As I look out my window, I see blue sky, the green of the pine trees and I hear birds chirping - their spring time songs. The temperature is definitely NOT spring and yet other signs tell me spring is here. My daffodils are peeking up in the front bed through the snow. My early tulips are pushing up through the dark soil, lifting my heart and confirming life.
I grew up down near Windsor, ON. There, we often had mostly green winters. My first winter in Ottawa was the one of 1970-71. Remember? It was the year of 13 feet of snow. One of the streets we drove down frequently had snow piled so high, I could hardly see the houses. Then, one day in May, I drove down that same street. It was crab apple blossom time. That was the first time I really ‘got’ the meaning of Easter rebirth. In the deepest of winter’s freeze, I need not fear, God’s promise to us is the cycle of life with warmth and growth and renewal.
I would guess that the Syrian family we are sponsoring is also very aware of their rebirth as Canadians. Woodroffe United hosted a potluck dinner on Sunday, April 3rd, for our Syrian family, the committee members and those interpreters who have been so valuable in supporting our work with Tamer, Rehab and Baraa. We also invited Britannia United Church folks and their refugee family, along with Our Lady of Fatima’s refugee family - plus all of their committee people and support people, About 65 of us visited and dined in the Banquet Room from 4 to 7pm. The tables were decorated with pussy willows from Jamie and Shirley Hockin’s garden plus colourful tulips. The gifts of food were spectacular: middle eastern food together with Canadian offerings of lasagna and chili. Desserts were equally diverse - baklava to Tim Horton donut holes! There were a dozen or so children from 6 months to early teens, Everyone had a great time! All agreed, we want to continue to connect over food.
Easter activities were: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Sunrise service at 6:51am - about 20-25 braved the chill and enjoyed time together - at Deschênes Rapids and then back to the church for a potluck brunch together. Our Easter service was held with communion. The sanctuary was beautifully decorated by David and Elaine Armstrong, as usual.
Rev. Kathryn planned an interesting Maundy Thursday evening greeting. When people entered the Banquet Room, they were met by a pair of ‘disciples’: one held a basin of water for people to rinse their hands and the second ‘disciples’ provided a towel to dry their hands.
The other memorable Easter thing for me was the Good Friday service. Each of us was given a piece of black cloth when we entered the sanctuary. During the sermon, as Rev. Kathryn spoke of the temple draperies being ripped from top to bottom, she asked us to rip our clothes. I was amazed to hear that the temple curtain as made of cloth 3 inches thick. I am still trying to figure that out!
On Monday, April 4th, Woodroffe is hosting an ecumenical group of people to attend a presentation. The United Church Observer is working with another magazine called Walrus which has organized a 7 person panel discussion about spirituality, Protestant, Jewish, Roman Catholic faiths, and atheists and agnostics appear to be represented in those 7 panel members. The presentation was lightly attended. All who did ccome out enjoyedtgheir evening. We had lots of coffee and sweets to go around.
The youth group is getting ready to learn to knit! Rev. Kathryn has offered to provide some teaching and others have donated large knitting needles and bulky wool. The idea is to start early to have cozy items on the mitten trees come Christmas. First lessons will be all about scarves!
As spring arrives, my thoughts turn to gardening - both at home and at the church. Looks like there may need to be some significant flower bed creation at the East door. The gardening team will need to get together to do some planning. There are always new projects.
May spring bring to you warmth and colour and some lovely time in the sun.