Mill Woods Highlights 2021

December 24, 2021 — Christmas Eve!

We enjoyed two gatherings on Friday December 24th for Christmas Eve. At 4:30 pm we held a short, child-friendly gathering in the service. It was not livestreamed, but a delightful time was had by all.

At 7 pm, we held a traditional Christmas Eve gathering of carols and candlelight. We enjoyed a special reading and Bryan LeGrow graced us with “Song for a Winter’s Night” by Gordon Lightfoot. Many people came in person (all doubly vaccinated!) and others joined us live on Facebook and later on video.

December 21, Longest Night service

Six people came for a time of silence, sharing, and singing to mark the longest night of the year and to explore all the many colours of Advent and Christmas. From 7 pm to 8 pm, we sat in circle and talked about our fears, losses, and hopes as the world turned towards winter and the promise of longer days.

December 20, “Together at Christmas”.

On the evening of December 20, 2021, 33 people attended our “Together at Christmas event.” From 6:30 pm until 8 those younger and a bit older joined together for Christmas fun. It was especially wonderful to enjoy the laughter and excitement of young children once again! Thank you for your support and being part of our very special church community — Rob McPhee

December 3, Christmas Cocktails

On December 3, 27 people attend our Christmas Cocktails event. As well as enjoying the time together on Zoom, we contributed $1610 towards the church’s 2021 finances. Thanks to everyone who participated! Rob McPhee

Festive Giving 2021

Once again, generous members of Mill Woods United brought unwrapped Christmas toys to the church, on November 28 and December 5, and once again Don Grabinsky delivered them to the Bissell Centre, where they will be distributed this Christmas season. Thank you to everyone who contributed and to Don for spearheading this effort. This is an effort that used to be known as “White Gift” givings.

Christmas Craft Fair, November 27, 2021

The resumption of the Craft Fair following a 2020 break due to the pandemic was a resounding success. About 400 people came in person, more than 40 vendors sold wares, and Heavenly Hospitality served delicious home-made snacks. Thank you to the many volunteers who made the day such a great success!


Fall 2021: “A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency”

In fall 2020, Seth Klein of Vancouver BC published a book that makes comparisons between Canada’s emergency response to World War II with what is required now to respond to today’s climate emergency. A small group of us spent five evenings discuss this book and its ideas in October and November 2021,

September 29, 2021

Ian sent out a video message about fall and winter plans for Mill Woods United and how the pandemic might affect them. Click here to watch the video

August 15, 2021

Summer worship at Mill Woods United . . . July and August in-person church services continued at the church building, with Livestreaming on Facebook for those not able to come in person.

Ian was here to lead services for the first three Sundays in July and the last two of August. He took a four-week break in the middle of the sumer.

Rev. Dr. Dale Johnson, new to our congregation this past year and a retired minister, led us in worship twice on July 25th and August 8th.

We were also excited to have John and Lindy Mair as service leaders on August 15th.

Every summer has one long holiday weekend which was on August 1st this year. It was an opportunity to have a social event instead of a worship service. This year, on Sunday August 1st we had a picnic on the church lawn next to the parking lot. A lot of people brought their own chair and a picnic lunch and had a good time visiting and catching up with one another.

June 23 — Summer blessings

On the first Tuesday of summer 2021, Ian released a video message to the people of Mill Woods United as a way of touching base and offering encouragement — Click here to watch his video message, June 23, 2021

June 9 and 24 — Coffee on the church lawn

A wonderful group of people from Mill Woods United formed a circle of lawn chairs to the east of the church building on two separate June mornings. Each time, about 15 people spent an hour chatting and enjoying a lovely spring morning. Thanks to Jennifer McPhee for organizing this chance for us to see and talk with some of our friends in person.

May 8 2021, Spring Craft Market — Online!

Our first ever online Spring Craft Market happened on Saturday May 8th, 2021 from 10 am to 2 pm. 35 vendors participated and a good time was had by everyone.

Thanks go to Cathy Bayly and Mary-Anne Janewski for organizing this successful Facebook Event, and also to everyone who participated!

April 22-May 20, 2021, “Ishmael” book study

Over three Thursday evenings this spring, a small group of us gathered on Zoom to discuss a 1992 philosophical novel by Daniel Quinn. In just over 250  pages, “Ishmael” explores ethics, the Book of Genesis, and sustainability. A perennial best-seller, it has been especially influential among environmentalists.

Thanks to Carla Janzen for motivating this book study

April 4, ICPM Bissell Centre Lunch

On Easter Sunday, Don and Lil Grabinsky once again responded to a call from the Inner City Pastoral Ministry to provide a lunch for people at the Bissell Centre. Because of the pandemic, for the second year in a row lunch was not served indoors. Instead, 150 pre-packed lunch bags were handed out. Thank you to all who made donations to pay for these 150 lunches, and especially to Don and Lil who shopped and assembled the lunch bags.

March 19, 2021 — Bingo!

On Friday March 21 at 7 pm, a large group of us gathered on Zoom to play online Bingo. Many thanks to Lindy Mair for the idea, for organizing the gathering, and for making it such a great evening of fun.

P.I.E. Day, March 14, 2021

Mill Woods United joined with other Affirming congregations across Canada for a National Affirming celebration on “P.I.E. Day

This was the third year that Affirming Connections had piggy-backed on the mathematically-inspired Pi Day, which also happens on March 14. It is occasion to strengthen our commitment to welcome sexual and gender minorities into the membership and leadership of our communities of faith.

Mary-Anne Janewski took the lead at Mill Woods United this year. She asked us to imagine an “Affirming pie.” What would it taste like? What ingredients could one use? After a morning service focused on our Affirming status, she hosted a Zoom discussion hour where nine of us discussed our answer. A fun and revitalizing time was had by all. Thanks Mary-Anne!

Annual General Meeting, March 7, 2021

Our Annual General Meeting was held on Sunday March 7, 2021 at 12 pm on Zoom. More than 40 people participated. It was an opportunity to both look back at 2020 and forward to 2021. Below are links to the items we discussed:

Thank you to everyone who participated and everyone who stood for a position on Church Council. In particular, we are grateful to now-Past Chair Rob McPhee who ended three years as Co-Chair or Chair of Council at this meeting.

Suds and Sweets – Feb 19, 2021

Valentine’s Days is CHOCOLATE. St Patrick’s Day is BEER. Friday February 19 was the day we brought them both together!

Four guys – Brian Hudson, Dave Janzen, John Mair and Rob McPhee — welcomed about 50 of us to Suds and Sweets – an evening of fun, learning, Alberta craft beers and fine Canadian chocolate!

We gathered on Zoom to learn a bit more about beer and pair great beer with fine chocolate; and to come together and have fun with great friends. This was a “fun-raiser” not a fund raiser.

We sampled four outstanding Alberta Craft beers – an Ale, an IPA, a Lager and a Stout; four complementary bars of Purdy’s fine Canadian chocolate – a nutty milk chocolate, a dark chocolate, a white chocolate and a salted dark chocolate; answered some fascinating beer and chocolate trivia questions; and spent two hours together on Zoom with great friends, chatting in small groups, and learning about the beer

The Matchings and Beer Experts

  • The Growlery Beer Company Ironside Amber Ale and Milk Chocolate Sweet Georgia Browns: Dave Janzen
  • The Dandy Brewing Company Import Style Premium Lager and a Classic White Chocolate Bar: John Mair
  • Bent Stick Brewing Fashionably Late IPA and a Classic Dark Chocolate Bar: Rob McPhee
  • Big Beaver Brewing Oatmeal Stout and a Dark Chocolate Salted Butter Toffee Bar: Brian Hudson

Lenten Book Study – “Learning to Walk in the Dark” — Feb 18-March 26, 2021

Nine of us met on Zoom over five Thursday evenings in Lent to discuss a 2014 book by one of my favourite preachers and thinkers, Barbara Brown Taylor — Learning to Walk in the Dark. Taylor wrote it to help us sustain a healthy spiritual life in those times when we don’t have all the answers. She argues that in addition to a dominant “solar spirituality,” we can also learn to appreciate “lunar spirituality” since, like the moon, our experience of the light waxes and wanes.

To gain a sense of Taylor as a writer, I recommend an article of hers published by The Christian Century last July – “Finding God outside the church walls.

Walk around the Fort, January 31, 2021

On January 31, about twenty people from MWUC gathered at the parking lot of Fort Edmonton and spent an enjoyable hour walking west along the river and then back along the south side of the Fort. Thanks to Rob and Jennifer for organizing this chance to get some exercise and safely visit with some friends on a calm and not-so-frigid afternoon.

Who is that masked man?”

Follow these links for Highlights from 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.