December 2, 2021 Congregational Email


This Christmas will be a strange mix of plenty and scarcity, tears and laughter. Gifts may be limited by the scarcity of microchips. Green Christmas trees have become hard to find. I stood in line at the Boy Scouts Christmas tree lot for an hour, working on my Christmas Eve message with numb fingers. When I emerged victorious with my favourite Fraser fir, others in line clapped as I hauled it to the car. “It’s worth the wait!” I laughed back.

We’ve been waiting a long time for a gift of flesh and blood embraces, for singing and laughing without reserve, for maskless smiles, for reunions with those who disappeared into the COVID fog. Advent is a time of waiting and we now know how to do it well. Or not so well on some days.

In the midst of his interminable waiting, there are still full-blown moments of belly laughs. I was on the phone with a hospital emergency department in Victoria last week trying to find my Dad. He had been released earlier than expected and I asked them to tell my Dad to wait for my brother to pick him up. As my brother was on his way to the hospital, they called me, saying that Dad had already left in a taxi. I called my brother to change route and meet my Dad at his retirement home to pay the taxi, as Dad didn’t have his wallet. Five minutes later, the hospital called me again saying that they had found him sitting outside the front door. I could hear the crazy rat race of the emergency in the background, but the person calling was laughing apologetically. I could only join her in laughing with relief. In the midst of chaos, sometimes you just have to laugh. I called my brother just as he was pulling into the retirement home and asked him to drive back to the hospital. Fortunately, he is good natured.

We wait for the coming of God incarnate as we wait for the coming of hugs incarnate. Flesh and blood make a difference in our faith and in our friendships. And as we wait, may we do so with warm dose of humour. I’ve adapted a Hot Chocolate Prayer below that might warm your spirit in your waiting.




The registration will be open until the end of today for this Sunday’s service. PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE NOW REQUIRING PROOF OF VACCINATION UNLESS INELIGIBLE DUE TO MEDICAL CONDITION OR AGE (UNDER 12).

If you registered after we reached our capacity limits, Tammy will let you know and you will be given priority for the following Sunday.  Walk-ups will also be welcome on Sunday, if there is space.

If you have questions, please contact the office at 204-489-6974.



Proof of vaccination and masks continue to be required for worship, small groups and rentals.

The Safe Reopening Committee continues to deliberate on the delicate balance between safety and the lessening of restrictions as our situation and corresponding regulations continue to change. The committee recognizes that singing sends more aerosols into the air than talking. However, it also recognizes that singing is a crucial part of our worship, especially in this season of Advent and Christmas.

For the last two Sundays in Advent (Dec. 12 & 19), we will invite congregational singing on the last hymn only. This will limit the time that people spend with any increase in aerosols. Those who feel uncomfortable with this may choose to leave just prior to the last hymn. We will also provide surgical/medical masks at the front door for everyone who wishes to sing, as they are more effective than cloth masks.

For Christmas Eve, we will offer a choice of two in-person services, along with a pre-recorded intergenerational service (see details below). The 7:00 pm service will have only the choir singing while the 9:00 pm service will have our two choral scholars lead the congregation in singing. Surgical/medical masks will be given to everyone attending the 9:00 pm service. We will be fogging in between the services.

Not everyone will be happy with this compromise. Some wish to sing at all services. Others are not willing to take on an added risk of any congregational singing. Any public gathering entails risk, whether or not people are vaccinated and wear masks. While these certainly alleviate the danger, risks remain. Singing is one more risk that we will be mitigating somewhat with the wearing of surgical/medical masks and by asking people to remain seated. We respect your decisions as you choose what is best for you and your circumstances. We ask for your forbearance as we do our best to offer our praise to God in the company of friends.


 Advent Services: Live-streamed and In-Person

Dec 5:  Advent 2: Searching for the Child in our neighbours; Communion

Dec 12: Advent 3: Searching for the Child in our community. We will begin congregational singing on the last hymn.

Dec 19: Advent 4: Searching for the Child in ourselves with congregational singing on the last hymn.

Christmas Eve Services

Pre-recorded intergenerational service with Christmas pageant: “The Good News Goes Viral: Bethlehem meets Winnipeg” (available for viewing as of 4:00 pm).

Carols, Candles & Communion service: 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm (seating limited for distancing)

 NB the 9:00 pm service is the same as the 7:00 pm except that it will not be live-streamed and there will be no choir—our two choral scholars will sing solos and lead in the carols. There will be congregational singing only for the 9:00 pm service.


(adapted from the United Church’s Advent Unwrapped)

  1. Measure two tablespoons of cocoa powder. Taste its bitterness. Pray for some of the things that are bitter in your life and a little hard to take on their own. Pray for those throughout the world who are beset with bitter conditions of daily life.
    2. Measure and add 1–2 tablespoons of sugar or sweetener. Taste its sweetness. Offer a prayer of thanks for all the things that are sweet in your life and are perhaps best in small doses. Give thanks for the sweet news of life-giving, earth-blessing actions that individuals are offering around the globe.
    3. Add a pinch of salt. Taste its saltiness. Offer a prayer for moments of grace and clarity, experiences that bring out the flavour of life.
  2. Add a dash of spice—could be cinnamon, cayenne pepper and/or Garam Masala. Taste its spiciness. Give thanks for the challenges and new opportunities that add spice to your life. A little goes a long way.
    5. Warm some milk (or hot water, if you prefer dark chocolate) and reflect on when you have experienced the Holy in the past day or week. What has warmed your heart?
    6. Mix warmed milk beverage with hot chocolate mixture. Taste its rich, complex flavour. Give thanks to God for the gifts of life in all its complexity and enjoy.


2022 Stewardship Campaign

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the 2022 Stewardship Campaign so far.

We sent Stewardship materials to 277 households, and we have received 166 pledges.  The total amount pledged so far for 2022 is $298,983.  The total amount pledged for 2021 was $297,646. Included in this are new pledges from 6 households who had not pledged in 2021.

For the first time in many years a second mailing was undertaken to those who had not been able to pledge by November 5. This resulted in over $10,000 being pledged.

The Finance Committee will be using the 2022 pledges to develop the 2022 budget in mid-December.  If you have not been able to submit your pledge and would like it to be included in the 2022 budget, please have your pledge to the church by Sunday December 12th. The budget in large part is set based on pledges made so each pledge helps us better prepare our financials. If you need a pledge form, please contact the office at 204-489-6974 or .

Thanks again for your support of the work of Westworth United Church.

– Finance Committee


This week is the first week of Advent, our bible story is ‘Angels Visit’. Luke 1:26-38

 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, ‘Jesus is one of us’.

Come join us on December 4th from 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm for an afternoon of Christmas music, craft making and fun at Advent Cafe with a theme of ‘Ornaments of the World’.

 – Maggie

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 899 4698 7441
Passcode: 323063
+1 204 272 7920 Canada

Bible Story: Angels Visit
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:

 Travelling Youth Group

Travelling Youth Group will be meeting on December 7th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s United Church.


  1. West Broadway Community Ministry (1JustCity):

 a. Suppers at West Broadway: Thank you so much to all of you who have donate 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 support for the folks in the West Broadway area. Please email to arrange drop-off. Cheques to Westworth with “WBCM Pantry” on the memo line are always gratefully received.

  1. Socks and Mitts: Can you help? Many West Broadway guests are in dire need of warm winter socks and mitts. Your donations will be gratefully received at the home of J Please place the socks and mitts in the box on the front step at Jan’s home:
  2. Donations will be received from Sunday November 21through Monday December 13. Thank you for your support!
  3. 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. Please e-mail or phone Allan M I have noticed that there are very few turkeys in the stores and I personally have not seen any special pricing. If you become aware of a good supply or special pricing, please let me know and I will forward that information to anyone encountering supply problems.

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. Stay tuned for pick-up date. If you have any questions, please feel free to call. Thank you in advance for your support.



December is one of the holiest months of the year. Along with Christmas, there’s the Jewish festival of Hanukkah, winter solstice rituals, as well as spiritually significant days for Buddhists, Muslims, and Zoroastrians. That makes this month a good one to remember what unites us.

And it’s important we do. In October, Global Affairs Canada stated that, worldwide, the right to practise, choose, and change one’s religion or belief is increasingly under attack. According to the Pew Research Centre, in 2018 more than a quarter of the world’s countries experienced hostilities caused by religious hatred, mob violence related to religion, terrorism, and harassment of women for violating religious codes.

“I think we have a great lack of understanding of other faith traditions. Lack of understanding breeds contempt and fear. The more we understand and the more we talk, there’s a greater opportunity to break down some of the walls of fear. We can’t do that if we keep talking about us and them,” says John Dowds, City of Edmonton Chaplain in a film called Building Bridges.

The film is produced by the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, a Mission & Service partner. Your gifts through Mission & Service support the centre―the first of its kind in Canada―to hold interfaith celebrations, dialogues, and learning events. You can watch Building Bridges on the centre’s website, and faith communities are encouraged to host a screening. This is one way your Mission & Service gifts not only transform the lives of others but can also change yours for the better, too.

Karen Lumly Kerr from the Society of Edmonton Atheists speaks compellingly about finding common ground in the film: “We all have to learn how to cooperate and figure out how to get along…trying to understand each other a little bit better and finding your common ground. What things do you all believe in? What things do you all find important?”

“Look at my veins, they’re blue,” says Indigenous Elder Fernie Marty, lifting his arm slightly before the camera. “It’s so important to understand our own values and understandings and share them openly and honestly. When we don’t share who we are as individuals, the different cultures, it creates fears…. All of us have blue veins. That tells me we’re all royalty. We’re all equal. None of us is superior to the others. We’re all human. All created by the same divine being,” he says.

Each one of us needs to take a clear and public stand against intolerance and for love. During this month, which is so much about spiritual deepening for so many of us, let us take that stand. Let’s build bridges of peace with all of our neighbours.

Thank you for your generosity through Mission & Service. Your gifts support organizations that remind us there’s more that unites us than divides.


Gifts with Vision

Mamawe Ota Askihk – Share Life together Here On Earth – is a Cross-Cultural group supported by the Sandy-Saulteaux Spiritual Center near Beausejour, Manitoba! Your gift will support people with low or no income to take part in events offered by Mama Ota Askihk.

Celebrate the birth of the Christ Child and make a difference in the world through Gifts with Vision–with no excessive packaging and no exchanges. Select gifts online now or anytime and help save and transform lives without even leaving home. This year, we’re providing our widest choice of gifts ever on!


Calling all knitters who have knitted for the Christmas Cheer Board!

Please contact Jan M and she will pick up any mittens that are now ready.

Also looking for knitters for next year. Christmas Cheer Board will donate the yarn.

You can contact Jan



More Mini-Rummage Sales!

Thank you for your support at the last mini-sale.  We have two more planned to take place after services before Christmas

Please note – these small events are intended for “Westworthians” and are not being advertised to the public. (You can shop FOR your friends, but please don’t invite folks who would not normally be in the church on a Sunday morning.) This way, we will be sure of modest (comfortable) numbers and will have necessary contact information.


December 12th

Selected items include:

– Books and puzzles (new stock since last sale included)

– Jewelry

– Christmas decor and some gift items

Displays will be spaced out; prices will be $1 or $2 per item;   PLEASE BRING COINS so you will have exact change. as want to minimize contact points.



Your Westworth Council recently hosted a leadership retreat. We met via zoom to share information on the duties of the teams and committees as they exist, and the activities and obligations of each team or committee across the calendar year. These two group sharing sessions were invaluable in helping us to understand where teams operate alone, where there are shared responsibilities and where communication can be streamlined. These bits of information are invaluable in lessening people’s workloads in these ever changing times. The third session involved breakout discussions around Visioning for our congregation. Having learned from a consulting team that housing did not seem to be a viable option for the west portion of our building, a Visioning Committee was struck to explore other options. The input from the breakout sessions at the retreat will help to inform the work of the Visioning Committee going forward. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call a member of the leadership team. More council news to come next week.

In the meantime, our Community Care team is looking for greeters for Sunday mornings.  Past greeters are now required in the choir and are not available before worship.  If you think you can help in this way, please contact Dorothy R


– Dianne Sjoberg