Recent spiritual gatherings

October 15, 2017Is resistance futile? –  On Sunday, our theme was the spirituality of resistance. We heard a story from ancient Egypt in which midwives resist the murderous demands of the Pharaoh (Exodus 1:8-17). This was the first of three services (Resistance, Revival, and Reformation) that will culminate on October 29 when we mark the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation — Ian

October 8, 2017 The Great Thanksgiving – We marked Thanksgiving by hearing the story of the Last Supper (Matthew 26: 20-30) and by celebrating communion. My reflection asked why communion prayers are known as “The Great Thanksgiving” — Ian

October 1, 2017 – On October 1, the theme was Invitation. After hearing a story about Jesus feeding the five thousand (Matthew 14:13-21), the Rev. Danielle James of Calgary offered a reflection in a video titled, “Perhaps begin with lunch.” — Ian

September 24, 2017 On September 24, the theme was inspiration. After hearing a story about the first followers of Jesus who shared everything in common (Acts 2:44-47) the Rev. Danielle James of Calgary offered a reflection in a video titled “The church that is not yet” — Ian

September 17, 2017The Accidental Tourist  Our theme was enchantment. We contrasted a famous lament about futility from the Hebrew Scriptures (Ecclesiastes 1:1-9 — “all is vanity”) with a video about the awesome beauty of solar eclipses — Ian

September 10, 2017 — “New beginnings” – For “Welcome Back” Sunday, the theme was New Beginnings. I reflected on Jesus’ call to his first followers (Mark 1:14-20); and we celebrated all the many activities that resume at church this month. The Worship Committee served cake after the service. — Ian

September 3, 2017Journeys of Faith – Paths of Resistance –  On September 3, Paula Kirman, our Social Media and Marketing Coordinator, presented a reflection on her own faith journey and the work she does for the church.

August 27, 2017Back to the future  A summer series on spiritual growth ended with a reflection on resurrection. After hearing the story of the empty tomb (Mark 16:1-8), I reflected on how the promised return of the Christ to Galilee might symbolize the spiral of life — Ian

August 20, 2017 “The greatness of Christianity” – We heard the following words of Paul: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (from Galatians 2). My reflection on his startling statement was about how far spiritual growth can take us — Ian

August 13, 2017 “Too much heaven on their minds” – We heard a story in which Jesus is anointed with oil (Mark 14:1-9). My reflection on it was about the connection between book learning and the “foolish wisdom” of the Way of Jesus. — Ian

August 6, 2017 The talking cure – We heard a story about Jesus’ first sermon (Luke 4:14-22). My reflection on it was about the power of words to both wound and heal. The sacrament of communion was celebrated — Ian

July 30, 2017 – “Love among the ruins” – On Sunday, we heard a story in which Jesus turns water into wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-12). My reflection on it was about the crucibles of life in which love is refined — Ian

July 23, 2017 Rebel with a cause – We heard the story of a test of wills between a 12-year-old Jesus and his parents (Luke 2:41-52). My reflection on it was about the challenges of adolescence, which are faced by people of all ages — Ian

July 16, 2017 The naked truth – We heard the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (selections from Genesis 2-3). My reflection on it was about moving from shame to emotional balance.  — Ian

July 9, 2017 Faith of our fathers – We heard the story of Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9). My reflection on it discussed how our ancestry both blesses and burdens us — Ian

June 25, 2017: – Woke or not woke? – We heard a reading in which Jesus sends his followers out to preach and heal (Matthew 9:38-10:-8). My reflection on it introduced a summer series on how to build strong and loving communities in changing times. — Ian

June 18, 2017: We celebrated National Aboriginal Day with a service focused on reconciliation with Canada’s First Peoples. The drums and voices of Chubby Cree were heard in the service — Ian

June 11, 2017: On June 11, we marked the start of summer break for youth group and church school with an intergenerational service focused the first creation story in Genesis (chapter 1 through 2:4a) — Bev

June 4, 2017: – A language that everyone can understand – On Pentecost Sunday, the Mill Woods United and Zimbabwean United Methodist congregations worshipped together. We sang, prayed, and reflected on this annual celebration of the coming of the Spirit. Following the service, we gathered in the Lower Hall for a potluck lunch. — Ian

May 28, 2017: – A humble path to unity – On the final Sunday in the Season of Easter, we will heard a reading in which Jesus offer words that were adopted 92 years ago as the motto of the United Church of Canada (“That all may be one” from John 17). I used the reading to reflect on the state of the church as we prepared for our Annual General Meeting, which followed the service. The choir will sing “Greet the Dawn” by Nancy R. Chegus — Ian

May 21, 2017:   Hymns to an unknown god – On Sunday, we heard a speech by Paul inspired by an altar he saw in Athens that was inscribed “to an unknown God.” I reflected on how Paul’s Easter faith was evolving in the First Century and how our faith continues to evolve in the 21st. The choir sang “As Grain on Scattered Hills” — Ian

May 14, 2017:  First communion – On Mother’s Day, we heard an Easter story in which two friends of Jesus walk with him for hours but don’t recognize him as the Risen Christ until he breaks bread for supper (Luke 14:13-35). We used this reading to prepare us for Holy Communion and to reflect on the nature of family. The choir sang “The Apple Tree” — Ian

May 7, 2017: Bev Thompson led the service on May 7. The service was focused on Psalm 23 and our journey through prayer and life. We used the labyrinth and you had the chance to both walk the large one and use paper labyrinths.

April 30, 2017: “The Word and the Way” On Sunday, we heard a well-known passage in which Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:1-14). My reflection on it asked how we imagine the Way of Jesus. Do we see it as narrow, wide, or something in between? The choir sang “Come Follow Me” by Don Besig — Ian

April 23, 2017Meeting the Risen Christ On April 23, we heard a story called “the doubting Thomas” (John 20: 19-31). My reflection on it looked at the role that skepticism and doubt play in helping us to find a trusting faith — Ian

April 16, 2017:“He arose in silence” – On Easter Sunday, we heard John’s account of the first Easter morning (John 20:1-18) and celebrated the mystery and joy of resurrection with song and ritual. The choir sang “Christ is Risen Today” — Ian

April 9, 2017: On Palm Sunday, we remembered Holy Week, from Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem (Matthew 21) to his arrest and crucifixion (Matthew 26 and 27). Readings and songs that told this story were woven into a celebration of communion. The choir sang “Antiphonal Hosanna” — Ian

April 2, 2017: Grief on the road to new life The theme for the fifth Sunday in Lent is “Jesus is crying” based on a story about the death of a close friend of Jesus (John 11:1-45). My reflection on it was about the role of grief in helping us to stay on the path of Lent. The choir sang a version of “This Little Light of Mine” — Ian

March 26, 2017: Trusting the darkness The theme for the fourth Sunday in Lent was “Jesus is healing,” based on a story about an encounter between Jesus and a blind man (John 9:1-41). My reflection on it was about the role that darkness might play on the paths of healing — Ian

March 19, 2017: From here to eternity – The theme for the third Sunday in Lent was “Jesus is accepting,” which is based on a story of an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at a well (John 4:5 -42). My reflection on it asked how compassion can spread from our tribe of origin to all of humanity. The choir sang “Living Water” by Emily Crocker — Ian

March 12, 2017: –  Belonging, behaving, and believing The theme for the second Sunday in Lent was “Jesus is loving.” We heard a conversation between Jesus and one of his students about eternal life (John 3:1-17). My reflection on it asked how this famous passage has been used to inspire both love and intolerance. The choir sang “My Heart Is In Your Keeping,” by John Carter — Ian

March 5, 2017: Joy in the wilderness  On the first Sunday in Lent, we heard Matthew’s version of the 40 days and nights Jesus spends in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11). My reflection on it asked how our own “desert” experiences can be a source of growth and joy for us. The choir sang “Be Still and Know” — Ian

February 25, 2017: – “Music that rocks your world” – On Transfiguration Sunday, we concluded the Season of Epiphany with a reading on the sudden appearance of the ancient Jewish leaders Moses and Elijah on a mountainside with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-9). My reflection asked what role glory plays in our spiritual lives and what it might both reveal and obscure — Ian

February 19, 2017:  – Love and resistance – I reflected both on a call from Jesus to love our enemies (Matthew 5:38-48) and on the 2016 award-winning movie “Moonlight,” which shows a black person in today’s Florida struggling to establish his identity — as a child, as a teen, and as a young adult — Ian

January 29, 2017:  – The Rule of Faith – We heard the first part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1-20). My reflection on it pondered the contrast between Jesus’ statement that he has come to fulfill religious law and those times when he seems to ignore the old laws — Ian

January 22, 2017: – Call and response – On the third Sunday of Epiphany, we heard a story of Jesus calling his first disciples (Matthew 4:12-23). My reflection on it asked how we might hear God’s call today and what we can learn from responding to it — Ian

January 15, 2017: – Running deep and free – On the second Sunday of Epiphany, we celebrated Jesus’ baptism (Matthew 3:13-17). My reflection on it discussed the revelations that flow from joining a community dedicated to love — Ian

January 8, 2017:  – Let there be light – We celebrated the Feast of Epiphany with a reading about the visit of Magi from the East to bring gifts to the infant Jesus (Matthew 2:1-12). My reflection on it discussed how the joy of learning can help us find light in the darkness — Ian

January 1, 2017 –  The Roman Empire yesterday and today – On New Year’s Day, we heard a reading about what happened immediately after the first Christmas (Matthew 2:13-23 — the Holy Family flees to Egypt). My reflection on this story asked how the violence faced by Mary, Joseph, and the other inhabitants of Bethlehem 2,000 years ago might shed light on today’s context. — Ian

Service information from 2016