Posts filed under ‘church’

Bringing in the New Year

Once a month I post over at the Canadian Writers Who Are Christian blog. Here’s a taste of what I wrote this month, so early in 2016.

22581694128_cdbe97abd6_z                                                                                        At the Fall District 86 Toastmasters conference in Blue Mountain

 

Bringing in the New Year—Carolyn R. Wilker

 

We’re nearly two weeks into 2016, but for a few moments I want to reflect on the old year that we’ve just put aside.

This past year was momentous in so many ways and sad in others. Three people in my circle of acquaintances and friends—some for as long as 30 years—died in 2015, plus one young teen who attended our church. As I mourned the loss, I also felt grateful to have known Kathy, Susan and Patricia, and Samantha. I reflected on the blessings they brought to my life. Susan was part of my early writing life and edited my first book, Once Upon a Sandbox. Kathy had invited us to her place when we were new members at the church and then to the Bible Study she often hosted. Patricia was a kind and generous neighbour who became a friend, and Samantha is gone too soon at the age of 16.

Even while I mourn the loss, there were good times aplenty. My husband and I gained a new granddaughter, an addition to the two small grandchildren we already have. I had new publishing credits (Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon and Tower Poetry) and requests for a column in our national denominational magazine, Canada Lutheran, and publication therein, but also invitations to do my memoir workshop in new locations to new organizations. There have also been new friendships in the making and a fabulous writer’s critique group in my corner.

Read more here.

 

 

Canadian Networker Fall Business Expo Fall Business Expo in Kitchener, Ontario

January 12, 2016 at 12:37 am Leave a comment

A fine Christmas concert

 

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Yesterday afternoon my husband and I, and our friend, Judy, attended a choir concert at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Kitchener with Inshallah (a group numbering 130)and the St Peter’s choir and all the musicians involved. The church was filled and so was the front of the church with singers and musicians.

The choirs sang pieces from around the world—England, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, New Zealand, Latin America, Brazil, USA, Korea, Germany and Poland—in English and in other languages. A few selections were: He Came Down, Helpless and Hungry (Paired with What Child is This?), Come Now, O Prince of Peace. We as audience members were invited to join in on traditional carols as well as the refrain of several choir selections.

Senior pastor, Mark Ehlebracht delivered a moving message on who Christmas is intended for and how we often want to set aside the troubles in the world to enjoy a Christmas for children, when really Christmas is for all of us.

As well we heard from Judy Nairn, Executive Director of Hospice Waterloo Region. That organization is recipient of all donations from the concert. Nairn spoke of how the organization provides services to those diagnosed with cancer and their family members. She said people often think of Hospice as the “end of the road” when it’s so much more than that.

Directors for the choirs were Debbie Lou Ludolph (Inshallah) and Peter Nikiforuk (St Peter’s Lutheran Church) with Bradley Moggach on piano, Bill Gastmeier, Ian Sommer and Don Neville on guitar. Playing percussion were Julie Hill, Don Neville and Daniel Corrigan. Kristine Lund of Wilfrid Laurier University  Seminary, played violin and Joshua Ehlebracht and Peter Nikiforuk on organ for carols sung by the congregation. What a joyful sound and a reminder of  God with us in a world that’s not always so welcoming.

We were delighted to hear that portions of this concert will be used for the Christmas Eve broadcast this year and again on Sunday, December 27th at 10 am EST via CTV Southwestern Ontario and will include vignettes and Christmas greetings from around the world.

The last, a favourite—Silent Night— with candles lit and lights turned down, was our closing carol before the postlude.

Perhaps you’ll tune in for one of those broadcasts and enjoy the music as much as we did.

 

December 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm Leave a comment

Giving Thanks

This evening I contributed to Canadian Writers Who Are Christian, as I do once a month. Today, because it’s Thanksgiving weekend, I wrote about giving thanks. Not just for a vast array of things, but for those who produce food for us to eat.

After our opening hymn, “We plough the fields and scatter,” this morning, our pastor asked the children what they are thankful for. One said “family” and his little sister said the same thing. And that’s okay, because those things are important too.
When Pastor Claudine mentioned farmers and harvest, it occurred to me that city children do not have the same understanding of harvest that I would have had as a child, or even children growing up on a farm today. City kids don’t see the crops growing, as I did, unless their parents take them to see family in the country. They don’t see wheat in the field being cut, threshed and loaded into a barn for later use. They wouldn’t see all the time and energy or even understand how much the sunshine and rain affect the crops or see the worry in parents’ eyes when too much rain flattens a good stand of grain or hail beats down the corn.

Read more here

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Dad riding the old restored tractor in the Tavistock Fair parade

 

 

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garden earlier in the summer

October 12, 2015 at 1:31 am Leave a comment

Church signs: Fed up!?

Some churches post the title of an upcoming sermon on their outdoor signs. The titles can be entertaining or serious, but they often make me think of what that sermon will address. Good food for thought as I drive through the city. I saw one near the expressway in Waterloo recently on my way back from a networking breakfast. It read: Fed Up. I don’t remember if the sign had an exclamation mark or a question mark at the end, but right away I thought of a quirky twist to it, given the new election signs springing up around us.

Yes, we’re going to have an election, and campaigning is underway which means parliament is closed down until the question is decided who will lead our political parties and win the constituencies.

If there’s a question mark at the end (Fed Up?), one might ask ‘fed up with what?’ Might the pastor be asking if we’re ready for new leadership? Did it mean in Ottawa, Waterloo, or in that church’s riding? I kind of suspect it meant up top, in Ottawa.

Do we really need such a long campaign for political leaders to put-downs at each other? No one is right all the time, and it is a free country, at least it was the last time I checked. We have a secret ballot and no one is standing over us pressuring us to vote in a particular way.

What I want is someone in the community who will work hard for us in Ottawa, to handle things like the environment that seriously needs our stewardship—as in some European and North American cities who want to leave a better world for the next generation, and so would I—and food for children who go to school hungry. There are more issues, but those come up top most for me. Longer contemplation will produce a longer list.

I want someone who will be respectful of the people he or she serves in the constituency, including our aboriginal neighbours, and likewise to each other in the House of Parliament. And perhaps that will show up on the campaign trail what kind of person a candidate is. I want someone who can work with other parties, together, on those really important issues our country needs to deal with.

Of course they’re human; of course they want to win for their party. I feel that we need some new leadership there, but maybe not to have everyone as a newbie, for then we’d be ‘reinventing the wheel.’

Wait a moment! Did the sign mean leadership in their church? Many of us are struggling within our respective houses of worship with our shrinking congregations and changing society. There’s plenty of work to do there too.

I really wish I had known what the pastor meant. Maybe, since I was unavailable to attend that service, the pastor will read this and write to let me know. I’d like that.

Despite all this debate on campaigning, remember our rights and freedoms, the secret ballot and how we have some say in our government. Remember how women such as Nellie McClung and others, early in the 20th century, fought hard for women to have the right to vote. Go and vote on October 19th (or in advance polls). Have your say or don’t complain afterwards. You have many days to decide on your candidate. Make it count.

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The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada offers election resources to help you make your best decision. Go here to read them.

August 18, 2015 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

Kairos Reconciliation– our contribution to a national effort

Our Sunday School students and adults of our congregation decorated hearts for a small garden, and the students helped to plant that garden, along with some seeds for flowers we hope will grow and remind us of this act of reconciliation of our own. Thanks to our council co-chair Lynette and fellow Sunday School teacher Darlene and the Sunday School students for planting our garden. One of our flowers will be part of the ceremony in Ottawa and our “planting” event is posted on the national Kairos calendar. See it here.

May 29-June 3rd

From the Kairos site: Reconciliation is in the wind

It’s a wind of change.
Changed attitudes.
Changed behaviour.
Changed policies.
It means finally honouring the contributions
of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.

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May 26, 2015 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

It does look like him, but he’s green!

Last Thursday at our workshop for church office administrators, Martin Luther showed up. It wasn’t the man himself, for he’s been dead for centuries—1546, to be precise. A green likeness of the man, who made great changes to the way people think about faith, seemed to appear from out of nowhere (though he was carried in by some attendees), stood upon a chair in chapel and presided over the rest of our short worship and communion. We giggled at this green image, just as Bishop Michael started the service. Martin had travelled a great distance to be with us. Even the bishop seemed a little surprised.

Martin Luther in our meeting room

Martin Luther in our meeting room

Then from the group of church admin people, a man named Christian stood up and announced that Martin Luther had come along with them. The man who announced Martin’s presence and his reason for being there is actually the pastor of that congregation.

Christian announced that a particular number of these small statues had been made in various colours and that the red and blue ones had been sold out, and so they had gotten green. Their current practice is to take Martin to as many functions as possible, thus he appeared that day for worship and the early part of our workshop day, before being whisked off to  be interviewed for live television with another staff member of the synod. And before he left us for other illustrious company, I had a photo shoot with the green Martin. Probably the one and only ever photo shoot with Martin Luther.

 

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 Here’s to everyone at Martin Luther Church in Toronto for the enlightenment and chuckles. See Pastor Christian and others in the photo display on their website.

April 20, 2015 at 7:50 pm 2 comments

For Easter Sunday: He Lives

This morning we attended the Easter service at our church, and celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

When Christ died, he did it because God, our Father loves us so much. Jesus took our sin upon himself, but he rose again that we might have eternal life with God. Today we celebrate that resurrection that give us hope. That’s grace—love for us before we could love him.

Alleluia

April 5, 2015 at 3:58 pm Leave a comment

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