Rev.  Jan Bihl
Slideshow image

Dear Como Lake UC Friends.

Good news! We have teamed up with the congregations of Golden Ears UC (Rev. Leenane Shiels) and Inlet UC (Rev. Jennifer Swanson) to bring you a multi-week online worship series called The Heart of the Matter.   Beginning Sunday, April 26th, at 10 am, Worship will be premiered on YouTube and we invite you to join us in the chat room on YouTube to share in the worship experience together in real time. Your worship leaders will be in the chat room to greet you several minutes before the service begins as well as during the service, and we look forward to sharing with you in this way.  

Links to the service will be emailed out each week and also posted on our website…and you will always be able to find the service by searching: Golden Ears United Church on YouTube, as well. Please note, you must have a Gmail email address in order to join the YouTube chat. You can create one in advance if you don’t have one already.  

During this series we will ask you to have a few items ready with you for worship:  

-      worry stones (some smooth stones you can paint or decorate with markers…you might put hearts on them or other designs

-      a candle to light

-      some food and/or beverage to enjoy during the service when we refer to it  

Another new thing we will be trying out is this: - each week, directly AFTER the service, we invite you to join us in a virtual Zoom Coffee Time. There will be an opportunity at the start of each Coffee Time to chat with the larger group with all three congregations and guests, and then we will “magically” be moved into our respective congregational groups for more focused connection time. This will allow us to see old friends and make new ones each week. We will be keeping the worship services to well under one hour, in order that we have some visiting time afterwards.

We invite you to invite others to join in sharing Sunday mornings with us!  This is a unique opportunity to worship along with friends and relatives near and far.    

Helpful Hints and Habits                                        

I think we all expected that these days of restrictions could be difficult…that we would get tired of it all…that we would be tempted to start pushing the limits a bit…or like me when I was a kid, I would ask over and over as we sat, scrunched in the back seat of our car, driving along the prairie roads of southern Manitoba to our Aunt Annie’s house, “Are we there yet?”  

We are not there yet. And we aren’t even sure exactly what “there” is at the moment, but there are things we can do in the meantime.  

Practical things, like astronaut Chris Hadfield shared back in March on his YouTube channel about what he learned from his space expeditions about isolation:

‘We can look on this time of isolation as an expedition that has a purpose, and we need to follow different rules if we are to succeed as a group. How do your words and your actions affect the other people that you are with?  You can view your little household like being on an expedition together. One of the skills that astronauts build is knowledge, confidence. If you don’t know what to be afraid of, then you are naturally afraid of everything. But if you can pick out what the actual danger is, then you can focus on understanding that. So, become the expert on the facts about the coronavirus and help your little self-isolated group choose how you are going to take care of yourself, your household, and your loved ones and friends outside your household. Look to the future and the outside community…We will get out of this and maybe we will get out the other side with some skills, some behaviours, some opportunities we didn’t have before.’  

There are other helpful practices that folks have shared with me along the way:

-      build some routine into your day, take daily walks watching for the unexpected along the way and take a picture of it to share with people regularly, gather with others for meaningful conversation, pray, be thankful, dance, move, tackle a project…  

What are some of the ways that you have found to help ground you as we wait? The next time you connect with someone, ask them to share theirs with you.    

Next Steps/Info

-          Worship – With the experiment of Sunday mornings at 10 am on YouTube – what a week this has been! What a learning curve! I have a whole new appreciation for actors, especially after doing 20 takes, when everything begins to a blur! Still there is room for improvement and new learnings…and especially for unlearning some old habits!  

Gratitude

-          Kudos to Susan Kennedy, Barb Mendt, Debbie Hall, and Paul Thompson, who are ably handling the many tasks of the Finance Team! And thanks to Jacquie Johnston for all the training…and to Tom Cox, who has served on Finance for many years and who has recently resigned with his best wishes.

-          And thank-YOU for your Easter donations and regular givings that help sustain this church! With all this new technology, there are so many ways to give.

Wider Community

-          Many Como-Lakers walked the Hike for Hospice last year in memory of those who have gone on before us, our great cloud of witnesses.

-          Different feelings of grief emerge as we struggle with the ongoing, seemingly endless challenges that are part of our now, part of this pandemic that has so upset our lives.

-          Crossroads Hospice Society is facing challenges too.  It is an essential service & an ongoing support to individuals and those who care about them.  This wonderful charitable organization needs support now, especially since its Thrift Store is closed, its annual Hike is not happening in the same format...both are a substantial source of its funding.

-          You are invited to JOIN Sharie Ford’s team, Caring Friends of Crossroads, even if you choose to make a donation in lieu of the virtual 5km hike.

-          Please SHARE this link to your friends, coworkers, co-volunteers.  No pledge is too small & will help immensely. Please click the link to add your pledge.  Any donation $25 & above will generate a charitable donation tax receipt. https://www.canadahelps.org/s/dUnj8  

Communication, Website, Church Office, Phone, Email

-  A reminder to check out the church website (www.comolakeunitedchurch.com) for ongoing information, prayers, updates.

-  There will be a link on the website on Saturday evening for the Sunday morning YouTube Worship

o   Check out News and Reflections/Prayers for articles and reflections/prayers of interest

- The church phone (604-931-8555) and email ([email protected]) are monitored regularly.  

Connecting in Prayer  

Though we knew these days of dealing with COVID-related restrictions could be difficult, none of us imagined a tragedy such as the one that took place in Nova Scotia last Sunday. Not only does it cause great and widespread grief and confusion, it shakes our sense of well-being.  

The Easter story for this coming Sunday is of the two disciples, despondent and downcast, walking along a dusty road in confusion, grief, and despair, after Jesus, their friend, mentor, and teacher, whom they love, has been killed. They know what he has spoken about resurrection, but, for them, there is no resurrection in sight. A stranger comes alongside them, walks with them, and listens to their grief and confusion. It is the risen Jesus, but they don’t recognize him at first.  

It seems fitting that this is our Gospel story this week. And even though we may know, at some level, that Christ is with us, in times of despair and grief, it is sometimes impossible to feel that Presence. That is when prayer – our own and others’ prayer – is so important. And that takes faith…  

So, let us continue to lift one another and the families of Nova Scotia in prayer this week.   Light a candle when you stop to pray, as we do at Worship on Sundays. It’s something tangible that we can do and see - something that both children and adults can “understand”.                

Grace and Peace to each and every one of you as we continue to pray, as we trust that Jesus walks with us on this road, and as we find new and meaningful ways to be the Church wherever, whenever and however we gather.  

Rev. Jan