October 28th, 2020

This past weekend I joined nearly 200 members from Mennonite Church Canada for an on-line study conference: “Table Talk: Does the church still have legs?”
It was inspiring and invigorating to listen, engage, and wrestle with questions about the church’s identity, mission, purpose, etc. especially during this challenging time of covid pandemic. Something I appreciated was Sara Wenger Shank’s observation concerning what church is NOT. She said:
“The church is not:
a membership list
a white Swiss German or Russian Mennonite Church
a black, Chinese, Ethopian or Karen church
an efficient, well-organized, smartly structured institutional church,
a holier than thou, separate from the world, tribal church.
Of course, we have aspects of all of the above in our ways of doing church – but none of these are what defines our identity as the church.”

How do you define the church.. the identity / purpose / mission of the church?
At this time when programs are being re-imagined, when we worship in-person and from home at the same time, when social gatherings are limited, we are invited to consider: “when this is over, what kind of congregation do we want to be? What do we want to say we have done? What is God’s calling for us now?”
May we wrestle deeply with these questions, listening for God and listening to one another.

October 25th, 2020

On this day we are all experiencing varied needs for healing. Let us offer our prayers for forgiveness, for healing and comfort:

Lord of life, we bow our hearts before you.

Mend broken relationships we pray, comfort those who live with mental distress and are in any trouble. Strengthen those who suffer and hear their prayers. Grant to everyone in distress mercy, relief, and refreshment; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hear us, O Lord of life.

Lord God, give mercy to those struggling at this time of COVID pandemic. Grant to all who are providing care for those living in hospitals, retirement residences, long term care facilities and at home, understanding and patience to support those who feel fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hear us, O Lord of life.

Lord God, pour out your healing grace on all who are sick, the injured or disabled, that they may be made whole. Grant to them a willingness to accept the support of others who care for them and awareness of Your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hear us, O Lord of life.

Lord God, give to those who are dying peace; surround their loved ones with strength and comfort; uphold those who are grieving by the Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hear us, O Lord of life.

Lord God, we remember before you the homeless, the destitute, and all who have none to care for them. Help them to know the love of your Son, who for our sake became poor. Grant that we may follow Christ’s lead in showing them love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hear us, O Lord of life.

Lord God, in this broken world where many are fighting for their right to be heard, valued and respected including Canada’s First Nations people, open our minds to the truth that you have created all. Grace us with voices to advocate and speak Your truth.. We pray for all victims of sexual violence, those who have caused harm…through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Hear us, O Lord of life.

Lord God, draw your Church together, into one great company of disciples, following Jesus Christ, serving in his mission to the world and together witnessing to God’s love across the street and around the world. Give us courage to share the gospel message; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Hear us, O Lord of life as we offer prayers for one another: Pour out Your healing and grace upon all those in long-term care. We also pray for those awaiting surgery or treatment.

We also pray for our Households of Faith.

We pray for deep measures of patience.

Lord God, you have heard the prayers of your faithful people. You are the Lord who does wonders. Grant us faith to believe; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Hear us, O Lord of life as we pray as you taught us:

Our Father…………….


October 18th, 2020

God with us, thank you for your presence in the dawn that comes every morning and in the darkest of our nights. There is no place we can go where you are not already present there. Open the eyes of our hearts to your grace that abounds each day and for all the ways you provide for us – enough strength and compassion, enough courage and kindness, enough faith and resilience.

We give you thanks for your son Jesus Christ,
for his sacrifice for us and for his teaching.
Help us to grasp resurrection; to understand its power,
to see its force at work in our world,
thawing the hatred within us, melting our hearts, birthing new life, transforming our human landscape.

As your disciples travelling the Emmaus Road, we too do not always recognize you;
Thank you that you walk with us in both the big events of our lives and the world,
and in the everyday events too.
Thank you that you are walking with your church,
as decisions are made, as safety protocols are implemented, as we discern leadership needs, and as we wrestle with what it means to be the church in this season of pandemic when we are not altogether. Through our very lives may we be witnesses to your healing presence, your reconciling presence, your ways of peace.

God with us, we thank you for your presence in doctor’s offices, clinics and hospitals. Thank you for your presence in classrooms, university residences, and places of business.

Thank you for your presence with the sick, with those at the moment of death,
and with those left behind to grieve. We hold in prayer those whose needs we carry deep in our hearts. We also pray for our households of faith: May their lives be filled to overflowing with love, peace, and relationships of support. We are grateful that we are not alone on this Emmaus Road.

Thank you for the ways your presence is revealed through the ministries of the House of Friendship: when the hungry are fed, when the homeless are provided shelter, when support and friendship is provided for those struggling with addiction.

Illuminating God, we wait for the moments where you are suddenly revealed
in the every day and painful moments of our lives,
where we say, wonderingly, “It is the Lord!”
Thank you for the times we catch sight of your kingdom come,
in the person of Jesus Christ, who taught us to pray…… Our Father

October 15th, 2020

Warm greetings!
O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good;
God’s steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

A new week has dawned following a very different Thanksgiving weekend!
I hope you experienced deep thanksgiving and that you are continuing to live into thanksgiving. Thanksgiving arises from our ability to recognize blessing and it is furthered through articulation and through action. Offering our thanksgiving to God and living into thanksgiving transforms individuals and communities.
Thanksgiving is the power that moves us from scarcity to abundance, from isolation to restoration, from violence to peace, from fearing differences to acceptance.
In what ways do you experience the transforming power of thanksgiving?
In what ways do you live out thanksgiving through your actions?
At this challenging time when fears can swell and we are navigating much change, let us live into thanksgiving for all of God’s good gifts!

“O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

October 11th, 2020

The following prayer is offered to the church by Carol Penner (with adaptation)
“Stumbling towards Thanksgiving”

God, in this hard year, we’ve been stumbling towards Thanksgiving.
There has been lots to trip us up;
a pandemic, economic meltdowns, social isolation,
injustice on so many fronts: #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo,
and the ongoing call for justice for indigenous peoples.
Not to mention hurricanes, forest fires and climate change…
and this is not even including the everyday sorrows
that haven’t let up for one minute!
We wouldn’t wish this year on anyone!
And so on this Thanksgiving, we stumble on the words,
and we need to take some deep breaths now to pause
and consider what we are thankful for… [ pause ]

We do have things to be thankful for.
Thank you for life, for bringing us here this far.
Thank you for those who have sacrificed to help others;
health care and essential workers, teachers,
and everyone who has toiled overtime to make a difference.
Thank you for your provision;
the good earth has yielded up its bounty,
that there is food in grocery stores,
even if we sometimes do have to line up for it.
Thank you that this fall season still delights:
the taste of the crisp delicious apple,
the gold of grain pouring out of the combine,
the fragrance of the damp leaves,
the sound of geese honking their way south,
the feel of cool wind and the sun still warm on our skin.

Thank you that we are your children, welcomed, loved, and embraced.

God of hope, we need your help to get through the coming year.
Help us find a vaccine: we need it soon,
we need it for everyone; and we need it to work.
In the meantime, help our communities pull together;
forgive us when we are irritated and judgmental
of the choices other people are making.
Give us all patience as we wash our hands for the millionth time,
as we mask up, as we make hard choices not to mingle and socialize in person.

God of healing and wholeness we hold before you those whose needs we carry deep in our hearts.

Hear our prayers for this week’s Households of Faith.

On this Thanksgiving day, we set our eyes on Christmas,
The world is waiting desperately for an angelic message
of good tidings of great joy for all people.
We are waiting for you to be born again,
born again in this pandemic year, born again in our hearts, in our world.
We know you are coming, and so on Thanksgiving

we pray with thanksgiving, in Jesus’s name, Amen

October 7th, 2020

“We remember the fish we had in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic.” (Numbers 11:5)

As we approach Thanksgiving, many of us have food on our minds: turkey & dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie. But leeks and onions? Not so much!
Two years after the exodus, vegetables were on the minds of the Israelites. There was much complaining. Their request was strange. They weren’t facing an imminent threat, Pharaoh’s army, starvation, or thirst. Egypt was years behind them.
Before dismissing the Israelites’ longing for cucumbers as mere whining, do you hear a deeper longing: a longing for home?
Our 8-year grandson recently declared, “I don’t like 2020!” Earlier in covid he was missing sleepovers.
What are you missing as we journey this unknown season? In what ways does 2020 feel like a wilderness journey?
It’s important to be attentive to our longings, especially when our Thanksgiving celebrations will look different this year.
For the Israelites, their longings were really the longing for home, whether back in Egypt or in a strange new world.

God with us, in the wilderness, your people learned that their real home wasn’t in a particular place. It was in your heart.
Help us to find our home there, too. Amen

No Friday Prayer this week. See you next Friday!

Holding you in prayer,

October 4th, 2020

God of grace, together we turn to you in prayer, for it is you who unite us:
you are the one God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit –
in whom we believe,
you alone empower us for good,
you send us out across the earth
in mission and service in the name of Christ.

We confess before you and all people:
We have misused and abused creation.
We have wounded one another by divisions.
We have often failed to take decisive action
against environmental destruction, poverty, racism,
homophobia, xenophobia, and war. We are not only victims but also perpetrators of violence.

In all this, we have fallen short as disciples of Jesus Christ
who in his incarnation came to save us and teach us how to love.
Forgive us, God, and teach us to forgive one another.

God, hear the cries of all creation,
the cries of the waters, the air, the land and all living things;
the cries of all who are exploited, marginalized, abused and victimized,
all who are dispossessed and silenced, their humanity ignored,
all who suffer from any form of disease and sickness including covid
and from the crimes of the arrogant
who hide from the truth, distort memory
and deny the possibility of reconciliation.
God, guide all in seats of authority
towards decisions of moral integrity.

We give thanks for your blessings and signs of hope
that are already present in the world,
in people of all ages and in those who have gone before us in faith;
in movements to overcome violence in all its forms,
not just for a decade but for always;
in the deep and open dialogues that have begun
both within our own churches and with those of other faiths
in the search for mutual understanding and respect;
in all those working together for justice and peace –
We thank you for the good news of Jesus Christ,
and the assurance of resurrection.

We offer our prayers for those in need of healing, hope and wholeness.

We also pray for our Households of Faith.

Open our hearts to love to see that all people are made in your image,
to care for creation and affirm life in all its wondrous diversity.
Transform us in the offering of ourselves
so that we may be your partners in transformation
to strive for the full, visible unity
of the one Church of Jesus Christ,
to become neighbours to all,
as we await with eager longing
the full revelation of your kingdom come on earth
as it is in heaven.
All this we pray in the name of Jesus who prayed that may be one.

September 30th, 2020

Today is Orange Shirt Day, the day everyone is encouraged to wear an orange shirt to honour the Indigeneous children who were sent to residential schools in Canada and to learn more about the history of those schools. Orange Shirt Day began in Williams Lake B.C. in 2013 at the Joseph Mission residential school commemoration event at which time survivor Phyllis Webstad told the story of her shiny new orange shirt taken away from her on her first day of school at the Mission.

As a congregation we have taken some steps together to learn about Canada’s history including the Residential School experience. A “Blanket Exercise” guided us through the story of our Indigeneous neighbours. WMC Book Clubs have read and discussed “Indian Horse,” “The Reason You Walk,” “The Orenda.” In December 2019 the WMC Board approved the following Land Acknowledgement Statement:

“We acknowledge with gratitude that we are worshiping on the traditional territories of the Anishnabe, the Haudenosaunee, and the neutral peoples.
We give thanks for the First Peoples who called this land home and for all the ways they cared for the land.
We give thanks for all who have made this land home. For fertile fields that have fed generations, for waterways that have provided food, and for trees that have sheltered and borne fruit, we give thanks.
As Anabaptists we strive to walk in the ways of peace, reconciliation, and justice with all peoples and God’s good creation.”

As we wear our orange shirts today and reflect upon our land acknowledgement statement which emerged in response to Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation recommendations, may we continue the journey of learning and unlearning, listening, responding, and walking in the ways of peace, reconciliation, and justice with all peoples and God’s good creation.