Danger + Opportunity

Dear Friends,

So much happens in a week. Thank you to the 500+ viewers who tuned into the livestream of worship last Sunday, and all those who have responded to the financial needs of the ministry at this time – by cheque drop-off, mail and online giving. What a blessing!

Our team has never worked harder after not making the list of essential businesses and preparing to cease live-streaming worship. It was a challenge and a joy to bring this Sunday’s service, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter Sunday to life with Robert Picard, Thom Varey, James Aitchison, Jason Locke, and amazing staff singers Andrew Aitchison, Annie Bird, Jennifer Taverner and David Walsh.

This Sunday’s Lent 5 service is taped and will be shared in real-time at 10:30am on Sunday. BUT, stay on the website right after the service because I’ll go live on our website via Facebook to Pass the Peace and Share Good News. We want you to pass the peace and offer Good News too.

It is also the beginning of the week of Guided Prayer, and we are all invited this year to ask a friend to walk with you. Dale Kucharczyk and the team have prepared the Lenten devotionals beginning tomorrow that help you begin. I can’t think of a more necessary time to learn to pray, to pray in a different way, to pray together as a community. The Lenten Devotionals will be your guide each day, with links to scriptures to read and reflect on, then call or Zoom or Facetime your partner to share and pray together. Dale has 12 companions lined up if you don’t have a “buddy.” Please contact her ASAP at stephenministry@islingtonunited.org and she will match you up with someone.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Corinthians 4:8).

I was reminded this week that Chinese word for “crisis” is rendered by joining two words together: “danger” and “opportunity.” As our physical world becomes increasingly restricted, how are we being enlarged spiritually? What opportunities is the Lord opening to us in light of this? And how is the Lord meeting you in the midst of uncertainty, disappointment, or fear?

As Meg learns in Sharon Garlough Brown’s book series, Sensible Shoes, God never says, “Get over it” with regard to our fear. Instead, God says, “Give it to me.” May all of us practice offering the truth of our hearts to God. And may we practice offering deep compassion, patience, and generosity to one another as we find our way forward.

Islington United Church is a community that is always caring for one another. At this time of heightened concern due to COVID-19, we are working hard to ensure we all stay connected and up-to-date with what is happening at our church. If you are healthy and able to spend time reaching out to others, here are some of the ways you can help:

  • Regular phone check-ins with those who would appreciate it
  • Shopping and grocery drop-off for those who cannot get out
  • Making calls of healing prayer to those who are anxious

And, if you love to knit, prayer shawls are always needed. If you would like to assist in this effort to keep our church family connected, please contact Leslee Armstrong, Church Administrator, at 416-239-1131.

We need to remind one another that God is always with us in good times and challenging times. We are never alone.

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