Reflection: March 22 – Lent 5

lent5There is a wisdom story that says that at the beginning of time, God resolved to hide within creation. As God was wondering how best to do this, the angels gathered around. ‘I want to hide myself in my creation’, God said. ‘I need to find a place that is not too easily discovered, for it is in the search for me that my people will grow in spirit and in understanding.’
‘Why don’t you hide yourself deep in their earth?’ the first angel suggested. God pondered for a while, then replied, ‘No. It will not be long before they learn how to mine the earth and discover all the treasures that it contains. They will discover me too quickly, and they will not have had enough time to do their growing.’
‘Why don’t you hide yourself on their moon?’ a second angel suggested. God thought about this idea for a while, and then replied, ‘No. It will take a little longer, but before too long they will learn how to fly through space. They will arrive on the moon and explore its secrets, and they will discover me too soon, before they have had enough time to do their growing.’

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Reflection: March 15 – Lent 4

lent4There’s a story about St. Peter standing at the Pearly Gates acting as gatekeeper. Peter’s job was to check to make sure that everyone who entered heaven merited being there. A man who had just died appeared at the gates. Peter began addressing his screening questions of the man checking off his long list of requirements before opening the gate to let the man into heaven. Just as the new recruit was being ushered through the gates he paused and said to Peter that he had expected Jesus to meet him at the gates of heaven. ‘Ah yes,’ Peter said, ‘about Jesus, he’s at the back of heaven helping people over the fence. 

The excerpt from the Gospel of John that we heard today is the conclusion of the story of Nicodemus who visited Jesus at night in the cover of darkness. Nicodemus was a Pharisee – a leader of the Jewish community – who wanted to know more about Jesus but did not want his peers to know about his interest and exploration of Jesus’ teachings. more —>

Reflection: March 8 – Lent 3

lent3The Reverend Billy Graham once told the story of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. After the boy gave him directions, Rev. Graham thanked him and earnestly said, ‘If you’ll come to the Baptist Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone where to find God.’ ‘I don’t think I’ll be there’ said the boy, ‘You don’t even know your way to the post office!’ more —>

Reflection: March 1– Lent 2

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Scripture: Mark 8:31-36

There once was a small plane with five passengers in it. Halfway to their destination, the engines started sputtering and failing. The pilot came out from behind the curtain wearing a parachute pack on his back. He said, ‘Friends, I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is that we have an engine failure and we’re going down. The good news is there are several parachutes here along the wall. The bad news is that there are five of you and only four parachute packs. You’ll have to work that out among yourselves.’ Then the pilot said, ‘I know you have many choices in air travel and so I’d like to thank you for choosing our airline and I wish you a very pleasant evening wherever your final destination may be.’ That said he jumped out of the plane.
A woman leaped up. ‘I am one of the most prominent brain surgeons in the northeast. My patients depend on me.’ She grabbed a parachute pack and jumped out. more —>

2014 Annual Congregational Meeting

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On February 22, 2015  Kimberley United Church held its Annual Congregational  Meeting. It was held in the Church Hall immediately following worship and was a “working luncheon”.

Diana Semenchuck, as Chair, opened the proceedings and Rev. Christine Dudley lead us in prayer:

Gracious God, We are grateful for the opportunity to review and celebrate the past year in the life and ministry of Kimberley United Church and to look with renewed vision, anticipation and faith-filled action to the year to come. 
As we begin our Annual meeting, we take time to offer our thanks to you, Holy One, for your steadfast love and presence.
We also give thanks for the diverse personalities and gifts present in our community of faith. We pray these differences will challenge us to listen carefully and with respect to one another in order that we may appreciate each other’s unique contribution to the ministry we share together.
As individuals, and as a community of faith, we struggle daily to understand and embody Christ’s teachings and way of living. May we, with the power of your love and grace, remember that all who are gathered here today are seeking to be faithful to our understanding of your desire for us as people of faith. Help us to be respectful of those whose opinions differ from our own and remind us to pause a moment, before we speak, to remember that you are listening.
May our hearts and minds be open to your guidance, this day, as we discuss matters that are of importance to us and to Christ’s church in our community. In Christ’s name we gather in loving service. Amen

The agenda was approved and all attending were granted voting privileges.

2014AGMReport4

Committee reports were presented as written in the 2014 KUC Annual Report.

  2014AGMReport6    2014AGMReport7    treasurer's report    2014AGMReport8

Louise Welsh gave the Treasurer’s Report noting that there was an alternate position regarding the M&S/Outreach budget item. See the “The budget challenge for 2015” in her report printed on pager 21 of the 2014 Annual Report.  After a thorough discussion on the motion to “approve the budget as presented or as accept the budget as amended”,  the congregation approved the budget as presented.

Trustees Graham Mann (Chair), Bill Bale, Linda Johnson, and Gerry Semenchuk were appointed by the congregation for 2015. Recognition was given to Terry Macham who has served as Chair of Property and Finance “for more years than you can count” and is now stepping down.

In closing the 2014 Annual Congregational Meeting Rev. Christine Dudley lead in prayer:

Gracious God,
We pray for your grace-filled guidance as we walk into the future as a community of faith; as witnesses of your abundant love.
As you reach out to us with your empowering presence we journey together in faith, uncertain what the future holds, assured of your steadfast and abiding love and purpose for us. We give thanks for the wisdom and guidance which is revealed to us in Jesus Christ. May we have the strength of conviction to follow his example and live our faith in the actions of our lives. We draw on Christ’s wisdom and his strength as we remember the prayer that he taught us to pray, saying…

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever…

Amen

2014AGMReport

 

 
 

 

Reflection – February 22, 2015 – Lent 1

Scripture: Mark 1:9-15 

lent 1There’s a wisdom story about a rabbi that asked God to give him a glimpse of what heaven and hell would be like.
God agreed to this request, and asked the prophet Elijah to be the rabbi’s guide on this adventure.
Elijah first led the rabbi into a large room. In the middle of the room was a fire with a big cooking pot bubbling away on it. And in the pot was a delicious stew.
All around the cooking pot sat a crowd of people. They each had a long-handled spoon, which they were dipping into the stew.
 But the people looked pale and thin and wretched. There was an icy stillness in the room. The handles of the spoons were so long that no one was able to get the lovely food into their mouth.
When the two visitors were back outside again, the rabbi asked Elijah what strange place this was. ‘That was hell,’ Elijah explained.
Then Elijah led the rabbi to a second room, which looked exactly like the first. In the middle, a fire was blazing and a cooking pot was bubbling away, full of the same delicious, aromatic stew. People sat around the fire, with the same long-handled spoons in their hands. But they were enjoying lively, animated conversations with each other. And the difference? Well, the people in the second room were not trying to feed themselves with the long-handled spoons. They were using the spoons to feed each other. “Ah, this is heaven,’ said the rabbi.
(One Hundred Wisdom Stories from Around the World, compiled by Margaret Silf, pg. 55, Pilgrim Press 2003)

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Reflection: Feb 1, 2015

Let us pause for a moment to acknowledge God’s presence and give thanks for God’s guidance as we journey together as people of faith:

Gracious God, 
accompany us on our journey
as we strive to be a community
where all are welcomed and no one is excluded,
all are valued and no one is made to feel inadequate,
all are forgiven and no one is ashamed to belong, 
all are encouraged and no one is too hurt to come among us.
Move us on our journey from where we are 
to where you want us to go,
guided and inspired by your love made known to the world
in the life and ministry of the one we call Christ,
in whose name we gather in worship and in service.
 (Eggs and Ashes, Wild Goose Publications, 2004, Ruth Harvey, pg. 109, adapted) more —>

Reflection: Jan 18

I’ll begin with a prayer of thanksgiving to God:

Gracious God, 
you who see us more completely than we know,
give us the capacity to see the beauty
in all people and all creation.
Enable us to trust the power 
of your transforming vision for our world, 
so we might be disciples of your love and justice.
Amen
              (Seasons of the Spirit, January 18, 2015)

John’s Gospel does not begin with a wondrous story of the birth of Jesus and a chorus of angels proclaiming good news. Instead, John begins with establishing that Jesus was with God from the beginning of creation and is revealed to humanity as God’s light and love embodied in the world. No one has seen God, John says, but God’s grace and truth can be seen and experienced in the life and ministry of Jesus “who is close to God’s heart and has made God known”. (John 1:18)   more —>

Reflection: December 21 – ADVENT 4

Scripture: Luke 1:26-55

advcandl4I’ll begin with a prayer of thanksgiving to God:

         Gracious God,
for the love you have shown in the gift of the Christ-child,
for ties that bind us together as holy family and community,
for the Christ-light which shines through your Spirit in us,
we thank you and we offer ourselves.
Turn all we have, all we are and will become,
into gifts for the world you so love.
Amen
      (Living the Christ Life, Mangan, Wyse and Farr, Wood Lake Books, 2001) more —>

Reflection: December 7 – ADVENT 2

advcandl2With words of wisdom from sacred scripture fresh in our minds we pause to open our hearts with words of blessing from Keri Wehlander: 

An invitation so unexpected,
a messenger so insistent,
we accepted, in spite of ourselves.
We arrive, and delight answers.
We are anointed with laughter
and clothed with wonder.
Joy is our banquet, and mercy our song.
Every heart is fragranced
by a dazzling, holy love.
Spirits are bathed and bright,
voices share glad tidings, good news.
We dance the steps of innocence and wisdom,
and love this life again.
These gifts so unexpected, a giver so insistent,
we accept, in spite of ourselves.
(Joy Is Our Banquet, by Keri K. Wehlander,
pgs. 79-80, The United Church Publishing House, 1996)  more —>