In this time of COVID-19, we pray:
When we aren't sure, God, help us be calm;
when information comes from all sides, correct and not,
help us to discern;
when fear makes it hard to breathe,
and anxiety seems to be the order of the day,
slow us down, God;
help us to reach out with our hearts, when we can't touch with our hands;
help us to be socially connected, when we have to be socially distant;
help us to love as perfectly as we can,
knowing that "perfect love casts out all fear."
For the doctors, we pray,
for the nurses, we pray,
for the technicians and the janitors and the
aides and the caregivers, we pray,
for the researchers and theorists,
the epidemiologists and investigators,
for those who are sick,
and those who are grieving, we pray,
for all who are affected, all around the world...
May we feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty,
clothe the naked and house those without homes;
may we walk with those who feel they are alone,
and may we do all that we can to heal the sick—
in spite of the epidemic,
in spite of the fear.
Help us, O God,
that we might help each other.
In the love of the Creator,
in the name of the Healer,
in the life of the Holy Spirit that is in all and with all, we pray.
May it be so.
- by the Right Rev. Richard Bott, Moderator United Church of Canada
An Invitation for this New Year
A Journey in the Spiritual Practice of Contemplative Prayer
About 6 years ago I had the opportunity to participate in ‘A Week of Guided Prayer’. For those of you who have not heard of this before, there is actually a Week of Guided Prayer Network that organizes intentional times of guided prayer at host churches and trains individuals to be companions to participants who sign up to participate for the week. The host church sets aside one week on the calendar when all other church activities (except Sunday worship) are suspended – so no meetings or gatherings or groups . . . the church dedicates the week as a week when the whole church is in prayer.
I was a participant in 2014 in the Week of Guided Prayer offered through Appleby United Church in Burlington, and I can say that it was a rich and revealing experience for me and it helped me to engage with scripture in a new way. The ‘guided prayer’ is based on the practice of Lectio Divina, which is a contemplative method of reading scripture that includes reading, meditation and prayer.
As we find ourselves starting off this year in lock-down, it is tempting to lament on our disconnection. However, we can also choose to embrace this time as a chance to grow in our spiritual practices and experience new ways of encountering and connecting with God. Contemplative prayer is ONE such practice. Of course there are many.
Over the weeks leading up to the beginning of Lent (which begins on February 17th), you will receive, each week, a scripture passage and instructions for praying and contemplating the scripture passage. It is my hope that you discover something new – a revelation – that will nurture you on your journey.
Below you will find instructions for Week #1 of this contemplative journey. May you be surprised by where God leads you.
Connecting with God – Week #1
Scripture passage: Ezekiel 34: 11-15
11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord.
Guide for Praying Scripture
Go to a quite space . . . quiet your mind, bod and spirit.
Read the scripture passage again and again, attending to the words, until you can hold it in your heart.
Ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and an awareness of the presence of Christ.
Ask for what you desire or need from God during this prayer period.
Engage the passage through imagination or meditation.
Use your imagination to picture the passage in detail.
Experience the setting by engaging all the senses . . . what do you see, hear, smell, feel, taste?
Put yourself into the passage as a person or a thing . . . there are no rules or should, you can be anyone, even Jesus.
Speak to others and let others speak to you. Be free to go beyond what is written.
Feel and notice whatever emotions emerge for you.
Listen to what God is saying to you.
Notice the words or phrases in the passage that stand out to you today.
Let the passage sink deeper and deeper into your heart.
Be aware of your feelings and notice any changes in them.
Experience, rather than analyze.
Let the passage stir your own experience, associations and memories.
Take your time . . . let your mind be relaxed and open.
Listen attentively to God speaking within you right now.
Remember that what is given to you is “the Word” for you for today!
Give thanks for God’s presence and for the blessings and challenges you received.
Reflect on your experience with this passage today.
Credit goes to Week of Guided Prayer Network of Hamilton Conference, 2006
2021 Offering Envelopes
Envelopes are now available. Please contact Mel in the Church Office to arrange pick up or delivery of your envelopes.
(PAR donors will not receive envelopes for 2021 unless requested).
Offerings and Donations
There are contact-free ways to send offerings and donations to the Church:
HAND DELIVER your offering or donation in the NEW LOCKABLE MAILBOX installed near the Hall Entrance to the Church. This entrance is well lit and maintained (snow and ice removal). The mailbox will be checked daily, but please let Mel know if depositing Cash so it can be retrieved promptly.
MAIL your donation to the Church office: PO Box 137, Innerkip, ON N0J 1M0
Enroll in PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance for automatic payment). Forms are available in the Church Hall or online. Complete the form and include a void cheque (credit card no longer accepted). Contact the Church office to arrange contact-free pick up or delivery and Mel will submit the forms:https://www.united-church.ca/community-faith/get-involved/give-regularly