This will be my last mid-week email for a few weeks. As of August 1, I will be taking vacation and study leave and will return to work on September 8.
Rev. Neil Wallace will be replacing me during that time and my heartfelt thanks go to him for doing so.
During COVID-19, one of the new things I am learning is meditation. I have taken an online course from Yale called The Science of Well-Being, which challenges participants to realize that personal happiness does not come through the things society most thinks it does. Rather, we are challenged to ‘rewire’ ourselves via specific activities, one of them being meditation.
One of the projects I have been working on lately is developing a series of videos on meditation and prayer. During the month of August, a new video will be posted on the church’s website woodroffeunited.org.
The video posted each week is meant to be used 3 to 7 days during that week before moving on to the next. My hope and prayer is that from them, you will find ways to relax, connect with God, and experience greater peace and happiness in your life.
From our Region: Remembering August 1: End of Slavery in Canada
August 1, 1834 is the day the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect, ending slavery throughout most of the British Empire - including in the colonies that would become Canada. It is estimated that on that day, 800,000 enslaved Black peoples were freed, as it became illegal for anyone to be a slave in the British Empire.
There is a grassroots movement happening in the United Church and beyond to proclaim August 1 as one way to support the fair treatment of all humans and affirm that all persons are made in the image of God. The commemoration of August 1 reminds us that the fight against systemic and anti-Black racism is far from over, and that we need to continue the work for the creation of a more just society. It is one way to continue the work of becoming an anti-racist church.
Stay healthy and may God bless you richly.
There are a couple of announcements this week relating to activities of the church of which you should be aware.
And from the Re-Opening Committee of Woodroffe: The Re-Opening Committee is meeting weekly to discuss how the life and work of our church can continue in these unprecedented times. A return to worship services is one of the things the Committee is addressing. To assist them in better understanding the congregation’s views, you will be receiving shortly a questionnaire to extend the opportunity to you to share your perspective and concerns. The challenges of re-opening the church are explained very well in an article I recently came upon on the United Church of Canada website written by a minister in Scarborough, Ontario (https://www.united-church.ca/blogs/round-table/why-havent-we-opened-church-doors-yet) I thank the Re-Opening Committee for their commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of our church family.
As well the Outreach Committee would like to thank all those who donated school supplies for the Pathways program. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.
Something to think about:
A lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a glass of water raised in her hand. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full’. She fooled them all…”How heavy is this glass of water?” she inquired with a smile. Answers ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz (clearly this happened before metric J)
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it up. If I hold it up for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it up for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm.
If I hold it up for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case, it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it up, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “And that’s the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won’t be able to carry on.
As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we’re refreshed, we can carry the burden – handling stress longer and better with practice.”
Remember too, that as Jesus’ disciples we never have to carry that burden alone.
Hello once again. I hope you are keeping well and staying out of the heat. I won’t complain about the heatwave because I can’t stand the cold.
Following is an announcement from the Uniter team that they asked me to pass on:
Your Uniter team will be putting together the fall edition of the Uniter very soon.
Kim, Lexie, Shelley and Madelyne.
I found a reading in my daily devotion book from yesterday that I want to share with you.
Help and peace and joy are here. Your courage will be rewarded. Painful as this time is, you will one day see the reason of it, and see too that it was not a cruel testing, but tender preparation for the wonderful life-work you are to do.
Try to realize that your own prayers are being most wonderfully answered. Answered in a way that may seem painful to you, but that just now is the only way.
Success in the temporal world would not satisfy you.
Great success, in both temporal and spiritual worlds, awaits you.
I know you will see this had to be.
This comes from a book edited by A.J. Russell but was written by two women who have elected to remain anonymous and simply call themselves “Two Listeners”. As the editor says: “Through this message, which came to two lonely women, you will find that you are no longer one and alone, but two and united with the Great Companion and Guide, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.”
I continue to pray for your safety and health.
A couple of years ago, Dave and I had the opportunity to view the International Fireworks display from a cruise on the Ottawa River. I’m not sure what Ottawa’s July 1 celebrations will look like this year, but I bet we’re not gathering on Parliament Hill, so I thought I would share a couple of my photos with you.
Some new things have been happening with Woodroffe United. Last week the Emergency Preparedness Committee completed its mission and was disbanded. Many, many thanks to Mary-Frances Laughton, Deb Lester, Brent Cuthbert and Ray Cuthbert for serving on the team.
As well, a new committee has begun – the Re-opening Committee (Carol Cochrane, Ralph Curtis, Mary Frances Laughton and Gerry Maffre) which will now be meeting by Zoom regularly to discuss and decide how best to make the church building safe so that we can return to face-to-face worship as well as all the other activities which take place on a weekly basis. Already, the Russian daycare that meets in the building has submitted their plan for health and safety and this week, many of the children returned. Apparently they are absolutely delighted to be back.
Please note that although the daycare has opened, the building itself is not yet open to the public/members. Therefore, if you wish to drop something off, pick something up, or say hi to Anne in person, you will need to call the office 613-722-9250 to make an appointment so that someone can unlock the door for you.
Our very fine Treasurer, Joe Smarkala, has applied for and received the rent subsidy, which will help with the finances. Don’t forget, if you are able, to mail in your offerings or make donations online right here on the home page. We want to keep the building in tip top shape and our Treasurer happy.
May you enjoy this Canada Day, regardless of what limitations we might face. I hope that you are as proud to be Canadian as I am. We live in an awesome country with so much beauty and privilege.
Just pretend this is television. First we’ll have some announcements, then the program.
For the announcements:
The 96th Scout Group asked me to thank you for your super support of their syrup sales last Saturday. They were delighted to see so many of you. They will be at the back of the Banquet Room from 10-noon on Saturday May 23 and 30 with more bottles.
For those of you who were wondering why we did not cash your very welcome cheques, we thank you for them and they will be cashed this week. For some reason, Canada Post decided not to deliver mail to our outdoor mailbox and were holding our mail without letting us know. Our Treasurer, Joe, will be delighted to see the 71 pieces of mail that were delivered on Thursday!
Don’t forget the Multi-Faith Housing Tulipathon on May 31. Details are in your Uniter.