As we were unable to hold ChoirFest in 2020, members of several local choirs, including our own, gathered virtually to create a lovely rendition of “Peace, Peace”.
Here is the video for your enjoyment.
February 10th, 2021 at 7h30 pm via Zoom – Information Session
If you are interested in attending this session, please promptly contact Andrea Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org as space is limited.
The session’s primary focus is on education, respect, and love.
Our presenters, Luc Lamadeleine and Emily Davison, will be discussing biological sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation. Stereotypes, phobias, myths, and hurtful language will also be discussed and how this impacts LGBTQIA2S+ communities. Luc and Emily will also provide and recommend examples of inclusive language which promote safety, equity, and belonging.
Join us for an information session on Gender & Sexuality on February 10th, 2021 at 7h30 pm via Zoom.
Welcome to our New Life and Work 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 email@example.com . 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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org; 613-219-9870) or Heather McGrath (email@example.com).
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, (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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org .
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 email@example.com for details/Zoom invitation.
Surfing Seniors – Meets every second Wednesday at 3 p.m. Please contact David Clemis at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Book Club goes on and on the last Tuesday of the month at 1 p.m. via Zoom. Contact Annemarie Humenuk at email@example.com for details/Zoom invitation.
1111 Orleans Blvd
Orleans, ON, K1C 7C8
The Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) Ottawa aims to understand the needs of those living with frailty, chronic or life-limiting illness, those nearing the end of life, caregivers, and the bereaved. Further, HELP Ottawa aspires to create compassionate communities that empower members to feel comfortable and confident while attending to those needs (e.g. checking in on an isolated neighbour, offering support to someone who recently lost a loved one, asking a community member for assistance while caring for an aging parent). Emily Davison and Heather McGrath, Community Facilitators for HELP at Orleans United Church (OUC), have been busy having conversations with OUC members discussing support programs and services available through the church. In doing so, they discovered how this faith-community acts as a source of spiritual growth, learning, and social connection for an ever-growing congregation.
December is a dark month and Christmas can bring back memories and feelings of loneliness. Holidays and special occasions can be particularly difficult for those who have lost a loved one, even years and decades after the loss. This year is particularly difficult because COVID-19 and social distancing policies have forced many people into isolation, separating them from support networks and restricting rituals around death and grieving.
What can you (and the broader community) do:
Keeping a calendar or list of important dates (e.g. birthdays, anniversaries, and deaths) associated with those who have died may act as a que. This will remind and encourage you to reach out to the family members and friends of the deceased.
Even though we can’t gather inside, there are plenty of ways to check-in, revisit memories, and offer support. For example, you could invite someone for a walk, talk on the phone, schedule a Zoom call, or send out Christmas cards. Don’t be afraid to name the deceased, they are on the survivor’s mind all the time anyway. Holding space and acknowledging the big feelings during this time of year can validate and empower those who have lost someone.
Heather McGrath and Emily Davison
Research participants have expressed concerns about the aging population within faith communities. More specifically, people are worried about community engagement. Congregants are getting older and many of them are stepping away from leadership positions within the church. As a result, fewer people are facilitating and participating in church-based groups, clubs, and programs. Will the church be able to continue to do the work of God?
What can you (and the broader community) do:
Community and connection are central to peoples’ wellbeing. OUC offers a variety of programs and services that community members may benefit from, regardless of their religious affiliation. Consider reaching out to others and inviting them to participate in the following ways:
-Invite families to online Sunday School, where children have fun and build new friendships
-Invite high school students to participate in church fundraisers, outreach, or Care and Support work as part of their community service hours.
-Invite families to virtual church worship. New families may find online worship less intimidating than entering a building, and it’s certainly easier to get to!
-When volunteering in the community, mention that you are an OUC member. Can OUC support their mission or cause? Could that organization support in the church’s understanding of social issues or community development? Can we form meaningful partnerships to help those who are frail, ill, dying, caregiving, or grieving? What would those partnerships look like?
Share your ideas with us and, together, we can make 2021 a year of community, caring, and compassion.
Emily Davison and Heather McGrath
HELP is a community-based research project investigating peoples’ experiences with frailty, illness, end of life, caregiving, and grieving. We are delighted to share some preliminary findings. Based community interviews and focus groups, it is apparent OUC has great leadership and is a compassionate and supportive community. However, there is still room for growth. People shared they would like to improve their skills in reaching out to others, so we hope to offer these monthly “hints” to help you feel more confident offering, asking for, and accepting help.
Insights from the Healthy End of Life Project (HELP) Ottawa
People often have difficulty asking for help. This may be because: they are too exhausted or overwhelmed to reach out, and/or they do not want to bother anyone or be considered a burden on others.
What can you (and the broader community) do:
Rather than asking someone what you can do, we suggest offering something tangible. Make sure what you offer is something you feel comfortable doing, have time for, and works with the other person’s schedule. These offerings do not need to be grand or long-term; simple gestures can be very helpful and meaningful.
“I am going to the store. I can pick up your groceries and drop them off today, or whenever works for you.”
“I’m free Monday and Thursday afternoons to sit with your loved one so you can take time for yourself (e.g. shower, go for a walk, get a haircut, read a book, etc.). Does one of those days work for you?”
By offering concrete and practical care, we assure those in need are seen, thought of, and supported.