Dunsford United Church Bulletin – Sunday Sept 19 2021

Rev. Anne Hepburn





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


By Rivers and Streams

On the water

Near the oceans and the seas

We gather together

Disciples of Christ

Children of the Spirit

People of the Creator.

Sometimes with tears

Sometimes with excitement

All the time worshipping the One who calls us to be.

Written by Richard Bott Gatherings 2021 p.26. Used with permission.


God of many names, in these uncertain times we hold fast to your unwavering love.

Draw us close to one another and to your mercy which is strong and true.

Open our hearts to the wonder that is transformative love: tender, courageous and justice seeking.

We pray as your followers.  Amen

Written by Laura Turnbull Gatherings 2021 p.33. Used with permission.


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”


* CHILDREN’S HYMN: VU #639 “One More Step Along the World I Go” (Words: Sydney Carter)



Old Testament Proverbs 31:10-31

Ode to a Capable Wife

10 A capable wife who can find?
    She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
    and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
    and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant,
    she brings her food from far away.
15 She rises while it is still night
    and provides food for her household
    and tasks for her servant-girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She girds herself with strength,
    and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
    Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
    and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor,
    and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid for her household when it snows,
    for all her household are clothed in crimson.
22 She makes herself coverings;
    her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is known in the city gates,
    taking his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
    she supplies the merchant with sashes.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
    and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household,
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her happy;
    her husband too, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her a share in the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the city gates.

 New Testament Mark 9:30-37

Jesus Again Foretells His Death and Resurrection

30 They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; 31 for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” 32 But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Who Is the Greatest?

33 Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” 34 But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. 35 He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” 36 Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, 37 “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”


* HYMN: VU #567 “Will You Come and Follow Me? (Words: The Iona Community)


Last week when many students were back at school at University of Western ON there was a surge of violence. A young man was assaulted and killed during activities over the weekend and many young women reported being drugged and sexually assaulted.

The news was horrifying and I am sure that many parents and faculty are shaken badly. I do feel greatly for the family and friends of the young man.

More important to me however, was the concern over the women who have experienced the assaults. The women will live with these assaults forever. They will doubt themselves, doubt their memories, doubt their judgement, They were excited to get to university just barely unpacked and settled in before their dreams and hopes were smashed into fragile shards of memory & confidence.  No matter what they achieve in the future, the assault will be in the back of their minds and body memories.

So as I read that proverb about a capable wife I had to shake my head. First of all, its near impossible to accomplish all that the ideal wife of that era is said to do. Secondly as you parse the language you read about her being married & having a powerful husband and many servants.  They are protected and wealthy- top 1% I would guess for the era. So her depiction is just that- an ode to an ideal.

 The description sounds so unrealistic but in a way it spells out the same kind of unrealistic expectations and situations that were being made of women in biblical times as much as today.  And they do not appear to take into account young, hopeful, if vulnerable women.

As you can probably guess I am not at all sure that the bible portrays helpful role models for either gender- there are so few women with important roles that actually get named.

And some of the terror texts are really abusive -so because they have been used for centuries to push  women  into subservient powerless roles at church and in society.  A recent book by Phyllis Trible combines the discipline of literary criticism with the hermeneutics or filters of feminism.  She reinterprets the tragic stories of four women in ancient Israel: Hagar, Tamar, an unnamed concubine, and the daughter of Jephthah. In highlighting the silence, absence, and opposition of God, as well as human cruelty, Trible shows how these neglected stories—interpreted in memoriam—challenge both the misogyny of Scripture and its use in church, synagogue, and academy. Misogyny is still in place today as is the sense of entitlement some men still feel to get what they want-  with or without consent.

Hagar, also spelled Agar, in the Old Testament (Gen. 16:1–16; 21:8–21), Abraham’s concubine and the mother of his son Ishmael. Purchased in Egypt, she served as a maid to Abraham’s childless wife, Sarah, who gave her to Abraham to conceive an heir. When Hagar became pregnant, her meek manner changed to arrogance; with Abraham’s reluctant permission, Sarah treated her so harshly that she fled into the wilderness. There, by a spring of water, she was found by an angel of the Lord, who told her to return home and promised her that she would have many descendants through a son, Ishmael; he would grow up to be a “wild ass of a man,” in constant struggle with all other men. Hagar returned home to bear her child.

About 14 years after the birth of Ishmael, Isaac, Abraham’s son with whom God had promised to make a covenant, was born to Sarah. One day Sarah saw Isaac and Ishmael playing together and, fearing that Ishmael would also become an heir, sent the son and mother into the desert. There God sustained them and was with Ishmael until he grew up.

1.    Tamar

The second Tamar of the Old Testament was the beautiful daughter of David and sister of Absalom. In this story, Amnon, Tamar’s half-brother, was consumed by lust for his sister. Advised by his shrewd and manipulative friend, Jonadab, Amnon pretended to be ill, asking for his sister to come and care for him. David, being blind and oblivious to his son’s temperament and lust, sent Tamar to her brother. When Tamar arrived, Amnon proceeded to rape her (2 Samuel 13).

Scripture then says that. “Amnon hated her with a very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her… now throw this woman out of my presence and lock the door behind her” (2 Samuel 13:15,17). Amon went on to treat Tamar as a used and unwanted outcast, a reputation she likely carried for the rest of her life.  

Scripture says that David mourned for his sons (2 Samuel 13:37), but in failing to confront Amnon for his sin, he had opened the door for Absalom to avenger Tamar and sin also. In doing so, David lost two sons and a daughter, watching as his family disintegrated before his eyes.

The concubine of a Levite is likely a lesser wife, who perhaps was unfaithful and left her husband. After her husband finds her, the house in which they are staying is threatened by a group of Benjaminite men who wish to have sex with the Levite. Their host offers the concubine in the Levite’s place, which they reject; she is then thrown outside to them and they rape her until the morning, when she returns to the house and is near death. In retaliation for this act, the Israelites launch a series of attacks on the Benjaminites.

Jepthah was a judge who sacrificed his daughter in the aftermath of a battle he won. Either as a human sacrifice or into a life of seclusion. It was yet again a situation where a young woman was used for politics, power or self.

Here’s another slightly more contemporary little vignette from 1955!

Good Wife’s guide Housekeeping Monthly on how to be a good wife.

1.)    Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.

2.)    Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.

3.)    Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

4.)    Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

5.)    Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

6.)    Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

7.)    Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes.

8.)    Children are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet

9.)    Be happy to see him. Free him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Listen to him.

10.)                  You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first — remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.

11.)                  Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax

12.)                  Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where you husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

13.)                  Don’t greet him with complaints and problems

14.)                  Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day

15.)                  Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.

16.)                  Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

17.)                  Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment of integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.

18.)                  A good wife always knows her place.

As you think of it doesn’t it sound crazy?

Each of us comes from this century’s expectations and each of us still probably has heard many mixed messages about our roles and expectations.  Each of us will have heard from our family and community what is normal and or desirable for us women to achieve or reach for.

And if we were from a tightly constrained religious group we would have been even more limited in our possible options.

So although we are in the 1st 2quarter of a new century the reality is that for women there is a lot that we may never have been encouraged to do or try. Fortunately, our daughters and granddaughters already look at the world differently. They have a lot more perspectives on life and careers than we ever might have imagined.  I was lucky to be raised in a neighbourhood and family where girls were as important as boys. We were given educations and opportunities and expected to have the same successes outside the house as our brothers.

My parents attended university and so did all their friends and family. As a result of that, we grew up to raise families of our own with similar values and expectations.

So some of the social restrictions have changed a lot… 

But I worry that as much as some have lightened up others have gotten more difficult.

For one thing I worry about the pressure we put on men to fulfil the enormous “Manly” expectations that are often imposed  upon them.

Be brave

Men don’t cry

You have to make a living- doing arts or theatre or creative arenas will not be successful or acceptable.

Real men don’t do women’s jobs- nursing, child care, etc

You have to drive: women don’t respect men who don’t.

I know that there are business areas where women still experience such attitudes as are represented in the 1955 doc- that men think of more important things!!!

Some of the silly things in the 1955 document are not helpful but they do point out the very dated and rigidly gendered ideas about women and men.

            Hopefully we can move forward with more wisdom regarding people and their rights to safety and self actualization with out the need to destroy others.


Gracious God we offer you our soft selves honestly and timidly, knowing that you are a good and gentle God.

It can be scary to name the hurt that has been done to us

and the hurt we’ve done to others.

But we know there is new life for us

beyond our cuts and bruises.

We know there is restoration for us

in our relationships with you

and the rest of our human family.

Take our insecurities and fears

which drive us to hurt ourselves and others,

take them and transform them

into the seeds of our compassion.

Cultivate in us your new life. Amen   

We pray the Lord’s prayer together:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy 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, the power, and the glory forever! Amen.


* HYMN:  VU #766 Psalm 42 “As the Deer Pants for the Water”




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.