As we approach the longest night of the year, we move deeper into the shadows. Some take comfort from the gathering darkness that wraps around us and quiets their souls. Others struggle with the diminishing light and find their spirits sinking. In only another few days, the light will begin to grow again, carrying hope on its wings. But for now, we wait in the lengthening darkness.
Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book Learning to Walk in the Dark, talks about the gifts of the dark even as it can unnerve us. Because we cannot see what lies ahead nor around us, we are forced to draw on our other senses and learn to see through what we hear, feel, taste and touch. Darkness takes us to another reality that may not offer comfort. If God is light, then surely darkness is the absence of God. But Taylor suggests otherwise: “Even when you cannot see where you are going and no one answers when you call, this is not sufficient proof that you are alone. There is a divine presence that transcends all your ideas about it, along with your language for calling it to your aid…but darkness is not dark to God; the night is as bright as the day.”
Learning to walk in the dark takes courage. It is easier to simply pull the covers over your head. But as difficult as it is to face our dark angels, they offer us a blessing of healing. In reflecting upon the biblical story of Jacob wrestling all night with his dark angel, Taylor writes, “Who would stick around to wrestle a dark angel all night long if there were any chance of escape? The only answer I can think of is this: someone in deep need of blessing; someone willing to limp forever for the blessing that follows the wound.”
Darkness can be a place of deep healing. Most creatures and plants need a time of darkened stillness to prepare for a burst of spring energy. If they don’t find this dark rest, they may not be able to thrive in the bright light. In the few days we have left before the growing light calls us out, perhaps we can turn off the lights and let the darkness hold us. Receive the gifts your dark teacher is offering and you will be better prepared to welcome the light, for God is the Creator of both the dark and the light.
Taylor concludes, “When we can no longer see the path we are on, when we can no longer read the maps we have brought with us or sense anything in the dark that might tell us where we are, then and only then are we vulnerable to God’s protection. This remains true even when we cannot discern God’s presence. The only thing the dark night requires of us is to remain conscious. If we can stay with the moment in which God seems most absent, the night will do the rest.”
As we approach winter solstice, may we welcome the gifts of the dark, even as we welcome the growing light. There, in the soft moon glow, we may find the light of Christ guiding us into a new year.
Sunday, Dec 19:
Please pre-register by today for this Sunday’s service. Will Lougheed and Loraine will have a dialogue sermon on “A Child Shall Lead Us”. Walk-up registration will be possible as long as we have not reached capacity. We will be given new surgical masks, and join in singing the last hymn.
For Christmas Eve:
Things will be a little different!
You should have received two pre-registration forms for two different in-person Christmas Eve services. They will both have carols, candles and communion. We will not distribute individual candles because of the increased risk of removing masks to blow out the candles. However, if you’d like to bring a battery-operated candle or use the light on your smartphone, we can create an alternative light during the singing of Silent Night.
The 7PM service will include the choir singing but with no congregational singing. The 9 PM service will include our soloists leading in congregational singing throughout the service. Surgical masks will be provided. Pre-registration forms for both services need to be completed by Sunday Dec 19. The Sanctuary will be ventilated between services. A pre-recorded intergenerational Christmas Eve with pageant will also be available for viewing at 4:00 pm.
For Sunday, Dec.26
Please pre-register when the form is sent out next Tuesday, Dec. 21. St Andrews River Heights will be joining us for an informal service of carols and their stories. Masks will be distributed for congregational singing throughout the service.
Christmas Service Registration Timeline at a Glance:
FROM WESTWORTH COUNCIL
As the world waits for the message of good news that the birth of Christ brings to all, we hope the people at Westworth find the hope, peace, joy, and love that we are reminded of by the advent candles lit each week. Christmas blessings to all of you.
STREAMED CHRISTMAS SERVICE WITH MODERATOR RICHARD BOTT
O Holy Night Christmas Service link here:
Thursday, December 16, 2021
United Church of Canada’s YouTube channel: YouTube channel.
This week is the fourth week of Advent, our bible story is ‘Jesus is Born’ Luke 2: 1-20
Zoom Sunday school now runs from 10.15am-10.30am. Sunday school in the church is from 10.45am-11.45am. in the little Lamb’s Room (Room 3). Our topic of conversation this week is ‘Birthday Celebrations`
There will be no Zoom or in house Sunday school on December 26th and January 2nd. Both Sunday schools will resume on January 9th, 2022.
A big thank you to Westworth Youth and congregants who worked hard to be able to present a virtual nativity play for you on Xmas Eve titled, `THE GOOD NEWS GOES VIRAL`.
Thank you also to Dorothy R –our play director and Peter Sim for recording and editing this play for us.
Stay connected through our Face Book page.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 899 4698 7441
+1 204 272 7920 Canada
Bible Story: Jesus is Born
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.
Bible Story is Available Here:
Curriculum is Available Here:
GREETERS DESPERATELY NEEDED
Sunday morning greeters are desperately needed to welcome congregants and visitors as they arrive on Sunday morning. The greeters must ask if arrivals are preregistered and if there are any health changes since they preregistered. If they have not already presented their Covid vaccination proof and are not on the “checked list”, this must be done by the greeters. It is a very important job to keep the church safe. PLEASE consider volunteering a Sunday. Greeters are needed for the Christmas Eve services and Boxing Day as all visitors (except those of the congregation already checked) will need to present their proof of vaccination.
Social and Ecological and Environmental Justice News and Opportunities!
- WEST BROADWAY COMMUNITY MINISTRY (1JUSTCITY):
a. Suppers at West Broadway: Thank you so much to all of you who have donated to the West Broadway supper program! We ask that you continue to support this vital ministry by continuing your generous donations for these suppers. Please write cheques to Westworth United Church, clearly marking “WBCM” in the memo line. Thank you!
b. West Broadway Community Ministry (WBCM) Emergency Pantry: Thank you for your continued support for the folks in the West Broadway area. The need is great and we ask that you continue your support of the Pantry program. Thank you! Cheques to Westworth with “WBCM Pantry” on the memo line are always gratefully received.
- Socks and Mitts: As a result of your generosity, Jan McIlroy delivered 18 pair mitts, 6 pair gloves,12 hats, 1 neck warmer, and 100 pair of socks to West Broadway this week! Thanks for your timely response to the needs of the folks in the WB community!
- TURKEYS FOR ROSSBROOK HOUSE 2021: Attention Wonderful Westworth Turkey Cookers, if you have not already done so and plan to cook a turkey for our annual Rossbrook House Turkey campaign, it is not too late. There now seems to be a better supply of turkeys in most stores, at much better prices than in the past month! Sliced turkey and gravy will be delivered to Rossbrook House on the 22nd of December. Please e-mail or phone Allan Mc if you have any questions.
A quick refresher: We provide turkeys for Rossbrook House for use at the youth drop-in program over the Christmas break. We are asking for cooked, sliced and frozen turkey in a well-sealed foil pan suitable for re-heating and frozen gravy in a container which you do not expect to get back. Thank you in advance for your support.
- CHRISTMAS CHEER BOARD KNITTING: For decades, Kay and her team of knitters have provided the Christmas Cheer Board with beautiful hand crafted warmth to distribute during the annual Christmas Cheer Campaign. This year our knitters provided 132 toques, 119 pair mitts, & a neck warmer. This is an incredible offering from this team! Thank you Kay for your years of dedication to this project. As Kay is retiring her needles, we hope others in the congregation will be able to step in. The wool for 2022 has been received and is ready for distribution. If this is something that you would like to help with, please contact Jan M orfor more information.
- MAKE POVERTY HISTORY MANITOBA!
Let’s Talk About Poverty in a Safe Space!
January 18th, 2022 I 7-8:30 pm I ZOOM
Why does poverty exist? What can be done about it? Join in conversations with other community members about addressing poverty in Manitoba. This event is ‘Kitchen Party’ style, where participants engage in conversations about tough issues with their neighbours and community through facilitated dialogue.
Register now through EVENTBRITE
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN OUR WORLD
We have more nativity scenes! It’s wonderful to see the many different kinds that people are setting up in their homes. Each one has history and meaning and all are different! Jan M and Marian Mhave sent in pictures of theirs:
“I won this hand made nativity scene at a Christmas Tea many years ago at St Andrews Anglican Church. It was done by a member of their congregation. It has become a family tradition.
– Jan M