Fort McMurray Fire – PWS&D is accepting donations to assist evacuees from Fort McMurray, Alta. Donations can be made through our congregation — just write “Fort McMurray” on your envelope or the memo line of your cheque. Your donation will reach PWS&D faster, however, if you make your donation online, using your credit card. Go to PWS&D’s website, www.werespond.ca, and follow the “Donate” links. Make sure to specify that you want your donation to go to “Fort McMurray Fire”.
Making connections through music
For the past 19 years, Presbyterians Sharing has supported Brian Johnston, an English teacher at the Theological Seminary of the Hungarian Reformed Church in Cluj, Romania. Besides teaching, Brian has directed a choir made up of students from the seminary. In the words of choir member Emese Nagy: “It is great to feel how, in music, all the boundaries of the different languages and nationalities vanish. There is no more Hungarian-Romanian conflict, there is no ‘me’ and ‘the other’. There is just ‘us’ connected in beautiful harmony.” Brian will retire on May 31, 2016. We are grateful for his years of faithful and passionate service. Please pray for Brian as he begins the next stage of his life.
Presbyterians Sharing supports international mission staff
The May 2016 newsletter is here
May 22 is Trinity Sunday (the First Sunday after Pentecost), a festival that highlights the doctrine of the Trinity — the teaching that God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Actually, this doctrine (official church teaching) is not explicitly taught in scripture; in fact, the word “Trinity” itself is not found in the Bible at all. Rather, this doctrine evolved in the early church, through a long period of reflection and debate on the relationship between God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Church leaders held a variety of opinions on this question, much too complicated to explain in a couple of paragraphs!
In order to be faithful to the Old Testament, it was imperative that Christians continue to believe in the existence of only one God, not three separate Gods. And in order to be faithful to insights from the New Testament (particularly in the Gospel of John), it was necessary that Jesus and the Holy Spirit be regarded as part of God, not just as beings that God had created. Eventually, the doctrine of the Trinity emerged, the teaching that God is a “Trinity” consisting of three “persons”, the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. It was formulated gradually, in a series of church councils held in the cities of Nicaea (in the year 325), Constantinople (381), and Chalcedon (451). This understanding of God is unique to the Christian faith, and is still accepted by Christian churches of all denominations today.
The symbolic color for Trinity Sunday is white, signifying joy and celebration.
May 15 is Pentecost, is the fourth of the four main festivals of the Christian Year (the others being Christmas, Epiphany, and Easter). Pentecost was originally a Jewish festival, also called the “Festival of Weeks”, in which people offered to God the “first fruits” of their wheat harvest. “Pentecost” is actually a Greek word meaning “fiftieth”, since the Festival of Weeks was held on the 50th day after Passover. It was a festival for which all Jewish men were expected to travel to the temple in Jerusalem.
Pentecost is significant for Christians because it was on the Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection that the Holy Spirit was given to Jesus’ followers, as described in Acts 2.1-41. For us, Pentecost is the festival of the giving of the Holy Spirit; a commemoration of the day when the followers of Jesus were equipped to carry on his ministry, and when the church came of age. This was the first time that the Holy Spirit had been given to the whole community of God’s people, rather than just to select individuals.
In the Christian calendar, Pentecost is the 50th and final day of the Easter season. The symbolic color for Pentecost is red, signifying the “tongues of fire” which appeared to the followers of Jesus when the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 2.3).
Fort McMurray Fire – PWS&D is accepting donations to assist evacuees from Fort McMurray, Alta. Donations can be made through our congregation — just write “Fort McMurray” on your envelope or the memo line of your cheque. Your donation will reach PWS&D faster, however, if you make your donation online, using your credit card. Go to PWS&D’s website, www.werespond.ca, and follow the “Donate” links. They will ask you to specify that your donation is going to “Alberta Fires”.