Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to many of the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words of one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have the internet may find the songs on YouTube.

Parts of today’s service are taken from Earth Sunday Service: For the Love of Creation, from the United Church of Canada website:


“Legalism says God will love us if we change. The gospel says God will change us because He loves us.”

― Tullian Tchividjian


One translation for Jesus’ description of the Father in John 15:1 is “gardener” (NIV) rather than “vinegrower” (NRSV). So the concept of mutual abiding in John 15 may be imaged as a garden. Gardens play a major role in the Gospel of John. In the farewell discourse this image of the vine in the garden is the centerpiece; Jesus will be betrayed in a garden; and the resurrected Jesus will appear to Mary in a garden. For John the garden is a place to learn about the love of Christ, to contemplate suffering, and to encounter resurrection and new life.


We acknowledge we gather and worship on Treaty 1 Territory, the original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Anishininew, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.

We come before you this morning with our hearts full of love and concern for our community.   In Christ, we know that we are forgiven. In Jesus, we are a new creation, called to love each other as you love us, and called to act as God’s ambassadors of love and of reconciliation.  We ask you, Beloved, to pour out your Spirit upon us, upon our neighbours, upon our leaders, and upon those who have come to this place with hearts and minds eager to help. We lift up our prayers to you and look to receive your blessing.  Amen.


We are summoned here by our holy God,

who calls us each by name, and gathers us together in the unity of Jesus Christ. 

From home and community, from camps and classrooms,

we are called into God’s presence. 

Young and old and middle-aged, individuals and families, soft-spoken and outspoken,

we hear our names being called to join in worship. 

This house of worship is a place to pursue God’s vision for all people:

unity and joy and faith expressed through different gifts.  Let us worship together! 

GATHERING SONG:  Voices United #186:  Now The Green Blade Rises


Creator God, we hear your wilderness cry from the depth of our souls and long to answer. We seek you out in the silence and beauty of nature, in the sound of the birds, the rustling trees, the lapping water, and the crunching of branches. Our eyes and ears are opened to your presence in the newness of day, the brisk air, and the colours of the sunrise. Be with us in this time of storytelling and memories, guiding us along the forest’s edge into oneness with you.

~Written for Camping Sunday, 24, 2016.


     When a family member dies, people will bring food to the house.  Neighbours and friends know that the family is grieving the death of their loved one and are not focused on the preparation of food.  It is a way to show love for others – taking care of their need to eat. 

     When you read the stories about Jesus in the Bible, you will discover that many of them have food in them.  Jesus understood people’s hunger – not just the physical hunger of needing to put food in the stomach, he understood people’s spiritual hunger, their need for God.  Often those conversations took place around the dinner table.  Eating together relaxes people and makes it easier to talk. 

     As we look at ways we can tell people we love them without words, food is one of those ways.  Think of someone you know who may need a reminder that you care about them.  Then, invited them for a meal!  Bon Appetit!

MISSON AND SERVICE – Healing through Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful way to preserve and share history. The theatre performance, Bunk #7, does just that.

Bunk #7 shares the true story of six boys rioting against the mistreatment and many forms of abuse they received at Edmonton Indian Residential School in St. Albert, Alberta, in the early 1960s. Written by the late Nisga’a MLA Larry Guno, the play is based on his own experience at the residential school and named for his bunk number.

The cast features Indigenous youth and young adults, offering a powerful way for the cast and audiences to learn and share the story of cultural resilience. In November 2021, the play premiered at Raven Theatre in British Columbia to a full audience. With overwhelming support, the performers went on a tour of northwestern BC to share the transformative journey. Performances in fall 2023 were once again met with great support.

Your gifts to Mission and Service open opportunities for storytelling to move forward in an impactful and powerful way. Thank you for your generosity.


O Lord, your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. Give us grace to receive your truth in faith and love, and strength to follow on the path you set before us; through Jesus Christ.  Amen.


First Reading: Acts 8:26-40

Led by the Spirit, Philip encounters an Ethiopian official who is returning to his African home after having been to Jerusalem to worship. Philip uses their encounter to proclaim the gospel to him. Upon coming to faith in Jesus, he is baptized by Philip.

26An angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Get up and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a wilderness road.) 27So he got up and went. Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28and was returning home; seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over to this chariot and join it.” 30So Philip ran up to it and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah. He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to get in and sit beside him. 32Now the passage of the scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and like a lamb silent before its shearer, so he does not open

his mouth.

33In his humiliation justice was denied him.  Who can describe his generation?  For his life is taken away

from the earth.”

34The eunuch asked Philip, “About whom, may I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35Then Philip began to speak, and starting with this scripture, he proclaimed to him the good news about Jesus. 36As they were going along the road, they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water! What is to prevent me from being baptized?” 38He commanded the chariot to stop, and both of them, Philip and the eunuch, went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. 39When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he was passing through the region, he proclaimed the good news to all the towns until he came to Caesarea.

Psalm 22:25-31

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord. (Ps. 22:27)

25From you comes my praise in the great assembly; I will perform my vows in the sight of those who fear the Lord.
26The poor shall eat and be satisfied, let those who seek the Lord give praise! May your hearts live forever!
27All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; all the families of nations shall bow before God.
28For dominion belongs to the Lord, who rules over the nations. R
29Indeed, all who sleep in the earth shall bow down in worship; all who go down to the dust, though they be dead, shall kneel before the Lord.
30Their descendants shall serve the Lord, whom they shall proclaim to generations to come.
31They shall proclaim God’s deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying to them, “The Lord has acted!” R

Second Reading: 1 John 4:7-21

We love God and others because God first loved us. We cannot say we love God, whom we have not seen, while hating fellow Christians, whom we regularly see. Love toward God is to be matched by love toward others because the essence of God is love.

7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

13By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19We love because he first loved us. 20Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

Gospel: John 15:1-8

On the night of his arrest, Jesus taught his disciples about the relationship they would have with him. Those who abide in his word and love bear fruit, for apart from him, they can do nothing.

 1“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing. 6Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.”

HYMN:   Voices United #242:  Let All Things Now Living


     Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa, grows its own grapes and makes its own wine for communion services. Fencing is strung up so the pruned vines can grow in a horizontal line in order for the grapes to hang down for easy picking and better developed fruit. To look at the vines in winter time they resemble a crucifix, branches reaching out to the branches of the vines on either side. Those grape vines remind me of the church.

Pastor Samuel, from Cameroon, visited Canada and enjoyed the hospitality of the prairies. He spoke of the enthusiasm for the Gospel in his country. He spoke of the long distances walked in order to preach the gospel to a waiting, eager congregation. He spoke of the singing, the dancing in the aisles, the absolute joy of worshipping Jesus!

After hearing these stories one is left wondering what is wrong with the proclamation of the Gospel in Canada? Why are not the people of God waiting eagerly on Sunday morning to hear the word of the Lord? Where is the dancing in the aisles, the absolute joy expressed in worshipping Jesus? Is there something we, as Canadians, are doing wrong that our congregations lack the zeal of those in Cameroon? Let us examine our first reading and see if we can’t learn something.

What is the first thing Philip does when he comes upon the eunuch in the chariot? Run up to the chariot? No. That is the second action he takes. The first action Philip takes is to listen to the Spirit of Christ and obey what he hears. THEN he runs over and joins the eunuch who just happens to be reading from the book of Isaiah. Notice, upon listening to the voice of the Spirit, Philip becomes INVOLVED! He does not complain, give excuses as to why he can’t go, challenge the Spirit’s command, or ask to do something else instead. He listens and then he acts!

Once Philip catches up to the chariot, he then proceeds to ask a very important question: “Do you understand what you are reading?” What I appreciate about the eunuch is that he is honest. He does not fake intelligence, justify his inability to understand with a lack of education, become defensive and tell Philip, ” Of course I understand!” Rather, in very simple terms he states the truth. “How can I understand unless someone guides me?” Good point. Notice, Philip has received an invitation to teach, to proclaim, to guide. When we go out and proclaim, we are not always so fortunate. There have been, and will be, many who close their doors and their hearts to the Gospel and to us.

There are two ways to spread information and enthusiasm about one’s passions. The first is to live your passion, the second is to talk about it – especially on social media! There is no substitute for the first. You can put as many photos you want on Facebook, but they do not contain the energy, joy or love that one has for their faith, their passion.

I had a small taste of that joy for Jesus about which Pastor Samuel spoke when I visited my friend, Barb, in the Bahamas. The week I was there, her congregation was having a revival! Passion, singing, dancing in the aisles, absolute joy for Jesus! I was caught up in it all! It was wonderful! As the only white person in the sanctuary, I did us proud!  Did that enthusiasm translate to worship on the Canadian prairies? Not so much.

What Philip did was so simple–he opened his mouth and proclaimed the good news about Jesus. He began from the scripture, sitting in the chariot, not beating around the bush. He went straight to the things which concerned him the most. The eunuch was so moved by what he heard that at the first sign of water, he desired to be baptized. Wow. The Holy Spirit in action!

I have good news for you! The Holy Spirit is still acting, inspiring, calling and guiding! While the institution may be dying, and maybe its current expression needs to die, I do not believe Christianity is dead. Christ’s Church, the people of God, are still alive, still loving others, looking after their neighbours, stewarding creation. People are still listening to the Spirit and focusing on the lost, the curious, the fatigued, the suffering. We are to be little Christs to each other. Invite a conversation about Jesus. Let your joy flow! We have an awesome God! We have a wonderful Saviour! We are forgiven, loved unconditionally, embraced by God! Now that is exciting!

So, sing with gusto! Feel the joy! Celebrate your faith! And if it leads your feet to dance in the aisles, I say hallelujah and amen!

HYMN OF THE MONTH:  Voices United #563:  Jesus, You Have Come To The Lakeshore


Rejoicing that Jesus is risen and love has triumphed over fear, let us pray for the church, the world, and all those in need of good news.

We pray for the church around the world, for all ministers, and for the mission of the gospel. Keep all the newly baptized and confirmed in your care. Cleanse our hearts with your word and help us to abide in you always. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For the well-being of the earth and of all created things: for rivers and lakes, streams and estuaries, melting glaciers and polluted waters. Renew the face of the earth and shower us with your goodness. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For the nations and all those in authority: for local, provincial, and national leaders, for elected representatives at every level, and for international organizations, that justice and peace may reign. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For all those in need: for any experiencing homelessness or unemployment, for those fleeing from oppression or seeking asylum, and for all who are ill or suffering. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

For this congregation: for the caring ministries of this faith community, for all who visit and minister to one another, and for all who seek to share your love with the world. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

With thanksgiving for the saints who rest from their labors. Help us, like them, to bear much fruit and to become your disciples, and at the last, bring us to that heavenly banquet where all will feast together at your table. God of grace,

hear our prayer.

Into your hands, most merciful God, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your abiding love; through Jesus Christ, our resurrected and living Lord.



SENDING SONG:  Voices United #288:  Great Is Thy Faithfulness


Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

The God of resurrection power, the Christ of unending joy, and the Spirit of Easter hope ☩ bless you now and always.




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