DH Update 10, Epiphany Week 4 Wed. February 1, 2023
Wednesday Meditation (Malachi 3:1)
See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight--indeed, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
Whenever I think about the future, I wonder what God has in store for God's people in Niagara Falls. Will God’s future involve us at Drummond Hill or Christians in a new way or will God continue to find ways to recreate the world without any churches?This is a very important question not only for us, but also all Christians. Sometimes, we think that what we do automatically is part of God’s mission on earth. We forget that Pharisees who argued that because they studied and followed the Bible they were safe as God’s people. We know how mistaken they were.
God’s time flows according to God’s will. Our task is to participate in God’s mission today through Christ’s ministry. We have been doing this in a number of different ways. Marvellous thing about Christ’s ministry is that we are taken to places where we often do not wish to go. That is God is always coming in the present and we are to meet him at the very place of humanity where God chooses to come to us.
I have been surprised by what God has been doing with us. In the past three months, God opened our arms to welcome people from Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Peru, Nigeria, Angola, Malawi, India and Western Canada. It has been a wonderful experience to share worship together and enjoy each other. Each Sunday we are blessed with these brothers and sisters in ways that we have never imagined.
God coming to us! What a concept! We meet God as we welcome our family from afar. You might wonder what I am talking about. My reminder to you is that all those who were and are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit belong with us as members of Christ’s family. Remember how Jesus told the strangers, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3:35)
In Christ’s ministry we are called to share as members of the family (one another) of Christ and the life Christ gave us in his death and resurrection. It is a wonderful blessing to be introduced to one another in this loving and welcoming community.
Helping the people of Ukraine
Some of you have asked if there is anything we can do for the people of Ukraine ever since the war brought horrifying tragedy to the people of Ukraine. In the beginning we heard from the mass media how so many people were stepping up and helping. As is the case in these humanitarian crises, we learn that help is most needed when all the outpouring of goodwill wanes as time goes on.
The war has continued on and soon it will be a year since the ordinary people of Ukraine fled for safety. Canada received many Ukrainian refugees. We have many of these Ukrainian families who have settled in the Niagara Region. Yet, most of us have not heard anything about them in Niagara Falls.
I have gotten in touch with a group of Ukrainian Canadians who have been working to help the refugees as well as the people of Ukraine. They have been working hard at St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Church in Niagara Falls, located on Sylvia Place. Yes, it is the church on the other side of Sylvia Place from Lundy’s Lane Museum and where the Farmer’s Market is.
Viktoria, who is mobilizing the help, told me that they are working hard to gather winter clothing at the moment. One batch of shipment will be sent in early February. She also explained that for those refugees who are settling in the Niagara Region, they are providing many small things as they settle in.
The Reaching Out Group (Gail, Linda, Ruth and Sandy) is now asking that we will collect Winter and Spring clothes, toys, school supplies like notebooks and pencils and small appliances as part of our Lent Mission Project. If you are able to help, please bring them to the church and we will take them down to the Ukrainian church.
Clothing and socks will probably be sent to Ukraine. Some clothes (children’s included), toys, school supplies and gently used small appliances are for those who are settling in the Niagara Region. If you have new pillows to spare or sleeping mats, please bring them also. We are asking for “new” pillows, not ones that have been used for sanitary reasons. In terms of sleeping mats, we are thinking of those mats that we use for camping.
If you can help, please drop them off at the church. We are here Tuesday through Friday between 9 am and 12 pm. You can also call if you intend to bring them in the afternoon.
Lent Wednesdays Devotions and Fellowship
Initially we thought of re-starting the Lent Lunches. However, after thinking about it and trying to find the best way to share Lent Journeys, we have decided to change the way we do Lent Devotions. Starting on Ash Wednesday, February 22, we will start our Lent Wednesdays Devotion and Fellowship at 10:30 am.
This six week Lent Devotions and Fellowship will be a simpler affair. It will have a short devotion followed by fellowship. We will provide coffee, tea, juice, muffins, buns, etc. There will be freewill offerings instead of a set fee. We are very excited and are asking you to mark these dates on your calendar and come.
We will invite other churches. We are also asking you to invite your friends.
New faces and new experiences
Those of you who have been attending in the past three months have noticed that on Sunday, there are many unfamiliar faces on our pews. Most of them have come to us after having gone through many difficult journeys. As was indicated earlier, they are from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Malawi, Turkey, India and Peru. Some have come here to study in our colleges. Others have come to make a new home. We have been very blessed by their stories and presence.
On each Friday evening, as part of our Reaching Out Ministry, we do our best to provide a safe place for them to gather and build a new community. Those who are joining us are now numbering just under 20. Currently most of them do not have access to kitchens to cook their own meals. To this end, they come to share their time on Friday evenings. They take turns to cook home meals in our church kitchen and share time that will help them learn about being in Canada.
We have learned a lot about what their home countries are like. There are very interesting stories for each person to tell. We also have started to help them in a more personal way. A volunteer comes every day for now to teach a person from Turkey to learn English. We are going to start teaching everyone various skills to live in Canada as newcomers.
As we get to know more about each other, it is our plan to connect everyone together to find ways to share and help each other. We will share with you many things that will begin to start as part of this Reaching Out Ministry.