St. Paul's United Church, Walkerton, Ontario
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MESSAGE FROM YOUR MINISTER: MAY 28, 2020
This past week, we’ve moved quickly from frost warnings to heat warnings! The earth is coming alive with beauty: fruit trees are blossoming, flowers are in bloom, and bird songs fill the air. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is good to be alive!
I wonder how the disciples felt during the Feast of Pentecost, as they experienced the Holy Spirit, like a strong wind blowing through the cobwebs in their lives. When their friend and mentor was tried and crucified, they were probably feeling anxious and depressed. But they carried on, fortified by hints and glimpses of Jesus, suggesting something they couldn’t begin to understand. How did they interpret the cacophony of sounds, the gale force winds, the Spirit spreading like wildfire?
At times, we too are struck by the sheer force of Spirit, sweeping through us relentlessly in a rhythm all its own, blowing new life into us, like the rushing of the wind, invisible yet powerful. That pulsating movement urges us to step outside of our comfort zone and figure out what the gift of Spirit might mean to us today.
I know this is not an easy time for any of us, but we still have the opportunity to “see visions and dream dreams” (Acts 2:17). These words encourage us to feel the impact of the outpouring of Spirit at Pentecost. If at times we forget how to lose ourselves in the Spirit’s embrace, let’s return to the chaotic, joyful scene at Pentecost and allow the disciples to model for us what it means to be overwhelmed by the gift of Spirit. Perhaps when we recall their joyous exuberance, it will help us imagine the winds of Pentecost moving us forward on a path of spiritual revitalization.
Blessings on the journey,
FROM YOUR MINISTER: MAY 21, 2020
One of the lectionary readings for Sunday, May 24 speaks volumes in our current situation. In 1st Peter 5:6-11, we’re encouraged over and over again to “cast all our anxieties on God” and to be steadfast in our faith. We’re also reminded that we’re not the only ones experiencing hard times and that our suffering won’t last forever.
These words seem relevant this week, on the 20th anniversary of the Walkerton E. coli water contamination of May 2000. Some of you know firsthand what it’s like to live through a state of emergency. Every year, the closely knit community of Walkerton commemorates the 7 people who died and honours many others who were sickened by this outbreak. However, a leisurely walk through the Walkerton Heritage Water Garden not only commemorates the victims, but also reminds us that the water crisis brought people together and elicited so much help from the wider community. A visit to the Walkerton Clean Water Centre clearly demonstrates the resolve to learn from this disaster and ensure that it never happens again.
Many crisis situations remind us that safety has to be the #1 priority. As we consider our current situation, perhaps we’re aware that collectively we have the skills and resilience to move through the COVID-19 crisis and emerge stronger than ever. Right now, we know that the emergency order has been extended in Ontario. At the same time, a long journey of recovery has begun, with the gradual and partial reopening of some businesses. Somehow, we’re called to balance a sense of optimism with a sober reality check, reminding us that safety still has to be our top priority. We need to proceed cautiously, keeping a firm grip on our faith. Thank you for doing your part and working together to stay safe.
Blessings on the journey,
FROM YOUR MINISTER: MAY 14, 2020
This week is National Appreciation Week for Nurses, a fitting time to extend our sincere thanks to nurses for going above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Sunday’s lectionary reading from John 14:15-21, we are assured that the Advocate and Spirit of Truth will always be with us. Further, we’re reminded that we are loved and that is a constant. The word love is repeated 5 times in a few short verses!
Perhaps now, more than ever, we need to keep in mind the constancy of God’s love. With the restrictions that accompany COVID-19, many of us are experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety. Boredom is also an issue at times. But some readings on this subject suggest that these states of mind can be reframed and even serve as an impetus for self-examination and an inspiration for creative pursuits. We may feel confined to our homes, but we don’t have to be prisoners of 24/7 screen time.
Who knows, this might be an opportunity to reflect on new directions and to imagine how we go forward? In the hustle and bustle of pre-pandemic life, we may not have found time for introspection and assessment of where we are and where we want to be. I know that COVID-19 has brought much heartache, especially in long-term care facilities, and much stress for frontline workers. But there are scraps of wisdom that we can salvage from even the most traumatic times. Perhaps we feel encouraged by the words of Jesus. These words, addressed to his anxious disciples, reassure them that they will not be orphaned, for the Advocate and Spirit of Truth will be with them always. Such words of comfort act like a healing balm, reminding us that we are not alone, for help is always at hand.
With May 17 designated as Rural Life Sunday (also known as Rogation), perhaps we’re thinking about the many challenges faced by farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, Rogation gave farmers the opportunity to have their fields blessed, with prayers for an abundant harvest. Rogation processions were also meant to assist crop yields. Clerics were instructed to remind congregants to pray for a plentiful harvest and to give thanks. Certainly, a prayerful attitude of gratitude is also a gift in our current context. As we lift up frontline workers for their courage and stamina, let’s also include farmers. Their hard work and dedication ensure that we’re able to buy the food we need and we are thankful!
Stay safe and blessings on the journey,
FROM YOUR MINISTER: MAY 7, 2020
Happy Mother’s Day to mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and all women who have played a mothering role in our lives!
“God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them” (1 John 4:16).
Since Mother’s Day is this weekend, many of us are thinking of how we are/were blessed with mothers who loved us: nurturing us with unconditional love, saving us with their supportive presence in times of crisis, showing by faithful example how love can be woven into the fabric of our daily routines. The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly given us the impetus to appreciate our families and resolve to put love into action. On April 26, I watched the Canadian benefit concert, Stronger Together/Tous Ensemble, featuring many Canadian celebrities, including musicians, athletes, actors, writers and activists. They donated their time and talent for the common good: supporting frontline workers and raising over 6 million dollars in donations for Foodbanks Canada. This crisis reminds us what really matters: family and friends, not all those trivial things we might worry about from time to time. Every day, there are so many examples of selfless love: the ongoing sacrifices of frontline workers and the kindness of those who are helping their neighbours survive, by checking in on them and bringing them groceries.
It goes without saying that on Mother’s Day, we honour the legacy of our mothers and grandmothers, as we recall their reassuring presence and feisty spirit through thick and thin. Mother’s Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate the exceptional women who encouraged us and taught us skills that would last a lifetime. Maybe you’re thinking of the many women who have acted as guiding stars for you. I always think of my mother and grandmother, who showed their love in practical ways by cooking sumptuous dishes for special occasions and managing their household on a shoestring budget.
Perhaps we’re also inspired by the spirituality and creativity of women in medieval convents, like Hildegard of Bingen and Julian of Norwich. Hildegard of Bingen was a 12th century Christian mystic, visionary and composer of sacred music, which is still popular today. Julian of Norwich was a 14th century mystic and writer, whose optimism is catchy for even the most cynical among us. After surviving a life threatening illness, she wrote down her visions, assuring her readers that “all shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
This year, even though we’re not able to celebrate Mother’s Day outside of our immediate households, we still have the chance to honour the life stories of our own mothers, remembering their words of love and reminding us that we are not alone. As we read in 1st John, “perfect love casts out fear.”
Blessings on the journey, Rev. Cathy
You may think, without a full time Minister, that our We Care Team is not working - you couldn't be more mistaken! If you, or someone you know, would like to receive a call or a visit - simply contact the church office. The We Care Team is ALIVE AND WELL - and would love to see you.
Call or email - or join us for Worship at 10:30AM on Sunday
303 Jackson St, Walkerton, Ontario Canada N0G 2V0
Monday - Thursday - 9:00 AM - 12:00 noon
Friday - Office is closed
Sunday: Service at 10:30 AM
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Cong Mtg 2 June 2019 (docx)Download
Council Minutes 28 May 2019-redacted (docx)Download
Council Minutes 30 April 2019 (docx)Download
Council Minutes 26 March 2019 (docx)Download
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Keeping God at the centre, we will:
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