open to heartaches and headaches as well as to marvel and delight requires faith to keep walking forward through the dizzying mists. Fr. Richard Rohr writes “Faith enlightens the path behind you, but as a rule, in front of you it is still dark.” But in this darkness, the light of Christ continues to shine, even if it is only a soft moon glow.
In our summer strolls, may we welcome all that lies in our path, for an open heart and mind welcomes also the light of Christ that will illuminate our way from within and give us the wisdom and courage to walk into the unknown with grace. While we cannot know what lies ahead, we can know, with Christ’s guidance, how we might encounter future challenges and pleasures. One step at a time, with enough pause to notice, to be grateful, to hold our worries a little lighter.
by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not, how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
and gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
With summer notes of song,
CONGREGATIONAL INFO SESSION ON ENHANCED AV SYSTEM
As promised in our original announcement in the June 3, 2021 congregational email, we are pleased to share that Inland Audio Visual was selected to complete our upgrade. First, we are presenting the information to our congregation, after which it will go to Council for final approval on July 13, 2021.
Please plan on attending a Zoom meeting on Thursday, July 8th at 7:00 pm where we will provide complete details of this tentative improvement to our AV system. Peter S and Allan M will present the details of the work that will be completed, plus there will be plenty of time for you to ask questions. The link to the Zoom meeting will be sent out to our congregants closer to July 8th.
Improvements to our system will provide us with:
Reliability: Changes to our current system became very apparent with our weekly Sunday worship service. We currently function with consumer-grade equipment that is basically held together with duct tape. We are unable to continue for much longer with this system, which means that we would not be able to offer live-stream worship or hybrid in-person and live-stream services going forward.
Aesthetics & Safety: Our chancel and front floor of the sanctuary are covered in cables and mics which present safety hazards.
Flexibility & Accessibility: An upgrade to our current system allows us to continue including people unable to attend in person due to geographic location or physical limitation. It also allows people from across the country and indeed the world to participate in services, funerals, weddings and workshops. We have gained a few new congregants and had some others return to Westworth because of the flexibility of viewing time and ability to watch from home.
Community Ministry: We would be able to continue connecting with our broader community so that Westworth has a larger presence outside our own congregation. It also allows us to offer additional services to the community for the use of our sanctuary.
Sound System Upgrade: We have an antiquated sound system that is sensitive to the slightest movement of wires in the music library. It is long overdue for an upgrade.
We are excited to share the proposed plans with you on July 8th. If you have questions, comments or concerns ahead of the meeting, feel free to contact Peter S at email@example.com or Allan M at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Budget for Enhanced AV System
Income already secured
$30,000 Prairie to Pine Matching Grant
$30,000 Westworth Fund, approved by Council May 25, 2021
$7,000 donations specified to help with COVID-related expenses
$400 donations for the Enhanced AV System
$1,600 GST rebate
$69,000 Inland AV Quote for equipment, installation and operator training
$5,000-$15,000 Sound Booth Construction (second quote will be received July 13)
Balance could come from additional donations and the Memorial Fund (balance at end of May $12,400).
Zoom Meeting on AV Info Session
Time: Jul 8, 2021 07:00 PM Winnipeg
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 839 1067 7651
Phone: 204 272 7920
AFTER-CHURCH ZOOM CAFÉ
We will hold a Zoom Café after the church service. We’ll start at noon 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.
Meeting ID: 823 4030 0192
Dial 204 272 7920
UPCOMING WORSHIP SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS
June 27—July 25
St. Andrew’s River Heights will be joining virtually in these services.
Nature collage of reflections, scripture & photos with soloist Christina Thanisch-Smith
Healing of body and soul with soloist Christina T
Spiritual power with Rev. Earl Gould and soloist Martin R
August 1-Sept 5
Westworth will join St. Andrew’s River Heights in their online services. The September 5 service will be recorded at St. Andrew’s and will be a joint communion service with Loraine and Rita S co-officiating.
This week’s Bible story is Lazarus.
Stay connected with children’s weekly bible stories on our Westworth website and Facebook page.
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 available here: https://www.facebook.com/westworthuc/videos/378884840331316
Making a Difference at Home …..
West Broadway Community Ministry (WBCM) Emergency Pantry: Because of your continuing support for the folks in the West Broadway area who experience daily food insecurity, we transferred $5235.00 to assist in keeping the panty fully stocked. Because the need for emergency food continues, we will continue to accept cheques throughout the summer months to support the Pantry. Cheques can be issued to Westworth with “WBCM Pantry” on the memo line. Thank you!
St. Matthews Maryland Garden Tour is going virtual! This year, the gardens you have a chance to visit are in the Scotia Street area. Check out the link https://www.1justcity.ca/garden-tour for all the information, including a trailer illustrating the beauty of the area.
- THE PROVINCE OF MANITOBA INVITES YOU TO SHARE FEEDBACK ON HOUSING:
The province is launching a new online survey to gather feedback from Manitobans on housing needs, priorities and solutions. Minister Squires says, “Affordable housing is a cornerstone of sustainable, inclusive communities, and our government understands that ensuring access to it requires collaboration between all levels of government, communities, non-profit organizations and the private sector. The feedback received through this survey will help us develop solutions to address housing issues in our province and we look forward to hearing from Manitobans.”
The National Housing Strategy (NHS) bilateral agreement was signed by the governments of Canada and Manitoba in 2019 to ensure families, Indigenous communities and vulnerable Canadians can count on long-term funding for community housing in Manitoba. The 10-year agreement will provide almost $450.8 million in joint funding from both governments to protect, renew and expand social and community housing, and will support Manitoba’s priorities related to housing repair, construction and affordability.
Under the bilateral agreement, Manitoba is required to submit a publicly available action plan every three years, describing how NHS funding will contribute to access to affordable housing. Manitoba Housing’s first three-year action plan for 2019-20 to 2021-22 prioritizes vulnerable populations and women and children fleeing domestic violence, supports home ownership and housing affordability, and invests in improvements to existing social and affordable housing including housing for urban Indigenous Peoples. The action plan is available on Manitoba Housing’s website at https://www.manitoba.ca/housing/three-yr-plan-2020.html.
Manitoba Housing is now embarking on consultations with the public and stakeholders to inform the second three-year action plan for 2022-23 to 2024-25. The priorities identified will build on those identified in the first action plan and help direct funding. Since 2016, the Manitoba government has supported the creation of 743 new and affordable housing rental units. During this period, the province has also supported home ownership for more than 220 households through partnerships with municipalities, non-profit organizations and other agencies.
To provide feedback on housing needs, priorities and solutions, visit https://engagemb.ca/mb-housing
Making a Difference in the Community …..
FINDING PETER BRYCE: STORY OF A NATIONAL CRIME
Finding Peter Bryce is a 20 minute documentary that explores the silencing of an early whistleblower within the residential school system. As sponsors of the documentary, Toronto United Church Council has been granted permission to share it within our United Church networks. We invite you to watch and share with your community of faith. Discussion resources are also available for those wishing to host a conversation. The video link is unlisted and we ask that you do not share it broadly beyond your community of faith as the film is available for purchase by other types of institutions.
BRANDON INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL MOBILE LEARNING CENTRE
The Brandon Indian Residential School Mobile Learning Centre is housed at Knox United Church Brandon. Community groups/schools/communities of faith are able to borrow it and host events. It includes 27 large format photos that span the history of the school and we have a variety of resources that travel with the centre. Those interested in it can contact Craig Miller at Knox, Brandon 204- 727-6975.
Here’s a brief article from when it was displayed at Brandon University: https://www.brandonu.ca/news/2017/10/13/brandon-indian-residential-school-mobile-learning-centre-on-exhibit-at-bu/
VACCINE JUSTICE NOW: ADVOCATE AND DONATE
As many Canadians begin to see the way out of the COVID-19 pandemic through vaccines, The United Church of Canada is adding a vigorous advocacy campaign to its COVID-19 Global Response and continuing to ask people to financially support global partners dealing with the ongoing pandemic. ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches, notes that Global South nations will reach herd immunity levels only in 2024, if ever.
The new chapter of the COVID-19 Global Response appeal asks people to
- advocate with the Canadian government for more vaccine sharing
- donate to the ongoing appeal
- show solidarity by buying a vaccine for someone in the Global South
Donations to the appeal support our partners as they respond to the increasingly devastating impact of COVID-19 in communities they serve with food, PPE, shelter, income generating activities, and more.
Last year, the people of the United Church raised $260,000 to support Mission and Service partners responding to the pandemic. This year, through the Canadian interfaith initiative, Love My Neighbour, people can also buy a vaccine in addition to sending a letter to their member of Parliament and the prime minister asking Canada to share a greater proportion of its surplus vaccine stock.
At the end of May, Moderator the Right Rev. Richard Bott wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging the Canadian government to “exercise principled leadership to improve vaccine access for people without immigration status and for low-income racialized communities here in Canada, and to take bold action to ensure vaccine access and equity globally,” adding “it is a moral and ethical imperative to ensure that people everywhere will be safe from the disease.” This will require our collective extended efforts stretching into the months ahead. (See the Moderator’s letter and an e-mail template to write your own on our vaccine advocacy page.)
This virus threatens every aspect of people’s lives, amplifying inequalities, destabilizing communities, and reversing progress made on the sustainable development goals in the past decade. There is no time to waste. Individual voices and individual support count. The pandemic is not over for anyone until it is over for everyone.