Bulletin and Announcements for August 14, 2022

Dunsford United Church – Sunday, August 14, 2022

Pulpit Supply: Rev. Anne Hepburn

†= stand as you are able

WELCOME AND CELEBRATIONS

LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THE LANDS (Unison)

We acknowledge, honour and respect this land and the Anishinaabe/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.

† HYMN: VU #227 “For the Fruit of all Creation”

CALL TO WORSHIP

Let us keep space for the Holy Presence.

Let us still ourselves and quiet our minds.

We are called to hold Sabbath on this day.

Spirit moves in and through us in divine tranquility and peace.

In the name of the Risen Christ let us rest, worship and pray together.

May God fill us with light, forgiveness and an enveloping love as we worship.

Written by Jani Francis, Gatherings 2022, p.36. Used with permission.

OPENING PRAYER (Unison)

Loving God, as we join together to worship you today,

please help us to know your presence.

Sing your joy in us, sing your comfort in us.

Ring out your peace your love your justice and mercy in us.

May your voice resonate through your bodies, our spirits and our lives.

Birth in us life, new life, abundant life and equip us

to share that life and love with the world you so love. Amen

Written by Chelsea Masterman Gatherings 2022 P.41. Used with permission.

MINISTRY OF MUSIC

OFFERING: While we can’t take up the offering as we used to, we very much appreciate your generosity. Let us pray.

OFFERTORY PRAYER:

We offer up our lives and our gifts to you O God. May they be sufficient to your use in this world. Amen

SCRIPTURE READINGS: Old Testament Isaiah 5:1-7

I will sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill. He dug it and cleared it of stones and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it and hewed out a wine vat in it; he expected it to yield grapes, but it yielded rotten grapes. And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. What more was there to do for my vineyard that I have not done in it? When I expected it to yield grapes, why did it yield rotten grapes? And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a wasteland; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and it shall be overgrown with briers and thorns; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the people of Judah are his cherished garden; he expected justice but saw bloodshed; righteousness but heard a cry!

New Testament Hebrews 11:29-12:2 (Read by Anne)

By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.

And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned to death; they were sawn in two; they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented— of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground. Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

The Example of Jesus

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

† HYMN: VU #675 “Will Your Anchor Hold”

MESSAGE: Confessing the Faith

In the early days of Christianity, those seeking to join the church would typically study the texts together and learn about their new faith for weeks or months ahead of Easter. Then they would stand in front of their congregated fellow believers and confess the faith. That is, that they claimed their beliefs publicly and fully.

It was a risky process since many of the Jewish tradition were bound and determined to thwart and persecute them in any way possible. There were many who were beaten and flogged tortured and thrown to the animals to be trampled to death. Charming way to spend Easter, right?

Makes having crazy relatives in for dinner seem safe. Or at least tolerable!!

Confessing the faith always sounds like confessing to a crime- which frankly back then, was pretty much true. But in fact it also meant committing oneself to the demands of the Christian tradition and following a radical new path. Following that path would have meant leaving behind family and friends, familiar places of worship and traditions that were centuries old.

The reading from Hebrews is pretty graphic isn’t it?

But it does indeed illustrate a lot of the possible horrors that befell persecuted Christians in the early days of the church.

It also sums up some of the difficulties faced by the Israelites as they search for God’s promised Land. Crossing rivers to escape captors, wandering in the wilderness and starving for food over lengthy periods, the people of God were under much perilous constraints. It is humbling to me that early believers/ministers were so at risk yet so determined.

To connect this text to today’s world we can consider the lack of church in many peoples lives. Going to church is becoming a less typical activity in today’s culture. COVID has not helped one bit, but neither has our secular world contributed to church attendance and interest. Not to sound cynical, I find it rather bizarre that so many celebrate Christmas for example, without ever attending church.

I see Christmas trees everywhere; most of them suggest a designer magazine more than a family living room! And while I know that Christmas is more a secular event now, I wish more attention was paid to the true significance of its religious origin. Same with Easter, that most pivotal day of our liturgical calendar.

Seeing people grab chocolate Easter bunnies as soon as they appear on the shelves of stores (usually right after Valentines Day) seems jarring to me.

But I have to admit that I am as much a part for this shift- I recall being horrified that a minister did not want Christmas Carols in church until Christmas Eve-apart from the Annual pageant. He wanted to save carols for then and I wanted them early. I knew that after Christmas a lot of the families would be away skiing and we needed to get them engaged as much as possible in advance.

So I may have contributed to the secular slide!

What are the trade-offs though?

How do we as Christians live out our faith in the world?

Let me share what I learned from Claude Kerr’s family.

Claude was a devout Christian. He lived his faith through caring for his family and hard work.

He was a gentleman.

He loved his wife Isabel and grieved her sudden passing.

Later on he met and married his second wife Marilyn.

Now I have only known Claude since 2008 when I arrived at Dunsford and so I do not know the younger Claude. But when a person is as sweet and kind and gentle as he has always been, I can trust the stories I have heard about who he always was. I completely understand how devastated he would have been when Isabell died so suddenly. And his huge sorrow over the loss of his son John in an industrial accident. These are terrible losses all the more so because of the lack of preparation.

Claude was a man of hard work and determination.

And since Claude still had a family to provide for he kept on doing what needed to be done. He had switched careers from baking to restaurants to gravel yard.

He was adaptable and he made sure he learned what he needed to do.

We can do the same: we can figure out how to be the church in the world by being good examples of Christianity. Not by talk but by attitude, hard work, ethical behaviour and kindness to those who can’t do anything for us.

As this and other churches survey the future options, we can consider how to use this building to serve the community, should the actual church part fade away.

I personally believe that as churches close there will be a surge in seeking for spiritual resources because people need it. How it will look and feel is up to the future of our membership. But since we are not bodies with souls but souls traveling with human bodies, I think it will prove to be a new trajectory for people of all beliefs. May it be so. Amen

PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE

LORD’S PRAYER

COMMISSIONING AND BLESSING

Go out into the world ready to show who you are by your actions and your loving kindness. And as you go may you feel the love of God with you always.

† CHORAL RESPONSE: “Go Now in Peace”

ANNOUNCEMENTS

On Wednesday, August 3, 2022, Claude K, beloved husband of Marilyn, passed away at the age of 94. Please keep Marilyn and the family in your prayers

Please continue to pray for: Emma; Tracie; Kristen; Mary Lou; Marg; Beryl and Murray, Bob T.

Stewardship Second: Caring for the financial health of your community of faith is not a sprint to be accomplished with one worship or one campaign. It is a marathon that is only accomplished over time by developing relationships, expressing gratitude, and teaching generosity as a spiritual practice.

© 2022 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/ca.

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

DUNSFORD UNITED CHURCH
Office Hours: Wed. Office 9-5 † Tel: 705-793-2511
Email: dunsfordunitedchurch@bellnet.ca † Website: www.dunsfordunitedchurch.com

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