I want to share some of your own words with you today. Below you will see a list of comments that came out of the last part of the workshop on Sunday facilitated by Sharon Moon. For those of you who were present this was the last "hat" we wore - the blue hat. When we were wearing our blue hats we were listening to what God wants for Aylmer United Church.
Sharon led us into a time of silence. Some time to reflect on the conversations so far and to go to a deeper place. The place where God meets us. The place where we can put away the busyness and the clamour of the noise around us, and be able to listen to what God is saying. This is what you heard God saying to us:
...let us continue to listen to God's voice as we continue the journey.
Good luck and thank you to all of you on Team Aylmer United Church for Terry! Hope to see the rest of you at church on Sunday.
God bless you.
Happy Eid to our Muslim neighbours! As summer holidays come to a close, and autumn approaches I have a sense of anticipation of something new on the horizon. It has been this way for me as September approaches for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up a new school year brought with it anticipation and excitement. A bit of anxiety too, but mostly I looked forward to the new adventures I would have at school with my friends. I looked forward to seeing friends I had not seen for two whole months, and to meeting new ones. I looked forward to a new classroom - clean and ready to go with a new teacher and a new curriculum. What wonderful things I would learn during the new school year!
I hope your summer experiences have left you both refreshed and full of lovely memories. Time spent with family and friends in some of your favourite places. Ready for new adventures and new learnings!
It has been fairly quiet around the church over the summer months. But one group has worked hard throughout the summer. The Strategic Planning Working Group is working on your behalf to ensure a sustainable future for Aylmer United Church. Next week, Sept 10 after church plan to attend our second Congregational Visioning Session called "Hats Off the the Future!" It will be a fun and creative time. We need your presence and your voice as we continue this important work together.
See you Sunday at 10:30 at Aylmer UC!
God bless you.
I opened an email from Wood Lake Books today (that's the company that produces our Sunday School curriculum The Whole People of God). It contained wise words. It began like this:
"Indigenous heritage is the thread that holds together Canada's cultural mosaic."
June 21 is National Aboriginal Day, when Canadians celebrate how First Nations, Inuit and Métis culture and people have contributed to Canada's national identity. It's also a time to recognize the injustices committed against the country's Indigenous population, such as residential school, which stripped a generation of the same culture that's being celebrated June 21. Check out the link to see some excellent information which I think helps us another step along the path of reconciliation.
Sorry tells the circumstances around the United Church of Canada's apology to Canada's Indigenous People in 1986 for its part in the residential school system.
And come to church on Sunday for the traditional smudging ceremony led by Ric Cywink. We are grateful to Ric for this cleansing and healing gift to our church community.
One more way we "draw the circle wide".
God bless you,
See you Sunday.
St Peter nailed it once again!
Last Sunday at our Pentecost service we were invited into a dramatic presentation when Jesus' friends had gathered as he had told them to to wait for the Holy Spirit. It was fun to "wwwwwhhhhhhhhooooooooooo!!" like the rushing wind and wave our Pentecost "flames of fire"! We could feel God's Spirit amongus.
Then Peter asked us these 4 life-altering questions:
He concluded with these words:
"All these things are possible for you. What it means for you, for your church, and for the world is your joyous challenge to discover! Are you open to the Spirit speaking to you and living in you?"
These are such good questions to ponder as we move forward with our strategic plan for Aylmer United Church. What are your thoughts as you ask yourself these question? Why not get together over coffee with a few friends and see what answers you come up with? Let me know.!
You never know what the Holy Spirit might be up to.
That's just the way of it.
Holy Spirit: Breath of Life. Wind of Change. Fire of Justice.
In the beginning God breathed in the grace of the new Creation - perhaps in astonishment of the beauty even more beautiful than God had imagined. Then slowly breathed out. And on that breath came life. God's breath animating birds and insects, animals and trees. The earth, the stars, the galaxies. And of course, those human beings that God had created for companionship.
God's breath, God's Spirit breathes on us and in us. Breathes through all creation - all our relations - giving new life each day. Always the same. And always changing. We never know quite what a day will bring. Each breath brings with it something new.
Today be aware of each breath you take. And remember that as you breathe you breathe in the breath of God. God, closer to you than your very breath.
Sunday is Fiery Pentecost. Wear your fiery colours to church! Let's fill the sanctuary with Spirit's fiery colours.
Wrapped in comfort, wrapped in love...
I think of how a newborn is comforted and calmed when tightly swaddled. I remember the consolation of being wrapped in a warm, soft blanket in times of sadness and grief.
Prayer shawls work like this.
1. They bring physical warmth and comfort.
2.The weight of it around the shoulders reminds you of arms encircling you with a hug.
3. The knowledge that it has been knit for the purpose of bringing comfort and surrounding another in healing prayer offers hope.
Our prayer shawl ministry is taking off. We are blessed to have a few people creating shawls and lap quilts to take to those who the pastoral care team want to offer a tangible sign of our care and support. If you know of someone who would benefit from a prayer shawl from our church, please let me know.
May this shawl be a sign of God’s presence,
May it warm you when you are weary.
May it encourage you when you are afraid.
May it assure you of God’s care and comfort.
May it remind you that you are surrounded by the prayers of others. Amen.
To learn more about prayer shawl ministries go to
"Pilgrims are persons in motion -
What are your plans for the long weekend? This weekend is Canada's unofficial beginning of summer and many of us have traditions that we look forward to all year.
Is this the weekend you put in your garden? Do you go camping? Open the cottage? Get out your bike or canoe? Whatever it is for you hope you find spiritual renewal in your activities.
If you stay in town I hope we will see you at church on Sunday morning. It is Pilgrim Sunday! Boyd and I are excited to share with you some of our experiences on our recent pilgrimage to sacred sites in Italy. Wear your pilgrim clothes - what would you take with you if you went on a pilgrimage? Where would you go? What would you want to learn? See? Experience? Whatever you do this weekend, offer gratitude for this gift of sabbath time.
What are you praying about these days?
Stop for a moment and think about this. What are you praying for? What is on your heart? What is God saying to you? What are you hearing from Creation? What is crying out to you to be heard? To be attended to?
Prayer is more about listening than talking.
Slow your breathing. Stop. And listen. The Spirit of wisdom and truth cannot be heard in the din of the too-busyness of life. This is why Jesus went away to a quiet place every once in awhile. So he could hear. So he could trust that what he was hearing was the voice and the presence of the one he knew as God of all creation.
What is God saying to you? How is the Spirit inviting you to be engaged in the life of the world? The big world - the big picture. Not just the details that clutter our days.
What does your community need from you? What does your church need from you? What does the world need from you?
We are the church. The church is the "Body of Christ". We are more than just keepers of a building. We are "the hands and feet of Christ", called to serve God in the world.
Blessings on your Lenten journey.
See you Sunday for worship and communion.
In late April, Boyd and I set off on a two week pilgrimage - a sacred journey in Central Italy. We will visit sites that are significant to the establishment and growth of Christianity. We will walk, study, sing, pray and have long conversations about what we will see and experience. We will examine our faith roots both personally and at a community level.
This will not be the first pilgrimage I have undertaken. I know from experience the thrill of seeing places where some of my faith heroes lived centuries ago. And I know the challenge of examining my own faith in light of new experiences and new understandings. It is hard work.
A pilgrimage is not something to be undertaken lightly. Our leaders know this very well and so have provided us with a 120 page study guide plus and extensive bibliography to help each of us prepare our minds and our hearts for this adventure. (Boyd and I also need to prepare our bodies with a little extra exercise before we leave!)
All of us going on the pilgrimage approach this knowing that while we will be visiting sites that are important to the birth of Christianity and Christendom, the world is changing fast and the "Christian empire" is disintegrating. I am both anxious and inspired to approach this journey from this perspective - a reality that reflects the world that Jesus lived in. We will seek through the ancient artifacts and stories for clues to the original message of Jesus.
Here is just a wee bit from our study guide: "We will trace the emergence of an official and imperial Christianity closely tied to government, and also hear the voices and examine the lives of Christians who emerged in the midst of, but also over against the 'great Church'. They called it back to living its origins and to incarnating the message and spirit of Jesus."
Please keep us in your prayer as we prepare for our pilgrimage.
It is just as sunny here today as it was in the Dominican Republic last week. Temperature is a fair bit different however!
I had a great holiday - very refreshing and restful. I needed that. One of the best things about travelling in my mind is talking to the people from the area I visit. We had many laughs with locals comparing Canada and the DR. Mostly about the huge contrast in our respective country's size and - of course - weather (it seems you can't be Canadian and not talk about the weather!) I love describing snow to someone who has never seen it. I love to tell them about the experience of walking across a frozen lake, and skiing in fresh snow. And I enjoy hearing what they love about their country.
When we share stories of our homes we connect from the heart. We connect with others at a very human level. We are talking about those things and people that make life precious. We realize that we are all pilgrims together on this planet, stewards of creation and intrinsically connected with each other. We are members of the same human family.
This became very clear to me last night when the study group discussed Chapter 6 Granting Forgiveness in The Book of Forgiving. I quote:
"All modern humans are related to what scientists call Mitochondrial Eve; this refers to our common matrilineal ancestor. She lived approximately two hundred thousand years ago, and depending on how you estimate the length of a generation, we are only five to ten thousand generations from one another. To put it another way, each of us is a cousin of one another at most ten thousand times removed, And yes, Mitochondrial Eve lived in Africa, so in a very real way we are all Africans, which - given the racist propaganda that has been put froward for so long in many parts of the world - is a bit ironic, don't you think?"
Desmond and Mpho Tutu The Book of Forgiving p.126
Something to think about as we move through Lent, journeying together as people of God.