Dunsford United Church Bulletin – May 16, 2021

Rev Anne Hepburn

Welcome and Celebrations

Hello friends! 

Call to Worship

This is the season of Easter

The celebration of resurrection

The festival of hope

The promise of new beginnings

The dance of faith

The song of joy

The music of gladness

The hymn of love

Let us worship our life-giving God!

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

Blessed rock and redeemer,

We have been welcomed to a new day to marvel at

Your creation, to sing your praises to follow in your ways.

Come now O holy spirit to reveal our shortcomings,

To revitalize our hearts,

To refresh our souls,

To allow our thoughts and words to be pleasing to you.

In the name of Jesus our Saviour, we pray. Amen

Written by Cheryl Hutchcroft 2021 Gatherings P. 45, used with permission.

Hymn: “Jesus Loves Me” VU #365 (Words: Anna Bartlett Warner, v. 2 & 3 David Rutherford McGuire)

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so;

little ones to him belong, in his love we shall be strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me, this I know, as he loved so long ago,

taking children on his knee, saying, ‘Let them come to me.’  R

Jesus loves me still today, walking with me on my way,

wanting as a friend to give light and love to all who live.  R

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

We Hear God’s Word 

Psalm 1

Happy are those
    who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
    or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
    planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
    and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.

The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

John 17:6-19

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that[a] you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost,[b] so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.[c] 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.[d] 16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.


Reflection/Sermon: “Words Matter!”

Words Matter!

I recently looked at a real estate listing for a place near me (out of curiosity-we are not moving!)

I noticed that instead of the familiar phrase of Master bedroom it is now referred to as the Primary bedroom.

Funnily enough my 1st reaction was that not all couples are heterosexual and maybe that was why-

Turns out it is a term that is considered racist.

It refers to the slave owner’s room and distinguishes it his children and further, from slave quarters.

My family have been in real estate for about a century, and I never questioned that term, nor I am sure did my brother, mother, father or grandfather. That was just the accepted terminology.

Such subtleties often escape us because like wallpaper, they are always there. They have become part of “normal” language. Last time I preached about the Derek Chauvin I used the term “lynchpin” to describe the damming video evidence recorded by a young woman of the murder by knee on neck. As I said and wrote that word, I reeled from the hideous imagery that such a word would undoubtably suggest to any POC.

That is why when I was planning for this sermon, I did a dive into language which is considered racist even if we don’t realize it – and I have to say that I know I have used some of the terms I discovered as well you may have too.

You know the phrase – “know better do better”?

Let’s not perpetuate these racist words anymore.

First a definition:

Ibram X. Kendi, in his book, How to Be An Antiracist, defines antiracist as “one who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.” He says, “A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. Racist ideas argue that the inferiorities and superiorities of racial groups explain racial inequities in society.”

In the alternative, “An antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.”

To be an antiracist, thus means that we all have an obligation to understand how language shapes racist beliefs. While I already knew that some of the terms listed herein are inherently racist, such as “the pot calling the kettle black” and “cotton picking,” there are others whose origins are new to me such as “low hanging fruit”.

Starting with the word black (apart from how you take your Coffee – clear?), you probably never realized that almost all phrases using black are derogatory. The symbolism of white as positive and black as negative is pervasive in our culture. Researcher Watts-Jones has highlighted many terms with negative meanings that reference blackness. In the English language, she wrote in 2004, color is “related to extortion (blackmail), disrepute (black mark), rejection (blackball), banishment (blacklist), impurity (‘not the driven snow’) and illicitness (black market).”

“The Black power movement brought front and center the way the term ‘black’ is used with rare exception to convey a derogatory, devalued meaning,” she told HuffPost. “The meaning of these phrases is always something undesirable – evil, depression, gloomy, immoral.”   

Some words are not only racist but classist.

One such phrase is “Uppity.” It refers to people “not knowing their place in society.”

That was used to refer to former enslaved people thinking they are equal to their former masters/owners in the Jim Crow era.  It can refer to poor whites but was especially used against POC.

A term used in similar manner is “Articulate”.

There are words that don’t necessarily have meanings that are racist, but they’re used in a racist manner, nonetheless. “Articulate” is one of them, said Megan Figueroa, a linguist and co-host of The Vocal Fries podcast about linguistic discrimination. Consider “articulate” the slightly less racist, but still cut-from-the-same-cloth cousin of “uppity.” To call a Black person articulate or “well-spoken” is to suggest that you expect the opposite to be true.

“When a non-Black person says to a Black person, ‘You are so articulate!’ what you are saying is that you are surprised they have a certain set of ‘acceptable’ linguistic skills, and here, ‘acceptable’ equates to ‘sounds white,’” Figueroa said. “This upholds the racist idea that the only way for Black people to be taken seriously is to sound white, when linguistically speaking, both ways of speaking are equally good.”

Another classist but also racist term is “peanut gallery” it refers to the usually black people in theatres who were not allowed to sit anywhere else.

Those who were white and poor and could not afford better seating also had to sit far away – in what we sometimes call the nosebleed zone for its height and distance from the stage. And yes, food throwing was a thing back then – I don’t encourage you to try that now!

Some phrases are as much misogynistic (anti woman) as racist. The term “Ho” comes to mind-used frequently for those in the sex trade is more often directed at women of colour.  

Thug is a new term used more to describe black victims of violence – supposedly it replaces the N word. But the problem is that it re-victimizes the victim by painting them as a violent criminal. Almost no one uses that word to refer to white people…

When it comes to differing levels of privilege in property law, the term I recently encountered was “Grandfathered”. While most of us will associate it with a building or property which is exempt/excused from certain by-law restrictions because of being purchased prior to that by law being passed.

Unfortunately, that is not the original meaning:

A “grandfather clause” exempts certain people or groups from the requirements of a piece of legislation affecting their rights, privileges or practices.

The phrase has a racially charged history: Its origins go back to post-Civil War attempts to undercut the voting power of newly free Black people by creating strict requirements for new voters, including literacy tests, that did not apply to the descendants of those who voted prior to (usually) 1867. On paper, these rules didn’t discriminate, but in practice, everybody understood how they would work: It was white people, by and large, who were “grandfathered in” to vote.

“Because of the 15th Amendment, you can’t pass laws saying blacks can’t vote, which is what they wanted to do,” Eric Foner, a Columbia University historian, told NPR in 2013. “But the 15th Amendment allowed restrictions that were non-racial. This was pretty prima facie a way to allow whites to vote, and not blacks.”

On an indigenous level there are a couple that jump out as well.

These days, “spirit animal” is almost a term of endearment, a phrase used colloquially to describe any person or thing the speaker deeply relates to or loves. “Plankton from ‘SpongeBob’ is my spirit animal.” “Rihanna is my spirit animal.

For many Indigenous people, though, the phrase refers to spirits who “help guide or protect a person on a journey and whose characteristics that person shares or embodies,” per Dictionary.com.

Critics call casual usage of the term by non-Natives cultural appropriation. “Terms like ‘spirit animal’ which denote something positive, intimate, universally attractive and don’t seem to denigrate the original owners of the term — but the acid test is not to make that judgment ourselves but to ask, in this case Native Americans, what they think,” Thorne said. “Nearly always they will say they don’t feel comfortable with the casual cultural appropriation,” he said.

A word tripped up Hillary Clinton when she was campaigning to be president against Trump. Possibly referring to men like him, she said that some men “come off the reservation” and behave badly.

It’s a loose paraphrase but I think you get the point.

We are all, and I include myself in this, likely to use phrases such as I have mentioned, without meaning to or without knowing their particular and challenging history for BIPOC folks. If you are called on it, acknowledge and apologize OR ask what you said that was offensive.

We can’t always know the meaning behind a phrase of word and, given that you likely do not intend to be offensive, I think demonstrating regret and learning what not to do is helpful. It means that we will treat all of God’s people as equals. What could be better?

Prayers of the People 

Gracious God we gather before you in this time of prayer. We confess that all too often we look up to heaven for glimpses of grace while not seeing your grace which is revealed all around us.

Loving God as we struggle with our brokenness, open our hearts to the presence of your grace in the people around us. As they reach out to us let us reach out to them so together, we may be healed.

Time of silent prayer

Grace is a gift from God revealed in moments of our connection with one another.

Grace is a gift from God revealed in Jesus.  For this we give thanks and praise. Amen  

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: “Be Thou my Vision” VU #642 (Words: Irish ca. 8th century)

Be thou my vision, O joy of my heart; naught be all else to me save that thou art,

thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, my calm in all strife; I ever with thee, and thou in my life;

thou loving parent, thy child may I be, thou in me dwelling, and I one with thee.

Be thou my battle shield, sword for the fight be thou my dignity, thou my delight,

thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower; raise thou me heavenward, O power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor vain empty praise, thou mine inheritance, now and always;

thou and thou only, the first in my heart, great God of heaven, my treasure thou art.

Great God of heaven, after victory won, may I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s sun!

Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, still be my vision, O ruler of all.

Blessing/Commendation

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord.


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