2021-06-03 EPPC Weekly News

The Elgin Portland Pastoral Charge Profile Committee Update:

As previously outlined your survey should arrive in the mail next week.  Please return it ASAP or no later than March 27th to the church office in enclosed stamped envelope or drop off in box at church door.

If you do not receive one please notify church office at 613 272-2002.

YOUR OPINION MATTERS!  Thank-you for your prompt reply.

Portland United Church

Your PUC Council confirmed that Portland United Church will be open for a video service on Sunday, March 14 at 9:15 AM with all the standard COVID Protocols that we used prior to the most recent lockdown.  Subsequently, Rev. Kathy Walton will be joining us for weekly services on the first and third Sunday of each month.  On the Sundays when Rev. Kathy is not present, we will have video services.  Starting March 21, Rev. Kathy will be leading our services on March 21, March 28 (Palm Sunday) and April 4 (Easter).  Church capacity remains 30-35 people depending on the mix of families and individuals.  Depending on interest, we may require reservations in advance for Easter.

Some background:

Our region has been classified as Green by the Province of Ontario and in the green and yellow zones, church capacity is limited to 30% of total capacity.  The total capacity of Portland United Church is 150, so we can have up to 45 people based on provincial guidelines.  However, to ensure adequate social distancing, we will retain our guideline of 30-35 people.  If the active cases in Leeds and Grenville West is 15 or higher as reported on the Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit Web Site (https://healthunit.org/health-information/covid-19/local-cases-and-statistics/dashboard/), then services for that week will be cancelled.  If the Province classifies our Health Unit Region as Orange, we will need to review the impact on church services.

When we return to church, please review the link below to determine if you show any symptoms that would preclude your attendance.


For this weekend, we would recommend the following four options for viewing a service in the safety of your home:

  • Wesley United Church in Newfoundland – service should start at 9:30 a.m. our time.  Scroll down for live service link box in the middle of the page


  • A later service – 11 a.m. at Bethel UC Rideau Ferry


  • Bracebridge United Church, Bracebridge, ON


  • St. John’s United Church, Kemptville, ON



Hansen Downer

PUC Community Check-in, March 6, 2021

What a year 2020 was.  It interrupted many of the church activities, as we all know.  Looking forward to 2021 – hopefully we start to see a light at the end of the tunnel and a return to normal.

One of the activities of PUC which was truly disrupted was our support of youth activities in the community. PUC has a long history of such support but last year activities were limited and in total only 1 individual received support for an activity which took place just as our world changed.

At the recent PUC council meeting we were reminded that post Covid-19 youth development opportunities, would resume in the near future. In the past PUC has supported everything from repairing the high school jazz band instruments, to individuals going to camp or abroad to further their education. One of the activities we have supported is the local, former, Four Rivers Youth Cluster which encourages youth Christian development through get together and group activities.  This group of 40 + is starting to think of re-energizing in the coming months and will be looking for our support. To be in a position to support them and the other activities expected to come on line shortly, we will need your help.

Fund raisers are still in the future but start putting on your thinking caps. In the meantime, feel free to direct some of your regular donation to the Youth Fund.

With this in mind here are three ways you can continue to donate.

  • A Cheque can still be mailed to :

Portland United Church

PO Box 251

Portland ON K0G1V0

  • Elgin Portland Pastoral Charge Web Site

          Click on DONATE TODAY button and follow the instructions

  • e-transfer
  • Go to your bank on line
  • Add Portland United Church as a recipient of e-transfers
  • the email address is, donateportlandunitedchurch@kingston.net
  • follow the normal process for e-transfers
  • In the notes section designate your distribution ie $50 general fund $10 food bank $5 Building $20 M&S, $10 Youth etc.
  • If an amount is not allocated it will be put into the General Fund.

Duncan Pickard

EUC Community Check-in March 6, 2021

How often do we bemoan the state of our congregations now, and remember fondly those days when Sunday School classes and Youth Groups were active and overflowing? As rural communities and churches have changed and often declined over the years, we may think that there are no young people in our churches, just because we do not see them on a Sunday morning. However, as you read the following summary of Four Rivers Youth activities, I think you will be surprised and encouraged to find that the Youth Group is alive and growing! The approach of the group leaders exemplifies a vision of partnership, collaboration, and outreach that I believe we all need to embrace in our churches. Cathy, we want to thank you and all the other volunteers for your passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to our youth.

Pat Greenhorn

Four Rivers Youth

 Over the past six years the young people from Portland/Elgin have been a part of the former Four Rivers Presbytery Youth group which initially consisted of 12- to 18-year-olds.  This group linked with myself and youth from Newboro. I served with them as youth leader, travelling nurse and bus arranger.  These young people had the opportunity to participate in a fall retreat, as well as attending the Annual Bay of Quinte Conference where the Annual Meeting and ordination of the new ministry personnel took place.  This provided a great opportunity to meet and spend three days and two nights with other Christian young people.  This group did grow to include youth from Carleton Place, Smiths Falls, Perth, Brockville, Lansdowne, Battersea, Inverary and Kingston.  Many of these same young people have attended the Annual Youth Festival in Niagara Falls where over 400 youth came together and slept, ate, participated in worship, met the present Moderator Rev Richard Bott, laughed, and shared their faith journey.  As you are aware three of your very own youth have travelled to El Salvador as well as Pauline French and Rev Takouhi.  This was an experience that these individuals have shared with other churches, and one that has changed their lives.  As the strength of this group grew an opportunity was presented by the Bay of Quinte and Rev Jackie Harper to provide Confirmation classes which included Emily and David French, Leah Welch Turner and Alex Price.  I was very blessed to be a part of that next step in their faith journey, which was celebrated separately in their own congregations with Smiths Falls, Elgin, Portland and Newboro being host churches for the classes. Our last event was a trip to Worshiplude in Ottawa where over 200 youth, young adults and leaders spent an evening together with a one and half hour worship service lead by the youth and young adults followed by pizza, games, and lots of laughter.  This event was free, and we were fortunate for the Region of EOOR to pick up the tab for transportation.  Alex Price, David and Emily French were the initial youth that began YAYA when they were twelve and thirteen and are now our young adults and are in leadership roles at school.

As this group became well established the younger ones aged 10 to 14 were eager to be involved but were not quite ready to travel as far as the older youth. Rev Heather McLurg Murphy  and myself initially started monthly get togethers in the various churches in the Presbytery, with events being hosted by Lansdowne, Inverary, Battersea, Elgin, Perth Road Village, Portland, Newboro, Smiths Falls, Lynn and Toledo.  As this group has grown we have been blessed to have experienced a vast array of activities: music, story-telling, bubble soccer, swimming, laser tag, clown ministry, a day learning drumming, smudging, a visit to a pow-wow,  card making, hand bells, overnight camping at Camp Quin-mo-lac, a boat cruise, a horse show, bowling, skating, tobogganing,  apple picking, and hiking the Rideau Trail with  adults from Trinity United. We were lucky to have Emma Pipe, an ordination student, with us for eight months to help organize these various events.  Many of these opportunities would not have been available to these young people were it not for the Youth Group.  We presently have a young adult with background experience in recreation and fitness who is willing to help with the youth and events across the region. Unfortunately, we have had to put plans on hold due to Covid, but we are very determined that we will once again be able to move forward in the future with this group now known as Four Rivers Cluster.  These youth are excited to meet others, and many of our older youth have maintained their connections with youth and young adults from the old Bay of Quinte.

The greatest advantage that I have experienced as a leader is not having to work in isolation.  Having been able to link with the other churches has broadened the opportunities we can provide for the youth and young adults in a safe environment and within a spiritual format. We believe the help of the participating churches, and our open door, “bring a friend” policy, have both been essential in contributing to the success of our Four Rivers Youth Cluster. Often these are youth that feel they do not belong in other circles, and we firmly believe that no one should be excluded.

As both of your churches are determining your futures, I ask that the children, the youth, and young adults are not forgotten.  Even though we do not have many on Sunday morning, our cluster has 40 + young people, which started with just a couple of youth from each of our congregations. We need to invest in our young people today if we want the church to survive, and if we want to develop leaders for the future.

Faithfully submitted by Cathy Ryan


The Lenten season is upon us. It started on February 17, for those who are not aware.

I grew up in a faith tradition that did not celebrate Lent through fasting and I knew little about the reason behind such traditions. I really only knew about Pancake Tuesday, Ash Wednesday (which was easy in my house because we had coal stoves) and then Good Friday (can’t you just taste those delicious Hot Cross Buns) and Easter Sunday.

Over my lifetime though I have come to recognize there are good things in traditions. It gives us that special remembrance to know what Easter is really about. And that because of Easter, I live!!

As I thought about what a meaningful devotional would be, I am reminded that for some, the Lenten season is a challenge. The question often stated is – “What are you giving up for Lent?”

I began to think about this and it came to me that I’m going to change this into a positive challenge. Not, what do I have to give up, but rather what can I give away that will make this season more meaningful to me.

There are only a few weeks left, but still time to challenge myself and I in turn would challenge you. For the days remaining in this Lenten Season I would commit to myself that I will send an email containing a prayer to one of my friends, I will make a phone call to someone I have been thinking of and whom I know would love to hear a cheery voice and I will do an act of kindness for someone. If I do one of these things each day the time between now and Easter will be filled with thoughts of others and I will be thinking less about COVID 19 and the stresses of life. I will have given to others some blessing, just as God has blessed me. And this will be the best Lenten Season I will remember!! Are you up for the challenge?

The church may soon be open and part of your conversation will be about sharing all those blessings you gave and received as you met the challenge set before you. But I remind you – this is not new! The words of Jesus come to mind: John 13:34-35 (The Message):

Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples – when they see the love you have for each other.”

And so, my dear friends, as you celebrate this Lenten season, know that you are not alone. Be blessed and share a blessing.

In Christ’s love,

Liz Church (Pastoral Care – EPPC)




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