December 3 Come join the all ages fun at OUC’s second annual Gingerbread House decorating! Kick off the Advent season with this fun event Sunday in the Hall after the morning service. Cost is 15$/family and includes everything needed to decorate your own unique Gingerbread House. This is the last Sunday to register and reserve your house! Contact Robin (email@example.com) or Rev. Molly.
Mark your Calendars for Orleans United Church Christmas Bazaar November 18th from 9AM to 2PM. You won’t want to miss this annual event with beautiful handmade gifts, baking, a tea room with live music and a silent auction.
All ages are welcome. We look forward to seeing you and yours.
Reflection Part 1
Nobody would have blamed Mary if she had stayed in bed that day. As she rolled over on her straw palate, she was struck with the realization that the horrors she recalled were not just nightmares, but the stark reality of life without Jesus. It was a horrible thing she and all of her friends had lived through. Watching their beloved teacher and leader so brutally betrayed and killed. Standing vigil as they took his lifeless and brutalized body down off a cross and laid it in a tomb. Hiding behind closed doors for fear of what might befall those who were associated with Jesus. The meaning and purpose she had felt as a follower of Jesus only days before was replaced with a grief that overwhelmed her with its intensity.
How easy it would be to stay hidden away forever, she thought.
And yet she felt drawn to go to the tomb. They had been in shock when it all happened, in such a rush to put Jesus’ body there before the start of the Sabbath, she wanted to make sure everything was in order. It was the least she could do. It was the only thing she could do for her teacher, her leader, her friend.
Before the dawn had broken on the horizon, Mary stumbled her way out of the house, walking in a fog of grief and loss, until she found herself standing in front of the tomb where just two days earlier she had seen them lay Jesus’ body and seal the entrance with a stone so big it took three men to roll it in place. Except now the stone had been moved away from the entrance, and she could see there was nothing inside. The body of her beloved Jesus was gone.
Mary was heartbroken. The Romans had killed Jesus and now someone had taken his body. Now they couldn’t even mourn him properly. Not knowing what else to do, Mary ran to find the other disciples and give them the bad news. They ran at once to the tomb to see for themselves. Simon Peter went in to make sure that the body was really missing. He found the cloth that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in, but no body. There were no words to express their sense of grief, of loss, of shock as sadly left the tomb……
Reflection Part 2
When most people attend Easter morning worship, they come with a certain amount of anticipation – that they will experience magnificent music, joy-filled messages, and the glorious news being proclaimed that Christ is Risen indeed! And for those of us who know the whole story, these are good and right expectations. Easter IS a time of celebration.
However…if we allow ourselves to go back to that first Easter morning, what we find is that the sight of the empty tomb seemed not to have induced any sense of joy or hope amongst those who first discovered it. Instead, the emptiness brought with it a shock that was a dagger in the already broken, grieving hearts of those who loved Jesus most.
Think where the disciples’ minds must have been those days after they watched their beloved teacher and friend cruelly punished, brutally beaten, senselessly condemned to death. They literally stood at Jesus’ feet watching him die an agonizing death, then had hurried to put Jesus’ body in a tomb before the start of the Sabbath. They had been in hiding, fearing for their very lives the past two days. So when the sun came up that first Easter morning, there was no pent up excitement and joy to start it off. The overwhelming shock and sadness of Good Friday was still very much on their minds and in their hearts.
How often it is for us, as well, that events we look back on with delight, joy, and understanding, are ones that initially bring us only feelings of shock, of fear, even of sadness. The gift of perspective and time allow us to reframe these events in positive ways, but the reality of many of life’s experiences in the moment are often gritty and hard. I think of that moment when the reality of becoming a new parent sinks in and you feel as if you will never have a life again. Or the news of getting the new job that you really wanted that all of a sudden seems so scary and overwhelming that you can feel no excitement, only terror. Or the intense grief upon the death of a loved when, when no amount of reminiscing about good times can take away the horrible ache of loss that washes over you with every breath. These moments of shock leave us speechless, trembling, fearful. They remind us that much as we would like to think we are in charge, the reality of life is that there are moments, events, experiences that remind us we cannot control everything. These are the moments when faith takes on a whole new meaning.
The great invitation of our faith, as Easter people, is to remember the courage that it took for those disciples, that first Easter morning, to continue to put one foot in front of the other, in spite of their shock, their grief, their fear. We know the good news is about to come – for them, and for us. But not yet. For all of us living in those times of shock, of uncertainty, of grief….we hold fast to our belief that we are not alone…..
The Garden: The Story Retold
After the disciples leave the empty tomb, Mary stands just outside the tomb and weeps. From her vantage point in the garden near the tomb, she can still see inside and she cannot resist another look. She sees a vision of two angels, dressed in white. “Woman, why do you weep? they ask. I am looking for my master, my teacher and my friend. They have taken him away and I don’t know where he is.
Turning away, Mary sees a man she does not recognize and assumes he is the gardener. Who are you looking for?, he inquires. If you’ll tell me where he is, I could go and care for him, she implores. Jesus tenderly calls her by name, and in a flash, she understands the event of Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Rabbouni”, she cries! Oh my teacher, my rabbi, my friend it is you! In reverence and awe, she reaches out a trembling hand, wanting more evidence that she is not dreaming, yet likely afraid of what she will feel beneath her touch. Can’t you just see Mary’s outstretched hand grasping for physical proof? She had seen him be crucified with her own eyes and now he is standing before her! Just as Mary touches Jesus, he warns “Do not hold onto me; do not cling to me”. He still needs to complete the process of resurrection and ascension. His has been raised from dead but must rise further still.
Jesus commissions Mary to go and tell the others what she has seen. Go and bear witness to the Risen Christ! Go and tell them that Love has not died. That love cannot die. Tell them that Love will always rise. Share this Good News Story.
Mary goes and proclaims the news boldly. I saw the Master! Our beloved Jesus lives!
AWE: Theological Reflection
As with Jesus’ sleepless and prayerful night in the Garden of Gethsemane, this garden just outside the empty tomb sets the stage for an earth shaking, world rocking encounter. What she experiences will change her life forever and will launch a movement. It will launch a movement based on a love that no knows bounds.
Can you just imagine that moment in the garden? The person you love more than anyone in the world appears to you from the grave and is now standing before you and speaking your name. When you reach out to your beloved, you are told not to hang on to them. Not to cling for dear life. Really?
It is a truly an amazing moment. Yet, it’s one we’ve heard described so many times, I propose that it has lost much of its awe. Instead, it’s become a cliché. It can be hard to connect with feelings of awe this story is intended to evoke in us. We’ve heard it all before, haven’t we? We’ve heard this story countless times. And yet we are still left with a world, that despite all its amazing beauty, is full of hurt, violence and suffering. So what difference can this resurrection story make today, when people are still crucifying Love the world over?
The Resurrection story is all about the salvation of the whole world. For God so loved the world he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life”. (NRSV, John 3:16) Seen in this world-embracing context, we can understand the event of the Cross as the open-ended possibility of salvation and redemption for everyone, regardless of race, religion or even species. Even for all of Creation itself. God so loves the entire world.
One way to understand the Resurrection is as a promise kept. God keeps God’s word. Throughout scripture, God promises us that in the end, love wins. Even “if you feel like you’re finished with love, Love is not finished with you.” God can and does transform tragedy into beauty – with our help. Given an opening, no matter what the circumstances, God who is Love “will raise you up”, just as Love raised Jesus from the tomb. (Bruce Sanguin, The Advance of Love, p. 55) We are a resurrection people and God’s Love is still active in our lives.
Mary Magdalene saw the empty tomb and encountered the risen Jesus in the Garden. She recognized that love did not die on that Cross and she went out to proclaim this good news: He is Risen! Love cannot die!
When we are faced with heartbreak, God’s Love has the power to raise us up. When life is messy and scary and downright horrible; when tragedy strikes in its many forms, God’s Love is there lifting us up. God was with Jesus every step of the way and God was there to see him rise. With God’s love, no matter the circumstances, we too can rise.
Every year at Easter, we hear this awesome story anew and in sharing it, we offer to the World a powerful testament to the saving power of God’s Love. This morning, as we rise up and follow in the footsteps of Mary Magdalene, let’s proclaim this wondrous news for all to hear: Hallelujah! He is Risen! Christ is Risen Indeed! Amen
Come and join us in worship as we journey with Jesus through Holy Week
Maundy Thursday, April 13 7:00 pm
Good Friday, April 14 10:00 am
Easter Sunrise, April 16 8:00 am
Easter Breakfast after Sunrise service
Easter Celebration 10:00 am
Activities Around Our Church
If you require financial assistance to participate in any OUC program, please contact Rev. Molly.
HOPE Chest for CHEO The children and youth of OUC invite you to join them in creating messages of hope, inspiration and care to leave in the “HOPE Chest” in the Family Rooms at Ronald McDonald House at CHEO. You can contribute by writing prayers, quotes, pictures, notes of kindness on small index cards (or similar size) and leaving them in the envelope on the bulletin board across from the office labelled “Hope Chest Notes”. If you have any questions, please contact George Thwaites (firstname.lastname@example.org).
CHANGE FOR CHANGE Our coin collection has now reached $650. With the buying power that the Food Cupboards have they will be able to buy almost $3225 worth of food for people in our community. We will be collecting coins on Easter Sunday. Please remember that the children are really enjoying dumping their coins in to the big jar during Children’s time so if you have some coins why not find a child to put them in the jar for you! Thank you everybody for this great effort.
THE CHURCH OFFICE will be closed on Easter Monday, April 17. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday April 18.
LIBRARY NEWS Don’t forget that there is a $20 Tim’s card for the person who signs out and reads the most books from the OUC library, by Dec 9, 2017
WELCOME TABLE Last month, the Elders decided to make an effort to have the welcome table be more inviting as a place for newcomers to ask questions and get more information about life at OUC. We continue to experiment with how to have the Narthex be more welcoming on Sunday mornings. Thank you for your patience!!
CAMP AWESOME It’s time to mark your calendars! OUC will be hosting a day camp for 4-12 year olds on Tuesday July 4 to Friday July 7. Due to the shortened week (Monday is Canada Day), camp will have extended hours this year, running from 9:30 am to 4 pm daily. Please share the news, invite your friends, and get ready for an awesome week! Registration forms will be available after Easter. Contact Rev. Molly if you have any questions.
CD of SUNDAY WORSHIP Audio recordings (CD) of Sunday worship are available- just ask at the audio-visual room at the rear of the Sanctuary any Sunday. A $5 donation helps with our costs.
SEW ON AND SEW FORTH! Thanks to your continued interest and support, efforts are underway to make OUC’s Christmas Bazaar another success. We now have lots of sewing projects available for anyone who likes to sew at home. The fabric needed to complete a project is provided. Drop by the Church Hall after Sunday service to see if something suits your interests. We try to use donated and upcycled materials to create the beautiful Bazaar crafts. If anyone has any spare interfacing, we would welcome any donations to help line table runners and placemats.
WANTED: LEFTOVER POLAR FLEECE Spring cleaning? De-stashing? We can help! If you have any remnants of stretchable polar fleece (any colour, plain or patterned), the bazaar craft group would love to put them to good use making neck warmers and other items for the Christmas Bazaar. Please leave donations in the church office by April 24. Thanks!
ASSISTED LISTENING Those requiring assistance with hearing the service may use any portable FM radio with headphones to listen to our worship service. We are transmitting on 95.7 Mhz.
LISTENING TO THE ECHO BOOK DISCUSSION Come out at 7:30 pm on Wednesday May 3, 2017 to discuss Tom Sherwood’s book,Listening to the Echo, with the author. Copies are available on-line at Amazon or Friesen Press. Autographed copies will be available for purchase on the evening of the discussion, or contact Annemarie Humenuk (email@example.com) before April 18 if you want a copy before the discussion. If you haven’t read the book by May 3, you are still welcome to join us.
ONE IN THE SPIRIT CAREGIVER SPECIAL PRESENTATION This week, the One In the Spirit presentation is the keynote address at the first Caregiver Workshop session held last week. This session was on how stress affects the caregiver and what can be done to reduce the stress. The presentation is available on the OUC Youtube channel at https://youtu.be/_VQ17N0Vekk. For more information on the Caregiver Workshop, please contact Heather McGrath (firstname.lastname@example.org).
INTERCHURCH REFUGEE GROUP The Annual General Meeting of the Interchurch Refugee Group will be held on Monday, April 24, 7:30 pm at Community Pentecostal Church, 1825 St. Joseph Blvd. in Orleans. All are welcome to attend.
RECYCLING BATTERIES AND COMPACT FLUORESCENT LIGHTS (CFLs) Please make use of the container in the entranceway from the parking lot to recycle your used batteries and CFLs. They will be taken to one of the large stores for disposal. To date over a hundred pounds of batteries and a hundred CFLs have been recycled. Keep up the good work!
CHURCH KEYS Property is updating our inventory of Church keys. If you have one and haven’t already been contacted about it, please let Sandra Sales know (email@example.com), or put your name on the list on the bulletin board outside the Office. Thank you.
LADIES RETREAT at Camp Merrywood, April 28 – 30, “150 Years of Women in the Church”. Today is the last chance to register for the women’s retreat. For more information please contact Joan Brockelbank (firstname.lastname@example.org) or see her in the hall after service.
JOYFUL YARN has their Diversity Blanket on display in the Hall. Come see this blanket which was created – knitted, crocheted and sewn with donated yarn, by many hands. Random patterns. It will grace the bed of someone in need of warmth and kindness.
PARKING A reminder that parking is allowed on Orleans Blvd. (in front of the Church) on Sunday mornings.
PRESBYTERY POINT TO PONDER for a Presbytery meeting to be held, there must be quorum, which is 2/5 of all members (1/5 clergy and 1/5 lay).
WE LOVE COFFEE TIME! After service every Sunday there is always a large social gathering in the Hall sipping coffee, tea or juice; eating muffins; joining in lively conversation; and enjoying each other’s company! Check out the sign-up sheet on the wall right beside the coffee urn. Mike and Lin will be happy to assist you as needed (email@example.com, 613.837.6720).
MEN’S BREAKFAST Please join OUC men every Wednesday morning, 7 am at Gabriel’s Pizza on St. Joseph Blvd. for wide ranging, informative, enthusiastic discussions of upcoming Bible readings.
DRUG OVERDOSE PREVENTION WORKSHOP The Ottawa Presbytery Youth and Young Adult Committee is responding to the current Opioid Crisis by teaming with pharmacist Mark Barnes to offer a community workshop at Orleans United on Wednesday June 7 from 7-9 pm. We will offer an overview of the crisis, training for the proper use of drug overdose kits, and will distribute Naloxone kits to those who are interested. Everyone is welcome to this event – youth, young adults, parents, community group leaders, and the general public. To register and reserve your kit in advance (the kit requires a prescription from the pharmacist), please send your full name, home address, phone number, date of birth and health card number (including the two letters at the end) to Rev. Hilary Merritt (firstname.lastname@example.org). Spaces may be limited, so please register soon.
Madawaska Institute for Religion and Culture and Kitchissippi United Church invite you to a lecture and workshop on ‘The Salvific Power of Beauty for Spirituality, Ecology and Justice’ featuring Patricia Adams Farmer, an ordained minister, a process theologian, author, and featured writer for the website Jesus, Jazz, and Buddhism. https://patriciaadamsfarmer.com
Rev. Caroline invites you to join her at any of the scheduled events below:
- Friday, April 21 at 7:00pm: Reflections on beauty with Patricia Adams Farmer as well as The Inner Music of Beauty with jazz music with Peter Woods and Canto.
- Saturday, April 22 at 9:30am – 4pm: Workshops with Patricia Farmer and with James McGowan and Peter Woods’ jazz reflection.
- Sunday, April 23 at 10:00am: Worship Sermon and discussion at Kitchissippi UCC
Location: Kitchissippi United Church, 630 Island Park Drive Ottawa, ON K1B 0B9
Cost: $15.00 (Friday lecture and jazz. pay at the door/$125.00 (for the weekend and includes Friday event)/$15.00 extra for lunch To register: email email@example.com or phone 613.432.8852.
Community Outreach Ministries
CENTRE 507 is a drop-in program for women and men in downtown Ottawa, operating out of Centretown United Church, at 507 Bank Street, which continues to need our support. In particular toiletries, regular ground coffee and jam are needed. Contributions can be placed in the marked container in the parking lot entranceway.
APRIL FOOD BANK FOCUS Treats/Birthdays: cake & brownie mixes, frosting, icing sugar, granola bars, cookies, puddings, jellos, marshmallows, crackers, popcorn, Dream Whip. Usual necessities: proteins, i.e. canned fish or meat, peanut butter; baby supplies, feminine hygiene products.
EMAIL PRAYER MINISTRY Are you interested in participating in our congregation’s confidential email prayer ministry? Contactouc.firstname.lastname@example.org. You can ask to join the team and receive prayer requests, or simply make prayer requests for yourself or others.
GIFT CARD FUNDRAISING TABLE Grocery gift cards are sold in the Hall each Sunday and in the Church Office. Cards are available for Superstore/Independent/No Frills, Metro/Food Basics, Farm Boy, Tim Hortons and Sobeys. There is no additional cost to you, and the Church receives a percentage for each card we sell. We still have some Tim Horton gift cards in $5, $10 and $25 denominations as well as Loblaws and Metro in $25 denominations. Please note: the grocery gift card table will be closed Easter Sunday so our volunteers can spend time with family.
BOSTON PIZZA ORLEANS, CHURCH REBATE PROGRAM OUC will receive a 10% rebate on all Boston Pizza purchases (before taxes). Please write “Orleans United Church” on your receipt and deposit it in the box at the hostess stand in the restaurant.
RONA CARDS Pick up a discount card at the fundraising table or use our account number OUC148120 at RONA and you will receive 5% off your purchase and the Church will make the equivalent 5%!
This Week At a Glance
Monday April 17 Church Office Closed
Scouting, 6:15 pm
Tuesday April 18 Caregiver Break – Hall, 1:30 pm
Wednesday April 19 Men’s Breakfast – Gabriel’s Pizza, 7 am
A Joyful Yarn – Lounge, 7 pm
Scouting – Hall, Choir Room, Rooms 11 & 12, Kitchen, 6 pm
Thursday April 20 Java Jive – Library, 10 am
Choir – Sanctuary, 7:30 pm
Friday April 21 Coffee & Conversation – Library, 9 am
Youth Group – Lounge, 7 pm
Our church community gathers in worship to remember the Shock and Awe of that first Easter morning. Come join with us as we celebrate the Good News that Christ is Risen and as we seek to share God’s goodness on this special day. Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!