Thank-you to the many people for responding to the survey sent out by the Profile Committee. We have almost completed our research. Over the next few weeks we will be tabulating & analyzing the survey results & then we will be ready to present our findings to Official Board & the congregations.
Portland United Church
Unfortunately, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Counties now have 174 active COVID-19 cases, and the entire United Counties has been moved to the RED zone. There is a distinct possibility of moving to GREY Lockdown status due to the 75% increase in active cases from last week’s 99 active cases that triggered the RED classification. Three key hotspots are Perth, Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and two of those are a mere 30-minute drive from Portland. As a direct result, Portland United Church will remain closed for worship on Sunday, March 28 even though there are only 7 active cases in ULCG West.
If the active cases across Leeds, Grenville and Lanark Counties drop precipitously within the next week, there is a possibility for an Easter Service, however, that will not be determined until next week.
We would recommend the following four options for viewing a service in the safety of your home:
- Portland Ontario United Church (no music)
- 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
- John’s United Church, Kemptville, ON
Devotional Thought – March 27, 2021
“GOOD FRIDAY” – What a strange name for such a horrible event! And explanations abound as to why we carry this name, even today. But for the Christian it comes as no surprise that we commemorate such a dark day with GOOD! For without the sacrifice, there would be no victory over death, hope would be wasted, and faith could not exist.
Looking back over my 60+ years I can recall so many dramatizations in our church. And each time I’ve reacted in a similar way – God loves me so much! And the words of the song I shared last week ‘Take up thy cross and follow me…. how can I make a lesser sacrifice, when Jesus gave His all’ still ring in my mind. Because of this sacrifice I have eternal life. I have an assurance that this life is temporary and my new life is beyond glorious.
BUT… it still came at a price. “My God, my God, take this from me…” I can only imagine the darkness and despair Christ felt that night as He prayed. “My God, my God, take this from me…” Yet He stays there. The darkness surrounding Him, His best friends, who have promised to support Him, asleep from the exhaustion. And He stays there – knowing what lies ahead – and still cries out “My God, My God, take this from me…”
And then we have the crucifixion and that all-powerful question “My God, My God, why…?” The complete abandonment, the overwhelming darkness – “ My God, My God, why…?”
Some of you, my dear friends, can deeply feel what I am trying to express today. “My God, my God, why?” These past days, or weeks, or months and for some even these past years have been filled over and over again with just such a question. You have begged God to change your life’s path, take away the hurt, the sickness, the torment, the sorrow. Change your circumstances, make your path easier, let you just live a simple life, uncomplicated, devoid of these upheavals.
I do not write these words with ease. I confess to you that I have asked the question – many times! I struggle when life gets complicated, or I can’t understand! I want to sit and cry over the losses I feel, or missed opportunities I cannot get back, or struggles I see others having.
And then I cry out “My God, my God, why?” And He comes to me and speaks – “My child, I have heard your plea. I have been and always will be right here. I am making a way for you. Even though you cannot see it yet. I’m working it through. Stick with me. I will never leave you.” The hope, the joy, the love engulfs me. I’m not alone in this. I have Someone who is closer than the air I breathe, and when I feel I cannot breathe, He is there.
That, my friends, is the answer to the “WHY?” Christ knows all you have been through. He has been there too. May this Good Friday be the one that springs new life into you as you experience the hope we have in an Omnipotent and Omniscient God – who is holding on to you!
In Christian love,
Liz Church (Pastoral Care Coordinator)