Worship-St. James United Church

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Worship
Take time this week to check out this website from CAMH - the resources are fabulous and cover a wide range of topics to help us cope with Covid-19. Share it with a friend!
https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19
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Hello EveryoneWorship1b
Well it seems everyone is now using Facebook or You-tube to find our online worship, so I'll end my weekly messages here. But as I end my worship messages on this page, I'll let you know that we have posted a tribute to Nova Scotia on our Facebook page. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/ for this, and other messages to keep us together during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Welome to my April 9th post that can also be found on our Facebook page.
I hope you have been enjoying the online worship services throughout our time of self-isolation. They are a new experience for all of us, with lots of forgiveness to the camera person (that's me!) as I try to bring meaningful messages to you.

REMEMBER TONIGHT AT 6:45
IT'S OUR MAUNDY THURSDAY COMMUNION SERVICE.
PLEASE PREPARE BEFORE YOU A SYMBOL OF BREAD AND BEVERAGE TO USE DURING THE SERVICE.
AND
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU FRIDAY MORNING AT 10:00 a.m. FOR OUR GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE.

Welome to my April 2nd post that can also be found on our Facebook page.
Here is a great website for families with younger children that has fun ideas to do for Holy Week and Easter! I'll be trying out the first activity and making it the Children's Time on Easter Sunday. If you make one, we could do it together!!
Blessings from Pastor Patricia
https://childrensministry.com/uplifting-easter-activities  

Welome to my April 1st post that can also be found on our Facebook page.
Join us for our 2nd online worship service this Sunday! Palm Sunday Service will once again be available on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/ or on you-tube at https://youtu.be/iDzi4pF2RqI

Looking at what's ahead! From Pastor Patricia:
As we prepare for the holiest days ahead, our time of preparation will be a new experience. Needless to say, I wish we were observing Holy Week and Easter together in the warmth of our welcoming sanctuary.

I wish we could sing to the hymns Karen plays for us, or listen as our choir sings one of their beautiful anthems. I wish we could hug and pass the peace of Christ to our church family. I wish we could worship beside each other and feel the lows and the highs of this season. But these wishes will have to be granted later.

For now, I am going to set aside my wishes and instead, be very happy for all of the past memories I carry of Easters’ past.

I will recall the nights when we shared a last meal together while gathering and reflecting on Maundy Thursday. I will remember the huge cross looming before us at the front of the sanctuary on Good Friday.

I will see in my minds eye the beautiful Easter flowers that decorate our church on Resurrection Sunday morning! I will remember the children leading us in a Parade of Palms!

I’ll think about how wonderful it felt to sing our Hallelujahs and songs of praise to God on Easter morning!

Memories of us joined together in Easters’ past will bring Holy Week and Easter back to me in our traditional way.

So try to do the same, and stay with me as we follow Jesus to the cross – and beyond,

I will continue to put my best foot forward and lead everyone through online worship services for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Resurrection (Easter) Sunday. I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide me and lead me to a place where I can bring the essence of this sacred season to each of you in a new way.

Join us for our 2nd online worship service this Sunday! Palm Sunday Service will once again be available on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/ or on you-tube at https://youtu.be/iDzi4pF2RqI

Upcoming Online Events:
Maundy Thursday, April 9th at 6:45 p.m. – Join together with our online community as Pastor Patricia leads everyone through prayer and Holy Communion via Facebook or you-tube. Those joining in the service are asked to have with them a piece of broken bread and juice or other drink.
Friday, April 10th at 11:00 a.m. – Be a part of this holy day as we gather together online for a shortened Good Friday service. Look to Facebook for the service, and for you-tube details.
Resurrection (Easter) Sunday, April 12 at 10:00 a.m. – Let’s celebrate the Risen Christ!! Whether on your own or with 4 others who are safe to be with, let’s worship!!
Keeping the faith,
Pastor Patricia

Welome to my March 31st post that can also be found on our Facebook page.
My sister Wendy sent me this simple, yet incredibly meaningful message. I hope you take time to "be like a sunset" as our walk through Lent shortens, and the cross gets closer. Blessings to all, Pastor Patricia

https://vimeo.com/showcase/6659153

Welome to my March 28th post that can also be found on our Facebook page.
www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/

REMEMBER... Join Pastor Patricia tomorrow morning at 10:00 as we gather for worship on Facebook! Can't be there at 10:00 a.m.? The message will be by video, so you can see it at any time.

Welome to my March 27th post that can also be found on our Facebook page.

www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/

Hi Everyone
Looking for a new way to say hello to people?
Look on our Facebook page and see what I put on my sidewalk in front of my house.  I've already seen people taking pictures of it!
Thinking of all of you, and thank you to those who are ministering to our shut-ins and ones who don't have internet.
Keeping the faith, Pastor Patricia

Welome to my March 26th post that can also be found on our Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/

Today I was joined other fellow ministers in the area for an hour of prayer. I thought I would post the prayer I shared today following the reading of Psalm 46: 1-3 and vs 10.

LET US PRAY…

O Holy One, you are our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble . . .

The Covid pandemic has created anxieties that have revealed themselves as hysterical buying, panicked racism, and other erratic behaviours that help spread fear across entire communities. People's actions are responding to their fear, causing them to behave in ways that often run against their morals and willingness to care for others as they do themselves. Help us to think less of ourselves and more about what I can to to help and protect my neighbour.

Release us from our fear as you guide us to deepen our relationship with you. It is through knowing you intimately that peace is found within.

Lord we know you are with us; that you are our fortress that will protect us.

We ask for you protection upon so many, but we know your power stretches far and wide.

We raise our prayers, asking for your shelter upon

- the health care workers that are risking their lives and those they love so that they can continue to care for those who are ill because of COVID 19 or otherwise.

- upon those who are working endlessly to manufacture medical supplies that are needed around the world

- We pray for your divine peace to rest upon those families who have lost all of their support systems for their special needs children. As they remain in isolation together, may they know you are with them during their physical and emotional troubles. May they find the patience of Job, knowing that this will pass.

- Lord, we raise to you those who suffer with addictions of every kind. Give them the strength to persevere and remain emotionally strong and safe during these times.

- For those who are fearing economic ruin and for those who wonder how they will provide for themselves and their families, guide us to be your gifts to them in any way we can. Guide them with the wisdom of the generations who lived through the depression and other difficult times so they find new ways to be frugal but healthy. Protect those who would become the victims of domestic violence during their financial stress.

God, let us be still and know that you are God.  We give thanks for this time of isolation where we can draw closer to you, and remember that you are indeed our fortress and our strength. In Jesus Christ we pray, Amen

Always keeping my faith in God,
Pastor Patricia

Welome to my March 25th post that can also be found on our Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/

In this time of COVID 19, I don’t want to forget that it is also a very holy season – the season of Lent. I can’t help but feel a disconnect with everyone as we remember and prepare ourselves for the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. Yet I know there is a way to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As this Easter season approaches, I believe all of us need to take a fresh look at God's grace and how to grow strong in the grace that comes from the Cross.

Here are three ideas that will help me – and hopefully you – to live according to God's grace during Lent and these times of isolation.

As we are encouraged to live in close quarters with our family members, remember that a quick response with anger (either by you or someone in the home) will leave you seething and unsettled. Count to 5 and respond with the patience of Job. A smile and a calm spirit goes a long way into seeing the truth in the words spoken and becomes a smoother road to changes that may need to be made.

When someone asks forgiveness, accept their apology graciously. They have come to you humbly asking for your pardon. That is not a time to tell them why they should have done it so much sooner or in a different way!  Follow God’s lead of graceful living.

And finally, during this season of Lent, we are asked again to look at our own sins and ask to be forgiven. Be quick to apologize when you make a mistake or have wronged someone else or God’s creation.

I end with this prayer from “Second Edition, The Worship Sourcebook”.

Journey with us, O holy God, as we continue our way to the cross. Sharpen our focus, that our attention may center more on you than ourselves. Lead us through the shadows of darkness and prepare our hearts, that we might be a people of prayer, ready to perceive and respond to your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. In his name we pray. Amen.

Above all, have faith in God and the grace of each other.
Pastor Patricia

Hello Everyone! It's March 24th today.
Before I share my thoughts with you, I ask that you lift Darlene and Reid in prayer today. Darlene’s Mom (Betty) passed away this morning due to complications of a heart attack. Please keep them in your prayers over the next while as they grieve, and as they try to navigate celebrating Bettys life during these unusual times.

As we lift our prayers for Darlene and Reid, we are grateful for a new day, another day that is filled with a new normal. Are you like me? I miss my children and my grandchildren terribly. Facetime doesn’t replace being able to give a physical hug or play with playdough on the kitchen table.

But I will continue to do this physical distancing because I love them and want to protect them in any way I can. I can only imagine the 1st hug we will give when it’s safe to do so… it will be filled with unspeakable joy!

Today I will reflect on these words from Psalm 46 1-3 (CEB)

~ God is our refuge and strength,
a help always near in times of great trouble.
That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart,
when the mountains crumble into the center of the sea,
when its waters roar and rage,
when the mountains shake because of its surging waves.

God has been my strength throughout many valleys in my life. How would I have survived alone? It brings me such comfort to know I am not walking alone during the sacrifices I am making through physical distancing. Rather, I continue to grow in my relationship with God. I have been given quiet moments to spend intentional time with the Holy Spirit, and hear me when I say… I am so refreshed when we finish our interlude together.

God IS indeed my refuge and strength.
Let us, above all, have faith.
Pastor Patricia

 
Happy Sunday, March 22 to All
Did you have a chance to watch the worship service that was led by Rev. Richard Bott this week? I watched it this morning by going to

https://www.united-church.ca/blogs/round-table/moderators-online-worship-march-22-2020.

It took me a minute to find the live recording, but it was worth it. Rev. Bott used the Zoom format with those who joined in live earlier this week. If you are watching it now, please note that you cannot participate in the chat box.

It was filled with beautiful prayer, music and a timely message. With all of the focus being on COVID 19, the message encouraged us to trust in God to get us through this pandemic while at the same time, remembering that we are to be God’s people and as such, we need to continue to help our neighbour in whichever way we can. Please take time to be a part of his worship service by going to the link above.

With all of this happening, it is easy to forget that we are also journeying through Lent. The challenges of this year brings with it lots of time to remain at home and practice true contemplation and prayer with the Holy Spirit. When you take this intentional time of prayer, reading the Upper Romm or finding prayers and reflections on a website, you become a part of a whole new world where only you and God exist together.

You can make a Lenten practice of contacting friends daily; laughing and cultivating a sense of humor. Touch base with those who live alone. Read. Ration news and social media! Instead of hearing about COVID 19 all day, watch a funny movie. Keep a journal of these days for later generations, because they will find their own strength in knowing what we are able to survive (and how we did it). Take long walks; hug a tree and feel the life of Christ in everything you do in nature.

I encourage you to continue to observe a sacrificial Lent this year so that Easter will bring you the jubilation that Christ intended us to have.

Above all else, keep the faith!
Pastor Patricia

Hi Everyone!

I pray that you are continuing to feel the peace of Christ as we travel through this wilderness called COVID 19. Keep in mind these words from Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” We are not alone!

I want to thank the Board members who were able to gather together on Thursday to discuss our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a summary of our discussion.

· St. James will continue to be closed until it is deemed safe to return to worship services and programs.

· Despite the office being closed to visitors, Heather will continue working on-site as close as possible to her regular hours of 9am to 12pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, answering phone calls and e-mails. Also, voicemail messages will be picked up on a daily basis by myself or a designate.

· Board members, along with myself, will be making pastoral calls to our shut-ins and those who are not connected by IT.

· However, if you, or anyone you know is in need of a cheerful voice or help with something during this pandemic, please let me know: patricia.stjamesuc@gmail.com or call 705-436-5225

· A daily reflection, prayer or other inspirational message will be posted on our Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/StJamesStroud/ and our website @ http://stjamesunited.org/

· Every Sunday a short video will be posted by myself on Facebook and our website beginning March 29

· Everyone is encouraged to watch their favorite church service on television, or link into the service being broadcast by our United Church Moderator Richard Bott every Sunday during the pandemic. Go to: https://www.united-church.ca/worship

· As with other churches, we discussed many of the difficulties our congregation will be facing, including those who will see their income seriously affected. Social distancing that is attempting to slow the spread of the disease, reduced work hours or previous overtime all carry potential hardships for people who were already just getting by.

Food and shelter must be your priority at this time! However your continued support to the continuing expenses of our church is greatly appreciated if you have the means to continue with your offerings.
If you are on PAR, we thank you for your continued support. If not, there are 2 ways to give your offering if you are able to do so.

i) Leave a cheque (made out to St. James United Church) in our locked mailbox outside the office entrance

ii) Go onto Canada Helps ( https://www.canadahelps.org/en/ ) Under Search, type in “St. James United Church Innisfil" and go from there.

Thank you again to our board members who continue to answer their call for discipleship as they guide us through these times.

Let me end with this prayer.

“God of love and hope,
you made the world and care for all creation,
but the world feels strange right now.
The news is full of stories about Coronavirus.
Some people are worried that they might get ill.
Others are anxious for their family and friends.
Be with them and help them to find peace.
We pray for the doctors and nurses and scientists,
and all who are working to discover the right medicines
to help those who are ill.
Thank you that even in these anxious times,
you are with us.
Help us to put our trust in you and keep us safe. Amen.”

Let us, above all, have faith.
Pastor Patricia

COVID 19 Info

Over the season of Lent we often delve into the wilderness experience of both scripture and everyday life. Sometimes we find ourselves in a place that seems a little desolate - whether God calls us there or not.
Right now the whole world is attempting to cross a wilderness as we struggle with the stark reality of Covid19.

We're all trying to figure this out as the news reports change daily, if not hourly. There are so many questions, including what might the new normal might look like around St. James United.
The Children of Israel wandered the desert of the Sinai and eventually came to a better place. Jesus came out of the wilderness to begin a profound ministry.

We too, have a wonderful ministry at SJUC. I can't say when we'll emerge from this time of wilderness we find ourselves in. I can't even say what it will look like. Who can, except God.

But as a person of faith, I know that as long as we keep together - sharing what we have of our resources, time and love, we'll be better off. Maybe we can't share hugs and handshakes today - but that's ok because those times are just over the horizon and will return to us once again. Until then, we can hold each other in prayer - and St. James is a place that knows how powerful that can be!

Just as things will need to change and readjust in many aspects of our lives, things will need to change and readjust around St. James. Knowing that each change is done with the purpose of staying healthy and holding each other in love, I know you will embrace the new normal.

Changes
Worship services and all other programing is cancelled until it becomes safe to join together as a family of faith. As with other churches, this is a difficult but necessary step to take as we protect those we love with the actions needed to stay safe.
If - for any reason - you have a concern to the changes at St. James- my phone and email is just fingertips away. Let me help you with whatever it is you are walking through.
We will regularly send out emails, post on our Facebook and make phone calls to update you on the activities at SJUC. Remember, you are not alone!
As we let go of gatherings for fellowship, meetings and worship, I encourage you to adopt the Lenten practice of quiet reflection, prayer and contemplation.
Use the newly found time of being alone; bring yourself closer to God as you experience beautiful opportunities to just sit and be. The silence and connection is amazing!
Easter will come. As resurrection people, hope will break in and through Christ, we will be re-born into our faith.
May each of you be blessed with the peace of Christ.

Pastor Patricia