The messages from March 27 to May 8 may be viewed below.
Have you ever had a cheerleader in your life? I don’t mean the short skirt, rah rah, pom-pom carrying kind. I mean someone who seemed to be on your side in the important things. Let me tell you a bit about mine.
My cheerleader grew up in poverty. She never went to high school. She worked as a waitress, a farmer, a school bus driver. She couldn’t sing or play an instrument. She did dabble at painting – the canvas kind, not the wall kind. She had a good sense of humour. She was meek and shy, but if her ideas about things (which were usually correct) were challenged, she could become a hurricane.
She taught me how to respect, how to love, how to stand up for myself. She verbally jousted with the patriarch of my family (my grandfather) when I decided that, not only would I train for a career in what was basically still a man’s domain, but I would also move 700 miles from home to get the education.
She stood up for me every time my heart was broken, my knees were skinned or my self-esteem was challenged. She was my anchor.
So here’s to my cheerleader, my rock, my mother. She has been gone five years now, and I still find myself talking to her to ask advice.
My daily chats with God (some would call them prayers) include asking for direction, helping me to solve issues, giving me inspiration and just checking in to say how I’m doing. I believe God created mothers to hold the divine spark, so that God could be a part of our everyday lives through them. I was blessed to have my mother.
I encourage you this Mother’s Day weekend, to think about the women who have influenced your life for the better. If they are still living, perhaps you could call or write a note. If they have passed on, as mine has, thank God that they were a part of your life, and try to pass on the virtues that they shared with you.
God bless and Happy Mother’s Day.
Greetings and blessings from your Woodroffe Emergency Preparedness Committee (Ray Cuthbert, Brent Cuthbert, Deb Lester, Mary Frances Laughton and
Reverend Kathryn). Our Committee continues to meet weekly, using the Zoom program, where we discuss the health and safety of our staff and building and the next steps for our church family to return to church while ensuring that we follow the instructions coming from the Public Health Agencies.
We hope that you are all still staying healthy and safe. This pandemic certainly has made all our lives very different.
The Woodroffe United Pastoral Care Team continues to do yeoman effort. They too have met using Zoom for a team meeting. Their third round of congregational calls should be completed by May 7. In chatting with Cathy Seaborn, the new coordinator, she told me a few interesting things. In addition to the current team, a couple of retired members are part of the calling team. Some calls are very short, some quite long. The Team says they are sometimes meeting new people by phone. It is so wonderful that we are all keeping in touch this way.
Our Treasurer, Joe Smarkala, is keeping up with the bills and applications for government funding. He loves to receive, and we are all grateful for, the Paypal donations and the cheques that come in the mail.
We would like to leave you with this thought. When the cares of life rob your inner peace, ask the Lord to lift the stress from your body as you contemplate this Bible verse for dealing with stress and anxiety:
Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
Many of you may be suffering anxiety, fear or boredom during our lockdown. After all, it’s been six weeks, or so, with no end in sight. For some, the days are beginning to blur into a sort of timelessness. We can’t mark our weeks by the events that would normally be happening. Therefore, I want to share this thought with you:
Good lives are built one day at a time so give each day a chance. Each day can bring its own frustrations and hang-ups and bang-ups and these days, perhaps, tedium. But if you give this day a chance to see something good in it, then the next and the next, soon it becomes a week. Weeks become months, and months become years of good days. One good day at a time.
An hour is too short, a year too long. Days are the bite-sized portions of life, the God-designed segments of life management.
A day equates to
about 80,000 heartbeats
a complete rotation of the earth
a circle of the sundial
two dozen flips of an hourglass
both a sunrise and a sunset
a gift of 24 unlived, unexplored hours.
Things to remember when making a good life:
We no longer have yesterday. You can’t change, alter or improve yesterday.
We do not yet have tomorrow. You can’t spend tomorrow’s money, celebrate tomorrow’s achievements or resolve tomorrow’s riddles.
You have only today. And this is the day that the Lord has made.
So fill your day with God. Give each day a chance.
p.s. Don’t forget the following:
Family Sunday online service
Hello on this beautiful spring Friday (although by the time you read this it may be snowing, or hailing or freezing rain. This is Canada, after all, and the weather can change by the hour).
I have several announcements and suggestions from others that I am sharing with you in this letter.
And finally, some of you may be interested in receiving the newsletter from the Eastern Ontario Outaouais Regional Council (what used to be Presbytery and Conference combined). It gives you access to bible studies (via Zoom), seminars, upcoming training events, and the Moderator’s message, etc. Please see the following links for more information and access.
One last note: Every five years that a minister has been with a congregation, they are encouraged, by the United Church of Canada, to take a three month sabbatical. It was planned that I would be taking half of that sabbatical this year and half next year backed up with my vacation time. This year’s portion is being deferred for two years in light of COVID-19.
I miss seeing you in person, so I am sending virtual hugs. Blessings.
Hello again friends,
Yes, we are all still social distancing, washing our hands until the skin is raw, and watching way too much television in order to kill time while being home bound. As an introvert, I don't mind staying home, but I'm now beginning to long for a meal in a restaurant or a trip to a museum. I know that the health care professionals and scientists are working hard to come up with solutions, though, so this will come to an end at some point. In the meantime, we enjoy what we have and learn to appreciate a perhaps simpler way of living in the current.
I think this is number ten or eleven in the series of email blasts that is being sent out since we've been in lockdown for a month and every week something new seems to come up. At Woodroffe, although we can't meet as a worshipping community, things are still happening.
For instance, please note that Cathy Seaborn has taken on the role of team leader for Woodroffe's Pastoral Care team. John Patton is remaining on as a valuable member of the group, but has decided it is time for him to step back from leadership. On behalf of the church, I want to sincerely thank John for his decades of direction and organization in this capacity.
Our treasurer, Joe Smarkala, is still paying the bills to keep the building in order and to staff the functions that need to be done. Both he and WUC's Emergency Preparedness team would like to remind you that your offerings are still needed to do the ministry and outreach of the church. Even though we can't gather to physically be a community right now, we are still working within and for the community, and are honouring our financial obligations to it. You can mail your offering to Woodroffe United Church at 207 Woodroffe Ave, Ottawa, ON K2A 3V1 or make a contribution by using the DONATE button on the right.
And lastly, remember that Easter is not just a day, but a spirit. When the women and disciples saw the tomb empty, they realized that life had begun anew. Christ offers us peace, hope, and strength for our current difficulties. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
p.s. My husband has an office downstairs in our house, and despite the snow this week he noticed that the crocuses outside his window were blooming.
Sharing Our Solitude
A friend is more than a therapist or a confessor, even though a friend can sometimes heal us and offer us God’s forgiveness.
A friend is that other person with whom we can share our solitude, our silence, and our prayer. A friend is that other person with whom we can look at a tree and say, “Isn’t that beautiful,” or sit on the beach and silently watch the sun disappear under the horizon. With a friend we don’t have to say or do something special. With a friend we can be still and know that God is there with both of us.
As I write this, it is currently Good Friday and if you haven't seen it, please check out the Woodroffe website at woodroffeunited.org for our Good Friday service. Many thanks to Shirley and Jamie Hockin and the members of Mosaic for a most meaningful service.
As I've said before, the celebration of Holy Week this year is much different than anything most of us have experienced in the past. For some, they are deeply moved by the rollercoaster of emotions that Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, an Easter sunrise service, and the resurrection have to bring. For others, Easter is not Easter without joining a community of joyous worshippers, all singing Jesus Christ is Risen Today or responding to the statement “Christ is risen!” without their own resounding response “Christ is risen indeed!”
But this year, we shelter in our homes to stay healthy, unable to have the traditional family dinners to which we may be accustomed. My family and I have decided to meet over the internet for Easter dinner. At a specified day and time this weekend, we will all sit down in front of our computers and eat the dinners we've prepared, comparing notes, chatting and ending with some games. It's not the same, but I am so blessed to have family, and especially adult children who still want to spend time with the “old folks”.
Our Pastoral Care team is still hard at work calling congregation members to check in. If you find you need someone to talk to, any of the PC team members would be happy to chat and at any time, remember you can call me.
We've had to make some changes to services we've been able to offer up to now. The following comes from our Woodroffe Emergency Preparedness Team:
It was mentioned that there were a number of volunteers willing to pick up groceries or prescription for people needing help. As more and more information is provided daily by the various levels of our governments, it is becoming very clear that people need to limit contact and stay inside if at all possible during the pandemic. For these reasons, we have determined that in everyone’s best interest, we can no longer offer this type of assistance. While we are unable to continue this assistance, others can help. For example, The Olde Forge’s website indicates that it provides grocery and prescription delivery to vulnerable seniors and adults with physical disabilities living in Ottawa’s West End.
If someone directly offers to assist you with this type of service, feel free to take them up on their kindness. WUC can, however, no longer coordinate the effort. We do apologize but have to be conscious of the health and safety of our own members.
I want you to remember that despite what the news says, not all is doom and gloom. I received some thoughts from a volunteer at the Queensway Carleton Hospital that I thought were worth passing on.
I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I'm cracking a safe.
I need to practice social-distancing from the refrigerator.
Still haven't decided where to go for Easter ----- The Living Room or The Bedroom
My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I'm getting tired of Los Livingroom.
This morning I saw a neighbour talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog..... we laughed a lot.
I hear that the Easter bunny has been deemed an essential service.
I wish you all a very blessed Easter
Greetings Woodroffe Family
This is the time of year we are usually deep into preparing services for Palm Sunday and Easter; however due to the self-isolation everyone is undertaking, the church has been closed for several weeks now. As well, we just don’t know when the COVID-19 situation will stabilize and when it will be safe to gather once again. As the need to stay safe at home still exists, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter morning services will not be taking place in the church. We will, instead, continue to offer short worship services for Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday online on our website.
Even though we can’t physically gather to celebrate this pivotal holiday in our churches does not mean we can’t celebrate at all. In fact, despite the limitations we are undergoing, there are lots of things to celebrate in ways to honour the social distancing. Let me share a few.
First, IT’S SPRING!!! The snow and ice are melting, the temperatures are rising, and the birds are returning and singing wildly. In a few weeks, the tulips will be up. No matter how long and cold and dark the world seems, there is always hope.
Second, this has given us the opportunity to make connections (usually by telephone or email) with those we may not have spoken to in a long time. The Pastoral Care team, Rev. Alan Edwards and myself are taking this opportunity to make more contact with congregation members, and getting to know some of you better. We’re hearing great stories, making new friends, and are often able to give encouragement and solve some problems.
There is so much you can do during self-isolation as well. A couple of weekends ago, for instance, my husband and I dressed up and ate dinner from our fine china (a hand-me-down from Dave’s parents). We lit candles, had a five-course meal that we had prepared, and pretended we were in a fancy restaurant.
People are finding all kinds of things to do in celebration. Dancing in your own living room, with or without a partner. Reading a good book, or a bad one, or one you’ve never gotten around to reading. Doing puzzles. Listening to music. Watching movies. Learning new crafts or picking up ones you’ve not done in a while. If you are a knitter, now is a good time to make hats, scarves and mittens for the Angel Tree at Woodroffe United. It’s never too early.
There are some things I encourage you to take note of:
Our Pastoral Care team has taken on the task of calling every congregant to keep in touch. If you feel the need to talk to someone, you can call a member of our Pastoral Care team (Cathy Seaborn, Wes Dearham, Jeanette Montgomery, Pat Cuthbert, Mary Lynne Harvey, Gregg Smith, Rob Howes, Lorna Waymann-King, Deb Lester, John Patton) Rev. Alan Edwards and I are always available as well. I can be reached by phone (see previous messages).
If you need help with groceries or running to the drug store, etc. we have a list of people who would love to do that for you. Please contact Deb Lester (after 4p.m. only please) to arrange assistance.
If you have access to a computer, we are posting short Sunday morning worship service videos for each Sunday we are not able to gather in the sanctuary, as well as the printed text to go with them. There will also be a Good Friday service posted for April 10.
Our treasurer encourages you to continue to send your offering to the church, if you are able. Your offering can be sent by mail to the church (address on the home page).
or by using the DONATE button on the home page.
I wish you a very blessed Easter season and pray you stay healthy. May God continue to watch over you.
Hello my friends,
COVID-19, as a pandemic, has caused the world to rethink itself in terms of being a global community, as opposed to isolated countries with their own political styles and ways of doing things. One of the upsides of our current situation is that we are blurring the lines of religions and social structures. People are reaching across lines that have often divided us and are now working together to come up with solutions. I pray that this continues beyond our present situation and into a future where we find new ways to reach across old dividing lines.
Following is a prayer by Rabbi Dr. Reuven P. Bulka and Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast that calls ALL persons of faith, regardless of religious background, to come together to petition God, in whatever way you relate to the Divine. I encourage you to not just pray once, but to pray the prayer daily, for I believe great things can be done by groups of people who pray.
God bless you,
We gather together separated by life-saving distancing, but united more than ever in spirit;
We know we are in a war against COVID – 19 together, and the more together we are, the better and stronger we will emerge:
We know the challenges are enormous, yet so are the opportunities;
That whether we are in isolation with loved ones, or alone, we will have abundance of time;
We commit to using that time to the max, to help those in greater need in whatever way we can;
We know we all have the opportunity, and time, to be life savers and life enhancers;
We give thanks for those who are on the front line taking care of those who are not well;
We give thanks for the researchers who are working at breakneck speed to find cure and vaccine;
We give thanks for our leaders, federal, provincial and local, for their dedication to all of us;
We give thanks for the providers of our daily needs who go to work in spite of the risk;
We give thanks for those who have ramped up their ability to produce life-saving supplies.
We pray for the well-being of all our life savers; For those who are not well, that they recover fully;
For those enduring difficulty, that they may overcome their challenges.
We pray that a cure and vaccine will soon be available,
And that we all – family, friends, all Canadians, the entire world may be healed in body and spirit.
We ask you, O God, to bless our leaders, our front line care givers, our life savers and life enhancers.
We ask you, O God, to bless Canada, to bless the world, to bless everyone.
Remember that you are not alone, you live in God's world.* We are hoping that these measures will help to curb the spread of the virus and we pray for your continued health.
*from the UCC's A New Creed.
Reverend Kathryn Peate
The opening words of our United Church of Canada New Creed says this: “We are not alone, we live in God's world. We believe in God.” Our Moderator, the Right Reverend Dr. Richard Bott has said, “We are with each other even when we aren’t able to be together.”
Some of you may find yourself distressed during the time Canada is dealing with COVID-19. As a church family there are some things all of us can do to help one another.
1. Pray. God is available 24/7.
2. Remember you are not alone. Our Pastoral Care team, as well as other members of the congregation, are working on ways to connect and communicate with you.
3. Check in, by phone or email, with your family, friends and neighbours. Let them know how you are doing and ask them how things are going with them.
Remember that our creed does not say “I” but “we”. We are still a church family and we will be trying as hard as we can to reach out to everyone to support and encourage you. You do not stand alone.
Take the precautions noted by health organizations, especially around diligent hand washing, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and social distancing (putting as close to 6 feet between yourself and another). As the book “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams says, “Don't Panic”. God is with us. And we are with one another.