PORT WALLIS UNITED CHURCH – CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTER 2022
Message from Our Minister….
“Have the angels started to sing yet?” was a question posed to me by a child. I thought that it was most profound. In the midst of the preparations, in the midst of the shopping, in the midst of the frantic pace of getting ready, “have the angels started to sing yet?”
Edmond Hamilton Sears wrote the line: “O hush the noise and cease your strife, to hear the angels sing.”
An important part of Advent and Christmas is being still and being silent.
Mary was in her home when the Angel Gabriel appeared and asked if she would bear God’s Son into the world. The shepherds were in the fields keeping watch over their flocks at night when the angels appeared. Zechariah was in the Temple preparing for worship.
In the Biblical Text, the angels don’t appear in the bustle and hustle of commerce, they don’t appear in the midst of conflict and argument, they don’t appear when a person is preoccupied with cleaning – these things crowd them out. But when the day is done, when there is time to reflect, when we are in the worship space – the angels appear.
The duty of the church is to make space for quiet times, to make space to escape the frantic pace of the world, to make space so we can hear the angels sing.
Christmas can be very challenging – pressure to buy, pressure to perform, pressure to please. In the midst of all this, God gives us a gift – a baby. A baby who must be cared for, who must be fed, who must be changed, who must be held, who must be rocked, who must be loved. A baby that demands all of our attention. A baby that takes a person away from raging parties, away from work schedules and away from your frantic pace and demands your full engagement. God gave us a baby so we would concentrate on what is important at Christmas.
As our attention becomes focused on the Baby Jesus, we start to hear the angels sing.
I wish for each of you a magical moment at Christmas. A moment of peace, a moment of tranquility and a moment of silence so you can hear the angels sing of peace on earth and good will to all.
Have the angels started to sing yet?
Have a blessed Advent and a Merry Christmas!
The Rev. Ivan Gregan, Minister of Port Wallis
Message from our Assisting Minister…
“ In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. “ (Luke 2: 8-9)
When you were a child didn’t you love to hear or read those beautiful stories that began with the words: “ Once upon a time “ ?
The stories of the first Christmas are only found in two Gospels: Matthew and Luke. There are good reasons for this, but we need not delve into the “Why?” in this Advent reflection. But I do want us to admit to ourselves that the question “Why?” comes up in our lives many, many times.
Why is there so much hate in the world? Why in this beautiful country of ours do so many children go hungry every morning? Why do we need so many food banks in a land with so much plenty? Why are there so many important issues that need reconciliation? The “Why?” questions seemingly never ending, and yet, it is very important that we not choose to ignore their reality. We surely know that they are not just going to go away on their own. There are no fairy tale answers to real life questions.
There is hardly a day goes by when we individually or collectively are not faced with living examples of personal tragedy. Acts of terrorism, natural disasters, world pandemics, accidents, life ending diagnosis. So often it all seems so senseless —- so pointless. Why did it happen? Why do such things happen?
Some will say: “Well, their time had come.” I can’t believe that!
Try telling that to a mother who just lost her baby.
Others will say: “It was God’s will.” I can’t buy into that either!
I don’t believe in a God who would purposely take a life.
Some will say: “God makes this happen in order to teach us how to live better lives, or how to bear suffering. Sorry, I personally can’t buy into
That either. I can’t believe in a God that is cruel.
So, you might ask: What do you believe?
I believe death, especially tragic deaths, like so many tragedies in life, is a great mystery. I don’t think it helps to try to explain it.
What does help, I think, is to find God in the mystery. When tragedies happen, and they do, we can so often become bitter, or broken, or helpless.
We need someone to stand with us in the mystery, and to feel surrounded by an even greater mystery— the mystery of God’s love and strength.
I don’t pretend to know the answers to even my own personal “Why”
questions, (and I confess I live with many such questions). I can share with you how over my many years in pastoral ministry, I have, and continue to marvel how, by God’s grace, people do endure such things and emerge wounded yet whole, not broken; with their faith strengthened, not shattered. I have learned that people can and do grow most at the very times their faith is most severely tested.
It’s the season of Advent once again. Another Christmas is on the horizon.
In whatever circumstance you find yourselves, keep the faith. Remember the eternal promise of an angel: “ Do not be afraid; for see— I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day a Savior, who is the Messiah, The Lord”. Listen closely and hear the sound of a newborn baby’s cry.
May Hope, Peace, Joy and Love come to you and yours this Christmas.
Rev. Blake Caldwell
|General Fund:||Actual to||Actual to||Budget to|
|Building & operating||46,870||41,387||44,621|
As at October 31 we have an excess of expenses over revenue of about $45,000 in our General Fund. This position is about $7,000 worse than at this time last year.
Our revenues are $8,000 higher so far this year. Offerings are down by $7,000 compared to last year, but our rental revenue is back now that activities can take place in the church and we have had higher memorial donations to the General Fund this year. We have had to cancel two fundraising dinners unfortunately but the turkey supper earlier this month was a success.
Our expenses are also higher this year – by $15,000. This is primarily due to increased heating oil costs, salary raises and sabbatical costs, and the lack of Federal Wage Subsidies that were in place last year due to Covid.
While this large loss position at this time of year sounds daunting, we are ahead of our deficit budget, and the bulk of our offerings tend to be received at Thanksgiving and Christmas – so the next three months will show more positive results. We expect to end the year with a deficit of about $16,000 – the key to improving upon this position will be the Christmas season offerings.
Our Mission and Service Fund offerings are $10,738 to the end of October which is in line with our target for the year.
Respectfully submitted, Laurie Quartermain
Seasons of Advent and Christmas ~ Worship Services
Advent 1 – Sunday, November 27th Hope
10:00 AM Worship with Communion
Advent 2 – Sunday, December 4th Peace
10:00 AM White Gift Service
7:00 PM Dartmouth Concert Band in the Sanctuary
Advent 3 – Sunday, December 11th Joy
10:00 AM Worship Service
2:30 PM Worship at Oakwood Terrace
7:00 PM Choir Cantata in the Sanctuary & Zoom – Please use the Sunday morning Webinar registration link to join us via Zoom. If you are not yet registered for our Virtual Services. Visit https://portwallisunitedchurch.ca/virtual to register.
Advent 4 – Sunday, December 18th Love
10:00 AM Worship Service – Communion
7:00 PM Celtic Christmas in the Sanctuary & Zoom – Please use the Sunday morning
Webinar registration link to join us via Zoom. If you are not yet registered for our
Virtual Services. Visit https://portwallisunitedchurch.ca/virtual to register.
Blue Christmas – Wednesday, December 21st
7:00 PM A few quiet minutes of reflection in the Sanctuary. During this Worship we
are held by God. This is a time to recognize that Christmas is not always a joyful
celebration for many.
Christmas Eve – Saturday, December 24th
4:00 PM Children’s Service in the Sanctuary
7:30 PM Family Service in the Sanctuary and via Zoom – Please use the Sunday
morning Webinar registration link to join us. If you are not yet registered for our
Virtual Services. Visit https://portwallisunitedchurch.ca/virtual to register.
11:00 PM Quiet Worship with Communion in the Sanctuary
Christmas Day – Sunday, December 25th
10:00 AM – Worship in the Sanctuary and via Zoom as our regular services on Sunday
WHITE GIFT: Great items for the White Gift Service are toiletries such as; toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, disposable razors. Socks, hats or toques, mittens, bus tickets, canned goods and other food items. If you offer a gift of money, please put your envelope number on it so you will receive a tax credit. Your contributions will go into the Benevolent Fund for dispersion throughout the year. Thank you for your support!
BAPTISMAL CLASS: Baptismal Class will be held at the Church on Saturday, December 3rd from 10 am-2:00 pm. If you are interested, please call the office to register (902-435-3644).