April 4th, 2021

In the joy and hope of this Easter morning,

we raise our Alleluias with fullness of heart.

Christ is Risen! Love is stronger than Death!

Alleluia!

In the joy and hope of this Easter morning,

we welcome you, risen Christ into our lives.
We welcome your resurrection for it is
life changing, life giving, and life sustaining.
We welcome the hope it brings to the world.
We welcome the joy that breaks through all darkness.
We welcome the empty tomb

for we know that it means you are alive, amongst us and within us.

In the midst of our Easter morning praise and hymns,

we know there are those who are bewildered and sad.

We pray for those who suffer from anxiety, loneliness, and fear.

We pray for all who stand in need of healing, hope, and wholeness and those whose needs we carry deep in our hearts …………..

We give thanks for your healing grace and celebrate. We pray for deep measures of comfort and patience amidst many adjustments.

Hear our prayers for our loved ones in long term care and families providing support safely distanced.

We pray for our Households of Faith. We pray that your love and grace will surround each one and that their lives will be filled with peace and deep joy.

We pray for those places and peoples in our world

where death and domination rule,

where imperial powers ignore the poor,

where war never ends,

where covid infections continue to rise

where children are hungry,

where parents grieve because they cannot provide,

where violence rages and death abounds senselessly.

We pray for those held hostage to addiction and chronic illness that debilitates.

In the joy and hope of this Easter morning,

we realize the depth and breadth of what it means

to be your Easter people.

For we are the ones who are called

to go into the places in our lives and world

to work for justice and life for all in your Creation.

It is up to us to bear witness to the promise of resurrection,

to hold those in despair,

and believe for them,

that Love is stronger than death.

In the joy and hope of this Easter morning, O God,

give us the courage to bear witness to and share your living Love

in every corner of our lives,

so that your peaceable realm will be so,

here on earth, as it is in heaven.

In the name of the Risen Christ, we pray,

Alleluia! Amen.

March 31st, 2021

As we follow Jesus into Holy Week, we sense the rush of the crowds and seek the deep, steady current of God’s steadfast love, calling us to deep hope in the One who comes in the name of the Lord.

God of passion and life,
this is a week of
conflicting emotions,
We have come to a bend in the river, a turning
in the narrative,
a juxtaposition of celebration
and impending sorrow.

We too feel the strangeness
of life sometimes weighed
down with the stresses of
pandemic life, yet dotted
with joy and hope.
We pray for moments
of relief, for times of
pleasure in life even
in the face of challenge.

Like a river in spring
that sometimes overflows
her banks, flooding the
surrounding lowlands,
may love and joy overflow
in the low places
in our lives. May we
delight in your never
ceasing goodness,
bubbling and dancing
like water flowing over rocks and obstacles.

Pull us deeper into your
current of life,
a river that is wide
with mercy and justice,
a river that carries
the full range of emotion,
a river that ebbs and flows
but never ceases.
Amen
(prayer by Wendy Janzen Burning Bush Forest Church)

Have a blessed Holy Week,
Pastor Kara

March 28th, 2021

               It is relatively easy for us to find someone to go and gather palm leaves to spread in the church today. And we can easily find music and a few good words to help us to remember and re-enact Palm Sunday. We remember how quickly we change. How fickle we are, how we pledge our devotion one moment and turn our backs the next. We go from shouting “Hosanna! Save Us!” to “Crucify Him.”

 We declare that we love our neighbors and then we turn our backs on the homeless and hungry in our communities. We speak up for change and justice in one breath, and then continue unjust practices in daily lives by what we consume and the needs we ignore.

What if we knew the imminence of the danger that accompanies You or sensed that the authorities were watching us as we worship, as they watched You. What if You arrived, inviting us to really lay down something important to us to acknowledge Your arrival? How then, Jesus, would we meet You today. And what would we spread before You? And how would we regard humility from the One we hope will save the world?

On this Palm Sunday, Jesus give us hope. Help us to see how and where You enter our world today, and what You ask us to lay at your feet, and how we may welcome You in.

Listening God today we raise our “Hosanna’s!” “Save us!”

God of healing and wholeness, we confess our need for you today. Hear our prayer for all who stand in need of healing, hope, and wholeness and those whose needs we carry deep in our hearts …………..

Hear our prayers for all who grieve.

Hear our prayers for our loved ones in long term care and families providing support safely distanced. 

We pray for those struggling with anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and loved ones who support them.

We pray for patience as we wait our turn for vaccination. Comfort all affected by covid, the sick, front-line workers, government officials, and those who grieve.

Hear our prayers for our Households of Faith.

As we journey Holy Week, draw near to us as we draw near to You. Amen  

March 24th, 2021

During this 5th week of Lent, like a seed that falls into the earth, we are called to deep growth. We are invited to release the attachments that prevent us from growing and producing fruit. We ask God to free us and renew us in the deepest part of ourselves – the soil of our hearts.
Let us pray:

Mothering God,
who created Earth
and formed
rhythms and seasons
and cycles:
I celebrate the
coming of spring once again.

As the warming sun
melts frozen earth into
mud and snowdrops bloom,
emerald moss invites me
to lay down my head
and listen to earth’s heartbeat.
Give me pause here,
God of mystery,
to stop and ponder
what lies beneath.

Do not let me turn away
from examining the unseen
places deep within.
What secrets are hidden there?
What wisdom have you planted,
what seeds of
transformation are just waiting
for the right conditions?

Make of me a fertile soil
where spring’s eternal
lessons of regeneration
might take root and grow:
death is not the end
of the story, but rather
the place of new beginnings.
Amen
(by Wendy Janzen Burning Bush Forest Church)

March 21st, 2021

Gracious God,
we come to you this Lenten season acknowledging our brokenness –

We name that which confines us:
prejudice buried,
fears and mistrust that weight us down,
distorted self-protection,
breaking us, breaking you.

We bow our hearts before you,

we come seeking you,

seeking to go deep, seeking growth, seeking to be made whole.
For you, God, put your love within us;
you wrote it on our hearts, that we may be your people.

Listening God, hear our prayers for those who weep,
those who are struggling from lack of
clean water
healthy food,
quality, affordable health.

Hear our prayers for global suffering due to covid pandemic, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized who bear the brunt of inequitable systems.

We pray for world government leaders and pharmaceuticals charged with timely and wise response. We pray for patience as we wait out turn for vaccination.

Compassionate God, we pray for our Asian brothers and sisters and all who have experienced racial violence.

We pray for all who experience violence due to gender.

We confess our biases that insight violence and division.

We come to you seeking to be made whole.
For you, God, put your love within us;
you wrote it on our hearts,
that we may be your people.

Compassionate God,
God of love,
We come to you tired and pandemic weary,
yearning for peace and harmony and refreshment.

Hear our prayers for all who grieve.

Hear our prayers for loved ones in long term care and their families providing support safely distanced.  

We pray for those struggling with anxiety, relational pain, loneliness, mental illness, and loved ones who support them.

We pray for our Households of Faith.

Lord Jesus, you taught your disciples that unless a grain of wheat

falls into the earth and dies it remains just a single grain,

but if it dies it bears much fruit;

as we prepare our hearts to remember your death and resurrection,

grant us the strength and wisdom to serve and follow you,

this day and always. Amen.

March 17th, 2021

As we live into week 4 of Lent, deep in the wilderness we hear God’s call to deep healing.
The wilderness confronts us with our vulnerability and exposes our wounds and
our needs. We are called to deep healing by trusting in God, who calls us in love.

Let us pray:
This has felt like
a year in the wilderness
O God.
A year of wandering,
sometimes utterly lost,
often alone,
facing challenges we
weren’t prepared for.
There have been thorns
and snakes
and wild animals,
dark moonless nights,
endless days,
and clouds of dread,
disorientation, and danger.

A year already,
of wandering
far away from
what was familiar,
of wondering
what lies ahead.
God, in this wilderness
save us. Remind us
Wild Christ, that wilderness
can be a place of ferment,
introspection, prompting
insight and transformation.
Teach us that
facing our fears is often
a remedy for our malaise.
Restore a sense of wholeness.
Heal our wounded spirits,
Reorient our lost souls.
Rescue us from trouble
and inject us with hope. Amen
(prayer by Wendy Janzen, Burning Bush Forest Church)

March 14th, 2021

God of healing and wholeness, we confess our need for you today.

We need your love and your grace. We need hope restored.

We need to be reminded that you work on behalf of those you love, constantly, powerfully, completely.

Forgive us for trying to fix our situations all on our own.

Forgive us for running all different directions and spinning our wheels to find help when true help and healing must be found first in You.

Forgive us for forgetting how much we need you, above everyone and everything else.

Compassionate God, we come to you and bring you the places we are hurting. You see where no one else is able to fully see or understand.

You know the pain we’ve carried. The burdens. The cares.

You know where we need to be set free.

We ask for your healing and grace to cover every broken place.

Every wound. Every heartache.

Hear our prayers for all who grieve.

Hear our prayers for our loved ones in long term care and for families providing support safely distanced.  

We pray for those struggling with anxiety, loneliness, mental illness, and loved ones who support them.

Listening God, hear our prayers for our Households of Faith.

All-powerful God, thank you that you are able to do far more than we could ever imagine. Thank you for your Mighty Power that acts on behalf of your children. We reach out to you and know that you are restoring and redeeming every place of difficulty, every battle, for your greater glory.

Thank you that you will never waste our pain and suffering.

We love you. We need you today and everyday in Jesus’ name, Amen.

March 10th, 2021

Tomorrow, March 11 marks the one-year anniversary since the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic.
How will you reflectively and prayerfully mark this significant date? Will you light a candle? Observe a few minutes of silence?
Just as celebration is so vital for our wellbeing, so too is lament, reflection, and prayer.
Sarah Bessey offers a prayer as we mark one-year of pandemic:

God, you hold our memories of this past year in your capable hands.
I imagine you’re weaving the moments that have shaped us into what will be a beautiful quilt, bringing all of the collective grief and the individual sorrow, the small delights and ordinary goodnesses, the moments we were afraid and angry alongside the moments when we felt joy and contentment, all stitched together with your grace for it all.
Wrap us up in the warmth of your love, knowing we are held, beloved, worthy just as we are in this moment.

We have been living in an apocalypse, Jesus, a true unveiling: help us to see clearly ever after this.
Help us to name and remember what we have lost, what we have gained, and where we saw you at work in this broken and beloved world. Help us to be gentle with ourselves and with each other, we’re still not done yet.
Help us to see the world more clearly and to love each other more particularly.

May we rest in that imaginary quilt of the totality of this year, be held by your grace,
your love, your faithfulness, and your tenderness with us.
May we always find you in the small ordinary things of our lives.
May we always see the world as it is now and always, and love it all the more for the very things that break our hearts.

And because I am who I am and I just can’t help it, Jesus, would you give us unexpected hope today?
May we be surprised with a moment of joy, a good meal, a deep breath, a bit of beauty.
May our roots go down deep into your marvellous Love. May we bear fruit even in times of famine.
May we be small outposts of truth and love together.
May we read good books, be gentle with our wounds, text a friend, or simply go for a walk with You.

May we know you in the silence, in the exhaustion and anger, in the grief and joy,
and in our humanity which you blessed and called good. And we ask for an end to the suffering
and for your justice to roll down, your healing to mend us, your love to hold us all even when we are in peace.
We love you. Amen.

March 7th, 2021

The apostle Paul addressed the church of Ephesus saying:

“I pray for you constantly, asking God,

the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding,

so that you might grow in your knowledge of God.”( Ephesians 1:16-17)

Holy Wisdom,

with a word you breathed creation into being

waterways and forest lands

starry skies and pasture places

snow capped mountains and soaring eagles.

The heavens declare your glory; the firmament reveals your wisdom….

We hear your invitation Holy One to go deep into wisdom…

And so we pray for your wisdom to discern your ways and path for our own lives.

We ask for your wisdom to discern how to live peaceably and justly with those we meet, live with, work with, drive our roads with, wait in line with, and worship with.

We ask for your wisdom in the difficult situations and barren places we may face as we go through life.

We ask for your wisdom in dealing with injustices in our world and courage to act in ways that bring restoration, healing, reconciliation. Forgive us when our actions create divisions, marginalize, and cause harm.

We ask for wisdom for our leaders in our world, our country, and our communities.

We ask for wisdom for those charged with rolling out vaccinations and for administrators creating policy amidst covid pandemic.

We ask for wisdom for our church leaders, worldwide and local.

We ask for wisdom for our congregational leadership and staff  – as they lead, serve alongside one another and faithfully strive to further your vision and mission.

We ask for your wisdom as we reach out to those in need in our communities and in our world.

We ask for wisdom as we minister to those who are lonely, isolated, loved ones in long term care and those we hold in our hearts ………

                We hold our Households of Faith before you God asking that you meet them at their deepest places of need. Bless them in their work, in the rest, day to day with joy and peace.  

                Holy Wisdom, enlighten us, transform us, guide us, and inspired by wisdom bring new life, new hope, new vision. We offer our prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen

March 4th, 2021

As we live into this week’s Lenten theme: “Deep in the woods: called to deep commitment” we offer our prayer:

Creator of all,
Tree of LIfe,
Spirit among us:
as we wander deeper into the
wilderness of this season,
searching for paths among the
woods, be our companion
along the way less travelled.

The forest is calling us:
come. Come, stand among us.
Come where light and shadow dance
as branches sway with the wind.
Come in wonder and worship, you
powerful and powerless,
come, children and elders,
come, from all directions,
come, learn the secrets of life:
dormancy and growth,
interconnection and community,
rootedness and reaching upward.

We confess our devotion to independence,
our belief we can go it alone, and
our me-first mentality.
Heal us from our short sightedness
so we might see the forest for the trees,
recognize our dependence on you
and our interdependence with all life
from mycelia to majestic pines.

Shelter us, O God, in the safety
of your strong branches.
Nourish and strengthen us, but
keep us humble of heart.
Tune our ears to your timbered voice,
and tune our hearts to praise.
Amen.

Have a beautiful day,
Kara
(prayer by Wendy Janzen, Burning Bush Forest Church)

February 28th, 2021

Covenant-making God, we give you thanks for the example of Abraham & Sarah and for all our forefathers and foremothers who have gone before us –

for those who waited in patience for your promises to come to pass –

for those who lived in hope while around them it seemed to be only darkness,

for those who forgot their own selves in their desire to obey your commands and respond to your call upon their lives.

 Gracious God, walk with us this Lenten season, as we practice self-examination and look seriously at our resistance to talk about suffering, the cross and about sacrifice; our reluctance to give up the things of this world – to risk our reputations, our comfort, and our security for the sake of following you.

Transforming God, make us bold in our faith as we live into deep commitment. Through self-sacrificial love and self-denial, help us make visible to all our brothers and sisters the reality of your power and care – that power and care that is so often made evident when we confess our weakness – and so often concealed from others when we are strong….. 

                Compassionate God, we pray for those whose needs we hold deep in our hearts….

members of our congregation who are facing health challenges, awaiting surgery, or treatments.

We hold in prayer our loved ones including family members in long-term care and residing in assisted living.  We pray for those who are grieving……

all those struggling with mental health challenges, isolation, anxiety, and their families

We pray for front-line and essential workers,

teachers, students and administrators rolling out ever-changing policies

and all those who are facing struggles, challenges, and emotional or relational pain…

               We also pray for our households of faith.

Listening God, we also pray for ourselves, asking for the stamina and resilience to continue this covid journey. Many of us are weary. We miss our family and friends. We miss routine and freedoms and yet we are aware that we each have an important role to stop the spread of infection. Continue to journey with us, providing enough patience, and strength, and bright hope. Refresh us for the journey ahead. Draw near to us as we draw near to you. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen 

February 24, 2021

As we continue to live into this Lenten’s theme “deep calls to deep” we are reflecting upon how God calls us to go deeper in our relationships.
Let us pray,

From the depths
of our souls we call out
to the Source of all being;
deep calls to Deep,
hear our cries.
We are born of water,
watery wombs hold us
then spill us out into
this world of light.

At times – like now – it is easy
to feel like life has us
in over our heads.
We are treading water and
growing very weary.
The vastness of the sea,
with no shore in sight,
waves and storms,
sea monsters, real or imagined,
all threaten us.

Buoy us, O Presence.
Preserve us from the storms,
have compassion on us,
embrace us with mercy.
Hold us, so that we might stop
our striving, at least for a bit,
catch our breath,
regain our strength,
find hope in our waiting.
Calm our weary souls
that we might find true rest.

And,
when the time is right
invite us to dive beneath
the surface,
down to the deep,
and discover the
treasure that awaits.
Amen.
(prayer by Wendy Janzen, Burning Bush Forest Church)

February 21st, 2021

Almighty Creator, Loving God,

                Every rainbow reminds us that you are in control of the earth, of nature, of the seasons, and of the end. Your Spirit enriches the earth with the gift of life to all creatures, including all the varieties of birds and animals. Help us to care for the environment so that the earth is a healthier place to live for our children and all the generations who follow us. Help us to live like the humble earthworms who leave the soil richer and more fertile after using it, so that your name is then respected and honoured by all peoples.

                We thank you for your Son, our Lord Jesus, who has taken all our sins, especially those we are ashamed of from our past, and paid for them on the cross even before we were born. Renew us to be more humble and loving like he is, so that we can be walking advertisements for you wherever you lead us in the coming weeks.

                By your Holy Spirit, help us to swim in and enjoy the waters of our baptism in the way that surfers love to live in the waters and ride on the waves each day. Let us live with a good conscience along with all your people who flock to the living waters on the shore of eternity, as we anticipate the resurrection we share with our Lord, Jesus Christ.

In your grace draw near to:

– those who are suffering due to isolation, loneliness

– those in need of healing.

– those who are in long term care and for those who can’t give company to a loved one in long term care.

We also pray for our households of faith.

               May the peace of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit surround, enfold, and hold all.

Send your Spirit to strengthen your children as they travel like backpackers over the earth, moving on each day a little closer to their permanent home with Jesus in heaven.

                Bless the work of those who minister to the sick and dying, to the people who are depressed and to those who want to give up on life here in your world. Watch over those who work in dangerous occupations to make the world a safer place for us to enjoy.

                Thank you for filling our deepest hunger with the bread of life, Jesus himself. Quench our deepest thirst through the wine of his suffering, which was too deep for us to drink. We watch in wonder and praise as we focus on him during this Lenten season. In these days draw us closer to the one who died for us, for his sake. Amen.

February 17th, 2021

Today, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent with its call to turn toward the cross and follow Jesus to death and new life.Today many Christians around the globe, including Anabaptists will be marked with the sign of the cross with ashes and receive the words “ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”This ritual is an act of repentance and a reminder of our own mortality. Our worship theme for this coming season is “Deep calls to deep.” In the coming weeks we are invited to go deep and to live deeply.This Friday and each Friday during Lent you will receive a “Lenten Guided Prayer”  which includes many options for reflection and prayer. It is my prayer that we will experience spiritual nourishment as we engage with Scripture and listen for God. You may want to take time for silence today to consider what other spiritual practices help you to go deeper with God and with one another.  In preparation for Sunday’s worship, please gather 6 stones which will represent our prayers for this season. We will be invited to participate in a reflective ritual during our worship service. May this season be rich with inspiration, listening, growth, self-reflection, and more.  As we begin our Lenten journey together, here is an Ash Wednesday Blessing by Jan Richardson

Blessing the Dust: For Ash Wednesday

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing
that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made
and the stars that blaze
in our bones
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge
we bear.

– from Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons

February 14th, 2021

Holy One,

we come before you,

many of us feeling like we have climbed just a part of the mountain,

and there is so much more of a climb left to even get to point

to dream that we might be dazzled by what is Divine.

                Lord, listen to your children praying……..

Holy One,

our loads are heavy with worry,

we are in the midst of a global pandemic and we don’t know when it will end.

Our loads are heavy with regret for words spoken, actions taken, and for things left undone that called for our attention.

Our loads are heavy with fatigue due to disrupted work schedules, virtual classrooms, isolation, and loneliness.

Our loads are heavy with despair for all in the world that is hurting, in danger, in bondage and more.

Our loads are heavy with illness and concern for loved ones who stand in need of healing, hope, and wholeness……

We hold in prayer those who grieve. May Your comforting presence surround them and hold them in peace.

We pray for strength for mind, body, and spirit.   We also pray for our loved ones whose needs we name ……..  

We also pray for our households of faith.

Lord, listen to your children praying……….

Holy One,

we trudge ahead, following you,

sometimes stumbling, sometimes stammering,

but with each step clinging to hope and praying…

breathing hard, hearts pounding, and yes,

even some of us nimble and skipping.

Release us from our need for tent building and pounding in stakes

that we may live vulnerably, open to your gentling and transforming love.

On this journey as our eyes are opened to see you as Savior and Lord,

help us to also see ourselves and one another through your eyes of grace,

to see all that is beautiful, beloved, worthy, called.

And may we in faith follow where you lead and be transformed with each step through Jesus our Lord. Amen

February 10th, 2021

February is Black History Month and so we offer our prayers…….

We bring ourselves into your presence, O God. To you we offer our prayers, our praise, and our supplications.

This month, we celebrate Black History Month and honor the culture of our brothers and sisters. We remember the legacy of those who came before us – who not only paved the way but carried the bricks on broken backs that then built that road. We remember the songs, stories, and fiery hope of old men and little girls, granny midwives and marvelous musicians, great orators and leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators – those who are earth-tone brown, black as night, fair like the sands of Egypt. We are kings and queens. We are descendants of royalty.

Lord, when it’s too hard living, we remember you are the great “I am” and our source of strength and purpose for each new day. Help us in our advocacy efforts to honor you with our work for justice, healing, and peace in our day. Help us as we labor for the end of hunger. Help us to stay educated and active as we read the unacceptable statistics that point to the fact that 1 in 4 African-American households is food-insecure as compared with 1 in 10 of white households, and that more than 1 in 3 African-American children live in food-insecure households compared to 1 in 7 white children.

God, help us to value diversity beyond variety. Help us value diversity with a vision for a progressive future that acknowledges our strength together as well as the power, creativity, ideas, and part that we all bring when we are all welcome – to come to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good.Help us labor on until we all can sing, for good and right reasons: Oh happy day! Amen. (Prayer by Kierra Stuvland)

February 7th, 2021

Sheltering God, we long for the day when all people will live in justice, love and peace.

We confess that the ways of justice often sound foreign to our ears.

We ask your forgiveness.

We pray from the comfort of luxurious homes while others live in the cold without a roof.

We pray with bellies well fed and nourished when many go hungry.

Yet too easily we throw up our hands  – feeling helpless and hopeless,

carrying guilt, because we don’t know how to fix the troubles of our world.

So we pray, free us from guilt and move us to gratitude and generosity.  

Thank you for the warmth of our furnaces,     

the aroma of dinner and the security of solid walls. 

Thank you for MennoHomes and other agencies that work for justice by providing affordable housing. Continue to bless them in service to our communities.

Thank you for our government leaders, 

give them courage to serve the poor and not the popular.

            We give thanks for health care workers,

            Protect them as they risk their own health for the healing of others

            Thank you for teachers, and parents with students learning from home,

            For creative planning and perseverance in patience these past weeks

–  thank you.

            As many schools  re –open tomorrow may reunions be joyful,

may classrooms be caring,

                        And may kindness for our fragile humanity be shared by all.

Thank you for this congregation, 

for healing prayer offered for one another,

for kind words shared,

for support arriving at just the right time   … all of these are gifts shared in your body, and given by your spirit to build us up as your people.

A people who long for the day

when all people will live in justice, love, and peace.

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

We offer all our prayers including those not yet formed, in the name of Jesus. Amen

January 31st, 2021

Lord Jesus, friend and companion, your first and lasting acts of healing, teaching, and restoring reveal to us the deepest desires of God and you invite us to take the leap of faith and join with you on the journey of discipleship. Embolden us as your disciples of healing and hope and hear our prayers.

We pray for all nations that lie under darkness and oppression; where governments are corrupt, justice rare, abuse rampant, and the weak and the poor have nowhere to turn for hope. We pray for the ministries of Mennonite Central Committee, Mennonite Disaster Service which our dollars support. May these agencies and others be your channels of compassion, justice, practical aid, reconciliation, and peace.

We pray for people in all places who are affected by disease including covid 19. Protect front-line workers and our most vulnerable loved ones in long-term care or congregate settings. Grant wisdom to scientists and pharmaceuticals who continue to develop and roll out vaccines. Cast out the evil spirits of greed, inequitable practices, and selfishness. May compassion, equality, collaborative relationships flow generously.

God of life, we pray for households and places where food is scarce and hunger is deep. Bless the ministry of Wellesley’s Food Cupboard whose calling is greater than providing food; whose calling includes build healthy community.

God of compassion, hear our prayers for those who suffer due to neglect, illness, sorrow, grief or anger. Heal our bodies and the deepest places of our hearts and set us free from pain and disappointment that keeps us bound and robs us of fullness of life.  We pray for families supporting loved ones from a distance due to covid restrictions and we pray for those awaiting treatment or surgery.

                We also pray for our Households of Faith. We pray for continued health, contentment day to day, and meaningful connections with family and friends.

God of the church, we pray for the ministries of MCEC, the ministries of this congregation, its leadership and continued faithful stewardship. In response to your great gifts, we yearn to be generous people, freed from the fear of scarcity but rather living abundantly in your grace. Be with us today as we take steps to further the vision you have graced us with as your holy and called people.

God of the journey, give us strength and wisdom for each daily decision which contributes to a lifetime of faithful discipleship. Grace us with your peace, your hope, your joy, and your love and may we be generous to share these your gifts in Jesus name. Amen  

January 27th, 2021

We are trusting that 2021 will usher in a season of healing. Watching for signs of light that break through the darkness, we give thanks that vaccines have been approved and are being distributed amongst our most vulnerable and front-line workers.
Let us pray:
Loving and compassionate God,
Lord of all health and wholeness,
we are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Thank you for your miracle of healing.
You gift our bodies with incredible means of protection and repair,
immune systems that shield and heal us,
wounds that heal, bones that knit, tissues that repair themselves.
Thank you for your miracle of healing.
You gift our world with plants and herbs that cure our diseases.
They provide our medicines and pain killers,
They form the basis of our antibiotics and antiseptics.
Thank you for your miracle of healing.
You gift us with the wonder of preventative health.
Masks that protect us and others from infection.
Water and soap to cleanse our hands and the surfaces we touch.
Thank you for your miracle of healing.
You gift us with the power to reconcile and be reconciled.
Ways to bridge bridges and not walls,
Ways to listen and learn and seek forgiveness for the wounds we have inflicted.
Thank you for your miracle of healing.
(pause as you bring to mind times when you have experienced God’s healing presence.)
Scripture readings: choose from the following:
Psalm 139, Exodus 1: 22-27, Matthew 8: 14-17, James 5: 13-16.
This Sunday’s worship text is Mark 1: 21-28
(pause to pray for those who are in need of healing.)
God of health, God of wholeness, God of love,
Heal our bodies, Heal our souls, Heal our spirits, Heal our world.
May we embrace this week knowing we are touched by the God who heals. Amen
(this prayer was adapted from a resource from godspacelight.com)

January 24th, 2021

God of Life, we are the church united as we pray from different locations,
connected through something more marvellous than technology–
your Spirit filling us with life and hope and vision.

We come before you with thanksgiving.

Thank you for the many kindnesses we have experienced
in this time of physical distancing:

neighbours connecting with one another,

some households learning about togetherness,
others learning new quieter rhythms.

Thank you for the joy of good food, the beauty of music.

this winter season which delights with its 

Pink-hued sunsets, icy patches for skating, and the brilliance of cardinals.

We thank you for sustaining life deep in the root systems of barren trees which in due season will bring forth new life… In this winter season, we give thanks there is new life even now that waits to be….  

As we offer our thanks we also come together with lament;

this virus has caused so much loss of life around the world.
So many suffer, so many families grieve,
10 months in and we are weary and we don’t know when it will end.
We lament the financial burdens of this pandemic,
and that it has fallen heavily on the poorest,
with inequalities standing out more sharply than usual.

We lament the loneliness and fear experienced

amongst the most vulnerable especially those who reside long-term care.

We lament that children are not in classrooms,

and how deeply they are missing their friends and routines.

Listening God, we pray for front-line and essential workers.

Keep them safe and strong, fill them with extra measures of compassion

As they care for the sick and families at a distance.

Strengthen parents who are home schooling while juggling work loads.

We pray for government officials and local health units

working hard to get immunizations into people’s arms.

Grant us all the grace of waiting our turn,

the grace of gentleness amidst challenging time, the grace of loving kindness toward one another.

We pray for our congregational leadership, treasurers,

And Stewardship and Finance committee as

we prepare for our annual financial meeting next week.

Generous God, we thank you that you have unleashed

generosity amongst us in order to further your mission.

We pray your blessing upon the ministries of this congregation

and the finances that support each one.  

May we be wise stewards of all that you have blessed us with.

God of comfort hear our prayer for the sick, the weak, the lonely, the grieving and all who stand in a place of need. And all of our loved ones who reside in long-term care or congregate settings. Keep them safe, encourage their spirits, protect them and surround them with loving kindness.  Grant grace and strength to their families at this difficult time.  We pray for those whose needs we carry in our hearts. We pray for families supporting loved ones from a distance due to covid restrictions. May connections be meaningful and care run deep.

                We also pray for our Households of Faith.

                Fill their hearts and home with your love and grace and encourage them each new day. Keep them safe and well.

                Encourage them we pray as they look forward to the time when they can be together again with family and friends. Keep them safe and well.

Fill them with peace and care for them and their family as they cope with school and work. Keep them safe and well.

 Jesus, walk with us this week. We trust in you, because you have been with us, showing us the faithful path in good times and bad, We are grateful you are faithful to remain with us. Amen.

January 20th, 2021

“Abide in my love and you shall bear much fruit” (John 15:5-9)

This year’s “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” focus includes these words of Jesus, spoken prior to his passion.
It is the great desire of God, expressed by Jesus, that we might come to him and abide in him.
Jesus waits for us tirelessly, hoping that, united to him in love, we will bear fruit that will bring life to all.
Faced with the difference of ‘the other’, we risk withdrawing into ourselves and seeing only that which separates us.

As we pray let us remember the call of Christ. May we turn to his love, to Jesus who is the centre of our life
for the path of unity begins in our intimate relationship with God.

In peace let us pray: Lord, you are the vinedresser who cares for us with love. You call on us to see the beauty of each branch united to the vine, the beauty of each person. And yet, too often the differences in others make us afraid. We withdraw into ourselves. Our trust in you is forsaken. Enmity develops between us. Come and direct our hearts toward you once again. Grant us to live from your forgiveness so that we may bear good fruit and praise your name. Amen

Here is a link to access further resources for “The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.”
https://www.weekofprayer.ca/2021-wpcu-resources

January 17th, 2021

Holy One,  Father of Christ who asked the disciples,

“What are you looking for,” and who offered the invitation to “Come and See,”

open our hearts to what you reveal and give us the courage to follow. 

By Your Spirit aid us in our journey,

so that like John, our words and deeds point to the Lamb of God. 

For those who are suffering, let us point to Christ through comfort. 

For those who are hungry, let us point to Christ through bread. 

For those in the grip of despair, let us point to Christ through hope.

Lord God, you call your people to tasks we would not ourselves choose. Give us the grace to love you enough to follow when you call.  You know our weakness and have promised to give resources for that which you ask of us. We praise you for your generous care. Like Samuel, let us say “Here I am.” God of surprising light, here we are.  

Lord God, hear our prayer for all who stand in need of healing, hope, and wholeness. We pray for our loved ones in long-term care, front-line and essential workers. Keep them safe and strong in mind, body, and spirit. May strength be renewed, may hope burn bright, may comfort and peace abound.  We pray for all who grieve. May God’s comfort surround them at this time of loss. We pray for those awaiting diagnosis, surgery, or treatment. Grace each one with strength for the journey and a wide circle of support. For needs named and for those we hold deep in our hearts, we offer our prayers……

We also pray for our Households of Faith.

 Lord God, we are surrounded, with people who need to hear the gospel story, people who need to meet the one from Nazareth, Jesus our Lord.  As we worship virtually and live deeply into this time of being the church in the community, may we reach out and care generously. Make our words and actions gracious and inviting. Like Philip, let us say, “Come and see.” God of surprising light, here we are.  Amen  

January 13th, 2021

In follow-up to this past Sunday’s scripture – Jesus’ baptism – and in response to unsettledness and violence in the world, here is a prayer offered by Nadia Bolz Weber:


God, You once tore open the heavens and descended as a dove upon Jesus and a dirty river full of repentant people. I don’t want to tell you how to do your job, but now would be a good time to tear open the heaven and send down that dove again.

Send your Holy Spirit to stir up repentance in your people:

Who would rather double down than admit we were wrong; Who fill with pride at being one of the few who “know the real truth”; Who only manage to point to others and never ourselves, (and are maybe a tiny bit grateful for the obvious, overt racism, violence and xenophobia of others since it conveniently takes the spotlight off of our own)

I pray that you send your Holy Spirit comfort your people:

Who are grieving our dead; Whose rightful rage might be corroding the edges of our hearts – because those hearts are still needed elsewhere; Who have had to break up with abusers or draw boundaries with unstable people in the past and know in our bodies how ugly this all gets; Who have joyous news they feel they cannot share; Who are trying (and failing) to still love those who voted differently than themselves; Who literally or figuratively find themselves (yet again) sweeping up the detritus of others’ racism, violence, and ignorance

Send down that dove, Lord, but help us look to the needs of our neighbor and not to the escape hatch of heaven to find her. Amen

January 10th, 2020

God of new beginnings and endings and all moments in between be with us this coming year. Through the waters of baptism you name us beloved – you confer our identity as your beloved children. May this identity grow and be shaped richly as we journey with you. May ‘beloved’ flow to the deep places of our hearts and being and may we embrace deeper understandings of our identity. May we be open to how you reveal yourself to us and shape and transform us as your holy called people.  

As we embrace this new year beginning, may we relearn lament and strive for joy. May we show up with courage and faithfulness for our lives and our callings as your people. May we be restored and renewed, the wilderness places becoming our cathedral and our altar.

As we embrace this new year beginning, may we say good-bye to the things that do not serve us – the selfishness, the fear, the illusions of control, the bitterness, the doom-scrolling, the self-pity, the martyr complex, the us-and-them fire stokers.

As we embrace this new year beginning may we say hello to wisdom, to kindness, to justice, curiosity, wonder, goodness, generosity, possibility, peace making.

As we embrace this year we pray for the sick, those who grieve, and those struggling to hold onto hope amidst isolation and loneliness.

We also pray for our Households of Faith.

Good and gracious God, throw open the doors of our lives to the disruptive, wild, healing Holy Spirit. May this be a year of unclenched hands and new songs, of vaccines and reunions, of good food and laughter, of kind endings and new beginnings. May we be given a mustard seed of faith knowing it will be enough. All this we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

January 6th, 2021

Today is Epiphany, an occasion to celebrate that the Light of the World has come!
It is my prayer that the light of God and the peace of Christ be with you all.

Due to provincial lockdown we are spending more time in our homes than ever before.
As we embrace this New Year, it’s challenges and opportunities, here is a special house blessing for the year:
God who is Three, God who is One,
Give blessing to the house that is here.
Bless it from roof to floor,
from wall to wall, from end to end.
May your Spirit alone dwell within these walls,
to bring joy and laughter to all who enter here.
We call upon the Sacred Three
to save, to shield and surround this home.
The circle of God around it,
The peace of Christ within it,
The life of the Spirit above it,
this day, this night and every night.
May the Triune God be the guardian of this place.
Peace be here in the name of the God of love.
Welcome be here in the name of the Christ of peace,
Joy be here in the name of the Spirit of life.
God who is One, God who is Three,
Bring light for the day and rest for the night
We call upon the Sacred Three
to welcome, guide and nurture all who enter here.
The circle of God, around friend and stranger.
The peace of Christ within guest and host,
The life of the Spirit above all who stand at the door,
this day, this night and evermore.
(adapted from a blessing in Celtin Daily Prayer)

January 3rd, 2021

Lord, as we begin a new year we remember what has gone before and we anticipate new beginnings. Like the wise men on their journey, we face uncertainty about what is to come. As we move into the unknown, help us to learn from the lessons of yesterday, and fill us with a vision of what we can be as we move forward.

            We ask that you keep the Advent candles of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love burning in our hearts. Above all, help us to continue to be drawn to the light of the Christ candle, which reminds us that You are the light of the world and in You there is no darkness.

            Lord, shine Your light into all those places where we experience anxiety, worry and despair. Bring us your comfort and your peace.

            Shine Your light into all places of conflict and tension – in families, in friendships, in workplaces, in our communities, and among nations. Bring us to forgiveness and reconciliation.

            Shine Your light of love upon all those who stand in a place of need. We pray for all who grieve. Bring them to wholeness.  

We pray for our households of faith. We pray that your peace and joy will surround each one whether at work or at rest, in their relationships and in their homes. Bring them to gratitude and contentment.

Help us to walk boldly into the future, knowing that You are our Light. You are Emmanuel – God with us. Amen
(prayer provided by Diane Peters)

December 27th, 2020

Holy One, born in a manger, Word become flesh, we rejoice in your coming.

                We rejoice that you came to save, not with might and power but through vulnerability and love.

                In this dark season, thank you for Christmas, and the gift of a child of hope.
                We rejoice for news so good it still rings out through voices around the world speaking of good tidings of great joy which shall be for all people.
            We rejoice that people around the world each day are loving their neighbor, opening their door, sharing what they have, trying to find a way to live in peace.
           We rejoice that the best laid plans of those who sow hatred and fear, will come to nothing. We rejoice that your angels tell us to “Fear not.”
                Today we rejoice that hope lives even in places designed to be hopeless; hope ringing out and over every wall, rising up in refugee camps, walking through locked prison doors, simmering in the hearts of those brought low, rising up in the laughter of children who have no home and no citizenship. We pray that your gift of hope will surround and uphold the lonely, isolated, sick and the suffering.   

We pray for all of our loved ones in long-term care. May they know the love of God and the love of family and friends. Grant deep measures of patience, we pray.

We pray for all impacted by covid: the sick, the suffering, the grieved, front line workers, health care and essential workers. May hope burn bright for those receiving treatment or awaiting surgery.

We pray that the comforting presence of God will surround all who are missing loved ones this Christmas.

We pray for our households of faith.

We pray for deep relationships of love and joy especially at this challenging time.

This Christmas open us to your gift of revolutionary hope, and your new ways of seeing and being. Where there is judgement in our families and relationships, bring acceptance. Where there are grudges, your sweet release. Where love has faltered, renew it like the dawn. Let hope be born again in our humblest, darkest places as we join with the angels in their song of joy, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to all .” Let this be our benediction, let this be our song. Let rejoicing be on our lips and in our hearts: “Hallelujah, Christ is born!” Amen

December 24th, 2020

Dear Friends,
This year’s Christmas season is unlike any other and yet there is still so much to celebrate.
“I bring you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2: 10-11)
May our hearts make room to receive Jesus and in response to God’s gift of Love, may we cherish the ones we love and share that love abundantly. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may you always know that the love of God and the light of Christ is with you.
Wishing you a blessed and safe Christmas and a New Year filled with hope, peace, joy, and love.
With a pastor’s love,
Kara

Here is the link for our Christmas Eve Service: https://youtu.be/PfNQeAhY5vU

A Prayer for Christmas Eve…..
Holy One,
Prince of Peace,
though scattered in body, we are united in your love.
Though separated by distance, we are together in your Spirit.
Though uncertain of the future, we are
confident of your presence with us,
held within our hearts like the sturdiest
and most surprising of mangers for a bed.
Shine your light this night and into all the
dark nights to come.
Shine your light into ICU’s and vaccination rooms
into grocery stores and crowded warehouses
into food banks and homeless shelters
into long-term care and supportive living
into homes that feel too quiet and homes
where the yelling doesn’t stop.
Shine your light
into Zoom reunions and long-awaited phone calls;
into contactless deliveries and virtual hugs;
into physically distanced check-ins and homemade gifts
into all that is possible when the usual becomes impossible.
Shine your light, O Jesus Christ,
Shine it within us so that all might see. Amen

December 20th, 2020

Our souls cry out with a joyful shout that the Lord of our heart is great;

and our spirits sing of the wondrous things that you bring to the ones who wait.

Revealing God, may Mary’s song be heard throughout the ages,
drowning out the din of consumerism during this season of celebration.

May it be heard by the victims of violence in Ethiopia and Eritrea
May it ring in the ears of the traumatised, refugees without homes in search of safety.
May it sing in the hearts of marginalized, the impoverished, the hungry and the homeless…
Revealing God, may Mary’s song be an earworm song of hope
for all standing strong for land rights, and for all who are crying out for an end to discrimination and oppression due to skin colour. May it be the rally cry of peace for the war-weary of the world. Revealing God, may Mary’s be a song that stirs reverent fear in the hearts of those who abuse power, those who seek to enrich their own coffers at the expense of the poor and the needy.

We pray Mary’s song nourish hope in the hearts of fearful, the isolated and the lonely. May it nourish comfort for all who grieve.

May healing grace surround the most vulnerable amongst us, especially those in long term care. We pray for all impacted by covid: the sick, the suffering, the grieved, front line workers, health care and essential workers. May hope burn bright for those receiving treatment or awaiting surgery.

We pray for our households of faith, may God’s gifts of Advent hope, peace, joy, and love fill their hearts and home.

May Mary’s song be the melody that guides our paths. May the joyful promises of justice and overturned powers fill our hearts to overflowing action including– giving generously, serving self-sacrificially, loving wholeheartedly.

Holy One we pray that we might be bold with our ‘yes’ in response to your invitation to participate in your unfolding mission of restoration of all creation, and your plan of salvation.

As we await your coming, nurture and nourish all that waits to be birthed.

We pray with confidence knowing nothing is impossible with you. Amen

December 16th, 2020

A blessing for the third week of Advent:
Light of Life,
we light candles this season, not simply out of tradition or coziness,
though there’s that,
but because we believe in the Light
that shines in the darkness,
restoring all that is lost and broken,
relegated to shadow, forgotten, or desecrated.
Restore us to wholeness – to our state of original blessing,
to be bearers of your light and goodness.
Restore Earth to wholeness – to her state of blessedness and sacredness,
vital, fruitful, balanced.
Restore the threads of the web of Life – once strong but now frayed
from lack of attention and care, consumerism, and poor theology.
Restore our joy in life – bring laughter
to our lips, beauty to our eyes,
and deeper bonds to our relationships.
We pray as those who sense your presence among us
in light and dark, now and always Amen
(written by Wendy Janzen)

As we anticipate a very different Christmas this year and as many struggle with loneliness, isolation, or anxiety, WMC Elders wish to make available once again two panel discussions which were prepared earlier this year. It is our prayer that this resource will give voice to your feelings and experience and offer you practical help as we continue to find our way. Please feel free to share this resource with friends or family in need of care and encouragement.
https://youtu.be/r4MfAktqBAM

December 13th, 2020

Lord our God, you have revealed yourself as One

whose desire it is to bring justice, peace, and joy to all people.

In a world that turns away from and participates in injustice,

You cast your eyes on the destitute, the poor, and the wronged;

You have called us to follow you, to preach good news to the poor,

to proclaim release for the captives, and recovery of sight for the blind,

to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the time of your blessing.

Lord our God, be present with your church as we respond to your call.

Open our eyes to those in need, especially the lonely and the isolated.

Fill us with compassion for refugees and immigrants who seek safe refuge

Fill us with mercy for those who struggle with addiction and mental illness, or bear the weight of abuse in its many forms..

Fill us with gifts of caregiving for the sick, those who suffer pain whether in mind, body, or spirit……

May your healing grace surround the most vulnerable amongst us, especially those in long term care. We pray for all impacted by covid: the sick, the suffering, the grieved, and all health care and essential workers. May hope burn bright for those receiving treatment or awaiting surgery. Comfort the hurting, encourage the weary, grant full healing and restoration to broken bones and tired spirits. May the hope of gentle healing and the gift of accompaniment of family and friends be a deep source of comfort for all who grieve.

God of peace hear our prayers for our Households of Faith. We pray for continued good health, patience for this journey, and energy and joy for the task of parenting. We give thanks for health and the gifts of love and joy in their work, their rest, and recreation. Keep their families safe and in your watchful care. We pray for days filled with meaningful connections, work, and loving relationships. May the peace of God surround our households of faith.

Lord our God, fill us to overflowing with joy. No earthly thing can ever give us complete joy. Our joy comes from you. The same joy that flooded the hearts of the shepherds, the angels, the wise men, the hosts of heaven, and Mary and Joseph, is the joy that still has the power to overwhelm hearts with rejoicing. Through the gift of joy, lead us, strengthen us, give us courage that we may share bread with the hungry, extend and receive hospitality, and generously share our resources with all who stand in need. We offer our prayers in the name of Jesus who taught us to pray, Our Father………….… Amen

December 9th, 2020

First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,

till humanity and nations were at peace.

He came when the Heavens were unsteady,

and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.

He came when the need was deep and great.

He dined with sinners in all their grime, turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.

In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.

To a world like ours, of anguished shame he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,

to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.

In the mystery of the Word made Flesh the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane to raise our songs with joyful voice; for to share our grief, to touch our pain, He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

We are 9 months into global pandemic.
We are preparing for Christmas and have embarked on the 2nd week of Advent.
L’Engle eloquently captures the essence of Advent and how Jesus did not wait until the world was stable to come. He came at such an unsettled time as this.
Advent lays bear the world’s pain and personal pain…. without which there would be no reason for God’s coming. No reason for angels singing. No reason for prophets preaching. No reason for magi seeking. No reason for hoping and imagining and living toward a new world.
As a congregation we began 2020 with a worship service during which a number of congregants shared their hopes for WMC for 2020.
We were hoping for: the church to be relevant, caring (congregation and community), open doors, meet and exceed budget, find peace, belonging, family. We wanted a place of wonder where we could ask questions. Acts of service were named as the foundation for the big things we hope for: peace, reconciliation, gratitude, purpose, contentment.
Our youth also shared their hopes. Wellesley Township’s Climate Emergency was on their mind. They hoped for less paper, less waste, more recycling, and the elimination of single-use plastics.
Today we are holding onto the hope of a vaccine, stability and more…..
As we consider hope, may we reflect upon this: “When we get to the other side of this pandemic, what do we want to say that we have done?”
Are we hoping to just survive? Maintain what is? Or, do we want to say we have thrived? What do you/we want to say you/we have done?????
Let us pray:
God of life, source of hope we await the new thing you are doing… in our hearts, in our homes, in our congregation, in our communities, and in your world. You come to us amidst our doubts and fear, amidst pandemic and uncertainty. You come, a light in the darkness. Open the eyes of our hearts to your presence and fill us with courage to follow where you lead us. Amen.

May hope, peace, joy and love be the candle on your Advent journey,
Kara

December 6th, 2020

God of peace, hear our prayer for peace;
the peace of the earth, felt bodily,
our feet on this good ground,
our eyes towards the stars;
the peace of fellowship, around us,
fellow Jesus followers joining together to worship.

God of peace, hear our prayer for people working together to care and to comfort, to heal,
making sure that no one is forgotten.
There is so much peace to celebrate, gifts from your hand and gifts of love:

neighbours checking in on one another, mask wearing and safe distancing, the peace of snowflakes falling, the peace of a candle’s flicker.

God of peace, hear our prayer for places where we still need peace: hear our prayer for all who are in pain, facing sickness, including all impacted by covid.

God of peace, hear our prayer for the most vulnerable amongst us, especially those in long term care. May hope burn bright for those receiving treatment or awaiting surgery. Comfort the hurting, encourage the weary, grant full healing and restoration to broken bones and tired spirits. May the hope of gentle healing and the gift of accompaniment of family and friends be a deep source of comfort for all who grieve.

God of peace, hear our prayers for our Households of Faith. We pray for their wide circle of family whom they will not be with this Christmastime for the sake of everyone’s health. May comfort and understanding run deep and may they find meaningful ways to celebrate this season.

God of peace, rain down peace in our hearts, in our homes, in our land, and in your world. Rain down peace in the places in our world where violence rages;we think especially of Ethiopia and Eretrea, gun violence on city streets, homes where people are hurt by those they love. We want peace to grow, we want to be your ambassadors for peace. Show us this week how we can make a difference, through our presence, through our resources, through our prayers.

God of peace, the angels came with a message of peace on earth so long ago;
that message still echoes, it still calls our name. May we hear the angels song anew. Receive all of our prayers in the name of Jesus, the Christ. Amen.

December 2nd, 2020

Greetings on this bright December morning!

We have embarked on the Road of Advent.
This past Sunday we lit the candle of hope and all have been encouraged to create an Advent wreath at home so we can encounter the ritual of candle lighting together.
At a time when we are not altogether, our rituals remind us that we are held in the wide embrace of God’s love and hope.
This year we are standing in need of hope. Advent invites us to name our needs and deepest yearnings.

Feel free to reflect upon these questions:
I feel hope when………………
I witness the in-breaking of hope………………….
I need hope to light the path of ……………..

Let us pray:
God of hope, who brought love into this world,
be the love that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought peace into this world,
be the peace that dwells between us.
God of hope, who brought joy into this world,
be the joy that dwells between us.
God of hope, the rock we stand upon,
be the centre, the focus of our lives
always, and particularly this Advent time. Amen

November 29th, 2020

God that you would rip open the heavens and come down, and make the mountains shudder. But isn’t this season about tinsel decorations and excess?O God that the sun would become dark, the moon no longer give its light, the stars fall from the sky, and the planets be shaken. But isn’t this season about lights twinkling in the streets and consumerism?O God, that we would see the Christ coming in the clouds, with great power and splendour. This, O God is the hope we’re looking. This is the promise of something better. We can’t wait!

O God, but now we must wait, keep watch, stay alert, not knowing when the time is coming. Come, Lord Jesus. We wait for the arrival of this hope, we look for the signs of the inbreaking of your presence.

O God, you keep coming to us in the small, and the vulnerable, in unexpected ways…. In each act of love, in each expression of patience and kindness, in our generous giving, justice-doing, and peace-making……. May we seek your face this season, seek your presence, and offer our worship.

O God, we pray for peace in Ethiopia and Eritrea. We pray for our African brothers and sisters weighted down by violence, displacement, and fear. Come, Lord Jesus Come.

O God, we pray for all who stand in a place of need. We pray for those suffering due to emotional pain, physical pain, relational pain…..May your healing grace surround the most vulnerable amongst us, especially those in long term care.

May hope burn bright for those receiving treatment or awaiting surgery. Comfort the hurting, encourage the weary, grant full healing and restoration we pray. May the hope of gentle healing and the gift of accompaniment of family and friends be source of comfort for all who grieve.

O God hear our prayers for our Households of Faith.

O God, as we journey the road of Advent may hope draw us into a future of opportunity not yet seen, into restoration that even now in silence is unfolding, may hope draw us into renewal and new life.

O God, you came down in flesh that we might have love, that we might have peace, that we might have joy, that we might have hope and that we might have life. Halleluiah forever more. Amen.

November 25th, 2020

This Sunday marks our journey into Advent. Advent, as with human life begins in the dark.
This Sunday we will light the first candle of Advent – the candle of hope – and kick off our worship series: “On the Road….”
Advent One, we are “on the road of readiness.”
What does readiness look like for you? How might we prepare to receive the One sent to save us?
Getting ready for Advent, all are invited to create an Advent wreath for your home.
This Advent and Christmas season will look very different and yet there are rituals, including lighting Advent candles that draw us together.
All are welcome to join Friday prayer at 11:30 during which time we will reflect upon the meaning of Advent, our intentions for this season that leads to Bethlehem and the manger, and we will offer our prayers.

The following is an Advent prayer inspired by the Celtic tradition:
Come, Lord, awaken us to Your presence.
Dispel the darkness of night.
Come, Lord, awaken us to Your presence.
Cure the deafness of our ears.
Heal the blindness of our sight.
Come, Lord, awaken us to Your presence.
Open the mouths that are dumb.
Kindle Your warmth in our hearts.
Come, Lord, awaken us to Your presence.
Make us aware of You.
Come, Hope of the world, Prince of Peace, King of glory.
Into our world of darkness,
Into our places of strife,
Into our troubles and weakness
Come down, come in, come among us.
Into our joys and celebrations,
Into our homes and to our loved ones,
Into our neighbourhoods and cities,
Come, down, come in, come among us.
To those who are in need,
To those who are in sickness,
To those who are in despair,
Come down, come in, come among us
that we might love You and our neighbours
for the sake of Your Kingdom and in Your Name. Amen

November 1st, 2020

Holy One, you are our God and we are Your people,
and we are grateful that You have claimed us as your own.
You have set us in the company of your people across generations,
among those who have made bold witness to Your goodness, Your truth.
Your faithful accompanying presence opens up new futures
where we see no way forward.

Holy One, You know the places in our hearts where we are afraid:

afraid of a future we cannot control
afraid of losing health and independence
afraid for the well-being of our children

Holy One, You know the places in our hearts and bodies where there is pain and suffering:

be with the sick and those awaiting surgery or treatment

be with the lonely, the lost, the least,

be with all impacted by covid 19 including caregivers and administrators, and scientists

be with all who grieve. Surround the broken hearted with deep comfort, immeasurable love, and gentle care. Comfort all who grieve, we pray.

Holy One, You also know the places in our hearts where there is joy and delight and inspiration

Thank you for the beauty of creation

for all things pumpkin-spiced

the chill in the air as seasons turn

and the warmth of the fire

Holy One, we are your people on a journey.

Pour out your grace and peace upon all who stand in a place of need for healing, hope and wholeness.

We also pray for our Households of Faith.

Holy One, write the stories of all your people deep into our hearts
so that we may learn to trust you beyond our fears.
Give us hearts and minds and spirits
ready to trust and follow wherever your Spirit leads,
confident that you will not lead us beyond your loving embrace.
We ask in the name of the One who taught us to pray: Our Father ………….

Amen

October 28th, 2020

Greetings!
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.
peace,
Kara

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…………….

Amen.

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.

Prayer:
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,
Kara

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.
Amen

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.

September 27th, 2020

Holy One, in whose love we live and move, we bow our hearts before you.

The beauty of autumn landscapes, bounty of crops, and tartness of apples reveal your goodness and how you hold all of creation in your loving and sustaining hands.

Holy One, your desire is for shalom – wellness and wholeness for all creation,

You yearn for our wellbeing, emotional, relational, spiritual, physical

We pray for a world rocked by conflict and war;
a world that lives uneasily in a climate of fear

We pray for a world that thinks less of others than of self;
a world where division between nations, race, religion,
neighbour, and family leads to distrust and divisions.

We pray for a world that is short on gratitude,
too busy to enjoy this world you have created,
too preoccupied with living to appreciate life.

We pray for a world ravaged by COVID, injustice, racism and institutional oppression.

We pray for a world where spiritual wellness is sought through things which do not satisfy or quench the deeper yearnings of the heart: love, belonging, connection.

We pray for a world groaning due to overuse and mis-use of natural resources and for all the ways our life-styles contribute to climate change.

We pray for our needs for healing, hope and wholeness.

We pray for the sick, those waiting surgery dates, those who have received a hard diagnosis.

We pray for those who wait for strength to be restored, those who are lonely and isolated.

We pray for Inspiring Minds here in Wellesley amidst outbreak.

We also pray for our Households of Faith.

Holy Listening One, may your love and care restore the broken places of our world,

our lives, our communities, our hearts.

May your love flow as a life-giving stream for the restoration of all creation.

Quench the parched places of this world and our lives with peace, with hope, and with joy.

Amen.

September 23, 2020

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to release and a time to embrace……” (Ecclesiastes. 3: 1-8)

Fall has arrived in all her glory! Trees have begun to turn shades of crimson, orange, and gold. Apple trees are ripe with fruit and farmers are busily harvesting corn and beans. We are on the cusp of a new season. Summer blossoms have been kissed by frost. Daylight hours are shortening. Fall scents fill the air and the flavours of fall dance on our tongue.
What autumn sights and sounds and smells capture your attention and create a sense of awe, praise, thanksgiving?

Spiritual writer Joyce Rupp reflects upon lessons learned in the seasons of the year. She suggests each season teaches us by her natural turning about the fine art of loss and new life.
Find a quiet spot today. Take several slow, deep breaths to settle your body and calm your mind.
Be open to the Holy Spirit’s nudgings and reflect upon the lessons of autumn: releasing and embracing, letting go and new life.
Invite God’s Spirit to show you what has served its time.
What is God’s Spirit inviting you to let go in order for new life to emerge?
May God’s grace be abundant as we continue to journey this holy path.
For everything there is a season… a time to release; and a time to embrace.
Pastor Kara
* There will be no Friday prayer this week. See you next Friday!

September 20, 2020

God, as your people through all generations, we too have known Your generosity and love, and have experienced Your care and provision. You call us to extend Your love to the world around us—to care for others as deeply as we care for ourselves. And so we bring the needs of our world before You now.

Lord, hear our prayer.

We pray for those who do not have what they need in order to survive;

those without enough food to eat, or shelter to keep them warm;

those without employment, or enough money to pay their bills;

those without access to medical care, or medicine to keep them healthy

including migrant workers.

We pray for those who have more than enough to meet their needs,

but who continue to feel empty inside;

who struggle to find meaning and purpose in life,

who numb their pain through substances or other destructive behaviours

We also pray for our households of faith for this week.

We give thanks for the generous ways they share their gifts and lives amongst us. May their lives be blessed by love. May each day bring joy and fulfillment.

We pray for safe travels. May these days be gentle.

We also pray for all who are battling life-threatening disease or injury, those who are living with chronic pain or facing death.

We pray for all affected by covid, the sick, the grieving, the fearful.

God of the first and the last, and all those in between, Your grace and generosity is extended to all.

You call us to faithful discipleship, to work together with one mind and one purpose, to reach out in love to those in need.

Strengthen us so that we might live in a manner worthy of the Good News we have received, offering our lives to the building up of Your upside-down kingdom, where the last are first, and the first are last, and there is grace enough for all.

All these things we pray in Jesus’ name who taught us to pray:

Our Father…

September 16, 2020

Wednesday greetings,

Today’s inspiration comes to us from Lillian Daniel, a spunky pastor whose writings I enjoy and find inspiring.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2 (NRSV)

Relationships are a constant and continual renegotiation. What you say on your twelfth birthday, your retirement date, or wedding day may not be your plan ten years later. And yet, to the other person, it can be a total surprise. They defend the old plan, saying, “You can’t change your mind now. That was not what we agreed.”

“You said you wouldn’t go back to work until the kids were in junior high,” says the mom with the more-than-full-time job, to her husband in charge of the everyday chaos at home. “Yes, but four years into this, I feel differently,” he says. “Don’t lock me in.”

In an unhealthy relationship, we do lock each other in. We hold each other hostage to some past version of ourselves, cutting down each other’s dreams.

“How are you going to cook for the homeless, when you don’t even cook at home?”

“You wanted to go to law school. You can’t change careers at your age.”

“You want to sing songs from the 18th century? This family doesn’t have time for you to pursue your own amusement.”

But it’s cruel to tell another person that they are not allowed to change their mind. It’s terrible to feel boxed in to a previous version of yourself.

Renegotiating isn’t easy. But the heart of the gospel is this: everyone gets to grow and change. Discerning the will of God isn’t about doing whatever you want or making the other person do whatever you want. Discernment disrupts our best-laid plans.

Prayer:

When the next negotiating session begins, remind me “God is still speaking.” And not only to me.

Amen.

September 13, 2020

Gracious and Gentle God we give thanks for coming to earth in flesh to dwell amongst us and to teach us how to live and how to love. We give you thanks for the power of your love revealed in Jesus.… love to help and heal when nothing else can, love that lifts up and liberates when nothing else will. Having been blessed by the power of your love, we want to freely give what we have been freely given.

Let your healing love be known this day by all who suffer physically, distress of mind, agony of spirit, or brokenness of relationships. Let your forgiving love be known this day – we ask for forgiveness for harm we have done to one another and to your creation. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your intimate love be known today we pray, by all who feel forgotten or lost, and all who are walking in the dark valley of despair. We pray for all suffering due to covid – the sick, the grieving, the under-resourced, and front-line workers.

May your gracious presence provide comfort and strength. We pray for our households of faith. May their lives be filled with love, health and joy. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your fierce love this day redress the wrongs of all who suffer exploitation, injustice, abuse, neglect, or violence. Amidst global black lives matter movement we pray that the voice of the voiceless be honoured and that racism and systems of oppression be dismantled. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your nurturing love today encourage families as a new school year is launched. Grant energy and joy, safety and peace. Let wisdom fill educators, support staff in their important roles. May places of learning whether in-person or virtual classrooms be safe. Let your strengthening love uphold congregational leaders amidst decision making and rolling out health and safety protocols.

Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Let your reconciling love today gather together where divisions are deep. Make your church aware of the fellowship and mission of the one, universal body of Christ. Reveal the power of your love and bring new life to all.

Thank you for hearing us, loving God. With the whole body of believers, we want to love, praise and serve you and transformed by the power of your love in whose name we pray.

Amen

September 9th, 2020

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you
does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that, if I do this,
You will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost
and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Amen

September 6, 2020

Good and gracious God, here we are standing at a threshold.

A new church year lies before us.

A new school year lies before us.

The fall season including cooler days and autumn flavours lies before us.

You join with us at this threshold of new opportunity, as routines change and as congregational ministries and programs are launched anew. You join with us amidst the unknowns, the possibilities, each step of the journey.

You join with us and accompany us, providing strength and vision to step forward into familiar and unknown places to further Your mission.

At this threshold we give thanks for opportunities to serve, to worship, to teach, to learn, and to grow. Continue, we pray to make all things new. Give us courage and humility to faithfully follow You wherever you lead.

Bless Your church, amidst the challenges of this season and amidst creative out-of-the-box thinking. Make us bold to release that which has served its season and fill us with courage and vision to embrace the future you have prepared for us. We pray for wisdom, grace, and open hearts. We pray for the ministries of this congregation, congregational leadership and staff and ask your blessing upon all we do in your name. We pray for Leah Reesor-Keller as she begins her new position as MCEC Executive Minister. Direct and guide her.

Hear our prayer for those who stand in need of healing, hope and wholeness. Hear our prayer for those suffering due to emotional, relational, physical or spiritual pain. Hear our prayer for all impacted by covid, the sick, the grieving, health care providers, those waiting to return to work. May Your embrace of love be wide and strong.

We also pray for our Households of Faith. May their days be filled with meaning and purpose, their home a place where love dwells.

Good and gracious God giving thanks for all Your good gifts and Your promise to be with us, we offer all our prayers in the name of Jesus the Christ.

Amen

August 30, 2020

God, You are a God of compassion and love.

Daily, we experience your care and provision.

You answer our prayers and meet our needs— often in ways we could never have dreamed possible.

We praise You for Your faithful love toward us.

Because we have known Your love, we come to You with confidence, offering our prayers for the world that You love.

We see so much pain and suffering.

so much violence and poverty, despair and unrest.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the needs around us.

But we continue to bring our prayers to You in faith, because we know that nothing is impossible for You.

You are the God who rained down bread from heaven, and made water flow from a rock in the desert; the God who resurrected Jesus Christ from the dead, and who brings new life and hope to all who believe.

We pray for those suffering the effects of recent natural disasters including raging fires and Hurricane Laura.

We pray for people everywhere without food, without water, without shelter, without hope.

We pray for the regions of our world caught up in violence and threats of violence:

We pray for those crying out for justice, and those suffering amidst rioting.

We pray for those who live with serious illness, those with chronic pain, those without access to proper medical care, those for whom treatment is no longer an option, and all who are suffering due to covid.

We pray that God’s Spirit of peace and restoration be poured out.

Merciful God, You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to show us a different way to live— the way of deep humility and obedience.

You’ve called us to love one another, and to work together with one heart and mind, balancing our needs with the needs of those around us.

Give us courage to follow faithfully, and with integrity— with actions that bear witness to the words we speak, and worship that overflows into our daily tasks and relationships—so that our lives will bring glory and honour to You. Amen.

August 23, 2020

Gracious God, in love You created us, and in love You sustain us, day after day.


So it is with confidence that we bring our prayers to You, knowing that You hear us, and will respond.

We offer our prayers for the world you love.

We pray for those who find themselves in bondage: those oppressed by governments or economic systems, those enslaved by personal addictions.

We pray for those who struggle to raise their children in the midst of violence or poverty; those who can only stand by and watch as their sons or daughters die of starvation or malnutrition, of preventable disease, or from gang violence.

We pray for those who refuse to participate in violence or injustice, who courageously stand up for what they know is right, regardless of the personal consequences.

We also pray for those who oppress others, who are unable to break free from cycles of violence and anger, who are no longer able to empathize with their victims.

We pray for all who suffer this day, whether physically, emotionally, spiritually or relationally.

May Your presence surround and sustain each one, so that they may know your love and live.

We also pray for our Households of Faith.

We pray for all who are affected by covid, the sick, the grieving, front-line workers, and scientists racing to produce a vaccine.

Finally, God, we pray for ourselves—members of Your Body here on earth.

Break down the barriers that divide us from one another.

Unite us as one. Grant us compassion and humility in our relationships.

We pray earnestly, “God what do you want us to do?”

Forgive us when we focus on human stuff, and not on the desires of your heart.

Release the gifts You have given to each one, so that in us and through us Your kingdom might come and Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Amen.

July 26, 2020

GOD over the last week we have witnessed your presence in the weather and in our environment. We
have seen your power in the winds and the rains. We are also starting to reap the benefits of what we
have sown in the garden. Again another reminder that your creation is alive and abounding in our
environment and world. Despite these troubled times with COVID we do not have to look far for signs
of your presence.

I am reminded about the time that you were in the boat with the disciples and the seas became wild.
You calmly rebuked the seas and things returned to normal. Much like the disciples we get anxious,
confused and a host of other emotions. I am sure that in this time of Pandemic we have all felt a gamut of emotions. We need to recognize that they are real and raw. We may feel like the disciples that our boat is rocking and waving and there is no end in sight other than potential peril. There appears to be no concrete answers yet in this time of Pandemic. For every question asked it brings up 2-3 more questions which may make us feel even more confused. And yet your presence, love and
encouragement are all around us. I pray that as followers of you we look for you and name our fears
and then recognize you have sent us support. I know I have felt it in this past week in our vegetable
garden, in the fierceness and then calmness the storm last Sunday, in the rivers that run calm and then fast when running over rapids, in the tiny yet colourful birds that land on a stalk of grass, in the beautiful sunsets and colourful skies.

God forgive us when we lose sight of your presence all around us and become self-centred, nervous and anxious. In this time of Pandemic challenge let’s lift our eyes and look for the signs that are truly all around us. When we do see these signs I think we can actually find strength to forge on as well as be servants of you again.

Thank you God for being beside us and calming our raging seas. Thank you for your presence in
everything around us when we finally lift our eyes and look. My prayer and challenge for all of us is that we take the time to look for and identify God’s presence and love that is all around us.

May we take the time to look…..God Bless .

June 21, 2020 (Father’s Day)

Happy Father’s Day!

During this time of pandemic we have been using the “Take our Moments and our Days” app and have been enriched through Scripture, sharing, and prayer. Since Pentecost our guided prayer has been based on the Lord’s Prayer.
The following is a prayer from a Friday gathering.
Let us pray,

Rejoice in the Lord always. The Lord is near.
Do not worry about anything, but in everything with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.

God of open hands, we bring our prayers to
you as acts of love for you and for our neighbours.
Lord, hear our prayer.

You provide for all our needs from your bounty.
We pray for ourselves and those dear to us ……..
Lord, give us today our daily bread.

You work wonders in surprising places.
We pray for our community and for our neighbours (add your prayers)
Lord, give us today our daily bread.

You furnish abundance even from very little
We pray for the church in all places, that we may reflect your faithful love. (add your prayers)
Lord give us today our daily bread.

You send forth your Spirit, a breath of renewal and hope.
We pray for the world, for those in need (add your prayers)
Lord give us today our daily bread.

We offer you other concerns we carry in our hearts (add your prayers)
Lord, give us today our daily bread.

God of grace and glory,
you fling the stars into the heavens;
you see every sparrow fall.
Deepen our trust in the mystery
of your power shining through Christ Jesus,
that we may live your love for the world.
In the name of the one who taught us we pray:
Our Father…………

Amen

June 17, 2020

Good morning!

These past months have held many challenges as well as opportunities as we have responded and adapted amidst a global pandemic.Through congregational conversations over the past months a number of concerns have been voiced. In response, WMC Elders have planned for a series of virtual panel discussions. While these offerings will not address all that we carry, they are a platform to provide information as well as prompt further discussion.

Here is a note from Dan Lebold, WMC Elder and facilitator of our first panel discussion:

From input from our WMC family we (WMC Elders) have begun to put together Virtual Panel discussions around how COVID has affected us. The first of these Virtual Panel discussion topics is “COVID and Finances.” Jamie Gerber joined the panel and provided some very informative answers to financial questions posed to him during the COVID crisis. As many of you know Jamie currently works in the financial industry and has some insights from that perspective. Jamie has also been a pastor for 17 years and looks at finances from a faith perspective as well. Thank you to Jamie for his valuable financial/ faith input and energies in being a part of this first Virtual Panel Discussion. We trust you will find it relative and informative for these challenging times. Stay tuned for further Panel discussions.“

June 10, 2020

Events in the past weeks have brought the discussion of racism, white privilege, injustice, and more, to the forefront.
As followers of Jesus we have committed to the journey of formation and transformation as Christ’s disciples. The journey of transformation is complex. Spiritual transformation involves learning. Spiritual transformation also involves un-learning and re-learning.
Glennon Doyle in her latest book “Untamed” writes, “In America, there are not two kinds of people, racists and nonracists. There are three kinds of people: those poisoned by racism and actively choosing to spread it; those poisoned by racism and actively trying to detox: and those poisoned by racism who deny its very existence inside them.”

Spiritual transformation is the ongoing journey of growing in awareness of the unredeemed parts that reside deep within. May the Spirit’s gentle presence abide with you/us as we listen, learn, examine, recognize,repent, and are transformed through the power of God’s Spirit….
Let us pray,

I have only a few words
in this feeble prayer.

I am listening.
I am learning.
I am examining myself.

I am trying to recognize
how the system of racism
lives in and through me.

It’s like a tangled up ball of yarn.
I untangle one layer only to encounter another.

Until it’s all untangled, the yarn cannot
be knit, the potential of the yarn
is compromised.
(Prayer by Rev. Terri C. Pilarski)

May 27, 2020

This Sunday we celebrate Pentecost (Acts 2: 1-21). Often at Pentecost we concentrate on the power of the wind that swept in,  the power of the Holy Spirit that caused people to speak in other tongues, or we focus on Pentecost as a foundational event in the life of the Christian church. Another focus to consider is the power of the Holy Spirit to transcend difference. After the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, a large crowd began to gather outside. In that crowd were Jews and people from many nations: Greeks, Arabs, Romans, Africans, and more. Each of the people in the crowd could understand the conversation in the upper room in their own language. On that day, the Holy Spirit transcended multiple layers of differences to accomplish God’s many purposes.

Where do you witness the power of the Holy Spirit transcending differences? What are barriers that you can name that cause separation? What are the costs? As we anticipate Pentecost may we be bold to pray that the Holy Spirit will transform our hearts and minds. May the Holy Spirit reveal to us in deeper ways, God’s many purposes and may we be strengthened to join in God’s mission.

        Holding you in prayer, Kara

May 20, 2020

This week’s reflection comes from Delores Schwartzentruber, one of the Elders of WMC.

To begin today’s reflection I have a story to share.  Visiting my mother-in-law Martha, on speaker phone from the sidewalk  as we looked at one another through her window of her apartment, she shared some of her struggles after returning from hospital and being in the middle of 14 days of quarantine.  She told me how the other day, feeling particularly low, she had  reached for a blank lined book that she had in her possession and felt she should write down some of her feelings.  There in the front of the book she discovered  a small square piece of paper written by her late husband Gerald. It was a reflection of his feelings with words of comfort and assurance of how the Lord provides for our needs. These words felt like they were raining down on me from above as the raindrops were starting to literally rain down.  Martha received exactly what she needed when she read his words. I stood in the rain of this holy moment and thanked God for his marvelous presence.   

What are your stories of God’s comfort and assurance at a time when you needed it? Did they come at a time or form that surprised you? How do we open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, our hearts to feel and be attentive to his loving care?  What holy moments have you been attentive to in these days of physical distancing and isolation? While it might be easy to see God in the midst of extraordinary circumstances, it is sometimes difficult to detect him in the ordinary events of our lives.  But that is exactly where you and I live.  Wherever you are God is with you.

 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart.  Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalm 37: 4-5)

Let us Pray:  Give us the eyes to see, the ears to listen, the heart to feel, and the hands and  legs to join in your good work.  May we be attentive to all the blessings you rain down on each one of us even in unexpected ways.  May we be ready and expectant to be surprised even in the ordinary events of our lives. Amen

May 13, 2020

Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” (Donald P. McNeill, Douglas A. Morrison, and Henri J. M. Nouwen, Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life (New York: Image Books, 1983), 3-4.  

Joyce Rupp in her book Boundless Compassion: Creating a Way of Life suggests that in today’s society it often seems as if cruelty is more extensive than kindness. Would you agree with Rupp’s assertion?  Where do you bear witness to compassion? How are you met with compassion?  

Broken, wounded, violent, divisive, fearful – these are some descriptors of our current global situation. Our world stands in desperate need of compassion – for compassion to be activated. The world and our wounds will not heal without it. Rupp writes, “Only with compassion at the core of humanity’s lived experience will we be able to approach one another with true respect and dwell in peacefulness.”

Let us pray:  Give us compassion and humility in our hearts O God. Let us be kind, gentle, generous, loving, and giving wherever we go. Amen.

Holding you in prayer as God enfolds us with compassion,   

Kara

May 6, 2020

Friends,

What have you been noticing around home these past weeks? During this pandemic when many of us are spending far more time at home as we self-isolate what are you seeing with fresh eyes? Perhaps its birds at the feeder. Perhaps you have a deeper appreciation for growing and living things outdoors. While spotted windows and cob webs may catch our attention, consider the  sights that cause you to pause and reflect. One of our neighbours has been pruning fruit trees over the past weeks. I’ve noticed the gentle tending of branches, crucial spring work to promote a bountiful crop of fruit.

In John 15 we read “I am the vine, and my Father in the vine grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” (John 15: 1-2,4-5)

What spiritual practices enable you to abide in God?. What practices deepen your awareness to God’s loving presence, God’s yearnings, God’s invitation? The Quaker tradition values silence. Indeed, worship often includes 1 hour of communal silence. Does music draw you into the presence of God? A walk in nature? Deep breathing? Journalling?

As we journey deeply into this unknown season and dwell in the liminal space between an ending and a new beginning, may we strive to abide in God. May God nourish our spirits. May God reveal to us that which needs pruning. May God’s Spirit enliven us with new growth as God continues to shape and form us as the people of God. 

Let us pray:

Lord of the

one true

Vine,

in you we

live and move

and have our being.

We are your branches

spindly and slight and fragile.

Prune us,

though gently.

We want to bear more 

of your fruit. Amen

(adapted by Anne Osdieck)

May 3, 2020

This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it!Uplifted by the promised hope of healing and resurrection, we join with the people of God in all times and all places praying for our needs, those of the world, and the church: 

May healing continue to be gentle. Let us pray for comfort and peace in the coming weeks in order to determine next steps. We hold in prayer those with ongoing health concerns and the vulnerable.
Let us continue to pray for all those who grieve. The grief journey is complicated when we are not able to gather as a community. May God’s comfort be wide and deep, holding us all.
We pray for all our long-term care residents. We also pray for all front-line and essential workers. May they be well-protected, kept safe, and encouraged. For parents who are juggling home-schooling, working from home, and uncertainty, may peace abound. 
Let us pray for comfort and good recovery. Health crises are compounded these days when loved ones can not gather around.  May peace and strength and hope prevail.  
For our needs, fears, concerns, and for all suffering due to Covid 19, we offer our prayers in the strong name of Jesus.

Happy Birthday to all!         

Entrusting all of our prayers to the wide embrace of God love Lord hear our prayers. Amen.

April 29, 2020

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long?” (Ps. 13:1-2). 

Over one third (50 or so) of the psalms are lament. Lament frequently occurs in the Book of Job: “why did I not perish at birth, come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11). Prophets also cried out to God such as Jeremiah: “Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable?” (Jer. 15:18). The Book of Lamentation expresses the confusion and suffering felt after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Jesus himself lamented in the Garden of Gethsemane, crying out: “Abba, Father all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me!” (Mark 14:36). And in agony on the cross Jesus cried out words of Psalm 22: “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”

Lament is a faithful prayer. Amidst global pandemic and the deep sufferings of the world, lament gives voice to the present reality that things are not right and we need God to heal us, save us, deliver us. In the past weeks we hear the rising cry: “How long will physical distancing continue?” “How long until the economy re-opens?” “How long until children return to school?” How long until we can come together physically for worship.. return to work…….?

Where do you hear “how long?” For what do you cry out to God:”How long O Lord, how long?” 

Something significant happens in the psalms of lament that is worth taking note. In psalms of lament a shift occurs. A transition unfolds. In the psalms we see how lament turns to praise. For example in Psalm 13: “but I trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because God has dealt bountifully with me.” (vs 5-6).

Let us be bold in our prayers, bringing our struggles to God. We need space for lament. Some of us looked forward to graduation and prom. Others looked forward to milestone celebrations, birthday parties, travelling, a June wedding. Lament is real and lament is a faithful prayer. As Easter people we live with the hope of resurrection. Sitting in the darkness of Good Friday is also part of our spiritual journey. 

What are you missing the most these days of lock down? Who are you missing? What loss are you grieving deeply? Today as you offer your prayers, name before God the very depths of your heart, your pain, your questions, your fears, your grief. And when you have laid all bare, listen for the voice of God. Be attentive to how your prayer turns to praise for God’s steadfast love and goodness.

May God who receives our thanksgivings as well as lament, draw near to us as we draw near to God.

love and peace be yours,  

Kara

April 22, 2020

Greetings all!

It is Earth Day…. and today is also Admin Assistant Day! Please take the opportunity to express your appreciation!  

How are you marking Earth Day today?  As we stay in these days, some are enjoying a quieter pace of life. Some are enjoying  outdoor space at home and God’s good creation. Many are delighting in spring blossoms, the budding of trees, birds at the bird feeder, or baby chicks growing. Some of us may be grumbling due to wintery winds. Creation is springing to life and we celebrate God’s faithful and sustaining presence. 

During this season of disorientation we are invited to be attentive to how we are being changed. What is growing within you?  What potential is budding? What fruits of love are ripening? Our spiritual transformation unfolds through reflection, quiet listening for the Spirit of God, and surrender. In what ways is God meeting you in this season, caring for you, encouraging you, growing new life in you?  As we soak in the beauty of all that is coming to life, let us be attentive to what God is saying to us? How do we want to live when the pandemic has passed and we can be together again?  Let us be prayerful and open to God’s invitation. 

Let us pray:

O Great Love,

Divine Presence,

we rejoice in

our Mother Earth

who births us,

nurtures us,

sustains us,

and collects us 

back into her bosom

when our life

is done.

Forgive us for our 

greediness, our

selfishness, our

short-sightedness, our

messiness.

For we have made a 

mess beyond measure.

Let the energy of 

the sunrise

the mystery of 

a butterfly,

the beauty of 

spring flowers,

the fragility of

endangered species,

the toxicity of        

polluted waterways,

the barrenness of

scorched earth

bring us to our knees.

And there, on

our knees,

may we be humbled

to see the earth

with new eyes.

May we be humbled 

to see ourselves

as humus.

May we be humbled 

to recognize we

are but part of an 

intricate web of creation,

a sacred reciprocity

of belonging.

Break open

our hearts

to love as you love.  Amen

(written by Wendy Janzen) 

April 19, 2020

God of resurrection power,
you called your Son out of the tomb
and in so doing, called the whole creation into new life.
Even now, you call us to join your way of resurrection,
you lift our eyes and raise our hearts,
you transform our minds and renew our spirits.
Bring us once again into awareness of your presence,
that we may offer you our worship and our very lives,
and be nourished for your kingdom’s work.
Hear our prayers which we offer in the name of the risen Christ….

Let us also pray for our neighbours, Maple View Mennonite Church as they were accepted as full members of the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches in late February. The Maple View congregation expresses appreciation to us as brothers in sisters in Christ and they look forward to continuing as partners with us in mission. As WMC, we also express deep appreciation for the many friendships and family connections between our congregations and for all the ways we have been blessed by these relationships. May God’s Spirit continue to be poured out on the Maple View congregation as they minister and bear witness to the Risen Christ.

We also pray for MCEC Leadership and all who gather on-line this coming Saturday for the Annual Church Gathering. At a time when the church cannot meet in person, we pray for wisdom in decision making, clarity of vision to live into God’s future, and we pray that love and grace will be generous and full. We also pray for the congregations that will be received as provisional members into MCEC, giving thanks for their gifts and their unique contributions to the wider church.

We entrust all our prayers including those we hold deep within to Jesus our Wounded and Risen Christ,
Amen

April 12, 2020

Lord Jesus, you were dead but now are alive,

and the promise of life in all its fullness is made real.

At this time of celebration

let our hearts overflow with joy.

Give us hope and strengthen our faith,

knowing you are with us always,

Alleluia!  Alleluia!

We thank God for the gift of new life!! 

For prayers that have been named and for those we offer on our own, 

we entrust all, in the name of the Risen Christ, Jesus our Lord.

Amen! 

April 12, 2020

The Lord is risen!

The Lord is risen indeed!

Let all creation declare:

The Lord is risen indeed!

An Order of Service is attached.

May God bless our worship this day!

Easter Blessings,

Kara

April 10, 2020

On Good Friday, the earth waits in silence.

The world trembles before God’s throne.

On this day we see and feel the immensity of God’s love and the depths of our humanity.

An Order of Worship was emailed to you yesterday which included instructions for preparation for communion. 

May God be present with us as we journey to the cross and gather at the table.

peace be yours,

Kara

April 8, 2020

Read Matthew 26: 27-56 and 1 Corinthians 1:18

Today I’m sharing with you my own morning devotion which was written by a Georgia Atlanta Pastor.

“A  friend recently went back on her word and I felt betrayed. How dare she!

After all, people are supposed to be unfailingly consistent and keep their promises. Integrity is doing the right

thing even when no one is watching. Honesty is the best policy. All that.

But the honest truth is I don’t always ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to living all that. None of us do. We routinely lie, mislead and misrepresent. In doing so we betray ourselves, our values, our relationships, our God. If you deny that you lie, well, you just did.”  

‘One of you will betray me,’ might be the biggest understatement of Holy Week. Jesus doesn’t mention which disciple he has in mind. He doesn’t have to. Jesus was talking about all of them. The betrayal didn’t only come when Judas handed Jesus over to the authorities with a kiss, it happened when the disciples denied they would ever betray Jesus. Their denials flew in the face of Jesus’ teaching that humility and repentance are more blessed than boasting and self-righteousness. 

What makes the week holy is not our pretensions to innocence. What makes this week holy is the invitation to confess our betrayals and be forgiven.” 

Let us pray:

Lord God,

We tremble to think

that it was one of Jesus’ own friends who betrayed him.

One who sat by him who broke bread with him.

Give us strength, we pray

to walk faithfully with Jesus,

even when the road we walk is rocky.

and when the message of the cross seems like foolishness

and even when we feel betrayed.

Give us strength, we pray.

You Lord, are always faithful.

We stumble, we become lost,

but you are steady and sure.

Give us grace to endure our troubles,

and reveal to us the glory of your kingdom,

through your son, Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit.

Amen

April 7, 2020

As we journey deeper into Holy Week, read Matthew 26: 36-46 and Hebrews 5: 5-7.

As you re-read these Scriptures slowly and prayerfully, be attentive. Is there a word, a phrase, an image that stands out for you?

Is there a statement from Jesus or action by the disciples that resonates with you or touches discomfort? 

Imagine being present in the Garden of Gethsemane. What do you hear? What do you feel?   

Sit with all that stirs and captures your attention. What is the Spirit of God revealing to you, saying to you? 

As we accompany Jesus on the path of suffering, offer a prayer for the sufferings of the world.  

Let us pray,

Holy One, 

The message of the cross is difficult to take.

How can death give way to life? How can weakness be strength?

Yet your word says that Jesus, being God,

took on human flesh

and suffered the worst kind of death.

How can this be?

This message is indeed difficult to take.

But your foolishness is wiser than our wisdom

Your weakness is greater than our strength.

Help us to know that none of us can boast before you.

It is only in Christ Jesus that we can boast.

In his name, we ask you to help our unbelief

that we may love you, and walk in the way Jesus taught us

In his name we pray, Amen. 

Pastor Kara Carter

April 6, 2020

Friends, as we journey into Holy Week…..

A reminder that we will gather Thursday April 9 at 11:30 a.m through ZOOM for prayer. You can download the app: “Take our Moments and our Days: An Anabaptist Prayer Book” at no charge on your phone. I will send out the ZOOM link on Wednesday – please watch for it. If you have any technical questions, Bob Veitch has offered to give you a hand. Please contact him. 

As we anticipate Easter Sunday worship please be on the look-out for sightings of new life emerging.

As we enter Holy Week we are journeying right up to the edge of suffering.

Read Matthew 21: 10-17 and John 12: 1-8

Holy God,

Six days before his death, your son sat with Lazarus,

whom he had raised from the dead,

and ate dinner with his friends.

Once again, your gospel tells us, Martha served,

and Mary knelt at Jesus’ feet

to anoint them with costly perfume.

The disciple who was about to betray him

said that was a waste.

He didn’t care about the poor, really –

he just wanted to fill his own pockets

and make Mary feel ashamed.

Holy God,

often we cannot discern what is best:

when to pour out costly perfume for your sake,

even if the world thinks it a waste,

when to be busy serving,

or when to rest at your Son’s feet and learn.

Give us ears to hear you and eyes to see

for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ

in whose name we pray. Amen

During these days of physical distancing, how is God’s Spirit nudging you to pour out costly perfume? In what ways is God’s Spirit prompting you to reach out and serve? May we be attentive to the movement of God’s Spirit as the shadow of the cross lengthens.

May God’s peace hold you,

Kara

April 5, 2020

The following is a prayer offered the church by Carol Penner. This prayer has been adapted to include congregational prayer needs.

Let us pray,

On this Palm Sunday, things are different.

No children waving palm branches in processions,

no collective singing of hosannas, loud hosannas,

no exultant crowds, here or anywhere.

The streets are quiet.

What resonates is the image of you, Jesus,

weeping over Jerusalem,

crying for a people surrounded by enemies,

who do not know the things that make for peace.

Our tiny, lethal enemy is invisible to the naked eye.

We jump when people cough,

we eye each other suspiciously,

not knowing where the danger is lurking.

We fear for all the vulnerable,

and we fear for ourselves. 

We ask God that you will protect all who tirelessly are working in the health care field. Keep them well and strong.

For loved ones who have been infected by coronavirus and for those who wait on test results,

for needs shared publicly and for those we hold deep within, we pray……  

As our lives are overturned,

and restrictions are put in place,

it’s not business as usual

and economic worries are added to the mix.

Anxiety settles like a dense cloud

over all the world.

We need you more than ever, Jesus.

You arrive humbly, unnoticed by many,

cheered by some.

You arrive in the early morning cars

of health workers showing up for their shifts.

You arrive on eighteen wheels as truckers

unload groceries and essential supplies.

You arrive by public transit as scientists

head to their labs day in and day out,

searching diligently for a virus vaccine.

You arrive on foot as neighbours

deliver meals to seniors stranded at home.

You arrive in the ricochet of signals off satellites,

as cyberspace messages of love circle our globe;

millions reaching out to say,

“Are you OK? I miss you.”

God, hear our prayer

from the lonesome valleys

of this world wide pandemic.

Open our hearts to the possibility

that today is the day of our visitation;

you walk triumphantly through closed doors,

meeting us when others cannot come.

Accept our solitary hosannas,

and gather us together in prayer:

“Blessed is the One

who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Amen

April 5, 2020

“Hosanna!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Hosanna in the highest heaven.”

May God who receives our loud hosanna’s, bless our worship this day!

peace be yours,

Kara

April 3, 2020

Friends,

Today was our first ZOOM prayer gathering. How good it was to be together! It was extra good to see your faces!

All are welcome to join us for our next gathering: Thursday April 9 at 11:30 a.m.

I’ll be sending a ZOOM link early next week.

You can download the Anabaptist Prayer Book “Take Our Moments and Our Days” app on your phone at no charge. And if you don’t download the app you’re still welcome to join a time of Scripture and prayer. 

If you have questions about connecting with ZOOM or had trouble connecting this morning, please contact Bob Veitch. He has offered to help you!

One of the Scriptures provided for us today, Psalm 91.

“Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High and abide in the shade of the Almighty say to the Lord: ‘ My refuge, my stronghold, my God in whom I trust… God will conceal you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge. You will not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the plague that prowls in the darkness……”

It is my prayer that the assurance of God’s care and protection will hold you steady.

Adding to our Prayer of Examen of these past days, here are further questions to take to prayer:

When did I feel most alive today?

When did I most feel life draining out of me?

When today did I have the greatest sense of belonging to myself, others, God?

When did I have the least sense of belonging?

May God’s gentle Spirit provide you with all the peace, and hope, and joy, and love you need for each and every day. 

love & prayers,

Kara 

April 2, 2020

Warm greetings on this bright spring day!

Amidst the greening of spring we proclaim resurrection has come and will come again!!

Yesterday I invited us to pray the Prayer of Examen, an ancient prayer practice that invites us to be attentive to God’s presence in our day.

Today I am offering some new questions as we continue to pray:

When did I give and receive the most love today?

When did I give and receive the least love today?

Again, you may want to light a candle and be still as you take time to reflect on these questions. Be attentive to what comes to mind.  Perhaps jot down your thoughts. Being still helps us to be attentive to all that we’re carrying, our hopes and fears, strengths as well as struggles. Don’t push away feelings that arise, be with them, be curious, and be grateful you can name them.

God is with you and loves you!

Please note below the link or phone info to join together for a ZOOM prayer time tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.

If you have a computer with  built-in camera use the link to zoom in live! For others, call in -, you won’t see us but we will be able to hear each other.  

It’s the first Sunday of April this week. What celebrations do you have to share? We want to celebrate with you!!

What burdens or concerns are you carrying for which you want prayer.

We haven’t tried a mass ZOOM yet so let’s give it a try!!! 

For our prayer time, please download the Anabaptist Prayer Book app – if you can’t, no worries!!!

Looking forward to joining with you face-to-face and praying together.

love & prayers,

Kara 

April 1, 2020

In their book Sleeping with Bread: Holding what gives you life, the authors share the following story.

“During the bombing raids of World War 2, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, ‘Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”

Last week we tried out breath prayers with Scripture. We were also invited to try writing our own.

This week, we try another prayer practice: the prayer of examen, another ancient prayer that helps us to be attentive to God’s presence and goodness. The prayer of examen focuses on two questions. 

For today the two questions are:

1. For what moment today am I most grateful?

2. For what moment today am I least grateful? 

You may want to light a candle and be still as you take time to reflect upon these questions. Be attentive to what comes to mind.  Perhaps jot down your thoughts. Being still helps us to be attentive to all that we’re carrying, our hopes and fears, strengths as well as struggles. 

When you get in touch with what you are grateful for, give thanks to God. When you discover something you are not grateful for name it, feel it, and appreciate that you are not denying it. Be reminded that God is with you. 

This prayer practice can be done individually or as a family. As you gather around your dinner table you may want to consider asking these two questions and share your responses with one another. What wisdom might spill from our children as we hold space for their responses?

May God continue to draw near to us as we draw near to God with our gratitude and our needs.

peace be yours,

Kara   

March 28, 2020

A blessing for you for this time of “social isolation.” A Blessing for Solitude by John O’Donohue from his book Benedictus.
“May you recognize in your life the presence,Power and light of your soul.May you realize you are never alone,That your soul in its brightness and belonging,Connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.May you have respect for your individuality and difference.May you realize the shape of your soul is unique.That you have a special destiny here.That beyond the facade of your lifeThere is something beautiful and eternal happening.May you learn to see yourselfWith the same delightPride and expectationWith which God sees you in every moment.May we all feel blessed and strong during this difficult time.

My prayers are with you,Kara

March 27, 2020

Today as we continue to pray our breath prayers we also pray with lament and hope. 

Together we raise our song with resolve: “I will hold the Christ-light for you in the night time of your fear.”

Consider lighting a candle each day for a specific person or situation.

Where is hope needed most? For yourself? For your family? For our world? 

“It feels like things are not ok

And this ‘thing’ will never go away

Life all around is caving in

And no-one knows where to begin

‘What-ifs’ and fears are on the rise

And nobody’s able to disguise

The sadness of this sudden change

To life, a routine; it’s strange

But sit a moment with that thought

Forget the things that you’ve been taught

For awhile there’s no rat race

A slower life put in its place

We suddenly have the space to stop

The cusp of spring still breaks its sleep

Our birds return to trill and cheep

And hope and kindness start to bloom”

(author unknown)

As we practice necessary social distancing, may our prayers draw us near to God as God draws near to us with hope and love.

holding the Christ-light for you, 

Kara 

March 26, 2020

Greetings all,     

My apologies to those of you who are receiving this twice today. I am still getting the “bugs” out of the group email.

On Tuesday we explored the ancient spiritual practice of “breath prayers.” Using Scripture we inhaled and exhaled deeply in order to be present and grounded at this tumultuous time. 

What Scripture (s) were you drawn to? Did you experience peace? hope?  

To further our “breath prayer” practice I have provided a guide to help us go deeper with God.

1. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and remember that God loves you and you are in God’s presence.

2. Imagine God calling you by name, asking “(Your name), what do you want?”

3. Answer God honestly with whatever word or phrase comes from deep within you.

4. Choose your favorite or most natural name for God.

5. Combine your name for God with your word or phrase to form a brief prayer that flows smoothly.

Examples:

What I Want 

Peace

Love

Guidance

Name for God

God

Jesus

Eternal Light

Possible Prayer

Let me know your peace, O God.

Jesus, let me feel your love.

Eternal Light, guide me in your way.

Repeat the prayer for a few minutes, allowing the words to settle into a regular rhythm. If more than one idea arises, you may need to ponder what the deepest desire of your heart is. A helpful question to ask is, What do I want that will make me feel most whole? In creating your own breath prayer, you might take several days of reflection to discover what is best for you. Be patient, and let the words emerge from your deepest longings. When you have discovered your prayer, begin to practice it at different times during the day. You might pray it before you get out of bed in the morning or prior to retiring for the day. You may pray it when you are out for a walk.  You could breathe and pray when you become anxious, frustrated, or bored. 

Breath prayers remind us that praying is as natural as breathing.

Let us pray,

Kara

March 25, 2020

“When we call out for help, we are bound more powerfully to God through our needs and weakness, our unfulfilled hopes and dreams, and our anxieties and problems than we ever could have been through our joys, successes, and strengths alone. .” writes Brian McLaren in his book Naked Spirituality.

Today let us respond to MCC’s call to prayer and Pope Francis’ invitation to join globally, praying the Lord’s Prayer at noon. It is my prayer that as we pray we may be bound more powerfully to our God. 

God’s people globally pray the prayer Jesus taught his disciples in many languages and many versions. Perhaps pray the version that feels most at home for you and then pray an alternate version today. For example, the Lord’s Prayer which comes to us from the New Zealand prayer book. 

Praying with new language, be attentive to that which catches your heart’s attention. Is there an image that is prominent? What names for God resonate for you? Be curious. Be attentive. Be open. 

We offer our prayers today to God, trusting God the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer hears us when we pray and will respond with love and grace.  

Eternal Spirit, Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, Life giver

Source of all that is

and all that shall be

Father and Mother of us all

Loving God, in whom is heaven

The hallowing of your name 

echo through the universe.

The way of your justice be followed

by the peoples of the world!

Your heavenly will be done by all

created beings

Your commonwealth of peace and 

freedom sustain our hope and come

on earth

With the bread we need for today,

feed us,

In the hurts we absorb from one

another, forgive us,

In times of temptation and test,

strengthen us,

From trials too great to endure,

spare us.

From the grip of all that is evil,

free us.

For you reign in the glory of the power that is love now and forever.

And all God’s people said, Amen!!

God’s peace be yours,

Kara 

March 24, 2020

“Cast all your anxiety on God, because God cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

          It is an anxious time as non-essential businesses are poised to shut down tonight. Anxieties related to finances, our health and that of our loved ones….. the list of concerns is long.  We are uncertain about many things as our Lenten journey continues. Amidst the uncertainty my heart is warmed to hear how we are adjusting daily. Today, I received an email with photo attached showing a face mask that had just been sewn. Further supplies are on order and response to urgent need is under way. In a  phone call earlier today, a congregant shared how she placed notes in her rural neighbour’s mailboxes asking that email addresses be shared with the hope neighbours could become connected at this uncertain time. How delighted that neighbours responded and are connecting.   

     How did you reach out today with your heart, with your words, with compassion where you could not touch?. Our loving actions are a way to counter anxiety and fear. Prayer also helps to keep us centered and present.

       The practice of “breath prayers” is an ancient form of prayer. A breath prayer is as simple as choosing two short lines to meditate upon. Inhaling deeply with one short phrase and exhaling through second, can help keep us grounded and conscious of God’s presence with us during this uncertain time. Drawing upon Scripture, here are some options:

Inhale: Humble and gentle One,

Exhaule: you are rest for my soul   (Matthew 11. 28-30)

Inhale: True Vine and Gardener,

Exhale: I abide in You   (John 15)

Inhale: Nothing can separate me

Exhale: from the love of God   (Romans 8: 38-39)

Inhale: Be still

Exhale: and know that I am God    (Psalm 46:10)

Inhale: On earth

Exhale: as it is in heaven   (Matthew 6:10)

Inhale: I will not be afraid

Exhale: for You are with me (Psalm 23)

May we draw near to God as God draws near to us for the living of these days. May we continue to reach out to one another as God in love reaches out to us. 

Inhale:  Peace of Christ

Exhale: guard my heart   (Philippians 4:7)

Amen, 

Held in prayer,

Kara     

March 23, 2020

This morning as we pray for one another, our neighbours, and our world, let us be assured and comforted knowing the Lord is near. 

Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ” 

(Phil. 4: 4-7)

Beneath this morning’s blanket of snow, lies a spring that waits to blossom in all her beauty. What lies in wait within you? What seed is growing with new dimension? Following a fallow season, bulbs emerge from the cold earth with new life. Seeds need to crack open for new beauty and new life to appear. What’s growing within you with possibility?  As the song writer pens, “Unrevealed until its season something God alone can see.”       

A Morning Offering:

I bless the night that nourished my heart

To set the ghosts of longing free

Into the flow and the figure of dream

That went to harvest from the dark

Bread for the hunger no one sees

All that is eternal in me

Welcomes the wonder of this day,

The field of brightness it creates

Offering time for each thing

To arise and illuminate.

I place on the altar of dawn:

The quiet loyalty of breath,

The tent of thought where I shelter,

Waves of desire I am shore to 

And all beauty drawn to the eyes.

May my mind come alive today

To the invisible geography

That invites me to new frontiers,

To break the dead shell of yesterdays,

To rise being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today

to live the life that I would love,

To postpone my dream no longer

But do at last what I came here for

And waste my heart on fear no more. 

(by John O’Donohue, To Bless the Space Between Us p, 9)   

May God’s peace hold you and all you love. 

The Lord is near!

love & prayers, 

Kara

March 21, 2020

“Resurrection Christ,you germinate seeds ofnew life in the burned andbarren places in our world,and in the brokenness of our lives,growing beauty, hope, and loveon delicate stems rising up from the ash.”

– poem by Wendy Janzen, Pastor St. Jacobs Mennonite Church:

May God hold you and all you in love in peace, hope and love,

Kara

March 19, 2020

Friends,At this time of social distancing we draw near to God as God draws near to us in love.I am sharing this meaningful prayer which was shared with me by a congregant earlier this morning.Let us pray, 

Lockdown

 Yes there is fear.

Yes there is isolation.

Yes there is panic buying.

Yes there is sickness.

Yes there is even death.

But,

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise

You can hear the birds again.

They say that after just a few weeks of quiet

The sky is no longer thick with fumes

But blue and grey and clear.

They say that in the streets of Assisi

People are singing to each other

across the empty squares,

keeping their windows open

so that those who are alone

may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland

Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.

Today a young woman I know

is busy spreading fliers with her number

through the neighbourhood

So that the elders may have someone to call on.

Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples

are preparing to welcome

and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting

All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way

All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.

To how little control we really have.

To what really matters.

To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.

But there does not have to be hate.

Yes there is isolation.

But there does not have to be loneliness.

Yes there is panic buying.

But there does not have to be meanness.

Yes there is sickness.

But there does not have to be disease of the soul

Yes there is even death.

But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.

Today, breathe.

Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic

The birds are singing again

The sky is clearing,

Spring is coming,

And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul

And though you may not be able

to touch across the empty square,

Sing.  Amen

 Pastor Kara Carter

March 18, 2020

Dear friends,

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One, your Savior. ….. you are precious in my sight, and honoured, and I love you. Do not fear, for I am with you.: (Isaiah 43: 1-5)

The prophet Isaiah’s word came at a time when God’s people were in exile. They were far from home including distanced from their place of worship. They were fearful and despairing whether their God had abandoned them. Into that wilderness time of uncertainty, fear, and displacement, God spoke words of love, hope, and the assurance of Divine faithful accompaniment.

These past days I have drawn comfort and strength through Isaiah’s prophetic message. As God’s people, we are assured that as we journey this pandemic wilderness season, God is with us. God holds us in a wide and strong embrace. God the Good Shepherd’s rod and staff are our source of comfort and strength (Ps. 23).

“Do not fear” – we hear this over and again throughout Scripture. While fear is a natural human response we need not be overcome. When we pass through that dark valley of fear, we are assured God is with us, loves us, and will bring us home.

We are living in an extraordinary time. We are holding our loved ones close to our hearts. We are concerned for our health and our global brothers and sisters especially the aged and vulnerable. Daily life has been disrupted. Children are home from school. Universities and colleges have ceased in-person classroom teaching. Recreation facilities and others have closed. Large gatherings have been banned. Changes in our work places are evolving day to day. Economic volatility creates uncertainty. Some of our congregational family members are in self-quarantine. Others are dealing with significant health issues including awaiting transfer for rehabilitation. Our hearts and love are extended to those who gather at hospice. In this extraordinary time be assured good people of God, “God is with us!!”

Last evening WMC Board met for an on-line email meeting along with Jane Kuepfer (SRC chairperson) and Grant Nafziger (Elders chairperson). WMC leadership and staff are learning new and creative ways to meet and I am delighted to share with you that last evening’s “experiment” was a success! I give thanks for WMC leadership!

Yesterday morning Premier Doug Ford announced a state of emergency for the province of Ontario. MCEC denominational leadership followed up, strongly encouraging the cancellation of all congregational activities (worship services, Lent services, in-person board meetings, etc.) until March 31. WMC Board believes cancelling all in-person gatherings is a faithful response for this time. While we cannot meet together at  

this time, ministry continues. We continue to be the church!

To keep you informed:

Staff Relations Committee has been in contact with all WMC staff. Work situations have been evaluated and adjusted to fit with current realities.

I will be working primarily from home but available by phone and email (cell 519-749-5008 or kara@wellesleymennonite.ca).

Susan will be working mostly at the church with doors locked for safety. She is available by phone and email and will continue to look after invoices, offering, Info Sheet and other communications (519-656-2700 or office@wellesleymennonite.ca)

Clare will work exclusively from home. Jeanette will continue to clean the church and use time not needed for usual weekly tasks to clean more deeply and disinfect.

At this time of disruption, please pray for our staff and consider email and phone calls with words of encouragement and care.

Last evening the Board approved the formation of a “Pandemic Response Team.” This team’s primary agenda will be to monitor the situation, inform congregational leadership, and communicate, including offering recommendations. This vital team includes: Dan Lebold (519-504-1550), Delores, Schwartzentruber (519-504-7475), and Betty Ann Glauser (519-656-3582 from 7-9 pm).

Worship Committee has been in conversation over the past days, exploring a number of options for on-line worship. Further details will be forthcoming.

Because expenses are ongoing, please consider how best to continue regular givings. Stewardship & Finance offer a number of options:

1) drop cheques off in the outdoor mail box when Susan is in the office

2) write out your cheques and date for the Sundays that we are closed

3) etransfer: office@wellesleymennonite.ca

4) contact a Stewardship and Finance for cheque pick up

Care Team encourages us to consider how we can help each other at this time. By getting groceries or calling people who live alone we can show the love of Christ to those around us. We serve a loving God and we have a living hope in Christ Jesus. Let us cling to this sure steadfast anchor of the soul (Heb. 6:19) and encourage others to find refuge in God, our sure and present help in times of trouble (Ps 46). At

At this time, we have an opportunity to be the church in new ways. While we cannot be physically present we can still connect through phones calls, emails, or video chats. Let us check in regularly with our neighbours and one another.

At this time of “social distancing” may we draw near to God as God draws near to us. “Do not be afraid” says our God “I am with you.”

With a pastor’s love,
Kara

March 13, 2020


Dear friends,

Recent news about the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID 19) has raised concerns for many of us for the well-being of people across the globe including potentially our own communities and neighborhoods. On Wednesday March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic.

In response, let us join in prayer for all who are affected by this disease. May God be with those who grieve, are ill, isolated and afraid, and the many first responders and people involved in medical and emergency care. We pray specifically for the people of China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, and other nations where the disease is spreading rapidly. May we together express support for our global neighbors and communities, that racism and prejudice be confronted among us. Let us also pray for world leaders that responsive policy be grounded in compassion and justice rather than fear and protectionism.

Let us also pray that we may resist allowing our fear to overwhelm us. We trust in “God with us,” and in the revelation of God in Christ Jesus who spoke often in the Gospels, “do not be afraid.”

It is important to be informed about risks and precaution at this time. While the Region of Waterloo reports that risk to residents remains low, there are a number of ways we can protect ourselves and others.  

Region of Waterloo Public Health and Emergency Services release regular community bulletins including precautions to prevent the spread of germs and viruses:

·         Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

·         Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

·         Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

·         Stay home when you are sick.

·         Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

·         Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Wellesley Mennonite leadership want to ensure best practices in our worship and community life together, especially for the sake of those most vulnerable to this and other diseases.

Concerning specific worship practices, the following changes are being implemented:

 ·         Greeting one another in ways that does not include shaking hands or embracing is strongly encouraged.

·         Hand sanitizer is readily available in and around our worship and gathering spaces for everyone’s use.

·         Staff Relations Committee is following up regarding cleaning and disinfecting surfaces according to local health guidelines in our public spaces of worship and gathering, especially washrooms, door handles, light switches, kitchen surfaces.

·         Worship Committee has made a decision that microphone will not circulate throughout the congregation during sharing time. Additionally, offering plates will not be passed through the congregation. Rather, congregants are invited to bring their offerings forward during worship.

·         Conversation regarding best practices for Good Friday communion preparation and serving is ongoing.

·         In addition, appropriate food safe practices, including thorough hand washing, washing of dishes, careful preparing and serving of food and beverages will be followed for all gatherings.

·         Conversation is underway regarding providing electronic links to join worship services or meetings via video conferencing.

·         Food and drinks will not be shared.   

It is my hope and prayer that our appropriate concern for public health and well-being in our communities does not diminish our full and enthusiastic participation in worship and community life together. We trust in God’s continuing care for all in response to this health challenge before us.

May God bless us this Lenten season as we anticipate Easter celebration.

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Kara

March 31, 2020

Friends,

While some of us are feeling the fullness of over stuffed days, others are struggling with isolation, loneliness, and depression.

Wherever you find yourself today, whatever you are feeling today, we pray together with confidence knowing we are not alone.  

Loving God,

our minds have much too much time these days…..

Help us to leave our fear and 

anxieties with You

that the living water you give us

might fill us with refreshing peace.

This day, let our hearts be fed by thankfulness…..

Let our heads be fed by a sense of solidarity……

for we are not alone

but rather are surrounded

by a great cloud of witnesses

and filled with the healing power of Your Holy Spirit.

Thanks be to you, O God. Amen

(this prayer was written by my friend Presbyterian Pastor Gwen Ament).   

May God’s peace hold you and your loved ones,

Kara