This space reports on how people at Mill Woods United work together to nurture our spiritual community and create space in which we explore purpose and place. For future activities see Upcoming Events. Highlights from 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015 are just a click away.
What is God? October 28 discussion
Nineteen people gathered in the sanctuary on a cold Monday evening to warmly share their reactions, opinions, and hopes for the Mill Wood United’s Purpose statement. On this occasion, our focus was on differing images of the Divine. To read the background documents on this initiative, click here.
Thanks to Council and its Future Steps group for organizing this evening.
Newcomers’ Lunch, October 20
After the spiritual gathering on Sunday morning October 20, just over 30 of us gathered in the Lower Hall for our “second annual Newcomers’ Lunch.” This group included 16 adults who were new either in 2018 or 2019, eight infants and children, and 11 more established members of the congregation. Pizza, salad, dessert, and times of sharing around five tables were enjoyed by all. Thanks to Darlene Hayward, Cathy Bayly, and Ian Kellogg for their work in organizing this event.
For 16 Sundays from May through August, Sunday morning spiritual gatherings happened at Mill Woods United without our called minister, the Rev. Ian Kellogg. Ian was on sabbatical in May, June, July, and then took a combination of vacation and study leave in August.
In Ian’s absence, David Faber, a Candidate for ministry here in the city, led the services in May and July and the Rev. Joanne Kobylka led the services in June. In August, the Rev. Yoon-Ok Shin, Olga Garcia, Francisco Rico, John Mair, and Lindy Mair led the services. Thanks to all the worship leaders, the Worship Committee, and to everyone else (Welcome Team members, counters, substitute pianists, PowerPoint projectors, and others) who worked together to make these services a success.
April 12, a 60’s musical car rally
On Friday April 12, an enthusiastic group of car drivers and their passengers participated in “Fun, Fun, Fun, “til Daddy takes the T-bird away!” It began with a car rally and finished with a time to socialize and enjoy delicious snacks from the 1960’s.
Teams of four were given a route map around Edmonton with instructions to locate key pieces of information and eventually find your way back! Each group also had a set of 1960’s musical trivia questions that kept them musically inclined throughout the journey.
Thanks to the McPhees for organizing this fun extravaganza.
March 23, congregational work bee
On Saturday March 23, twenty two members of Mill Woods United turned out for a busy and fun afternoon of painting, touch-ups, clear-outs, and other types of make-overs. The results are wonderful — the interior of the main doors are now without marks, the wood trim in the sanctuary and all of the risers are fixed, the bulletin boards have all been refreshed, and many other small and large changes have occurred. Thanks to everyone who came out and all who contributed their tasty snacks, their time, and their sweat equity. Bravo!
March 16, “That’s amore!”
On Saturday evening, March 16, 40 people enjoyed a delicious and enjoyable evening of eating Italian food at three different homes and socializing with fellow members of our spiritual community. Thanks to the hosts — Brian Hudson and Audrey Murray (appetizers); Paul and Kathy Poechman (main course); Randy and Audrey Round (dessert); and Rob and Jennifer McPhee (main organizers). The food was delicioso, the conversation was scintillante, and the event was yet another riuscioto adult social event. Bravissima!
Lent 2019, Paying It Forward
On March 10, the first Sunday in Lent, the document available by this link (opens a PDF file) was distributed to the congregation. It lists 50 ways we could “pay forward” our blessings this Lent as well as 16 suggested acts of reconciliation. We hope that everyone enjoys trying some of these “random acts of kindness” and reconciliation. The 16 suggestions on the second page are from the list “150 Acts of Reconciliation for Canada 150,” which was presented to the church in December 2017, and which we read during the eight Sundays of Epiphany in winter 2019.
Thanks to Carla Janzen for suggesting this and putting the lists together.
March 10, Annual General Meeting
Forty members of the congregation stayed after the Sunday morning service for a successful annual meeting. Co-chairs of Council, Rob McPhee and Carla Janzen, led us through a year-in-review, Randy Round presented the financials, a new Council, with almost all positions filled, was voted in, and the congregation approved a new MWUC Purpose Statement following almost a year of meetings and discussions: “We are a spiritual community in which you can explore your purpose and place.”
February 8, Travel Adventures
A group of 40 or more came out on Friday evening February 8 to enjoy two travel adventure presentations. Ethel and Brian Ray showed slides and talked about their five weeks in southern France last year and Rob McPhee showed slides and talked about his trip last year to the “Stans” (Kazhakstan, Uzebikstan, and others).
Thanks to the presenters for an informative, eye-opening, and enjoyable evening.
February 4, 11, and 25: “On the Brink of Everything”
On three Monday evenings in February a small but engaged group of church members joined with facilitators Joyce Madsen and Clair Woodbury to discuss our spiritual journeys with inspiration from three recent books: “On the Brink of Everything,” by Parker Palmer, “Grace Without God” by Katharine Ozment, and “Unbelievable” by John Shelby Spong.
January 19, Screenshots
Almost 30 people from the congregation gathered at South Edmonton Common to watch “On the Basis of Sex,” a biopic about the early career of famed U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Afterward, we repaired to Rob and Jennifer’s house for snacks and conversation. Most of us enjoyed the movie, and a good time was had by all. Thanks to Rob and Jennifer McPhee for another successful social event.
January 12, Mill Woods Resource Fair
On Saturday January 12, Cathy Bayly, Carla and Janzen and Ian Kellogg staffed a table presenting information about our congregation at the Mill Woods Senior’s and Multicultural Centre as part of a Resource Fair.
January 6, Ian’s Fifth Anniversary
On the first Sunday of 2019, the church marked the fifth anniversary of Ian’s arrival in Edmonton and at Mill Woods United with a special service and a soup and bun lunch. Below are the Ian’s remarks from the preamble to the service:
Today is Epiphany, a day on which the church celebrates the second and less-beloved of the two biblical stories of the birth of Jesus. It is the one from Matthew where Magi from the East follow a Star to Bethlehem. They don’t go to a stable far from Mary and Joseph’s supposed hometown of Nazareth. Those features are found in the story from Luke, which we heard on Christmas Eve. Instead, the Magi travel to the house of Mary and Joseph about two years after Jesus’ birth in the place that Matthew says was their hometown, Bethlehem.
The church celebrates Epiphany as a moment when the light represented by Jesus begins to spread beyond Bethlehem; and light will be our focus throughout the Season of Epiphany, which begins today and which continues until Ash Wednesday in early March. But today, I reflect on the concept of the call, which in today’s reading is represented by the Star and by dreams experienced both by the Magi and by Jesus’ step-father, Joseph.
I reflect on the call today because today is not just one of those rare Epiphanies that lands on a Sunday. It is also the fifth anniversary of my first Sunday service here at Mill Woods United. On the day before Epiphany in January 2014, I presided in worship from the front of this sanctuary for the first time and I preached a sermon based on the beginning of the Gospel of John.
I am grateful for all that I have experienced, learned, and enjoyed as a spiritual leader of this community of faith. I am pleased to think back on five years of sermons, baptisms, wedding, funerals, Pride parades, meetings, sharing circles, Bible and book studies, social events, and so many wonderful conversations.
At a confirmation service in 2014, I suggested that we view church as a place in which we engage in a never-ending conversation about Love. But as I noted in my first sermon five years ago yesterday, we don’t enter this conversation at the beginning but somewhere in the middle.
Some of you were here five years ago. Others have joined our band of fellow pilgrims since then. But regardless of when you came to Mill Woods United, I am grateful that you have decided to offer your voice as one of the threads that make up our tapestry of love. Thank you!
As for this morning, I hope that our time of song, sacrament, and sharing will inspire a new year of conversation, communion, and connection. May it feed our spirits and souls and help us in the joyous work of outreach and justice.
Click on this link to access Ian’s sermon from that day.