Beloved Carstairs Bancroft United Church Members,
This is our first Sunday that we don’t have a chance to meet in person. We can realize now how precious those times are, when we can gather to worship, and we shouldn’t take those for granted.
Even in these unprecedented circumstances, we are encouraged to support each other, and to be there for one another, using all the tools we have as we keep each other safe and protected.
Manitoba’s Premier reminded Manitobans that “Social distancing doesn’t need to be social isolation.” I think he is right. And I could see good examples in our church family of supporting those who live alone, or might need any assistance.
But it is not only our family members, friends and neighbors on whom we can count on. We may also know that God is with us in all circumstances.
Today’s Gospel reading is John 9:1–41 that tells us the story when Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth. As the man’s eyes open, we can witness how his understanding of Jesus develops:
At first, he just recognizes that Jesus could help him in a way no one else could.
Then when he was questioned, he could say: “He is a prophet.”
Later, as he saw Jesus the first time after his healing, he was able to proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah sent by God, even if it meant that he became an outcast by the religious leaders in his community.
I believe we all need an ‘improved vision’ to recognize that God will “never leave us nor forsake us”. In times of danger or despair it can be difficult to see. The attached photo taken by my daughter Anita may illustrate it nicely. Reading Scriptures and keeping in touch with God through prayers can help us to open our eyes to see that.
We can also use the opportunities to watch recorded or live-streamed worship services.
As we are not able to join in our offerings at the church, we have other options of giving thanks and supporting our congregation’s mission. Our Treasurer collected the ways by which we can safely carry on our giving and the Board has that information. I am sure the Board will advise all of you about those opportunities.
Until we can’t gather again, I will carry on sending the daily devotions on weekdays and keeping touch by phone. Besides me contacting you, please feel free to reach out if you need any assistance or just want to talk.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.
Below you can find a part of the Regional Newsletter with the links to those opportunities where you can find some of those. Just click on the underlined text, and that will lead you to the website of the live-streaming or recording.
Online Worship with Moderator Richard Bott
Beginning Sunday, March 22, 2020, Moderator Richard Bott will be offering an online worship service each Sunday for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. This will be a video-recorded service you can join on our website or Facebook page. The prayers, hymns, and reflections from the Moderator’s online worship will also be available in audio and text form.
Online Worship with Other Churches
Numerous United Church communities of faith are live-streaming Sunday worship services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are a few select livestreams from various regions that you may want to join in:
- Rising Spirit(Bashaw-Ponoka, AB, United Churches)
- Forest Hill United Church (Toronto)
- GO Project Virtual Kids Camp for March Break: Check their webpage for online session times for children of specific ages.
- Hillhurst United Church(Calgary)
- Rideau Park United Church(Ottawa)
- Trinity United Church(Prince George, BC)
- Timothy Eaton Memorial(Toronto)
- West Vancouver United(Vancouver)
Please, do not hesitate to contact me if you need assistance with opening these links.
Remain healthy and hopeful, remembering the words of the New Creed:
“In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.”
Rev. Maria Szabo Berces
Carstairs Bancroft United Church