Sermons from 2021

December 26, 2021 — Sharing at Christmas — On the first Sunday after Christmas, eleven of us gathered in a circle to read further into Luke (Luke 2:21-40, Jesus named in the Temple) and shared our hopes and dreams for Christmas 2021 and the new year, 2022. No livestream of this service was made * Order of service (PDF)

December 24, 2021 — “So, this is Christmas” — We enjoyed a traditional gathering of carols and candlelight. There was a special reading and Bryan LeGrow sang “Song for a Winter’s Night” by Gordon Lightfoot.

December 19, 2021 — Songs of love and justice — We celebrated Love on the fourth Sunday in Advent with a reflection on Mary’s song of love and justice (Luke 1:39-56). The choir sang “Lo, How a Rose.”

December 12, 2021 – Advent, Christmas, and Joy — We celebrated Joy on the third Sunday in Advent with a reflection on a story about the conception of Jesus (Luke 1:26-38). The choir sang “There’s Still My Joy” (in person!) and we celebrated the sacrament of Baptism,

December 5, 2021 — Silence, preparation, and peace — We reflected on a story about waiting in silence (Luke 1:18-25). The choir sang “United in Christ” (in person!). This was also the second of two “Festive Giving” Sundays for the Bissell Centre.

November 28, 2021 — “What to expect when you are expecting” — On the first Sunday in Advent, we focused on Peace with a reflection on a story from Luke about the miraculous conception of John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-17).

November 21, 2021 — Truth or dare? — We marked the end of the Church year with “Reign of Christ Sunday” and reflected on John 18:33-38 (“What is truth?”).

November 14, 2021 — Deep spirituality, bold discipleship, and daring justice — We celebrated the 45th anniversary of the founding of Mill Woods United Church. The choir sang “Make Spaces for Spirit!”

November 7, 2021 — Forgetting and remembering — We heard Jesus’ words on the greatest commandment (Mark 12:28-34) and used this to reflect on Remembrance Day. Len Penner sang Gordon Lightfoot’s “Home from the Forest.” 

October 31, 2021 — Losses and gains — We marked All Saints Day (November 1st) and reflected on what has been saved and lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The choir sang “Kyrie”

October 24, 2021 — One for all and all for one — We heard a passage in which Jesus tell his friends that “whoever is not against us is with us” (Mark 9:38-40) and reflected on what this might mean for those of us who try to follow Jesus today.

October 17, 2021 — Naming the hope we see (video of service) — The Worship Committee led the service, with music, a reading, and a Reflection on Hope by Wendy Edey. The choir sang “Deep Waters.”

October 10, 2021 — The Great Mystery — On Thanksgiving Sunday, we heard a famous passage from Matthew 6:25-34 and reflected on unearned grace.

October 3, 2021 — Invincible Summer II — We celebrated worldwide Communion Sunday and the choir sang “Come to the Banquet”

September 26, 2021 — Video of service — The Ministry and Personnel Committee honoured Mill Woods United’s own frontline workers. A quartet offered “There’s a Hero” as a musical offering.

September 19, 2021 — A New Christianity for a New World — We dedicated a quilt in memory of Darlene Hayward and remembered the legacy of Bishop John Shelby Spong (1931-2021).

September 12, 2021 — Twenty years ago today — We heard a passage from Proverbs about Wisdom (Proverbs 1) and marked the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States.

September 5, 2021 — Guaranteed cure! — We heard Jesus make his first prediction about his dire fate in Jerusalem (Mark 8:27-38) and I reflected on how this paradoxically is the heart of Jesus’ Good News – Ian

August 29, 2021 — The healing we need today — We heard about the healing of two people (Mark 7:24-37) and wondered what this might mean for us today.

August 22, 2021 — In despair and in hope — I looked at both the poem “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver and Jesus’ take on Jewish rules for eating (Mark 7) and reflected on what they might have to say to us since more than 1.5 years have passed since the beginning of the WHO’s declaration of a global pandemic — Ian

August 15, 2021 — Spirituals — John and Lindy Mair led a service that included some videos of spirituals and a reflection based on them. 

August 8, 2021 — Psalm 65 — Rev. Dr. Dale Johnson led a service that reflected on both Psalm 65 and the nature of God.

August 1, 2021 — Instead of a worship service, we used the occasion of the long weekend to gather on the church lawn for a picnic. About 40 people came to catch up with old friends and to share food and fellowship.

July 25, 2021 — Listening anew to an old story — Rev. Dr. Dale Johnson led a reflection on the story of David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11-12) and what it might say to us today

July 18, 2021 — The storm before the calm — We heard a story about Jesus calming a storm (Mark 4) and reflected on the anxiety and faith in the stormy summer of 2021.

July 11, 2021 — My little town — We heard a story about how the people in Jesus’ hometown regarded him (Mark 6:1-5) and reflected on family and kinship. The service also include a baptism.

July 4, 2021 — Seeds, soil, and the Holocene — We reflected on Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-9, 14-20) and how it might inspire our ministry today.

June 27, 2021 — “Best Summer Ever!” — On the first full Sunday of summer, we reflected on the blessings of the season and the wounds it might help to heal.

June 20, 2021 — The shadow of church and nation — We marked the Indigenous Day of Prayer with a reflection on next steps in the process of Truth and Reconciliation

June 13, 2021 — Seeing heaven in a wildflower — As spring moved towards summer we considered what St. Paul might have meant by the phrase “a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5)

June 06, 2021 — Love, joy, and rebellion — On Pride Sunday, we reflected on unity amid diversity and celebrated the sacrament of communion.

May 30, 2021 — Grief work —  I marked the 10th anniversary of my ordination with a service focused on the blessings of ministry — Ian

May 23, 2021 — The Roaring Twenties — On Pentecost Sunday, we reflected on a story set in Jerusalem seven weeks after Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 2:1-21) that shows how the Spirit can power our ministry and lives * Order of service (PDF)

May 16, 2021 — “So I have loved you” (link to video of the service on Facebook) — On the Seventh Sunday of Easter, our friend David Faber delivered a reflection on John 15:9-17.

May 9, 2021 — Restoring the vine — On Mother’s Day and the Sixth Sunday of Easter, we reflected on Jesus’ metaphor of the vine and branches (John 15:1-8) and on how communities of faith can promote healing.

May 2, 2021 — Still dreaming of Auckland — On the Fifth Sunday of Easter, we reflected on the metaphor of The Good Shepherd (Psalm 23 and John 10:10-18) and celebrated the sacrament of communion.

April 25, 2021 — The grace of the world — On the fourth Sunday of Easter, we honoured Earth Day with a service that focused on song and a reflection that included nine spring or Easter poems.

April 18, 2021 — Memory and desire — On the third Sunday of Easter, we listened to two readings (Acts 4:33-35 — sharing the wealth, and the poem “Mint” by Seamus Heaney) and reflected on how the power of poetry can remind us of the new life of Easter

April 11, 2021 — The poetry and prose of Easter — On the second Sunday of Easter, we heard John’s account of Easter morning (John 20:1-18) and reflected further on the meaning of resurrection * Order of service (PDF)

April 4, 2021 — The two souls of Easter — On Easter Sunday, we heard the end of the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16 — the empty tomb) and reflected on the mystery and meaning of resurrection

April 2, 2021 — Good Friday and “Hurt” — I offered a reflection on a music video by Johnny Cash — Ian

March 28, 2021 — On Palm/Passion Sunday, we heard the story of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem (Mark 11) and then sang and read our way through the rest of Holy Week as we celebrate the sacrament of communion * Order of service (PDF). To watch a video of the complete service, click here.

March 21, 2021 — On the fifth Sunday of Lent, David Faber offered a reflection on having a “Clean Heart.” To watch a video of the complete service, click here.

March 14, 2021 — “All of me” — On the fourth Sunday in Lent, we celebrated P.I.E. Day (“Public, Intentional, and Explicit“) and the church’s Affirming status.

March 7, 2021 — Chosen families — On the third Sunday in Lent, we heard a story about Jesus’ family (Mark 3:20-21, 31-35) and reflected on recent changes in family life.

February 28, 2021 — “Goodbye to all that” — On the second Sunday in Lent, we heard a story the church calls the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9) and reflected on traditions that we might want to leave behind in changed circumstances.

February 21, 2021 — Serious business — On the first Sunday in Lent, we heard Jesus’ call to take up the cross (Mark 8:27-36) and reflected on what we mean by death and resurrection. We also celebrated the sacrament of communion.

February 14, 2021 — Healing communities — On Valentine’s Day, we completed the first chapter of Mark (Mark 1:29-45) and reflected on what we mean by healing and salvation.

February 7, 2021 — Words of power — We read further into Mark (Mark 1:21-28, Jesus teaches with authority) and reflected on what authority means to us today.

January 31, 2021 — The Worship Committee led the service. It included some favourite songs and a discussion of the various roles people play in the life of Mill Woods United * Video of the complete service

January 24, 2021 — Just how near is the kingdom? — We read further into Mark (Mark 1:14-20) and reflected on what “the call of Jesus” might mean in 2021 * Order of service (PDF file)

January 17, 2021 — What’s so good about The Good News? — We heard the beginning of the Gospel of Mark (Mark 1:1-13) and reflected on some of the many meanings of baptism and “The Good News” * Order of service (opens PDF file)

January 10, 2021 — “This is not who we are” — We celebrated Epiphany with a reading of the second chapter of Matthew and a reflection on the light and dark epiphanies revealed by the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6

January 3, 2021 — Beginner’s mind — On the second Sunday after Christmas, we heard the beginning of the Gospel of John (John 1:1-18, “In the beginning”) and reflected on the new year that lies ahead.

Service information from 2020

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Service information from 2016