In Loving Memory
This week we have received news of the passing away of the sister of Takhoui, Chouhgik and Ruth. Silvi lived in Los Angeles.
We grieve also with the family of Paula Merkley. Paula was a member of the Portland United Church. She has been ill for a number of years and has now gone to be with Jesus. She will be missed by her husband, Bruce and their sons Ben and Chris, as well as close friends and other family members.
And so, we pray for each person we know, and those whose names are not written here. As you feel the grief and separation from your loved one, know they are not gone. They live in your heart. They walk beside you – unseen, unheard, but always, close. Take comfort in knowing they no longer are in pain but walk with their Lord in peace.
Elgin United Church
Belated Happy Birthday wishes to Andrea Thompson who celebrated Monday, February 28th., and Frank Allan, Tuesday March 1st. Happy Birthday to Marion Cooper, celebrating this Saturday March 5th. Pertinent statistics were not disclosed!
A sudden change of date from Friday to Monday, February 28th due to weather did not deter chili lovers. Elgin United’s Bowl & Roll, free-will take-out Chili dinner was a great success. There were no reports of suspicious sounds in the area!
Mark you calendars for ham, scalloped potatoes and beans take-out March 26th. Elgin United is partnering with the Rideau Lakes Swans to bring you another awesome meal. Community Committed, Community Strong!
We hope you can worship with us Sunday March 6th as we celebrate Communion with Rev. Kathy Walton. Elements are provided. COVID regulations are being relaxed; however, masks are still required.
Lent and Easter Services are being planned. Watch for information.
Elgin United Church Council
Official Board News
I have done a quick survey on a few members of the Official Board for their opinion on the date and location of the Official Board AGM and meeting.
We ended up with Thursday the 24th of March at Elgin United Church with a 7 p.m. start.
An agenda will be sent out prior to the meeting so if you have anything you want discussed at the AGM or the regular meeting let me know on the weekend prior to the meeting.
Loonies for Lent
Every year at the beginning of Lent, we focus on our personal spiritual preparation for the journey to the cross and Easter. As well as looking inward during this season, we also are called to look outward at how we can be servants of Christ in the worldwide community. For Elgin United, Lent has represented an opportunity to recommit to our World Vision partnership and ensure our continued support for our foster child, Zyra Joy.
This past year has been difficult for all of us, but just imagine what suffering it has brought for those already living in poverty with limited public health, government and financial support. In a year full of uncertainty, hardship and injustice, our partnership helped Zyra Joy, her family and community rise to many challenges: COVID-19 health risks, threats to resources and livelihoods, and added barriers to education. Through it all, World Vision used our donations to provide public health programming, small business support, and education equity to lead the way to safer, healthier communities and a more secure future for children like Zyra Joy.
These words form Zyra Joy’s last letter reflect what a difference our support has made:
“I am thankful that me and my family are healthy. Covid 19 bring fear to my family, but because we follow directly the health protocols we learned, we stayed healthy and safe. I am proud of my family because even though we are poor we love each other dearly. My parents are doing their best to provide our needs and we children also doing our best in our studies so our parents will be happy”
Many of us vow to give something up during the season of Lent, but what if we vowed to give something away? If you set aside a loonie a day during each of the 40 days of Lent, that would almost match the $47 a month that our World vision sponsorship costs. Just think|: For less than the cost of a coffee at Tim Horton’s a day, you can ensure that the future of a child and her community are changed!
You can make donations payable to Elgin United Church and specify ‘World Vision’. They can be dropped in the collection plate at church, or mailed to our treasurer:
Joanne McLean, 208 County Road 8, Elgin ON K0G 1E0
Thank you for your generosity and support!
Truly I tell you, in so far as you did it for one of the least of these my brethren, you did it for me. Matthew 25:40
Portland United Church
Join us for our first Lenten Service on Sunday, March 6 at 9:15 where Rev. Kathy Walton will lead us in a Communion service. Please remember to bring your own juice and cracker.
PUC Council meets on Tuesday, March 8th at 7:00 p.m. in the Hall.
Please sign up on the sheets on the bulletin board for ushers and scripture readers.
Portland United Church Council
Devotional Thought – March 5, 2022
LENT – the season of ‘Bright Sadness’ (in Eastern Orthodox)
For centuries now we have carried on the tradition of Lent – that time in the Christian calendar when we reflect on the life of Jesus, His time spent in the wilderness before His public work began in earnest. And we recall through Scripture all that takes place just in the last days of Jesus’ life here on this earth. And we are reminded that the spiritual joy we receive has been given at an immense cost.
As I listen to the world crisis daily, I am reminded of how little I really understand about the lives of others. I am writing to you today, my friends, with a heavy heart. And tears running down my face. I am trying to walk in the shoes of those who are suffering and I feel shame that I can do so little to lift their agonizing pain.
‘Bright sadness’ – how can such a term explain the depth of what the Lenten season really represents? Grief-filled joy. What am I saying??? That this experience may be the most powerful encounter we can know!
The struggle I carry is believing that what I have been asked to do to help others is enough. As I pray, with intensity that overwhelms me, I wonder what more I can do. As I carry out the traditional and customary routine of self-denial, there remains an emptiness of still wanting to feel the pain of others and support them in their grief.
Again, I bring my thoughts back to my ultimate purpose in my Christian life. And I am told, clearly and unmistakably, “Love Without Limit”!
‘Bright sadness’ is found in communion with those around us, people for whom we pray, people who pray for us, in hearing their stories, sharing their hopes, fears and longings. We find it being attentive to the presence of those around us. We share their pain, their struggles and their delights. Bright sadness tells us that one day we will also share with them in intimate communion, a glory and joy, as we together spend eternity with the One who loves us, beyond all we can imagine.
As we think about the people of the Ukraine and all people whose lives are decimated by greed, grief, sadness, I can’t help but remember the Sunflower. From a spiritual perspective it is awe-inspiring. When you gaze at a field of sunflowers our spirits should center on words like happiness, optimism, honesty, peace, and devotion.
‘Bright sadness’ – As your prayers focus this week on the Ukrainian people, bring to mind for each of them, a sunflower. Pray they can turn their faces to the Son of God. Pray they will find solace and comfort knowing that others are praying for them. And they will receive strength as they take hold of the field of sunflowers and join hands with each other and with the world. They are not alone. The community of faith stands with them. Listen with heavy hearts to their grief and sadness, loneliness and despair. Then pray in sincere and intense languages of love, knowing you are sending strength to them, through the power of Holy Spirit as you cry: “Lord, hear my prayer. Lord, listen to Your children praying. Send them love, send them peace, send them grace!”
Peace and love to each of you,
Pastoral Care Director
Elgin/Portland Pastoral Charge