Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to print the words to 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 to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.

Our worship service today has been partially taken from the 2021 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity Canadian resources:  Order of the Ecumenical Celebration


The giving of love is an education in itself.

~Eleanor Roosevelt


            It was one of those thought-for-the-day-calendars you find in your Christmas stocking. The sayings mostly were trite and pithy, but every so often there was a truth worth repeating, for example: “Decide what you want and what you are willing to exchange for it. Set your priorities and go to work.” In other words, if we’re serious, saying yes to one thing often requires saying no to something else.

            Jonah—after fleeing from the mission to which God was calling him (and three days and nights in the belly of the fish!)—now says “No!” to his former urges and “Yes!” to God as he sets out as God’s prophet to Nineveh. Paul invites us to say “No!” to trivial matters and “Yes!” to the things of God that have serious and eternal consequences. Jesus calls the disciples to say “No!” to their boats and nets and families and much of everything else they have known and to say “Yes!” to his “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

            We feel a kinship with Jonah’s situation, because he struggles. He runs away from God and only relents after a huge fish vomits him onto a distant shore. The call-response stories of Simon, Andrew, James, and John make it all seem so easy. One little word of invitation from Jesus and these men turn in an instant from fishers to disciples.

            But most of us live somewhere in the middle, not resisting God’s call with the vigor of Jonah but certainly responding more slowly and ambiguously than the disciples. So a question for today is: To what is God calling us to say “No!”? Remember, it’s not just the ugly stuff but often good things that must be denied for the sake of following Jesus. And then we must also ask in faith: To what is Jesus inviting us to say “Yes!”?


You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth:  glory to you!

We sing your praise in the midst of the world and among all peoples,

We sing your praise in the midst of creation and among all creatures.

You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth:  glory to you!

We sing your praise among suffering and tears,

We sing your praise among promises and achievements.

You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth:  glory to you!

We sing your praise in the places of conflict and misunderstanding;

We sing your praise in the places of encounter and reconciliation.

You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth:  glory to you!

We sing your praise in the midst of rifts and divisions,

We sing your praise in the midst of life and death, the birth of a new heaven and a new earth.

You who call us to be praise in the midst of the earth:  glory to you!

CHILDREN’S SONG   MV 113   Jesus Saw Them Fishing



Lord, you are the vine dresser who cares for us with love.  You call on us to see the beauty of each branch united to the vine, the beauty of each person.  And yet, too often the differences in others make us afraid.  We withdraw into ourselves.  Our trust in you is forsaken.  Enmity develops between us.  Come and direct our hearts toward you once again.  Grant us to live from your forgiveness so that we may be together and praise your name.  Amen.



We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


            When my sisters and I were children, we watched Sesame Street.  My favourite character was Kermit the Frog.  He was very funny.  So was Miss Piggy!  I recall Kermit singing a song on one of the episodes.  The first line was…”It’s not easy, being green.”

            If you haven’t noticed, I am wearing a green stole this Sunday.  When Jesus was born, the shepherds and angels told everyone that the Messiah of God, the anointed one of God, was finally here!   Another way to say it was that they REVEALED to the world that God, in the person of the child Jesus, was going to live as a human being.  The colour green is used on the Sundays we celebrate God coming to be in our world. 

            The word green can mean many things.  If someone begins a new job, the other workers might say that person is “green”, meaning they don’t know what they are doing and have to learn a whole new skill.  Or, when planning a city or town, the engineers will include “green space”, which means parks, so the people living there will have a place to walk, play and be in nature.  When we want to use products that don’t hurt the earth, we say we want to use products that are “green”. 

            The colour green is a colour that makes us think of everything that is alive and growing.  The baby Jesus grew up.  We don’t have a lot of stories about when he was a child, but we know he was born, and we know he grew to be an adult.   So, I guess we could say that not only was Jesus God’s son, he was also green!  Not green, like Kermit the frog, but green as in giving love and life to those around him – life, healing and wholeness.  Green, alive and growing.  That is us, living our faith.  Jesus, help us to keep following you and be faithful to you.  In your name we pray.  Amen.



Building a World Where Everyone Belongs:  Lynda’s Story


            Everyone belongs; that belief anchors our United Church. It’s why your Mission & Service gifts support gatherings of people who are left on the margins of society and support education events that help us learn what we can do about it.

             Disability is one aspect of social justice the United Church is working on. Did you know that one in five Canadians live with at least one disability? That’s 6.2 million people. Of these, 1.2 million can’t afford aids, devices, or prescription medications. People living with severe disabilities have half the income of those with none. Seniors are almost twice as likely to have a disability as people who are of working age.

            Disability is an issue that affects us all. That’s why the United Church partners with people from other denominations to raise awareness. People like Anglican disability activist Lynda Katsuno, who is widely considered a pioneer in the field.

            Lynda has lived with disability since she was in a car accident in 1973. At the time, she was a primary school teacher and loved her job working with children.

            After the accident, she wasn’t sure if she would be able to return to what she loved because the school wasn’t accessible. Lynda credits a committed principal and board of education superintendent for making the changes that would enable her to return to her job.

            “I became a disability activist when I realized it takes political will to change society for the better. Our community is made stronger when we include people with disabilities. If people with disabilities were fully welcome, the world would be a richer place. It would be a place where there is hope and no fear,” she says.

            Ideals of mutuality, inclusivity, and justice drive Lynda’s passion to make the world a better place for all. “I don’t want to be seen as a poor, pathetic person. I want to be seen as a child of God,” she says.

            Your generosity supports events and education that help create healthy, strong, welcoming communities inside and outside the church. Communities where no one is left out. Where we are all valued as children of God.

            Let’s build a world where everyone belongs. Make your Mission & Service gift for belonging today.



God of love, through Christ you said to us: “You did not choose me but I chose you”. You seek us, you invite us to receive your friendship and abide in it. Teach us to respond more deeply to this invitation, and grow in a life that is ever more complete.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Jonah 3:1-5, 10

The book of Jonah is a comedy starring a reluctant prophet who is given a one-sentence message: Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days. Much to Jonah’s dismay, the people of Nineveh repent. The point of the story is to get the reader to wrestle with the question “On whom should God have mercy?”

            1The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2“Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

            10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God’s mind was changed  about the calamity that God had said God would bring upon them; and the LORD did not do it.

Psalm 62:5-12

God alone is my rock and my salvation. (Ps. 62:6)

 5For God alone I wait in silence;
  truly, my hope is in God.
6God alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken.

 7In God is my deliverance and my honor;
  God is my strong rock and my refuge.
8Put your trust in God always, O people,
pour out your hearts before the one who is our refuge. R

 9Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath; those of low estate cannot be trusted.
  Placed on the scales together they weigh even less than a breath.
10Put no trust in extortion; in robbery take no empty pride;
though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.

 11God has spoken once, twice have I heard it,
  that power belongs to God.
12Steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord,
for you repay all according to their deeds. R

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31

Paul does not disapprove of marriage or other human social institutions. He does, however, want Christians to live in the present in fervent anticipation of God’s future, which even now has dawned through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

29Brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, 30and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, 31and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

Before Jesus calls his first disciples, he proclaims a message that becomes known as “the gospel” or good news from God. God is ready to rule our lives. Those who realize this will respond with repentance and faith.

14Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”
  16As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. 17And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” 18And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.





As a child, I liked fishing, yet I didn’t.  I liked to eat fish, yet I struggled with hurting the worm when I put it on the hook.  My dad would tell us “It doesn’t hurt the worm.”  Uh huh?!  Then WHY is it writhing?!  Even as a child, the pain of another creature was evident to me.

And then there was the killing of the fish.  That wasn’t pleasant for me either.  Maybe I was hypersensitive, but I wanted the fish to die quickly.  My great uncle used to beat the fish against the boat to kill it.  I found that too violent.  My dad would put the fish in a bucket of water, and by the next morning, they were dead.  But I knew, even as a child, that they had died slowly from a lack of oxygen.

Simon, Andrew, James and John were not the only ones to be told by God to fish for people.  Jonah was also fishing for people.  Unlike the previous four, Jonah was a reluctant fisher of people.  Unlike me, his concern wasn’t for the “fish”.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Jonah’s concern was that God would be merciful to the Ninevites, when all Jonah wanted was for God to wipe them out!  Still, God must have seen something in Jonah and made certain he got to Nineveh because when Jonah proclaimed God’s word, the people repented!  Scary, yet effective!

Speaking with colleagues, church members, friends and my synodical bishop, I would say that all of us for whom worship is a regular, important aspect of our faith life, are more than ready to get back to worshiping in person, even if we have to do it masked and distanced.  There is something about the corporate body, praying as a whole people, giving our praise with many voices, that feeds our souls.  Our connection with God is nurtured through our worship.  Our faith is strengthened and renewed so that we can go out the doors and share our faith, fishing for people, as God has called us to do.


What if God wants us to go out the doors and approach our enemy and proclaim the Good News to them?  It is easy to proclaim the Good News to nice people.  What if they are not so nice?

Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria.  Assyria was the enemy of the Israelites – and pretty much every other country.  The Assyrians were known for their violence and cruelty.  All who had been attacked by the Assyrians wanted them dead for that reason.  So it makes sense that Jonah would take offense that God would pardon Nineveh if the people repented.  How dare God be gracious to a people who killed, tortured and maimed so many! 

How dare God, indeed.

Fast forward to our naïve fisherfolk.  Something about Jesus has them leaping up to follow, totally disrespecting their elders and ignoring family.  They follow Jesus not having a clue what they will endure.  At least Jonah knew his enemy.  They were Gentiles.  The four would be hurt deeply by the betrayal of one of their own.

“Follow me”, says Jesus, “and I will make you fish for people.”

“Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.”, says God.  Notice that the word ‘please’ was never used.

To follow and proclaim are commands, they are expected of us, the followers of Christ.  Our opinion does not matter.  Our personal issues do not matter.  From observing poor old Zebedee in the boat, even our families do not matter!  How dare God make such demands and assumptions!

How dare God, indeed.

Jonah learned, as did the disciples, that we can follow and proclaim without questioning, in total faith and trust, because God is always with us.  God provides the words.  Jesus provides the means of grace.  Ours is but to follow and proclaim – whatever expression that takes.  Listen to the psalmist:  “God alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold, so that I shall never be shaken.”  “Put your trust in God always, O people, pour out your hearts before the one who is our refuge.” 

Through the power of the Holy Spirit, God will give you the strength to do what you are being called to do. That doesn’t mean we won’t run away from the call, like Jonah.  It doesn’t mean there won’t be struggles and pain, as the disciples experienced by the betrayal of Judas.  What it does mean is that you will have peace in your soul because you will follow the call from God and proclaim the Good News to the ones who need to hear it.  And God will have mercy, indeed.  Amen.

HYMN OF THE MONTH  With One Voice #648 Jesus, Come! For We Invite You



God of life, you have created every human being in your image and likeness. We sing your praise for the gift of our many cultures, expressions of faith, traditions and ethnicities. Grant us the courage always to stand against injustice and hatred based on race, class, gender, religion, and fear of those not like ourselves.

God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

            Merciful God, you have shown us in Christ that we are one in you. Teach us to use this gift in the world so that believers of all faiths in every country may be able to listen to each other and live in peace.

            God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

O Jesus, you came into the world and shared fully in our humanity. You know the hardships of life for

            people who suffer in so many different ways. May the Spirit of compassion move us to share our time, life and goods with all those in need.

God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

            Holy Spirit, you hear the fury of your wounded creation and the cries of those already suffering from climate change. Guide us toward new behaviours. May we learn to live in harmony as part of your creation.

God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

            We are called to be ministers of God’s healing and reconciling love. This work can only be fruitful when we abide in God, as branches of the true vine which is Jesus Christ. As we come closer to God we draw closer to one another.

            God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

For those lacking food or shelter, for those who are sick or grieving, and for those who are imprisoned or home bound.  We pray for our faith family, community members and friends, especially Mike Froese, Brooke Alexiuk, Tracy Skoglund, Carolyn, Douglas, Debbie, Dwayne; Nicole; Sandy Lange, Matthew Grossman, Gordon Fulford, Jennifer & family; Lorraine & Walter Pokrant; for all those infected with the corona virus, or whose loved ones have died because of it; that God console all who suffer.  Lord God, we give you thanks that Terry and Bill Howie have arrived at their new home safely,  have met some lovely people with whom they look forward to building friendships.

            God of peace, God of love, in you is our hope!

            Spirituality and solidarity are inseparably linked. Prayer and action belong together. When we abide in Christ, we receive the Spirit of courage and wisdom to act against all injustice and oppression. Pray and work that God may reign.  Throughout your day let the Word of God breathe life into work and rest. Maintain inner silence in all things so as to dwell in Christ.  Be filled with the spirit of the Beatitudes:  joy, simplicity, mercy.  Amen.




Be one, so that the world may believe!  Abide in Christ’s love, go into the world and bear the fruits of this love.

            May the God of hope fill us with all joy and all peace in faith, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

SENDING SONG  Voices United 507  Today We All Are Called To Be Disciples

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