Dunsford United Church Bulletin – April 18, 2021

 3rd Sunday of Easter

Rev Anne Hepburn

Welcome and Celebrations

Hello friends!

Call to Worship

The Easter promise is grounded in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death to life.

A promise that we celebrate during this Easter season, a promise graciously extended to each of us by Jesus.

This is a grace that through the Holy Spirit, empowers our community life to new and different experiences.

Let us live into that gracious gift and promise.  

Lighting of the Candles

Let the Light of Christ remind us of our connection to the holy.

Acknowledgement of the Lands

We acknowledge honour and respect this land and the Anishnabeg/Mississauga people with whom Treaty 20, Williams Treaty, was signed, on the lands where we are, and we acknowledge also and give thanks for the lands and the people of treaties and unceded territories of all who are worshipping. It is up to all of us to live into truth, respect, reconciliation and right relations.

Prayer of Approach

Come, light our world, O God. Cast love into the corners where hatred hides, shine peace upon the shadows of strife, turn off distress and turn on joy, light our world with sunshine of hope.

Bring resurrection! We pray in the name of the light of the world.  

Gatherings 2021 p.46 written by Jean Leckie

Hymn: “Immortal, Invisible, God only Wise” VU #264 (Words: Walter Chalmers Smith)

Immortal, invisible, God only wise; in light inaccessible hid from our eyes;

most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days,

almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.

Unresting, unhasting, and silent as light, nor wanting, nor wasting, thou rulest in might;

thy justice like mountains high soaring above thy clouds,

which are fountains of goodness and love.

To all, life thou givest, to both great and small; in all life thou livest, the true life of all;

we blossom and flourish like leaves on the tree, then wither and perish; but naught changeth thee.

Thou reignest in glory, thou rulest in light; thine angels adore thee, all veiling their sight;

all praise we would render, O help us to see ’tis only the splendour of light hideth thee!

Offering

While we can‘t take up the offering as we used to do in the sanctuary, it is still an important part of our ministry. We acknowledge and thank you all for your contributions to the church whether via PAR or other means.

“For the love of the world Jesus offered everything he had, even life itself. In response to his generosity, we offer our gifts and our lives to God. Amen”

Written by Frances Flook Gatherings 2021 p.37

Ministry of Music: “Lord Listen to your Children Praying” VU #400

Lord, listen to your children praying, Lord, send your Spirit in this place;

Lord, listen to your children praying, send us love, send us power, send us grace!

Sunday School Begins  

We Hear God’s Word 

1 John 3:1-7 We are children of God

3:1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

3:2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.

3:3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

3:4 Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

3:5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.

3:6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him.

3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.

Luke 24:36b-48 Jesus appears to the Disciples

24:36b While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

24:37 They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost.

24:38 He said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?

24:39 Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”

24:40 And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.

24:41 While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”

24:42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

24:43 and he took it and ate in their presence.

24:44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you–that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.”

24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures,

24:46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day,

24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

24:48 You are witnesses of these things.

Hymn: “Amazing Grace” VU #266 (Words: John Henry Newton)

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;

how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;

’tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me, this word my hope secures;

God will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,

we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

Reflection/Sermon: We are Children of God.

I recall a story of a police office who pulled a car over. The driver had done something out of line and created a huge ruckus honking at other cars among other things. The woman at the wheel was stunned to be pulled over and demanded an explanation.

The officer said well I saw the behaviour you were exhibiting and yet the sign on your bumper was about loving Jesus in every way…so I figured that someone had stolen your car!

So often it is tempting to do something that would be out of place for a minister and even if I were sorely tempted I hold back…I have sometimes smiled sweetly at another driver while saying something under my breath or worse, gritting my teeth.

The texts today speak to us on several levels and I want to address the points that are significant.

I 1 John the very 1st verse pretty much summarized the whole passage.

“The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him”

Is that not applicable now as much as 2000 years ago?

If we do not behave as a follower of Christ should behave then surely people will not understand anything about the person the Messiah that we believe in.

More than that, I want to emphasize that when we say we follow Christ it is about modelling our behaviour on his.

Not just saying empty things or sounding pious.

Looking out for the needy, caring for the sick, feeding the hungry, helping those in difficulty.

Being followers of Christ is not about self – it is about others.

So if we act in a way that reflects Jesus teachings and actions we reflect the real message of who he was.

If we do not, then we fail to demonstrate what we believe in.

Here at Dunsford we are aware that the congregation and pastoral charge are in a time of trouble.

Finances are down and COVID prevents all the normal activities that build good relations.

I don’t know about you but in my household those two circumstances cause stress. When money is tight and worries run high, we can get cranky.

Stress of that nature in a congregation is hard on everyone. And when we are feeling it we can get less pleasant in every way.

Meetings get tense, reactions get intense, we may forget that we are a church family with a common goal.

Sometimes people mistake peoples’ comments or take something badly when realistically they know the person who said it would never mean it in a hurtful way. Or maybe they express doubt or disbelief in someone’s opinions when really the proper response is interest or curiosity.

The second text from Luke speaks to us of the disciples shock and disbelief in seeing Jesus when he appeared to them.

Now I completely understand why they reacted that way! Wouldn’t you?

The risen Christ appears fully clothed from the worst of his crucifixion ordeal- not actively bleeding anyway and they think he’s a ghost!  So he eats some fish to prove he is alive and shows his scars from the nails.

Then he reminds them of the scriptures and all his teachings as well as the prophetic words of the old testament teachings. He reminds them of what he did in Galilee and how they can continue to be his disciples.

One of the best ways to keep a struggling group on target to achieve their mutual goals is to have an understanding of our boundaries and expectations.

So, let me introduce you to Holy Manners.

Many churches have used this to keep meetings and activities happy and respectful.  Holy manners are the equivalent in my mind to the basics we learn in Kindergarten and from our parents.  But in churches Holy Manners are even more important because they are holy because they help us to be.  They require us to remember the behaviors that Christ taught and the way his followers are to behave. They are holy because of who we follow and as 1 John says if we say righteous things we become righteous!

So below some of the holy manners we will adapt to use as we work together.

Holy Manners*

Our Commitment to the Creation of Safe Space**

We come to this space knowing that God loves us as we are and yearns for us to be in closer relationship with all of God’s beloved.

In our behavior, our words, and our attitudes we promise to relate to one another with:

  • Respect
  • Humility
  • Patience
  • Open mindedness
  • Courage
  • Compassion
  • And we promise to treat ourselves with kindness.

 Keeping God at the centre, we will:

  • Listen empathetically to others with our whole selves: our physical senses, intuition, imagination, and intellect
  • Speak for ourselves in the spirit of truth and gentleness, avoiding unhelpful judgments, generalizations, and stereotypes
  • Allow others to speak without interruption
  • Pause before speaking to ponder what others are saying and what we feel
  • Affirm the deep wisdom of silence
  • Be sensitive to differences in the way we each communicate and learn
  • Keep confidentiality
  • Keep the discussion at the table
  • Commit to holding one another to account when we do not keep our Holy Manners
  • Honour the decisions made by the body
  • Lean into God’s transformative love

It is my strong belief that you know these and observe them. However it never hurts to be reminded of these guidelines.  Originally, I was going to share this at the mission Board and other meetings but it seemed more sensible for everyone to be aware of Holy Manners so there is no gap between members.

Amen

Prayers of the People

Mighty God, your gift to us of our human nature has given us such power.

Power of language;

Power of thought;

Power of pattern;

And yet we can use these gifts for ill:

In the unkind word;

In thoughtless prejudice;

In clinging to prestige and privilege at the expense of others.

We lift up to you our failings and those of the culture in which we live. 

Time for silent prayer

God of all goodness

We ourselves grow in love and spirit as we lift these things up to you:

Knowing that you love us,

Knowing that you forgive us,

Knowing that you are with us in every moment; giving us courage to advocate against the words that oppress.

Giving us wisdom to untangle the web of injustice born of ignorance.

Giving us strength to break free of a system that condemns so many.

We are amazed at your power and ready to work for your kingdom.

As we pray, we lift up all those in our congregation and community who are struggling. We ask that you give them peace, health and freedom to emerge from this pandemic in better condition. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen 

Written by Anna Atkinson Gatherings 2021 p.39   

Lord’s Prayer:

Our Father who art in heaven

Hallowed be they name

Thy kingdom come they will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses.

As we forgive those who trespass against us;

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory,

For ever and ever, amen.

Hymn: “Walk with Me” VU #649 (Words: John S. Rice)

Walk with me, I will walk with you and build the land that God has planned where love shines through.

Blessing/Commendation

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH

Church Office Hours: Wed. 9-5

Tel: 705-793-2511

Email: dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca

Visit our new website: www.dunsfordunitedchurch.com

Pulpit Supply Minister: Rev. Anne Hepburn

Confidential Email: annehepburn54@gmail.com

Cellphone: 416-305-1247

Envelope Steward: Kathy Prentice 705-324-4753


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