Upcoming March 1 to 7

This Week in First Church:

– Sunday, following the service – Choir practice

– Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. – Bible study, at Lalaine’s home

– Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. – WMS will meet

– Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. – Worship Committee meeting

– Thursday, 1:30 p.m. – Prayer Time, at Pat Mullins’ apartment

Coming Up:

– Sunday, 8 March – Daylight Saving Time begins

– Sunday, 8 March – Deadline for submissions for the March Newsletter

– Sunday, 29 March – Communion Sunday

The Christian Year – March 1 is the first Sunday in Lent, which is the fourth of the six seasons of the Christian year.  Lent is a season of preparation for Easter.  Like Advent, it is a penitential season in advance of a major festival.  It is a time for us to take stock of our lives, and to get our lives back on track by renewing our commitment to God and to living in his ways.  All of us easily get into bad habits, and Lent is a time to work at recognizing and breaking those habits, and establishing good ones instead.

The season of Lent originated in the early centuries of church history as a time when new converts, mainly adults, were given their final instruction in the Christian faith, in preparation for their baptism on Easter Sunday.  By the Middle Ages, however, it had evolved into a solemn season of penitence and fasting for all Christians, inspired by Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and being tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4.1-11 and parallels).  The length of Lent was therefore set at 40 days (not including Sundays, however, since Sunday, the weekly celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, could not be a day of fasting).  Lent therefore always begins on a Wednesday, 6½ weeks before Easter Sunday — Ash Wednesday.  Since the date of Easter changes from year to year, the date of Ash Wednesday also changes.  The final week of Lent is called Holy Week, and during that week we commemorate the events leading up to and including Jesus’ death on the cross.

The symbolic color for Lent, as for Advent, is purple, signifying preparation and penitence.  The color for Holy Week is red, symbolizing Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross.

Full announcements here

Upcoming Feb. 23 to 29

This Week in First Church:
– Sunday, following the service – Choir practice
– Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. – Bible study at Lalaine’s home
– Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. – Meal-in-a-Bowl Supper
– Thursday, 7:00 p.m. – Session meeting

Coming Up:
– Sunday, 8 March – Deadline for submissions for the March Newsletter

The Christian Year – Feb.23 is Transfiguration Sunday, the final Sunday of the Season after Epiphany. On this Sunday we commemorate Jesus’ transfiguration, recorded in Matthew 17.1-13, as well as in parallel passages in Mark and Luke. Like his baptism, Jesus’ transfiguration was an event in which Jesus’ true identity as the Son of God was briefly revealed. The color for Transfiguration Sunday is white, symbolizing joy and celebration, while the color for the rest of the Season after Epiphany is green, the color for ordinary time.


This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Season of Lent. Lent is the season in which we prepare ourselves for the festival of Easter, through repentance — that is, turning away from sin, and seeking renewal in our relationships with God and each other. The name “Ash” Wednesday comes from a traditional ritual called the “Imposition of Ashes”, in which ashes are placed on a person’s forehead in the shape of a cross, signifying the person’s penitence, and consciousness of his/her mortality. The seasonal color for Lent is purple, symbolizing preparation and repentance.

Interim Moderator – John Zondag was appointed interim moderator for Knox Church in Neepawa, effective the 1st of February. He will need to lead the service there next Sunday (1 March), and chair their Annual Meeting following the service. Raymond Reichelt will lead our service that Sunday.

Upcoming Feb 16 to 22

This Week in First Church:

  • Sunday, following the service – Choir practice
  • Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. – Bible study at Gwen’s home

Coming Up:

  • Wednesday, 26 February, 5:00 p.m. – Meal-in-a-Bowl Supper

Full announcements here

Upcoming Feb 2 – 8

This Week in First Church:

  • Sunday, following the service – Choir practice
  • Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. – Bible study at Gwen’s home
  • Wednesday, 1:30 pm –WMS. Please bring your issue of the November/ December “Glad Tidings”.

Coming Up:

  • Sunday, 9 February, 11:30 a.m. – Pot-luck lunch, followed by the Annual Meeting

Feb 2 is Presbyterian World Service and Development Sunday. PWS&D is the relief and development agency of our national church. It provides funding for emergency relief, as well as for longer-term development projects, the goal of which is to raise people’s standard of living in parts of the world where poverty is widespread. See the leaflet that we are distributing today for further information. Because of government regulations, PWS&D receives no funding from Presbyterians Sharing, and raises its funds separately. Donations to PWS&D can be made at any time during the year. There is a line for designating donations to PWS&D on your offering envelope. Last year, our congregation gave a total of $895 to PWS&D. Donations can also be made online, using your credit card; just go to www.WeRespond.ca and click on the “Donate” button at the top of the page. PWS&D has provided worship resources for today’s service, including the sermon, which were written by Andrea Perrett, a member of the committee that oversees the work of PWS&D.

Annual Report – The Annual Report has been sent to everyone for whom we have an e-mail address, and hard copies are available on the table at the back of the sanctuary for those who don’t have an e-mail address. Many thanks to all who contributed the individual reports; to Lisa Sneesby, who com-piled the Annual Report; and to Gwen Henwood, who printed the hard copies! Remember to bring your copy with you to the Annual Meeting next Sunday!

Annual Meeting – Our Annual Meeting will be held next Sunday (the 9th), following the service and a pot-luck lunch, and will start at about 12:15.

Full announcements here

Upcoming Jan. 26 – Feb. 1

This Week in First Church:

  • Sunday Jan. 26 – Deadline for submitting reports for the Annual Report
  • Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. – Bible study at Gwen’s home
  • Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. – Soup Kitchen Committee meeting
  • Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – Men’s Breakfast

Coming Up:

  • Sunday, 2 February – PWS&D Sunday
  • Sunday, 9 February, 11:30 a.m. – Pot-luck lunch, followed by the Annual Meeting

Congregational Meeting – Enough people were present last Sunday for us to go ahead with our congregational meeting, as planned. The outcome of the meeting was a convincing decision to proceed to apply to participate in the “New Beginnings” program for congregational renewal, providing we receive the 90% grant from the national church. The vote was 25 in favor and one opposed. The deadline for applying for the grant is the 15th of April, but our application must first be endorsed by the Presbytery, which meets on the 26th of February. In other words, it will take a while before we find out whether or not our application and grant request have been approved. Many thanks to all who participated in the meeting, and for a good discussion!

Annual Report – Jan. 26 is the deadline for submitting reports for the 2019 Annual Report. Please give or e-mail your report(s) to Lisa Sneesby (bsneesby@mymts.net). The Annual Meeting will be on Sunday, 9 February (two weeks from today), following the service and a pot-luck lunch, and we’d like to have the Annual Report ready for distribution next Sunday (the 2nd), so that everyone has time to read it prior to the meeting.

Syrian Refugee Update – Many of you will remember the Bakr family (Hasan, Sheren, Mohamed, Rana, and Hanaa), whom our local Refugee Coalition brought to Portage in November of 2016.
This is an invitation to you from the Bakr family on Sunday evening, February 2, at 7:00 at St. Mary’s Anglican Parish Hall (36 2nd Street SW), to experience Kurdish/Syrian entertainment and sweets, along with an update from the Bakr family, including the recent arrival of their first born, Abdul, and his family. The Bakrs will be sharing their experiences and hopes for the future. This is their means of having you over for a visit. Please know “the more the merrier” is not just a Canadian mindset. For further clarification please call Tirzah (204-871-2087), Owen (204-856-7040), or Paula (204-872-0533). Hope to see you there!

Prayer Calendars – Copies of the Prayer Calendar for February are ready to be picked up at the back of the sanctuary. Don’t forget your copy!

See the full announcements here

Update Jan. 19 to 25

This Week in First Church:

  • Sunday, following the service – Congregational meeting (details below)
  • Tuesday, 7:00 p.m. – Bible study at Gwen’s home
  • Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. – Meal-in-a-Bowl Supper
  • Thursday, 7:00 p.m. – Session meeting

Coming Up:

  • Sunday, 26 January – Deadline for submitting reports for the Annual Report
  • Sunday, 9 February, 11:30 a.m. – Pot-luck lunch, followed by the Annual Meeting

Congregational Meeting – The Session has called a congregational meeting for January 19, immediately following the service, to make a decision on whether to apply to take part in the “New Beginnings” program for congregational renewal. The way we have done ministry in the past is becoming increasingly ineffective in today’s world, and so we need to find a new way of doing ministry that is better suited to today’s environment. New Beginnings would lead us through a seven-step process of reflection and decision-making that would result in a renewed focus for the ministry of our congregation. Please note the following conditions: a) the vote will be done by ballot; b) there must be a 2/3 majority in favor in order to proceed with applying to take part in the program; and c) there must be at least 25 people (members and adherents) present, otherwise the meeting will be canceled, and the issue will be added to the agenda for the Annual Meeting (Sunday, 9 February). Please make sure to review the two-page information sheet that was distributed in November. If you have misplaced your copy and would like another one, a few extra copies have been set out on the table at the back.

Weekly Prayer Focus – For the past few years, it has been our tradition to pray for a particular issue or sit-uation in our Prayers of the People each Sunday, throughout an entire year. It’s time to decide what our weekly prayer focus for this year will be. Last year, we prayed for refugees. Whom or what will we pray for each week in 2020? If you have a suggestion, please speak to one of the elders, or to John. The Session will make a decision on this at its meeting this week.

Annual Report – It’s time to write the various reports for the Annual Report! If you are submitting a re-port, please get it to Lisa Sneesby (bsneesby@mymts.net) by next Sunday January 26th. The Annual Meeting will be on Sunday, 9 February, following the service and a pot-luck lunch, and we’d like to have the Annual Report ready for distribution the Sunday before, so that everyone has time to read it prior to the meet-ing.

Full announcements here