Welcome to our new newsletter…
by Dot Cooper, Council Chair
Welcome to the first edition of the new Life and Work bi-weekly newsletter. Now that we’ve settled into our “new normal” and relying more on email and social media to stay connected, we found it was time to refresh our Life and Work communique. Last week Molly and Caroline launched a “Note from the Revs” and this week we’re introducing the new Life and Work newsletter focusing on announcements, ministry activities and fellowship news. We hope you like the new look. If you have an announcement or news to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Photos are also welcomed.
As Council Chair, it’s been reassuring to see the many ways that our faith community is caring for our community, supporting our fellow churches and re-engaging in our ministry activities. Dare I say, we’re glaring right back at the challenges of physical distancing by using our creativity, by embracing technology and by leveraging our strength as a cohesive faith community. From the beginning, your Clergy and church leaders echoed in unison that we would continue to be a church through Worship, by expanding our outreach and good deeds, by our commitment to stay connected through social media and our new pastoral Care and Support Network, and through our communications. While we miss gathering together in prayer and fellowship, your Council is grateful for the significant effort being made to deliver weekly Worship online. It’s also comforting to learn of the many acts of kindness and news of good deeds being shared through emails, social media and phone calls. Though I must admit, I never imagined seeing Rev. Molly in her paisley pajamas with pearls would become such a comforting “Church TV” staple reminiscent of Mr. Rogers and his iconic sweater. Thank you Molly and Caroline for tirelessly braving this new world, for the creative ways that you’re bringing us Worship, for harnessing the collaborative worship effort, for feeding the social media beast, for your pastoral care and the many ways that you’re comforting your faith family. You’re an impressive team and we are blessed.
This past week I came across an internet article that resolved, “Alive churches are constantly changing,” that “live churches have lots of noisy kids,” and that “live churches focus on people” and are “constantly improving for the future.” Once we’re through this pandemic and able to gather again in our sanctuary in sufficient numbers, we will have turned a corner on our future. While we may not know what that future will look like today, we will have lessons learned from our pandemic experiences which will inform the future direction of our church. At the top of my list of lessons learned are the things that I miss most: (1) Sharing worship with my faith community; (2) Weekly reflections from our ministry team without worrying about bandwidth; (3) Rejoicing with our Choir; (4) Applauding the spontaneity and joyful noise of our children; and (5) Sharing our news in fellowship. I’m grateful for our ministry team and “Church TV” as it anchors my week, but it’s not the same as being together. So, as soon as it’s safe to gather in sufficient numbers, and even if I need to wear a facemask and remain physically distant, I know I’d rather be back in the pews.
In closing, thank you for your encouragement to continue communicating weekly and to experiment with new technologies. This new look Life and Work Newsletter is another adventure in the way that we promote fellowship and share news. Next week it will be a “Note from the Revs”. The following week look for the Newsletter. We hope you like our new Life and Work and will share it broadly. Draw the Circle Wide!
THIS WEEK’S Life and Work News
Canadian Blood Services needs your support
In our congregation we have several members whose lives depend on support from Canadian Blood Services and the blood products that they supply. These members are having their treatment courses altered because of the shortage of blood products available. We would strongly encourage anyone who is able to donate to be in touch with Canadian Blood Services to book an appointment. Our regular donors tell us that the process is quick, easy, and is being handled with all extra safety precautions necessary.
By Ron Hunt, Property Chair
Spring is in the air, and it’s time to attend to our grounds. While the building is closed, the grounds are open and ready for spring clean-up. Given the ongoing distancing and gathering restrictions, we invite households to visit the grounds and if you’re able to attend to a flower bed or clear debris that would be appreciated. Please bring your own gardening tools and yard waste bags. Remember, we must not gather in mixed household groups, and at all times please respect physical distancing rules. I can’t believe in our “new normal” that we must limit our volunteer efforts, but we do need to Stay Safe and respect Public Health guidelines. Also, Please send me an email at email@example.com to let me know about any garden maintenance work that you took care of; that way I will know who deserves the credit and the thanks!
Fourth Annual OUC Bicycle “Swap & Drop”
by John Gibson on April 19th, 2020
This year the bike swap is going the distance for you by going virtual. Even though the OUC building is closed, the swap will still go on, starting now. The concept is still the same: Have a bicycle that you don’t want anymore? You can donate!
Need a bike to get around, or for a child? Just ask – you may find the ideal ride!
Any leftover bikes will be donated to a local bike-related charity. To donate, or to look for a bike, all you have to do is contact John Gibson on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also post on Buy Nothing OUC. John will arrange for safe pickup or dropoff. As a bonus, this year any bikes donated will enjoy at least a safety check and some TLC before moving to their new homes.
For those of you wanting to know the names of the books Rev. Molly has been sharing on Sundays:
“Ruby’s Worry” by Tom Percival
“Quinn’s Promise Rock” by Christie Thomas
“It Will Be Okay” by Lysa TerKeurst
and in the coming weeks:
“God is Always Good” by Tama Fortner
“When I Pray for You” by Matthew Paul Turner and Kimberley Barnes
Stories from the Spark Story Bible.
by Rev. Molly Bell , April 28th
Our newly-revitalized Adult Ministry team is dreaming about all the possibilities for education and faith formation within our congregation once we gather together again. In the meantime, they are busy working on possibilities for learning, growing and connecting virtually. Attached to this week’s email you’ll find their first issue of Coronavirus Connections – this issue offering some fun websites for families to enjoy as well as our first virtual coffee/tea/wine break for parents with young children hosted by Luc Lamadeleine. Please check it out and stay tuned for more faith opportunities!
Healthy End of Life Project
by Emily Davison, 23 April 2020
The year 2020 has brought forth some significant challenges for us all. The Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) Ottawa hopes that the Orleans United community is safe and healthy, and that everyone can find comfort in loved ones during this difficult time. Even though we are called to isolate, it is still important to stay connected and support one another in new and creative ways. Over the past three weeks, the HELP Ottawa team has continued to investigate compassion and support within the community. Emily and Heather have conducted 17 formal interviews (by phone or Zoom), which are currently being transcribed and coded for further analysis. With the help of Rev. Molly and Sue Horrocks, the HELP Ottawa team also organized its first meeting with the OUC Advisory Council. This group is made up of parishioners, community members, and local support workers who will assist in identifying needs and guiding the implementation of the Compassionate Community approach within OUC and the wider Orleans community. If you have any questions about this research, please do not hesitate to contact Emily Davison (email@example.com; 613-219-9870) or Heather McGrath (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Urgent Housing Need – Update
by Margaret Richardson, April 28th, 2020
You may remember that at the end of March we asked for your help in finding suitable accommodation for Miriam and her 2 daughters, who had recently fled a life-threatening situation in Nigeria. How blessed are we that they landed in Ottawa and found a church home with us. Miriam is deeply grateful for the ongoing prayers and support she receives from us. Finding rental housing is extremely challenging when practising physical distancing. For this reason, Miriam’s current landlady has graciously extended her lease of a single bedroom in a nearby home until the end of June. With this new deadline looming, Miriam continues to search for an affordable basement apartment or two-bedroom apartment, available July 1 or sooner and costing $1200/month or less. Although she would prefer something relatively close to the church, Miriam would consider other parts of our catchment area. If you could ask your network of family and friends if they know of a suitable property, please do. Rental leads for Miriam to pursue or creative solutions to this housing challenge can be passed on by phone or email to Rev. Molly or to Ken Richardson, email@example.com, (613) 824-3599. Thank you, friends, for all the loving ways you continue to care for our church family in these extraordinary times.
Thank you from the Rev’s …. you are wonderful
We know that many of you have turned your efforts to helping others at this time. We have been humbled to hear of the number of people sewing masks, caps and other goods to help front-line workers; those sharing their skills making masks for the community; those doing groceries and dropping off food to others; those taking extra care for the most vulnerable among us. You are sharing God’s goodness in so many different ways and we are grateful (but not surprised!). Keep up the blessings!!!
Read all the books in your house?
Join Annemarie Humenuk at 11am, Friday, May 8 to learn how to download the Overdrive app used by the Ottawa Public Library and then download library books. We will also demonstrate how to download free ebooks from sites like https://www.gutenberg.org/ Contact Annemarie at firstname.lastname@example.org to register and get an invitation to join the Zoom meeting.
Church Zoom Account
We now have access to a Zoom Pro Account to support OUC activities and the life and work of our ministry teams. For details, please email Kim Gratton at email@example.com .
Calendar of Events
Worship Online – Every Sunday streaming at 10 a.m. on our YouTube Channel.
Men’s Breakfast – Meets every second Wednesday virtually. Contact David Clemis at firstname.lastname@example.org for details/Zoom invitation.
Surfing Seniors – Meets every second Wednesday at 3 p.m. Please contact David Clemis at email@example.com for details.
Book Club goes on and on the last Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. via Zoom. Contact Annemarie Humenuk at firstname.lastname@example.org for details/Zoom invitation.
Life and Work April 16, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
This week’s Life and Work includes the following:
- Prayers of the People
- Worship Services
- Adult Education Ministry
- Surfing Seniors
- Fourth Annual Bike Swap
- Looking Ahead
Prayers of the People
With thanks to the Rev. Mike Perreault for this Easter Pastoral Prayer:
You promised us a sunrise. In this season of Easter, we wait in our homes…cut off and isolated from our loved ones and communities during an extended Good Friday with no end in sight.
As a spokesperson for our communities of faith, I am asked to voice to our people’s prayers. I am called to be real, earnest and authentic and, like many of your people, I am authentically afraid. I find it hard to get into the Easter Spirit.
I am tempted to add the word “but,” to fast-forward to the end of this movie that we’re watching when we are plucked out of Mordor to rise on eagles’ wings. To skip the scary parts and enjoy the cheap grace that comes when we don’t wrestle with doubt, fear, and anger. Because, that’s where many of us are… Many of us are solidly in the land of lament. Words of peace and comfort ring hollow. Stories of newness and promise don’t seem to fit our reality.
Some of us are angry with you. Some of us wonder why we believe in you at all. We recall those moments when you have come through for us in wonderful ways, and we wonder when we will feel the comfortable easy-fitting feelings of joy and peace again.
We look for hope on a foggy road. Will you give us that hope? Will you comfort us, your people?
Words don’t come easy, or at all. I’m tired of searching for them. So, I’ll stop, rest, and use the words that my best friend gave to me because my words are not enough…
Our Father, who art in heaven…
Amazing! Our Holy week services received over 900 views on YouTube. We are grateful for your continued support and encouragement as we continue to experiment with ways to bring worship into your homes. Thank you again to all our clergy, to Scott, Ian Richardson, Andrew Parsche and Lori Lynn Penney for their inspirational music, to Jasmine Vesque for her graphic design, and to Dave Clemis and David Patterson for their immense dedication and the long hours that they put into producing online Worship.
We hope you’ll tune into this Sunday’s worship on YouTube at 10 a.m. The video links may be found on our YouTube channel, our OUC website and Facebook page – please feel free to share these with anyone you like. Let’s Draw the Circle Wide!… and keep your photos and suggestions comingJ.
Faith Formation / Adult Education Ministry
We are grateful to Shirley and Peter Holt for their 20 years of devotion leading the Adult Education Ministry. Following in their footsteps will take a team effort, and we’re delighted to announce that Luc Lamadeleine, Margriet Parry and Sandra Sales have accepted to collectively lead the Adult Education Ministry! The new committee is ready to support OUC’s current learning activities, and investigate new possibilities, particularly in the present reality of isolation and physical distancing. They are looking forward to hearing your suggestions for courses, workshops, social events, and other ideas that would help us grow as individuals and a church community. Please contact the team with your suggestions: Luc: email@example.com, Margriet: firstname.lastname@example.org or Sandra: email@example.com
Council wishes to acknowledge, with gratitude, the devotion and wisdom of the Finance Committee whose work is informing our ongoing and prayerful stewardship of your financial gifts. We also want to thank you, our OUC family. Through your generosity and commitment, we are able to continue the ministries of our church during these unsettled times. With your donations, we continue to be the Church, caring for those who are most vulnerable and in need of our help. Here are five ways to continue financially supporting the ministries of your church at this time:
E-transfers – A new stay at home, stay safe option! When making the transfer, please use the email address (firstname.lastname@example.org). The offering will be directly deposited into the OUC Bank Account and will be recorded for tax receipt purposes. No security question is required.
On-line donations – please use the http://orleansunitedchurch.com/donate/ page to make on-line donations. As of April 13th, twenty donations were made through Canada Help as compared to only one in April 2019. Thank you!
Mailbox – envelopes/cheques/post-dated cheques can be placed in the church mailbox which is checked regularly and deposited weekly.
Cheques may also be mailed to Orleans United Church, 1111 Orleans Blvd., Orleans, ON K1C 7C8.
Grocery cards – Interested people should email their order to Dianne Davis at (email@example.com) and leave a cheque in your mailbox for the amount. Dianne will exchange the cheque for the gift card order. Thank you, Dianne, for this offer!
Are you looking to become more savvy with tools such as: Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and Zoom among others? Dave Clemis will be hosting a weekly workshop on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. to help you navigate the “new normal.” If you’re interested, please email Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Fourth Annual Bike Swap
This year’s Bike Swap and drop is going virtual, to ensure that safe handling and distancing requirements are maintained. The concept is still the same and it starts today.
Have a bicycle that you don’t want anymore? You can donate!
Need a bike to get around, or for a child? Just ask – you may find the ideal ride!
Any leftover bikes will be donated to a local bike-related charity, once we’re able.
To donate, or to look for a bike, contact John Gibson at email@example.com to arrange for a safe pickup or drop off. As a bonus, this year any bikes donated will enjoy at least a safety check and some TLC before moving to their new home.
In the coming weeks, we will be sharing God’s goodness and the news of our community of faith differently. Next week, Molly and Caroline will offer their first bi-weekly “Note from the Revs.” It will arrive in your inbox every other Thursday with the purpose of offering an encouraging word, sharing updates about our worship and pastoral care activities, sharing your inspiring stories, and offering you a moment of grace in your day.
Then on alternate Thursdays, Life and Work will provide you with announcements and important news from your Council, Committees and Ministry teams, and from the wider church and neighbourhood. This will include a calendar of upcoming events relating to our OUC community.
God’s peace and grace to you,
Dot, Rev Caroline, & Rev Molly