Recent spiritual gatherings

October 13, 2019Turning wounds into blessings — On Thanksgiving Sunday, we heard an ancient story of Jacob wrestling with and being blessed by an angel (Genesis 32: 22-31). Len Penner and Bryan LeGrow sang “Hard Times Are Gonna Come No More.”

October 6, 2019Inspiring one another — On Worldwide Communion Sunday, we heard Jesus use the metaphor of vine and branches to speak of our connection to the Divine (John 15). We will also celebrated communion and shared what inspires us to be a part of Mill Woods United Church. The choir sang “Think of Me and Remember.”

September 29, 2019Back to Garden: lifelong learning — On the first Sunday of autumn, our focus was on life-long learning. We heard the story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10-38-42) and reflected on Joni Mitchell’s phrase “I don’t know who l am / But you know life is for learning” from her song “Woodstock.” The choir sang “A Shoot Shall Come Forth.”

September 22, 2019Back to the Garden: from fear to faith — On the last Sunday of summer, I returned to our dreams for a new Eden and how fear can get in the way. We heard the end of a long speech by Jesus (John 16:31-33) and reflected on how to turn fear into faith. The choir sang “Be Still and Know.”

September 15, 2019 — The choir lead us in a service on the history and role of music in worship. They performed a lot of wonderful music and lead us in singing many favourite hymns.

September 8, 2019Back to the Garden: life together — On Welcome Back Sunday, I continued to reflect on our dreams for a new “Eden” and how they illuminate the type of community we want. For inspiration we heard two readings from the Bible (Acts 2 :42-47, sharing everything in common, and Hebrews 13: 1-3, 16) and Joni Mitchell’s song “Woodstock.” Our children’s program resumed under the leadership of Georgia Englot – Ian

September 1, 2019 — “Back to the Garden” — On my first service after a sabbatical, I looked back at a summer of anniversaries, including the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock Music Festival. In reflecting on theses anniversaries and on the story of Adam and Eve expelled from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2-3), I examined our dream of a future that, like Eden, will be one of abundance, peace, and love – Ian

Summer 2019

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 28, 2019 — “You Deserve a Break Today!” — On the second Sunday of Easter, we heard about the origins of the Hebrew practice of Sabbath (Genesis 1-2 and Exodus 20). My reflection discussed my three-month sabbatical, which began the next day on April 29. The service also included two baptisms and the choir sang “Carry the Light” — Ian

April 21, 2019The everlasting instant — On Easter Sunday, we heard Mark’s account of the empty tomb (Mark 16: 1-8) and celebrated the mystery and joy of resurrection with song and ritual. The choir sang “How Beautiful” — Ian

April 19, 2019“Torn in two” — temples, cathedrals, and us — On Good Friday, we heard Mark’s version of the trials and crucifixion of Jesus (Mark 14 and 15) and reflected on our own Good Friday moments — Ian

April 14, 2019 — On Palm Sunday, we remembered the events of Holy Week, from Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem (Mark 11) to his arrest and crucifixion (Mark 14 and 15). Songs that tell this story were woven into a celebration of communion. The service also included a baptism, and the choir sang “Come Follow Me” — Ian

April 7, 2019Confronting evil — On the fifth Sunday in Lent, we heard a story in which Jesus is “anointed for burial” by his friend Mary just before his triumphal entrance into Jerusalem (John 12:1-8). My reflection drew comparisons between the events of Good Friday, the Rwandan genocide of 1994, and the rise of racism and fear today. The choir sang “Lonesome Valley/We Shall Walk” – Ian

March 31, 2019The Rise and Fall of the Prodigal Empire — On the fourth Sunday in Lent, we heard Jesus’ famous parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15: 11-32). My reflection was about the meaning of resurrection. The choir sang “Love Grows Here” by Don Besig – Ian

March 24, 2019 — On the third Sunday in Lent, we enjoyed two presentations on travel experiences with a spiritual dimension. Nancy Siever talked participating in “Burning Man” in Nevada in 2016 and Carla Janzen talked about exploring the U.S. Southwest last September. The congregation then shared travel experiences that have been important to them spiritually. The choir sang “Deep In Our Hearts” — Ian

March 17, 2019God is like . . . — On the second Sunday in Lent, we finished a series on Sacred Indigenous Teachings with a focus on Love. My reflection was based on a hymn to love from the First Letter of John (1 John 4: 7-21) and Elder Evelyn Day offered a teaching. The service also included a baptism – Ian

March 10, 2019Contemplation via catastrophe — On the first Sunday in Lent, we heard a story about Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13) and a reflection on the temptations we face today. The choir sang “Let My Spirit Always Sing” – Ian

March 3, 2019Deeper truths — We continued a series on Sacred Indigenous Teachings. The sixth, on Truth, feature a reflection by me on Luke’s version of the “beatitudes and woes” (Luke 6:17-26) and a teaching by Elder Evelyn Day – Ian

February 24, 2019Transfiguration and tradition — We celebrated “Transfiguration” based on Luke 9:28-36. As we continued to move from the season of Epiphany toward Lent, I reflected on epiphanies we may have experienced this winter. The choir sang “Bathe Me In Your Light” – Ian

February 17, 2019  — On Epiphany 7, YoonOk Shin, Diaconal Minister, led us in a service focused on Intercultural Ministry. Since 2015, YoonOk has been working for the United Churches in Edmonton to promote the goal of becoming an intercultural denomination. The choir sang “Walk Together Children.”

February 10, 2019Fools for love — On Epiphany 6, we continued a series on Seven Sacred Indigenous Teachings. The fifth, on Wisdom, included a reflection by me on Paul’s words about God’s “foolish wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:18-31) and a teaching on Wisdom by Elder Evelyn Day. The choir sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” – Ian

February 03, 2019Time to be afraid? — On Epiphany 5 we continued a series on Seven Sacred Indigenous Teachings led by Elder Evelyn Day. The fourth, on Courage, included a reflection on a story in which Jesus stills a storm (Luke 8:22-25) – Ian

January 27, 2019“Life out of balance” — On Epiphany 4, we continued a series on Seven Sacred Indigenous Teachings. The third, on Respect, included a reflection on a reading in which Paul talks about the church as “the Body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). The choir sang “We Will Be a Shelter for Each Other” – Ian

January 20, 2019Honest to God — On Epiphany 3, we continued a series on Seven Sacred Indigenous Teachings. The second, on Honesty, include reflections on a story in which Jesus delivers a difficult message (Mark 8:27-35, “Take up your cross”) and a teaching from Elder Evelyn Day. The choir sang “Be Aware of Wonder” – Ian

January 13, 2019Nobody special — On Epiphany 2, we began a series on Seven Sacred Indigenous Teachings – Humility, Honesty, Respect, Courage, Wisdom, Truth, and Love. The first, on Humility, included a reflection by me on the baptism of Jesus (Luke 3:15-22) and by First Nations Elder Evelyn Day on humility — Ian

January 06, 2019 “Go West, young man!” — On January 6, Epiphany, we heard another story of Christmas, the one involving a star and Magi from the East (Matthew 2:1-33 – the birth of Jesus and the flight to Egypt), and we celebrated Communion. My reflection was about the journeys of the Magi, of the Holy Family, and of my own journey from Saskatchewan to Edmonton five years ago – Ian

Service information from 2018

Service information from 2017

Service information from 2016