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During July & August, the office will be open
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St. Paul’s News …
Janet Halstead at General Assembly
Our Clerk of Session, Janet Halstead, recently attended The 140th General Assembly of The Presbyterian Church in Canada from May 30 - June 2 at St. Andrew's, Kitchener, and Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Janet was one of 6 commissioners representing our Presbytery of Lindsay-Peterborough.
In her recent report to Presbytery, Janet told how she attended the Church Service and Communion at St. Andrew’s, Kitchener, on the Friday evening of Assembly at which the outgoing Moderator, the Rev. Dr. David Sutherland, delivered the message while communion was presided over by the Rev. Dr. Stephen Farris, the incoming Moderator. She says, "The Church and balcony were both full – approximately 500 people. It took 24 elders to serve the communion. Choir of 28 voices, combined with a church full of voices resulted in magnificent musical experience."
Janet tells of her experience at the various sederunts (sessions) of Assembly. "As a first time Commissioner to General Assembly," she says, "I had more questions than answers. I did not speak the 'language', nor understand how GA operates." Each of the Presbytery Commissioners was given the job of reporting back on the various subjects that came up at Assembly. Janet's remit was to report on topics as diverse as the Life & Mission Agency, Canada Ministries, International Ministries as well as Justice issues, Assembly Council and the report of the Clerks of Assembly. In addition to these responsibilities, Janet was called upon to serve as a member of the Assembly's Business Committee. Read Janet's full report to Presbytery here as well as the reports of our other Assembly Commissioners on page 2510 of the Presbytery Minutes.
Haiti Dinner & Auction
A very successful Haiti Evening was held on Saturday evening, 24th May, in the Christian Education Hall, raising the wonderful sum of $12,000 for St. Paul's forthcoming mission trip to Jacmel, Haiti. The money will go to purchasing medication and materials for the mission trip. Dinner was served, followed by entertainment, along with silent and live auctions. Click here to see a copy of the evening's programme which lists the live auction items along with names of the donors of both live and silent auction items. Dave Graham was MC for the evening and Doug Mitchell shared his auctioneering talents for the live auction. Entertainment was provided by Justin Hiscox and his group (including a seashell band!) as well as soprano, Melody Thomas, accompanied by Douglas Schalin - and also singer and guitarist, Jordyn McRobbie, Youth Leader at Norwood Pentecostal Church. A big thank you to Dave Graham and his team of volunteers who put a huge amount of time and effort into making this such a successful venture. Also a big thank you to everyone who donated the many items for the auction, those who attended and who gave so freely through the many bids to this important venture. Click here to see photographs of the Haiti Evening.
The Yard Sale this year was held over two Saturdays, 31 May and 7 June and raised the magnificent sum of $3850.00. Thank you to everyone involved - all who donated items, and all who came to the sale and purchased items. Thanks you to everyone who helped with the set-up as well as with the take-down and packing up of the unsold items. Most of all, the biggest thank you to Pat and Bruce Mills who not only gave leadership in organising the sale but also raised money by selling items on Kijijii, and recycling scrap iron and other materials. Another great effort!
Photos of the Yard Sale
have now been posted
~ click on the image above ~
Haiti Mission Trip
St. Paul’s is organising a mission trip to Haiti this fall to help a church and orphanage run by Pastor Wilbert Placide in Jacmel, Haiti. The mission is called "The Little Angels of Jacmel". Jonathan and Penny Baird have known Pastor Placide since 2002 and vouch for the sincerity of the mission he leads. The 2010 earthquake damaged the church and it needs repairs. Read more about this mission trip by clicking here or find it under “Events” on the menu above. To read more about the mission trip and see photos of Jacmel, click here.
Janet Halstead, Clerk of Session, writes in the current Newsletter:
"As you are all aware, the Sanctuary has been closed since early March. As a Session, we are working our way through the problems in the Sanctuary, and are finding this is going to be a longer journey than any of us would wish. There are several serious problems – the support beams are rotting on the ends due to weathering, and the plaster is falling off the, ceiling.
And that is the start." Continue reading ...
Sunday 20th July
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~ 10:00 am Service ~
Rev. Jonathan Baird
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Sermon: "To Be As A Child”
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(Christian Education Hall)
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Join us for Coffee & Conversation
after the service
In Presbyterian News …
Eyes Wide Open
Looking at others as our children do
Todd Statham, The Presbyterian Record
Rev. Dr Todd Statham teaches at Zomba Theological College in Malawi and reflects on life in that African country as seen through the eyes of his children.
"It’s often been a blessing for us to experience Malawi through our kids’ eyes. We get so disheartened by the myriad problems around us, by hunger and poverty, by hundreds of thousands of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, by hospitals with little medicine and even fewer doctors, by corrupt leaders in church and government. Sometimes it’s hard for us to see Malawi as anything more than the sum of its problems. But our kids are good at seeing people." Read more from the June edition of The Presbyterian Record ....
The Best Is Yet To Come
Building a successful capital campaign
Seth Veenstra, The Presbyterian Record
"Time takes its toll on a church building. In turn, an aging building can take its toll on the members. Spaces that once nurtured worship, fellowship and community involvement feel less welcoming: it’s too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer; steps up to the main doors are daunting to elderly members and visitors; persons with disabilities can only access limited areas of the building. It’s time to rejuvenate the building—or even build anew. This will take significant funds over and above a congregation’s annual budget. But how?"
Lesson in Patience
Right Rev Ray Coster, Moderator
The Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
While driving home from Auckland yesterday I was reminded of an important lesson in life. Patience is something you admire in the driver behind you, but not in the one ahead! The Bible calls patience a “Fruit of the Spirit”, and I discovered there wasn’t too much of this fruit hanging on my tree! The first thing God says about his love is that it is patient. The word, “frustrating” seems to be a reasonably common expression – not only in a teenager’s vocabulary!. It can be a dangerous and destructive word – driving on the road, in life – and in church! One of the things that hold many churches back in their mission is “frustration”. It can be frustration with the church’s culture, frustration with worship or the sermon, frustration with people, frustration with the minister… frustration with God. Read more from The Bush Telegraph, June 2014 ...
Pastor publishes book to honour animals of his congregation
A look into animal chaplaincy
June 5, 2014
Paul Soderquist, the interim pastor at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in George, Iowa, is making moves to change the way that people grieve and celebrate their animal companions within his congregation. A new trend has risen in animal chaplaincy, a ministry that is designed to provide care and comfort to families whose animals may be sick or dying. Animal chaplaincy aims to counter the norm of repressing the hurt of losing an animal. Soderquist went before the session of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church last summer, laying out the plan for his continuing education for the year. His request was to take an animal chaplaincy class to become certified, acknowledging that it was more expensive than they normally allowed and warning that if he did the class, there would be a project that would involve the congregation.
Post-It Note Banner
The 10,000 Reasons ‘Post it note’ Praise Project
Flagstaff Community Church, Dunedin, NZ
The song ‘10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord Oh My Soul) by Matt Redman has rapidly become a well known and loved congregational song of worship for NZ congregations over the last year (if you don’t know the song, you can listen to it here). The words capture some timeless truths about God (based on Psalm 103) and remind us that anytime, every day is ‘time to sing your song again’. One Sunday morning last year, I started wondering “What would 10,000 reasons LOOK like? A graffiti wall of some kind where everyone could contribute their reasons to bless the Lord? How big would it need to be? How could everyone write up their reasons? Read more from The One Voice Project of The Presbyterian Church in New Zealand ...
In Other News …
What Makes Churches Grow?
By Marites N. Sison
The Anglican Journal, May, 15 2014
When parishes are “elastic” and embrace different ways of being church, when their dioceses, clergy and parishioners are collaborative and have a “strong spiritual core” and when they reach out to communities beyond their walls, they become healthy and vital. But they often wither and fail when there is no openness to new ideas, when things are imposed and when there’s a top-down approach to problems and solutions. These were just some observations shared by participants at the (Anglican Church) National Consultation on Congregational Vitality being held in Niagara Falls from May 14–16. Change happens when congregations are allowed to dream, to experiment and to take chances, said the Ven. Christopher Pappas, archdeacon for congregational development, diocese of Edmonton. Pappas was among participants chosen to share thoughts on congregational vitality, via a “conversations from the couch” format led by Elizabeth Robinson, diocese of Montreal. Vitality is about encouraging parishes to take risks, said Pappas. “It’s okay to experiment and fail. To give them the tools and support and say, ‘We’ve got your back.’ ” Read more ...
The Big Question
If heaven is so great, why aren’t we hurrying to get there?
Rev. Michael Webster, St Martin's United, Saskatoon
When we say “heaven,” which heaven are we talking about? My personal favourite is the one from Revelation 22, a beautiful garden on the banks of the river of life. But then there’s that funeral favourite from John 14: a kind of country inn at the end of life’s long and dusty road (“My father’s house has many dwelling places”). Jesus often spoke of the life to come as a feast, sometimes as a wedding feast. And Isaiah 25:6-8 portrays a sort of outdoor family reunion and mountaintop picnic with tables full of the finest foods and wines, a place for everyone at the table. In its own way, each one is appealing. My least favourite biblical image of heaven is the one we know through countless jokes and cartoons — an eternal city with gates of pearl and streets of gold (Revelation 21:21). So familiar is this image that it can be tempting to think of it as the real heaven, the one we’re supposed to believe in. Read more from The United Church Observer ...
A Point of View
Is it better to be religious than spiritual?
Senior lecturer in the medical faculty at the University of East Anglia
More and more people are rejecting religion but embracing spirituality. But have they got things the wrong way around, asks Tom Shakespeare. After a relationship break up a few years ago, I signed on to a dating website. Filling in my online profile, I was interested to discover that the question on religious belief included an option that was new to me. You could tick boxes for the major religions, or for atheist, or for SBNR, which I discovered stands for "Spiritual But Not Religious". Whereas the word "religion" generally refers to organised forms of worship and a wider faith community, "spiritual" often describes people's private individual beliefs. Read more from the BBC Magazine series, "A Point of View", 24 May 2014 ...
Maya Angelou On Christian Faith
'If God loves me, what is it I can't do?'
The world celebrates the life of the writer, teacher, and Civil Rights activist
Dr. Angelou said in a 2013 interview that it was her faith in God that allowed her to achieve such incredible feats. "I found that I knew not only that there was God but that I was a child of God, when I understood that, when I comprehended that, more than that, when I internalized that, ingested that, I became courageous," she told The Times-Picayune. "I dared to do anything that was a good thing. I dared to do things as distant from what seemed to be in my future. "If God loves me, if God made everything from leaves to seals and oak trees, then what is it I can't do?"
Not Ashamed of Her Faith
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus tells his disciples, “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge him before my father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven.” Standing before the court she was given an ultimatum, “Abandon your newly found Christian faith and return to the official religion of the state and you shall live, if you refuse then you shall die.” She made her choice, she chose death. This sounds like a scene from the Roman emperor Nero’s court 2,000 years ago, but it happened to a 27-year old woman, Dr. Meriam Ibrahim, and it happened in the country of Sudan on May 15, just a few weeks ago. Read more from The Aransas Pass Progress ...
Stories of Faith …
Arguing with children can be risky.
In a grade school lesson, a teacher was explaining a little bit about whales. A little girl in class piped up and said: “I just learned that Jonah in the Bible was swallowed by a whale.” The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was relatively small. The girl said: "I am sure Jonah was swallowed by a whale." The teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; that it was physically impossible. The little girl replied: "My Sunday school teacher told me Jonah was swallowed and she would not lie to me.” A bit perturbed by this, the teacher proclaimed: "That is a “story” from the bible, it is not factual, and I will not argue with you." After a little thought, the girl responded: "Well, when I get to heaven, I will ask Jonah". Now challenged, the teacher spouted: "What if Jonah didn’t go to heaven? What if he went to the other place?" Not at all daunted, the girl quipped, " OK then you ask him."
“Out of the mouth of babes . . . “
Giving Your All For Those You Love
A little girl named Liz who was suffering froma rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. He hesitated for a moment then took a deep breath and said, "Yes I'll do it if it will save her." As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled as he saw the colour returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I die right away, or how soon?" The doctor was taken aback. He suddenly realised the boy thought he would have to give his sister, not just some, but all of his blood. The doctor just couldn't believe it. This little boy was ready to give his life in order to save his sister.
The Blank Cheque of God's Grace
Wilbur Chapman, a well-known Presbyterian preacher at the beginning of the 20th century, told of how a rich business-man once helped him in the midst of a financial crisis by giving him a cheque which he noted, when he looked more closely, was unsigned. When Chapman asked why he had left the cheque blank, his friend said, “Well, I knew you would not know how much you needed until you actually needed it and I wanted to be sure you had enough.”
Later, Chapman discovered that the business-man had done the same with other acquaintances but they had filled in much larger amounts, leading the preacher to feel a sense of jealousy that his friend had helped these others in much greater ways. “It seemed so unfair,” he admitted, until he remembered that he really had nothing to be upset about because this man had been so generous both to him and others, helping each one according to their particular need.
Likewise with God, his grace is always tailored to cover our needs whatever they might be at any particular time. And, because of this tremendous desire to fit his help to our personal requirements, sometimes he seems to act with an unfairness akin to that of Chapman’s business-man friend. However, the issue with God is always generosity so he will not allow anything to prevent the flow of his grace into our lives - not even our human scale of justice and equality.