Congregational Meeting – A congregational meeting has been called for March 22, 2018, immediately following the service, to make a decision on a replacement heating system for the church basement. For the past 30 years we have had an in-floor hot-water heating system, which in the past year has begun leaking. The only way to repair it would be to dig up the entire floor, put in new pipes, and then pour a new concrete floor. The Finance & Maintenance Committee has instead obtained two estimates to install radiators in the basement, and to continue using the boiler we currently have (which was installed six or seven years ago). We are planning to apply for a grant from our national church’s Chisholm Fund.
Current Total: 92 Dolls
Our Comfort Dolls and caps are shipped to Compassionate Resource Warehouse where they are packed in Trauma Kits, Maternity Packs and other shipments to Third World countries. When unpacked they bring joy to many children. Thank You knitters!
March 11: Liftoff Evangelism Network
Imagine what it would be like if each congregation in The Presbyterian Church in Canada was intentional about equipping their members to share their faith and to invite others to experience the fullness of life in Christ. Supported by gifts to Presbyterians Sharing, Canadian Ministries is spearheading a program to turn this dream into a reality. In October 2017, five congregational leaders from across the country gathered to learn more about evangelism and to begin crafting the first stages of projects to take back to their congregations. These leaders will be supported through one-on-one coaching as they begin their work in evangelism over the next year. This meeting between leaders is a first step towards developing a network that will support a culture of evangelism in local congregations across Canada.
Presbyterians Sharing equips congregations for evangelism
The March newsletter is here.
Letter from the Moderator – As John reported after last year’s General Assembly, there is considerable discussion and debate within our church on the issue of human sexuality. There are those who want to see the church be accepting of people who are not exclusively heterosexual, and there are those who want to see the church maintain its traditional position. In reviewing past statements that the General Assembly has made on this issue, the Committee on Church Doctrine noted last year that, in a statement made in 1994, the Assembly had said the following: The church is called to be a welcoming, nurturing, loving, and supportive community, a true church family, where all are welcomed, nurtured, loved, and supported. Sadly, the Christian church has frequently shunned homosexuals, and failed to minister to them and with them. The church as a whole must repent of its homophobia and hypocrisy. All Christians, whether our sins are of the spirit or of the flesh, whether heterosexual or homosexual, need God’s forgiveness and mutual forgiveness as we pursue together the path of holy living.
The Doctrine Committee noted further that, since 1994, the General Assembly has never issued a statement “repenting of its homophobia and hypocrisy”, and that this still needed to be done. Accordingly, the 2017 Assembly instructed the moderator, the Rev. Peter Bush, to write a letter to this effect. That letter has now been written, and can be accessed online at www.presbyterian.ca. For those who don’t have access to the internet, printed copies are available from John. Responses to the letter can be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Investing in the future of our partner churches
Leadership Development grants are an investment in the future. In 2011, with support from Presbyterians Sharing, the Rev. Takuze Chitsulo from Malawi began to study at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. In 2016, he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy in Biblical Studies and one year later, he was appointed as the new Principal of Zomba Theological College in Blantyre, Malawi. The Rev. Dr. Chitsulo sees his appointment as an opportunity to give back to the Malawian community. In thanking the PCC, he said “You didn’t only educate me, but you taught the whole church in Malawi.”
Presbyterians Sharing invests in partnership
The Christian Year – Feb. 18 is the first Sunday in the Season of Lent, a season of preparation for the festival of Easter. Lent is a time to work at renewing our relationship with God, and our commitment to living in his ways. Some denominations emphasize the spiritual disciplines of prayer, alms giving (charitable giving), and fasting during Lent.
The season of Lent originated in the early church as a time when new converts were given their final instruction in the Christian faith, in preparation for their baptism at Easter. By the Middle Ages, Lent had evolved into a solemn season of penitence and fasting, inspired by Jesus’ forty days of fasting and being tempted in the wilderness (see Mark 1.12-13, and parallels). The length of Lent was thus set at forty days (not including Sundays, however, since Sunday, being the weekly celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, could not be a day of fasting). Lent therefore always begins on a Wednesday, called Ash Wednesday, 6½ weeks before Easter Sunday.
The final week of Lent is called Holy Week, and during that week, we commemorate the events of Jesus’ “passion” — his suffering and death in Jerusalem.
The symbolic color for Lent is purple, signifying preparation and penitence. The color for Holy Week is red, symbolizing Jesus’ blood, shed on the cross.
Annual Meeting – Our Annual Meeting will be held Feb. 11. We will have a pot-luck lunch following the service, and the meeting will begin after the lunch, between 12:15 and 12:30. A few hard copies of the Annual Report are set out at the back for those who don’t have e-mail. Those who do have e-mail should have received the Annual Report by e-mail last weekend. Many thanks to Lisa Sneesby for putting the Annual Report together, and to Gwen Henwood for printing the hard copies!
The Annual Report is here
PWS&D Sunday – Feb. 4 is Presbyterian World Service and Development Sunday, the day each year when we highlight the work of PWS&D, our national church’s relief and development agency. PWS&D provides funding for disaster relief as well as longer-term development projects, working through various ecumenical partners, including Action by Churches Together (“ACT” for short) and the Canadian Foodgrains Bank. Although PWS&D has a small staff at Church Offices in Toronto, it has no overseas staff; rather, it provides funding, through its partner agencies, for particular situations as they arise, or particular projects as funding is applied for. Due to government regulations, PWS&D receives no funding from Presbyterians Sharing, but raises its funds separately, through both regular givings and special appeals. Donations can be made to PWS&D at any time, using the “PWS&D” line on your offering envelope, or online at www.WeRespond.ca, using your credit card. Information on projects that PWS&D is funding also can be found at www.WeRespond.ca.