In today's service, Karen spoke, of course, about Lent, talking about "holy hunger" when Jesus was roaming in the wilderness.  When Lent arrives each year, I do try to give up something, to mindfully and prayerfully contemplate God's grace. Some years, I have given up coffee, others shopping, others sweets. This year, I came across this challenge from the Church of England that seems appropriate for our times, a challenge to give up consumption of plastics for Lent.  It seems like an interesting, contemporary spin on an ancient tradition, so I thought I would share it here: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/world/europe/lent-plastic-church-of-england.html

May we all offer ourselves to service of Christ in new and innovative ways this Lenten season.

Rebecca B.

Listen to him


It's been a hard week; suffering is hitting pretty close to home. Stories of sexual harassment in workplaces - including a place where I once worked, Parliament Hill - continue to surface. The Gerald Stanley verdict on Friday night showed clearly how very far Canada is from reconciliation. And we caught the end of a documentary last night that profiled the opioids crisis and its effects on the small city in which my husband grew up, where his family still lives. I am feeling overwhelmed.

And this is where, in line with what Karen said this morning, I can empathize with Peter. Just as Peter started to build tents, when the documentary concluded last night, my husband and I had that very discussion - what can we do to reach out to so many of those around us who are addicted? To address gender inequality? To foster reconciliation? We cannot just sit back with suffering all around us. What can we do?

I think, like Peter, our asking this question didn't come from a bad place. I recognize that we - as white, educated, heterosexual, middle class Canadians - have privilege and that action on our part is necessary to change things. Peter just wanted to figure out what was going on, to be able to explain it.

And then - "This is my son. Listen to him." And everything Peter knew about the Jesus as the Messiah started to change... and Peter realized that, in following Jesus, he would also be changed.

Despite my impulse to do something, to act - God is telling me to listen. And I know that God makes a point of standing with those who are suffering, with those who are not being heard - so maybe, if I am still, I will hear God through Indigenous people who are marginalized, through women who are not believed, through people with addiction who are trying to tell us what supports they need, if only we would listen. And in listening, I can only pray that we will be changed.

Laura S.

Reaching out


“A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, ‘If you choose, you can make me clean.’  Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I do choose. Be made clean!’” - Mark 1:40-41

Today in her sermon, Dr. Rev. Dimock spoke about the church’s important role in providing community, welcome and hospitality especially to those who feel isolated or marginalized.  We may not have lepers as they did in biblical times but there is no shortage of people suffering in silence and isolation in our modern day society.  I attended a Bell Let’s Talk presentation last week where the speaker, Solange Tuyishime, spoke about her difficulty in seeking counseling after the loss of a child because of an ingrained belief that therapy was for ‘crazy’ people.  There is still a stigma associated with illnesses such as depression and anxiety disorders.  I believe that reaching out to those in pain and isolation is one of the most important tasks Jesus has left us but also one of the most difficult.  We often feel uncomfortable, or sometimes awkward because we don’t know how to help.  But I think showing up and being present, even as a silent and compassionate witness, is often enough.  

Melanie A.                   

Presbyterian World Service and Development Sunday


Today Rev. Ian Fraser gave a lunch and learn in which he gave an overview of the work of Presbyterian World Service and Development (PWS&D).  I must confess that I knew very little about the work of this organization before attending the lunch and learn.  I was fascinated to hear about their work in the world and the impact they have on people's lives in different parts of the globe.  It is humbling to hear of those who lack the things that I often take for granted: food, clean water, proper shelter, physical safety, basic human rights.  I cannot even imagine what that must be like.  It filled me with a sense of gratitude for what I have and a stronger awareness that my neighbours are not just those in my own neighbourhood, so to speak, but all those in this, God's world, which we all share.  The work of the PWS&D is a wonderful example of what God's light in the world looks like and put me in mind of the following quote:

“Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.” - Teresa of Ávila

Melanie A.

Lives Touched


Today our theme was Lives Touched. We saw many expressions of that this Sunday.

 First, we heard in our first Hymn “Before the World Began” the promise of God’s strength and love:

All who received the Word by God were blessed;
sisters and brothers they of earth's fond guest.
So did the Word of Grace
proclaim in time and space
and with a human face, 'I am for you.'
What a reassuring and powerful reminder of how God touches our lives every day.

Second we heard as we responded together to Psalm 14:

He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
    Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
    he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.

What a wonderful reminder how The Lord touches our lives in every way on every day for our sake.

 Third we were reminded how Jesus the Lords only son was sent to touch our lives with his healing and teachings:

32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.

38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.

 Fourth Karen in her sermon explained how Jesus came an healed not for his benefit or lunch but to spread the word of the Lord’s love through his teaching and healing. A lesson we sometimes overlook.

Fifth we took the time to Bless and dedicate the new Hand bells and Hand chimes a way that we can touch people through the heavenly music. A gift not to be underestimated when that music touches so many not only of this church.

Last but certainly not least Colton lead a Lunch and Learn about what he had seen and how he had worked in Uganda as that country tried to deal with the South Sudan refugee crisis.  People like Colton remind us that there is much we can learn and bring to our efforts to touch lives with the love of our Lord and Jesus.

Thank you to all who take the time through work, music, teaching or preaching to make the effort to Touch Lives.

The Lord’s Blessings on these people.

Noral R.

Fishers of people


I really enjoyed the service and message today. As usual the message to the children and the sermon tied in beautifully. The children really enjoyed gathering around the net. The net was a symbol of love. How Jesus could relate to people. He used language they could understand. I will make you fishers of people. The disciples were the first catches who could not resist the bait of love incarnate. In leaving their nets behind they left their old way of life and chose a new way. It is symbolic of repentance and turning their backs from sin. This was an urgent call and it demanded an immediate response.

The gospel lesson begins with news that John has been arrested. This sad news does not slow the pace. Jesus moves quickly to begin his ministry. The meeting that followed was just a continuation of worship. Part of the great commission is to make disciples.... to teach them to obey everything I have commanded. Christian education is such an important part of this.  An important message I caught today was that if a person wants more spiritual light then hang around with people who have this light. Hebrews 10:25 reminds us how important it is for believers to meet together. Christian education is for all ages. What shape and form can it take in the days ahead to meet many needs. Let each of us RSVP immediately.

Sharon A.



Today's service focused on baptism, and especially the dramatic anointing of Christ, where the heavens tore apart and God commended his Son to the world.

Huda's sermon described the complex and highly symbolic rituals used in other Christian denominations.  Although ours is more modest in its scope, it is no less significant.  It is a sign that we are beloved and that we matter to God.

However, this formulation caused me to wonder about those who are never baptized, who do not live in Christian cultures, or whose parents do not initiate this sacrament.  In what sense am I more beloved, in what sense do I matter more than them?  Surely not at all. 

It is instructive to read what the Presbyterian Church (USA) says on the issue of baptism as a condition to salvation:

Can a person who is not baptized be saved? In a word, yes; but this by no means diminishes the importance of the sacrament. To insist on baptism as necessary for salvation would be to impinge on the limitless sovereignty of God, one of the essentials of the Reformed theological tradition. At the same time, baptism is an indispensable part of Christian life and identity and the church’s mission.

In our own community there are many who seldom if ever feel beloved, who seem to matter not at all.  Surely baptism is not only a symbol of our status in God's eyes, but an obligation for us as members of the Church to extend God's love to those for whom any form of blessing may often seem far away.

Rob R.