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 to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.

Parts of this service are taken from A Step Nearer to Harmony:  Worship Service for Asian Heritage Month, written by The Rev. MiYeon Kim who is ministry personnel at Edgerton-Paradise Valley Pastoral Charge in Northern Spirit Regional Council.


There is so much good in the worst of us,

And so much bad in the best of us,

That it hardly becomes any of us

To talk about the rest of us.


     The words of today’s gospel are most often heard during a funeral service. It is a popular choice of scripture for that occasion because the words provide wonderful assurance that the one who has died in Christ has now taken up residence in their heavenly home. The gospel begins by Jesus saying that he will prepare a place for each one of us. But as the text continues, we can see that our place is not an isolated room of our own in a giant heavenly mansion. Jesus’ words are less about a place than a relationship: our relationship with Jesus and God. They tell us that in Jesus we know all we need to know about God, and just as we can have a relationship with another human person, we can also have a relationship with God that will one day be as real and obvious as are our relationships with one another. The hope of one day being with Christ fully and forever is as real as the works we are called to do in his name today.

     This text allows us the opportunity to contemplate what is ultimately unknowable, yet is also a central part of our faith: what heaven will be like.


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

     O God, Great Spirit and Creator, we praise you for your gifts that surround us – For the gift of the land that gives us food, shelter and water; For the gift of the sun that gives warmth and light to all that grows; For the gifts of the moon and stars which you have arranged for your glory; For the gifts of language and culture, through which your peoples praise you, and share the most deeply held values you have engraved on their hearts.

      Jesus, gentle Saviour, forgiving and humble of heart, Good Shepherd, Divine Healer, Great Lover of all peoples: We offer you our sorrow for the wrongs committed against our First Nations’ children in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. We offer you our desire to walk with our First Nations brothers and sisters; to journey with them on the path of truth, healing and reconciliation. As we share this earthly pilgrimage to our heavenly homeland, where every tear will be wiped away and every sorrow will be turned to joy, we pray for all our relations.  Amen.


Wind is blowing from east, west, south, and north What is this wind?

This is the wind of justice and righteousness,

she reveals the sin that covers the earth and scatters oppressive powers like mere dust.

Ul-ssi-goo, joh ta!

This is the wind of life and breath of God,

she liberates the oppressed from their deep Han.

Let us sing for the day of Jubilee has arrived.

Ul-ssi-goo, joh ta!

This is the wind of peace, she makes us one in Christ and leads us to build harmony and peace.

Let us praise God the Holy Spirit, and come into her presence.  May we worship God in the Spirit and in truth. Amen.

     “Ul-ssi-goo, joh ta!” is Korean and used as a response of delight. It means “Hooray, it sounds great!”

     Han is a Korean concept of frozen and knotted feelings of despair, helplessness, fear, anger, and other negative feelings that have accumulated over a period of time and remained within a person or a group.



Gracious God, we are thankful to be here in your sanctuary. Please receive our worship and praise, and fill us with your joy.  Empower us with your great Spirit so that we walk together with our siblings, who are longing for your justice and peace. In Jesus ’name we pray. Amen.

MINUTE FOR MISSION:  2022 Mission & Service Results: Thank You!

     It is with immense gratitude that we thank everyone who contributed to Mission & Service and the work of the church in 2022. All told, the people of the United Church gave $24.5 million, including Mission & Service givings totalling $21.1 million, bequests and other planned gifts totaling $1.8 million, and over $1.5 million for the people of Ukraine. Mission & Service givings include direct gifts, congregational giving, special gifts, and support from the United Church Women.

     Together through Mission & Service we have

  • supported and trained lay and ordered leaders
  • strengthened communities of faith by contributing to programs that deepen the faith of lay leaders, youth, and young adults
  • facilitated healing and reconciliation with the Indigenous Church through The Healing Fund and the Justice and Reconciliation Fund
  • supported outreach ministries in Canada that offer shelter, food, companionship, and mental health supports
  • supported the work of our global partners by delivering food, water, shelter, health, education, employment training, counselling, and human rights advocacy

     Stories of the impact of your gifts can be found on this website and on YouTube. You can also get an update from one of our partners assisting Ukrainian refugees.

     We are so grateful for the overwhelming generosity of the people and friends of the United Church, particularly during a year of uncertainties and challenges. Our shared care, concern, prayers, generosity, and action in relation to the work we do together, our United Church Mission & Service, is a powerful expression of our faith. Thank you for your gifts.


     If I was to show you a picture of my grandpa Poulin as a young man, and a picture of my dad at the same age, you would say, “Wow!  Does your dad ever look like his dad!”  But wait, I’m not done…then I would add a picture of my sister, Kelly, at the same age and you would shout, “Wow, does she ever look like your dad!”  Yep! 

     So, do you look more like your dad, or your mom?  And why does any of this matter?

     It matters because not only do we resemble our parents in looks, we also resemble our parents in terms of our personalities and character.  What that means is we are taught how to relate to other people by our parents. 

     Most of us have parents who are kind, generous, respectful people who love God and teach their children to behave the same way.  Sadly, not all parents are like that. 

     That is where our faith family, the Church, comes in.  We are created by God and God wants us to live out the behaviour of God – to be loving, forgiving, kind, respectful, generous.  If we do not learn those things from our parents, then the people of God step up and show by example how to be God’s people in the world. 

     Are the people of God always loving, forgiving, kind and generous?  No.  AND, we remind each other to live as God wants us to live, and help each other to be the people God wants us to be.  That is what family is all about.  We are to love one another, respect one another, forgive one another, so that the rest of the world looks at the people of God and says, “I can tell they belong to God because of how they live and treat one another.  I can see Jesus in them.” 

     Yep, we may look different, but like the song says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”


Almighty God, through your only Son you overcame death and opened to us the light of eternity.  Enlighten our minds and kindle our hearts with the presence of your Spirit, that we may hear your words of comfort and challenge in the reading of the scriptures, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


First Reading: Acts 7:55-60

Stephen was one of the seven men chosen by the apostles to serve tables so that the apostles could be free to serve the word (Acts 6:1-6). Stephen does more than distribute food, however. For his preaching of God’s word, he becomes the first martyr of the faith.

55Filled with the Holy Spirit,  gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

Psalm 31:1-5, 15-16

1In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
2Incline your ear to me; make haste to deliver me.

3Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe, for you are my crag and my stronghold;

  for the sake of your name, lead me and guide me.

4Take me out of the net that they have secretly set for me, for you are my tower of strength. 

5Into your hands I commend my spirit, for you have redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth.

15My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those

        who persecute me.

16Let your face shine upon your servant; save me in your steadfast love.”

Second Reading: 1 Peter 2:2-10

Christ is the cornerstone of God’s saving work and the foundation of our lives. We are God’s chosen, holy people who continuously celebrate and declare the mercy of God we experience through Jesus Christ.

2Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation—3if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

4Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and 5like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For it stands in scripture:

 “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him

    will not be put to shame.”

7To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,” 8and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.”  They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

    9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 

    10Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.

Gospel: John 14:1-14

On the night that he is to be arrested, Jesus shares final words with his disciples. As the one through whom God is known, he promises to go before them and act on their behalf.

 1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
8Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” 9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. 12Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. 13I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

HYMN:  VU 663  My Faith Looks Up To Thee


     During my third year in seminary, a male student from a neighbouring college began taking classes.  I did not have a lot of contact with him, but when I did, I realized very quickly that he did not like women in general, and me in particular. 

     One day he stopped me in the hallway and proceeded to reduce me from a person to an object of hatred.  He did it beautifully, quoting from scripture.

     How he managed this feat was by pulling verses of scripture out of their context and applying them to his own perception of women, thereby justifying, biblically, in his mind at least, his understanding that women were from the devil.

     I can’t speak to God’s feelings; I know that I am weary of being attacked by weaponized scripture.  Today’s gospel text contains a sentence that has been used for 2000 years to condemn Jewish people, non-Christians, and anyone else Christians don’t like, to hell, by Jesus’ own words, because they did not profess Christ.  It is time to put this sentence back into its context, correct the Greek, and focus on who Jesus is, rather than who he is not.

     We start with the understanding that these words of Jesus are not directed at us.  They were not written for this place and time, or we the people.  They were written for a first century community that was struggling to find its identity as a new faith community amid the oppressive and violent presence of Rome, and being confronted by their family and friends with abandoning their Jewish tradition.  This conversation in the gospel text had occurred decades previous to it being written down, and it was written down to remind the Johannine community that God had not abandoned them and their faith in Christ was solid.

     Moving on to the Greek…

     Unless you have tried to learn a dead language – and New Testament Greek is a dead language – you have no idea the struggles translators have, because not only were these words written thousands of years ago, in another place, in another context, they also held different meaning, in many cases, than how we understand them today. 

     An example:  I took a course in ancient Greek in my first year of university.  In that class was a young woman who was Greek.  She spoke Greek at home every day and she was struggling to pass the course.  Why; because of the distance of time and context. She recognized the words, but they had a different concept than her current understanding of the word.  The modern word for bus, in ancient Greek, was translated “an object that carries people”.  While “bus” is a logical translation, there are many other objects in the 21st Century that carry people.  Any one of them could apply. 

   The New Testament Greek word, “Ioudaioi” is one such example.  Biblical scholar, David Ewart, writes the following: 

English translations of the Bible make a tragic mistake. The Greek word, “Ioudaioi,” translated as “Jews” actually means “Judeans.”

(Aside: There is no “j” in the Greek alphabet, so occasionally Greek words that use “i” are translated into English words that use “j.” And so, “Ioudaioi” becomes “Judeans.”)

“Judeans,” as in “From the region Judea in the south.”

“Judeans,” as in “From the region Judea in the south where the capital city Jerusalem is.”

“Judeans,” as in “From the region Judea in the south where the capital city Jerusalem and the Temple are.”

“Judeans,” as in “From the region Judea in the south where the capital city Jerusalem, the Temple, and the headquarters of the Roman Governor are.”

“Judeans,” as in “The elite with power, wealth, and privilege that is dependent on collaboration with the Roman occupiers.”[1]

Got his point?  Keep it in mind as we proceed.

     Jesus says to the disciples, “Believe in God, believe also in me.”  The Greek word that is translated “believe” can also be translated “trust”.  In the context of this passage, the word “trust” makes more sense.  Jesus is attempting to tell the disciples that he must head to Jerusalem and die, and that all is not lost. These disciples have been travelling around the countryside with Jesus and have witnessed many miracles over the course of about three years.  The context of this departure discourse makes more sense if Jesus is asking the disciples to “trust” their relationship with Jesus, “trust” what they have witnessed, “trust” the love they have experienced from Jesus, and “trust” that that same love will be with them even after his death.  As devout Hebrews, the disciples have been raised in the Jewish faith tradition to trust in God no matter what.  Jesus, the human embodiment of God, is asking no less.

     Also, Jesus is not asking them to trust “in” him, rather, he is asking them to trust “into” him.  Again, I quote Ewart:

(Aside: The NRSV translation of “believe in” would be better as “believe into.” That is, be bonded with Jesus; not “accept concepts about Jesus.” And “believe” is better translated as “trust” precisely because the underlying Greek word is more about a quality of relationship with Jesus than it is about ideas about Jesus.)[2]

Now the sentence reads:  “trust into God, trust also into me.”  Imagine being hugged by Jesus as you say these words.

     And now we come to the verse that has been used as ammunition by Christians against anyone who is not Christian:  John 14, verse 6:  “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Immediately the proof-texting is apparent.  This verse does not stand on its own.  It was never meant to stand on its own.  Let’s look at the context:  5Thomas said to , “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to , “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” I quote Rev. Carl Gregg

Jesus is answering Thomas’ question.  And Thomas’ question is not “Jesus, are all non-Christians going to hell?”… Jesus’ statement about being the way, the truth, and the life is a response to a question by Christians, and Jesus’ answer is directed to Christians and is about Christians.  Of course, Jesus’ followers wouldn’t have called themselves “Christians” yet; but, as we learn in the book of Acts, “The Way” was one of the earliest names for Christianity.[3]

Jesus is reminding Thomas of what he already knows.  He has seen Jesus include the outcast, forgive the unforgiven, love the unloved, heal the broken, resurrect the dead.  Jesus is telling Thomas that to live his life loving, forgiving, healing and including as Jesus did, he is living Jesus’ Way, proclaiming Jesus’ Truth, offering Jesus’ Life.  He is trusting into the love, the embrace, of a power that is greater than himself, a power that is begotten from pure love.  Rather than questioning what to do, Jesus is reminding Thomas, and the others, that with his love as their motivation, they will just do what the love of God is calling them to do.  It will be as natural as breathing.

     We have recently walked through Holy Week and Easter.  The issue behind Jesus’ death was his deliberate refusal to live the way of the Judeans, who collaborated with the Romans, the occupiers, who oppressed the people – ALL the people.  Jesus chose to walk the way of trusting into God.  What that means for us today is not, as some would have us believe, taking an arsenal of scripture and condemning non-Christians, or aggressively trying to convert non-believers.  Jesus words to Thomas, directed also to his intimate circle of friends, are as poignant to us today as they were to those in the upper room millennia ago.    We are beloved by God.  We are followers of Christ.  We have been shown the Jesus Way by those who have gone before us.  We trust that the Spirit of Christ will guide.  If there are any questions to ask ourselves, it is these:

     Am I living the Jesus truth?

     Am I living the Jesus way?

     Am I living the Jesus life?


HYMN OF THE MONTH:  MV 106  I Am The Dream


United in the hope and joy of the resurrection, let us pray for the church, the world, and all in need.

God of life, strengthen your church to proclaim your gospel even in times of trouble. As we remember Stephen, we give thanks for diaconal ministry. Bless all deacons and strengthen them for their bridge-building ministry between church and world. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Creating God, you show your steadfast love through mighty waters, towering mountains, verdant fields, and arid deserts. Protect the earth’s diverse habitats from the forces of pollution, erosion, extinction, and global warming. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Mighty God, your Spirit guides us into all truth. Give wisdom to world and local leaders and organizations as they begin, build, or renew relationships. Strengthen leaders and aid organizations in areas needing to be rebuilt following conflict, unrest, or natural disaster. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Loving God, you make your home among us. Abide with refugees, those experiencing homelessness, those fleeing war and poverty, and all who question if there is a home in your heart. We pray for all who are sick. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Assuring God, you accompany your people amid uncertainty and change. Uphold people in this community who have recently moved, changed jobs or schools, retired, or are going through transitions of any kind. Lead us in your ways. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Renewing God, you gather the saints at your heavenly banquet. We give you thanks for the care shown us by those who have gone before us. Grant confidence and comfort for all awaiting the place you have prepared. Hear us, O God.

Your mercy is great.

Rejoicing in the victory of Christ’s resurrection, we lift our prayers and praise to you, almighty and eternal God; through Jesus Christ, our risen Lord.



SENDING SONG:  VU 164  The Day of Resurrection


As you go from this place of sabbath rest, embody the good news!  Let people know the love of God, the peace of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS011617.
© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/byncsa/2.5/ca.
[1] David Ewart, www.holytextures.com.
[2] Ibid.
[3] https://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlgregg/2011/05/lectionary-commentary-%e2%80%9ca-progressive-christian-reading-of-john-146%e2%80%9d-for-sunday-may-22-2011/