Dynamic Dunsford United Church Newsletter – February 24, 2021

Do you have anything to share in the newsletter?  Celebrations?  Good news?  Photos? Please send them to dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca  Thank you!

Update from the Chair

Annual General Meeting – Please be advised that our Annual General Meeting will be held by zoom. Date Sunday, March 7, time 1:30 p.m. You will be able to connect from your home on any device that can access the internet or by using your landline or cell phone. (See link below.) (Be aware that long distance charges may apply.) At the church, we will be able to accommodate up to 8 people. Masks must be worn, and social distancing will be observed. You must register to reserve a spot by phoning me at 705-738-3183. Visit our website to view a copy of the Annual Report. (see link below). Only those people who have indicated that they do not have access to the internet will receive a hard copy of the report prior to the meeting. We would like to see as many people as possible take part in this annual meeting which is so important to the life of our church.

Join Zoom Meeting

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Meeting ID: 947 4607 4701

Passcode: annual

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Meeting ID: 947 4607 4701

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Nominations – We have several openings on our administrative teams. We are desperate for people to join the Worship team and the Ministry and Personnel team! If you have ever felt that you are receiving a call to serve in this manner, this is the year to act on that call. We need you!

Prayer Requests

Please keep Anna Thurston and her family in your prayers. Anna is being transitioned to Palliative Care at Victoria Manor. They are keeping Anna comfortable at this time.

Please keep Kristen, Wes, Hailey and Tyler Elliott in your prayers as Kristen continues to have challenges with her health around Lupus. She is in good spirits, but it is a concern for her and her family.

Keeping all who are struggling during this time in prayer,

Blessings

Kevin Fitzpatrick

Worship Minister (Supply)

ECORC Affirming Forum

Dear Friends in Affirming Ministries:

As you may know, our region, East Central Ontario, has Interim Affirming status and is in process to become permanently Affirming.  A vote is to be taken at the June Regional AGM.

The ECORC Affirming Forum, which is encouraging and facilitating this process for the Region, is looking for confidential direct feedback and input from Two Spirit LGBTQIA+ folk and Allies across the Region which will inform its ongoing Affirming Action Plan.

How are you experiencing church these days? What’s working?  What’s not working? Are you celebrating your congregation’s work as an Affirming ministry, or is there not much action in your “Action plan?” 

To this end Members of the Affirming Forum are hosting two separate ZOOM gatherings –the first for Two Spirit LGBTQIA+ folk in our region on Sunday, March 14, and the second for Allies on March 21 (details attached). We will discuss where and how the Region might help.  Check it out here for details and registration.

Share, Ask, Answer! Creating a truly Affirming Regional Council – East Central Ontario Regional Council of the United Church of Canada (ecorcuccan.ca) Mar 14

Share, Ask, Answer! Creating a truly Affirming Regional Council – East Central Ontario Regional Council of the United Church of Canada (ecorcuccan.ca) Mar 21

For those unable to attend, but have thoughts and Ideas to share, we can be reached as below. Again, your sharing will be held in confidence.

Peace and Grace,

Judy Amsbury and Rev. Elizabeth Macdonald

ECORC Affirming Forum

705-741-8608 and 613-329-6815

Black History Month:  Marie-Claude Manga 

The Rev. Marie-Claude Manga reflects on her ministry and work as an ordained Black woman with The United Church of Canada, and the many challenges it has brought. (Published On: February 22, 2021)

I grew up in a family of eight: four boys and four girls. I am the second among the siblings and the eldest daughter. My father has always encouraged the education of his children, boys and girls, giving them an equal chance. To encourage me in my education, he kept telling me I was a whole person and that nothing and no one had the power to stop me in my momentum. Any occasion was propitious for my parents to expose me to different challenges. Dad would call me to let me listen to a female voice on the radio and tell me I could also accomplish great things such as becoming a female journalist. 

Baptized by my grandfather, who was a Baptist pastor, my parents did not hesitate to send me to a boarding school run by Catholic nuns to acquire a “good” education. At the Catholic school, I was required to be baptized a second time. It did not shock my parents who encouraged me because, for them, God had no preference for one religion over another. 

It is with those values that I found myself in Canada with my four-year-old daughter to continue my education in social work. I was working as a social worker when I was called to serve God. After that, the challenges came one after the other.  

I remember the challenges and situations that I faced in my ministry as a Black woman and French-speaking pastor in an Anglophone majority and rural context that I have never known previously. I remember the day I introduced myself to the board of a church. The first question was, “What are you doing here?” As I was answering with my limited English, one of the board members looked at me with disdain and said loudly, without restraint, “I do not know what we have done to God to deserve this!” 

I remember the evening when I went to the bedside of a parishioner. Lying on his bed, the man was following the World Vision show. I entered the room and said hello. As an answer, he raised the volume to draw my attention to the screen. After several minutes, he said, “What are you doing here? Do you visit me because of my money?” 

I said, “No, I’m not interested in your money. I am here as your pastor. Actually, I have been appointed as the pastor of the church you belong to.” He looked at me and laughed. His wife was shocked and embarrassed, but I stopped her from intervening. In the evening, she called me to apologize. I took time to listen as I wanted to reassure her. 

The Sunday that followed, I visited this brother and I realized that his health was deteriorating. I continued to visit every two days. For nearly three weeks, I prayed and sang with his wife while the husband was watching television. He wanted nothing from me but I kept going to visit. One Sunday, I brought communion to the nursing home and I offered it to him. Then he asked me to sing a specific hymn before sharing communion. As you can imagine, I felt blessed. 

The following visit, I found him alone and hungry. His wife, who usually fed him, was late. The staff had resigned since he treated them unkindly. He was trying to eat but could not. Standing near the bed, I watched a few minutes while he smeared his face with food. I approached the bed and I stretched out my hand without saying a word. He put the fork in my hand without being asked and mostly without resistance. It was a highlight for both of us through our eyes, our hearts, and our hands. I started to wipe his face and I fed him slowly. While I fed him, I remembered the biblical passage in which Christ tells us, “I was sick and you visited me…” How could I remain indifferent to this helpless man when God gave me the opportunity to consolidate our relationship and take care of his beloved son? 

I remember the day of the funeral of this brother in Christ. At the cemetery, as I proclaimed praise before the funeral, I bent to make the sign of the cross on the casket just as an order was given by someone to lower the coffin. I got back up in time to avoid falling down on the coffin. Outraged, the widow asked the lowering of the coffin to be stopped so that I could continue the service. Two weeks later, she invited me to her home for coffee and asked, “How do you do it?” 

Regardless whom we are within Christ’s Church, we are called to minister to his body by following his pathways with the presence of the Holy Spirit as promised. As Christ’s disciples, forgiveness is not an alternative, rather an obligation, a way of living. If we are wondering how we can forgive those who hurt us, let us always keep in mind the words from the Lord’s Prayer, taught to us by Christ himself: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” Of course, I don’t forget, but I forgive. 

By doing so, we will be the light carriers to enlighten the world about the love that we enjoy from God, regardless of our gender identity, race, age, sexuality, class, ability, language, and so on. That’s why I refused to abandon my call. I refused to pay attention to all the wickedness and the misunderstandings I was facing. Up until today, I can’t explain why I did not stumble and flee. Nevertheless, I am certain that the assurance within me when I was acting as a servant of God to the people of God, came from the Holy Spirit. All my provision is placed on this table of which David speaks in Psalm 23:5. On that table I find love, forgiveness offered and received, benevolence, reconciliation, understanding and so on. Unconsciously, I helped myself from this table whenever I needed it. 

—The Rev. Marie-Claude Manga works as a social worker and minister. She is on the executive board of La Table des ministères en français and sits on the executive of the Nakonha:ka Regional Council. This is an excerpt from her presentation on the 80th anniversary of Lydia Gruchy’s ordination, and of the life and work of ordained women within the United Church. 

The views contained within these blogs are personal and do not necessarily reflect those of The United Church of Canada.

Bits from Brenda

Dunsford Community Food Bank: Contact Fay Carslake 705-341-3699 or faycarslake@hotmail.com

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Church Office Hours: Wed. 9-5

Tel: 705-793-2511

Email: dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca 

Visit our new website: www.dunsfordunitedchurch.com

Worship Minister (Supply): Kevin Fitzpatrick 705-340-0973 / mk.fitzy@sympatico.ca

Music Director: Brenda Shield 1-705-748-9875 or bshield@cogeco.ca

Envelope Steward: Kathy


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