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Celebrating Spirit

by Sharie Ford and Valerie Simpson (edited)

When a path opens before us that leads we know not where, don't be afraid to follow it.  Our lives are meant to be mysterious journeys, unfolding one step at a time.  Often we follow a path worn smooth by the many and in doing so we lose our authenticity, our individuality, our own unique expression.  Do not be afraid  to lose your way.  Out of chaos, clarity will eventually arise.  Out of not knowing,  something new and unknown will ultimately come.  Do not order things too  swiftly.  Wait and the miracle will appear.”      

I believe Ann Mortifee was speaking about the Holy Spirit when she wrote that missive.  She will be the plenary speaker at the 55th Anniversary Celebration of the UCW this summer.  55 years of witness, study, fellowship & service. 

Since the beginning men & women have heard the spirits' call & have responded.  We name ourselves as Christian, part of the Christian family.  Christianity has been described as a conversation that began long, long ago.  Throughout time people have joined, shared & left the conversation.  Our UCW, as we know it now, is a spirited group who joined in 1962.

Here at Como Lake, there have been many spirited groups, -the Ayuzanta, Romeo's, even the Men's Table on Tuesdays,  to name a few.  So we honour the past, embrace the future & celebrate the Holy Spirit in us all as we forge ahead.  The conversation will continue long after us.    The Spirit whispers, speaks, nudges & prods, in many times, places & ways.         As we celebrate that spirit today we are reminded that it hovered over creation,   spoke to the ancients in wind & fire, called the prophets to proclaim God's   message, & blazed anew at Pentecost.  That spirit is still present.

The Spirit whispers, speaks, nudges & prods, in many times, places & ways.      

As we celebrate that spirit we are reminded that it hovered over creation,  spoke to the ancients in wind & fire, called the prophets to proclaim God's  message, & blazed anew at Pentecost.  That spirit is still present, giving us strength, hope & courage, beckoning us to respond as we move in the unfamiliar.     

Change is never easy, we know that personally, as we have faced many challenges in our church in this century.  But God's people have always been  called to follow the spirit into new adventured, new ways of being & doing & that voice is calling us today. 

She calls, we respond.  Perhaps with fear & reluctance,  doubt or a desire to stay in the comfortable pew.  But we respond to the spirit's call with hope, love & faith.  In Corinthians, we read that the Spirit is creative & present.  She offers us wisdom, counsel, knowledge, truth & strength.  No wonder they are called gifts of the Spirit, & we celebrate them, present in all our lives today.        

Throughout our history, there have been men & women who have led the way for us.  Some out front & centre, in leadership roles, but some as constant supports &  companions.  Some as formal UCW members, some not.  Some present, some past.  Joan Coffey, Adele Rupert, Jackie Johnson, Jim & Hazel Clark, Doris  Mader, Dick Smith, Mary Jane Lucas, Dave McCutcheon, Francis Plasman, Gord   & Arlene Clay, Mindy Lane, Jesse Marshall, Joyce Robertson, Mildred Wolfe – to  name but a very few.  Led by the Spirit?  Yes!  Celebrate Spirit with joy &   thanksgiving.

 We remember the work that has been done & is still being carried on by our   members of the UCW.  From “Voices of United Church Women – Hero Stories”,  written to celebrate 40 years of the UCW. 

The 'Soup & Sandwich' mission at   Como Lake United Church was established under the auspices of the UCW in  1981.  Its to serve God by serving others.  We recognize that people's  physical needs must be nurtured along with their spiritual needs. The goals  include...reaching out to the elderly, special individuals and special groups such as challenged persons...On any Tuesday you will find the banquet hall filled with congenial people enjoying the nourishing lunch and chatting with old and new  friends...This is truly one of the social hightlights of the church family.  Led by   the spirit?  Yes!  Celebrate Spirit with joy & Thanksgiving.

From the same book - Como Lake UCW celebrated the 35th anniversary of the  United Church Women in numerous ways.  In keeping with the “Rejoice & Risk”   theme, our then UCW president, Elsie Wellsby, challenged all eight units to make a banner.  No rules, just keep the figure with its upstretched arms and the theme.   The end result was an eclectic mix of eight unique designs using a combination of fabric, felt and wool.  They ranged from a four by five foot jewel toned applique  of the figures travelling down a winding gold road, to a smaller felt hanging  with   intricately cut letters stating, “understanding, caring, women”.  All eight hung in   the Sanctuary for the special anniversary service on Sept. 21, 1997, at which  numerous members were the greeters, ushers, lectors and musicians...”  I invite  you to enjoy these eight banners that are up today.  Led by the spirit?  Yes!    Celebrate Spirit with joy & thanksgiving.        

Throughout history we have listened to the spirits' call & have responded   offering our gifts in so many ways to the church.  We supported M&S, we hold office in every area of the work of the United Church in Canada & world wide.    With knowledge, wisdom, strength, love & gentleness we practice our faith &  continue to lead in many ways, some old & some new, creative & ground  breaking.  Led by the spirit? Yes! Celebrate Spirit with joy & thanksgiving.    

In this congregation we have been living our mission in a variety of ways.      Through our Christian scripture we have come to know the man Jesus.  As we read  the stories of his life we learn how we should live as his followers, - his hands, &  feet, here today.    We do not know what lies ahead, but we do in faith, trusting that the spirit that  led us in the past will continue to lead us now & into the future. 

These are our stories,  This is our mission.   This is our commitment to God & to   the church.   Led by the Spirit? Yes!  Celebrate Spirit with joy & thanksgiving.




2017 National UCW 55th Anniversary Celebration

"Celebrating Spirit"

 At the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver.

  July 10 – 14, 2017

Plenary Speaker: Ann Mortifee
Musician: Linnea Good


Complete information is available in our brochure.

Registration is now open! Registration form is available here.