Feature Article by Rev. Kathi
What's your Christmas morning waking up story? In our house we were supposed to wait until everyone was awake before going into the living room together. It was a real hardship when some of the family were up at 5am and others were sleepyheads.
My dad came up with a way of getting us all up with a smile: a recording of a silly song called "Chickens Crow at Midnight" (real vinyl in my childhood-these days it is a digital file on a phone). It had lots of banjo and fiddle and was guaranteed to get even the sleepiest in the house dancing and singing on Christmas morning.
"Waking Up" is an Advent theme. We never know where or when God might appear, so we need to be ready. We need to be awake.
You know the traditional ways of "waking up" in this season. The colours change. Out comes the colour purple or blue shadowing the Mystery to come. Wake up and watch.
Out comes the wreath, the evergreen circle, that reminds us that our endings herald beginnings and our beginnings call us once again to hope, to peace, to joy, to love. Wake up and wait.
We hear familiar scripture readings. We sing familiar carols. Our hearts are trained by such ordinary signs, yet there is no such thing as ordinary. Something new might happen because we aren't likely to be in the same soul-place we were this time last year. A word of scripture might break into our heart as never before. A line of a carol we've sung a million times might bring us close to Mystery like never before. It can happen in an instant.
Because Christmas calls us every year, we wait, we wonder, we watch.
Sometimes though, like Christmas morning sleepyheads, we need help waking up. We need something startling to rouse us. We need something astonishing to shift our consciousness. Advent invites us to keep all our senses tuned for the new, the extraordinary, the wonderful ways that Emmanuel, God-with-us, is present in our lives
From the Chair of the Leadership Circle
Join Us to "Share the Light"
Season's Greetings EMUC Family and Friends! Once again, we at Erin Mills United Church (EMUC) are preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Our sanctuary is decorated, special music and services are being prepared and folks are organizing the Christmas Hampers for distribution to families in our community. Our theme for Advent, the time of preparation for Christmas, is "Sharing the Light". Sharing the light of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love that radiate from the birth and life of Jesus. On each of the four Sundays of December we light a candle to symbolize these "gifts" and the service will focus on one of these elements of "The Light".
On Sunday, December 9th, we will light the Peace candle. Itis also "White Gift" Sunday. It is a time when we make special contributions of food and money to help those in our community who struggle to provide for their families and themselves. Following the service, the Interfaith, Justice and Peace Group will host an Amnesty International "Write for Rights" letter writing campaign in which we advocate for the release of prisoners of conscience.
On Wednesday, December 19th, EMUC will hold its annual Service of Hope and Healing at 7 pm. This is a quiet, contemplative service which seeks to bring comfort to those for whom the Christmas season is tinged with sadness, loneliness or other distress. And if you want a quiet space amidst the hustle and bustle of the season please join us as well.
These are but two of the special events taking place during Advent. Please refer to the Home page for a list of all the events and join with us as you desire. Many hands and many hearts go into preparing our Advent and Christmas activities. We are deeply grateful for these gifts of time and talent and extend a heartfelt thank you to all who contribute in this way. You are also invited to support the on-going ministry of EMUC with a special Christmas donation. This can be done through the Christmas Offering envelopes which are available at the church throughout the Christmas season.
In the Christmas story, humble shepherds, learned magi from far off places, animals and angels gathered around a manger with Mary and Joseph to welcome the baby Jesus. Whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, know that you are welcome to gather with us to once again celebrate God's gift of LOVE.
May your holiday be filled with Hope, Peace, Joy and Love,
Dianne Hope, Leadership Circle Chair
STEWARDSHIP 2018 - WIDEN THE CIRCLE
The Stewardship Luncheon was hosted by the Leadership Circle on November 25th. Thank you to all who have returned their stewardship forms.
It is not to late to do so! Place your completed form
in the box in the church foyer, leave it in the church office or mail it using the self- addressed envelope enclosed with your package. Our Envelope Secretary, Mike Ogilvie, will deal with your estimate in confidence.
With gratitude to God for all your gifts and your commitment to the work of your church.
- All those who helped with the Hanging of the Greens!
- Brian Takayesu for researching the purchase of our new projector and for proving support.
- A BIG thank-you to David Brignall, Tim Hayes and Gary Macro for carting all the boxes of leftover books from the garage sale to the central library.
- Sue Ogilvie and all the ladies of Loaves and Dishes for all the tourtieres, turkey pies and Shepherd's pies that have been made.
- Sylvia Arnold for organizing the Hanging of the Greens.
- Members of the Leadership Circle who provided and hosted the Stewardship Luncheon.
It is with sadness that we announce the death of
on Tuesday, November 20. He is mourned by his wife, Shelia, and their children, Shaun and Erica and their partners. There will be a
Celebration of Life service at Glen Oaks Funeral Home on Sunday, December 2nd, at 1:00 pm.
Life at EMUC
REFUGEE FUNDRAISING APPEAL UPDATE
EMUC's Target: $10 000
Raised to date: $6,870
As a member of the Northwest Mississauga Constituent Group, Erin Mills United Church has made a commitment to fully support our sponsored refugees for one year following their arrival in Canada.
In order to meet our commitment, a further $40,000 is required. The target for EMUC is $10,000.
Since the refugees we are sponsoring have been granted refugee status by the United Nations Refugee Agency,
all donations are eligible for charitable tax receipts. Envelopes are available at the church and cheques should be payable to Erin Mills United Church with the memo Refugee Sponsorship.
Your generous support, both financial and in kind, throughout the sponsorship are deeply appreciated.
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On Sunday, November 18th, the group enjoyed fresh air, exercise and community as they explored Cooksville Creek.
VOLUNTEERS for WORSHIP SERVICES
Every Sunday a number of volunteers participate in different roles before, during and after the service. If you are interested in volunteering as a Sunday morning Greeter and/or Usher or in another role, please talk with Sylvia Arnold or another member of the Worship Committee following the service. Volunteers are welcome, appreciated and always needed! The sign-up list for upcoming services is posted on the bulletin board closest to the Office door.
USEFUL TIPS for EMUC GREETERS & USHERS
This information was compiled from the "Company's Coming" Hospitality Session on November 3rd, 2018 that was presented by Halton Presbytery.
Greeters (please meet the Worship Coordinator by 9:30 - 9:40 am to receive instructions for greeting and during the service.
Then meet your partner [if there are two greeters] at the front door.)
Purpose - to provide a friendly welcome to congregants and newcomers/visitors as they enter the church.
- Wear your name tag.
- Make eye contact.
- Take the initiative and greet. Shake hands if you and/or the person feel comfortable.
- What to say? Make it personal - use the pronoun I. "I'm glad to see you. Thank you for coming."
- If there is a negative response or the person recounts a bad experience, say: "I'm so sorry that ________________ happened to you. I'm so glad that you are here!
- Address them by name if possible.
- What not to ask? "Are you new?" "Have I seen you before?" "Is this your first time?"
- Personal warmth - look like you enjoy welcoming people.
- Do not judge by appearances.
- Indicate the direction of the coat room and the washrooms.
- If they have children with them, depending on age, indicate the location of the 'Crying Room' and the 'Kid Zone'. By indicating the Crying Room, don't give the impression that we think that their children will be disruptive. It is available for use if they should need it. Brief instructions can be given.
(please meet the Worship Coordinator by 9:30 - 9:40 am to receive instructions for ushering and during the service. You will be joined by a partner [if there are two ushers]. Stand on either side of the main aisle by the Worship Coordinator's table.)
Purpose - to handout the Order of Service, PAR cards and other items required for the service as well as providing a friendly welcome to congregants and newcomers/visitors.
- Wear your name tag.
- Make eye contact.
- Address them by name if possible.
- Hand them an Order of Service (and any other item that may be used for the service). Ask them if they require a PAR card and if so give them one.
- If appropriate, ask them where they would like to sit. Encourage them to use seats closer to the front.
- Be prepared to answer questions about the location of the washrooms, the 'Crying Room' and the 'Kid Zone'.
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Women for Women
On Friday, November 23rd, sixteen women met for dinner (turkey pot pie, tourtiere, pasta, salad & desserts) and a
creative writing workshop led by our own Cathy Kiteley. As well, several of us took part in a Christmas cookie exchange. Cathy led us through a simple process to create a group poem based on our own memories of Christmas. One of the participants, Nora, said, "I really enjoyed the creative writing this evening. It brought back a lot of memories that I hadn't thought of for a long time.". Two of the poems are included here.
Our next Women for Women event will be on Friday, January 18th, 2019.
Looks like ... a patchwork of colours & textures
Sounds like ... the chatter of a thousand choral voices
Tastes like ... the best meal ever!
Smells like ... many flavours filling the room as we wait in anticipation
Feels like ... a room full of love & laughter
Looks like ... .a garden of colourful flowers
Sounds like ... a harmony of voices, laughing, whispering
Tastes like ... sweet kisses, delicious hugs, spicy conversations, plain & simple times together & a big pot of comfy stew
Smells like ... an array of fruits, veggies, sweets, sours, all different yet all food or ... family
Feels like ... comfort and love with sticky notes holding us together
Congregational Growth Committee Update
Over this year, 2018, a group of interested congregants have met 5-6 times with regards to much needed work to grow our congregation. This article is meant to inform you of what has gone on and what is happening at this point in time.
As part of the process of hiring our new minister, Rev. Kathi, a Joint Needs Assessment was completed and one recommendation was to form a Congregational Growth Committee. At that time, the then Chair of the Leadership Circle,
Joanne Hines, and the current chair,
Dianne Hope, agreed to lead this new committee.
The first activities focused on Children and Youth. Youth from past confirmation groups were consulted about what they would like from their church; however, many of these youth are now living away from home. Youth activities will need to start anew going forward. Involvement of children in the services was considered, resulting in the new EMU Kids' Zone which has been growing over the past few months.
Another activity was to ensure our church is a 'welcoming' church. To enhance our efforts, EMUC hosted the 'Company's Coming' workshop provided by Halton Presbytery. Many new ideas regarding welcoming and greeting people have already been implemented.
A full Congregational Growth Committee was struck in the spring. Several meetings were needed to discuss and clarify the mandate of the committee. Ideas were brainstormed; various themes emerged; resources were researched. It became clear that there are numerous activities which we can try, to engage the congregation both inside and outside our walls. Some of this work is done already in the focus circle of Membership and Pastoral Care.
The mandate of the Congregational Growth Committee is to 1) discern who we are as a church, 2) become clear on what we offer people in the community, and 3) know what makes us different from other churches i.e., determine why new people would choose EMUC as their church. It also became clear that EMUC needs to reach out to the community, develop relationships and partners to work with towards common goals.
Currently the committee is looking at various tools to help us discern who we are as a church. Input from the congregation is vital since it is YOU, the people, who are the church.
There will be lots of opportunity for the congregation to be involved in 2019 as we move forward with this important work. You will hear from the committee regularly as decisions are made.
In the meantime, think about who we are as a church and what God is calling us to do moving forward.
Congregational Growth Committee
ADVENT & CHRISTMAS EVENT DATES
Sunday December 2nd, 10 am - Advent 1 - 'Hope' & Communion
Sunday December 9th, 10 am - Advent 2 - 'Peace' & White Gift
Wednesday December 12th, 2 pm - Christmas Tea
Sunday December 16th, 10 am - Advent 3 - 'Joy'
7 pm - Candlelight Carol Service & Reception
Wednesday December 19th, 7 pm -
Service of Hope and Healing
Sunday December 23rd, 10 am -
Advent 4 - 'Love'
Monday December 24th, 6:30 pm - Christmas Eve Family Service
9 pm - Candlelight Communion Service
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CALLING ALL KNITTERS AND KNITTER WANNABES!
A Prayer Shawl ministry will be held in the church narthex the first Wednesday of every month. The next get-together is Wednesday, December 5th, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. The shawls will be given to EMUC members (and beyond) who are unable to attend due to being shut in, or ill, or who just need to feel wrapped in prayer from our church. All knitters, learners, or those who just want to chat are welcome. The Fall is the perfect time to get back to knitting, so dust off those needles, gather your extra yarn and plan to drop by.
If you have any questions please call Sandy Hayes @ 905 820 4437.
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AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL 'WRITE FOR RIGHTS'
The Interfaith Peace and Justice Committee will mark
International Human Rights Day on Sunday, December 9 with a "Write for Rights" event
in support of prisoners of conscience and victims of harassment and human rights abuses around the world. Join us immediately following the service to write letters to government officials, send a card or note of support to prisoners of conscience to remind them that they are not alone, or sign a petition. This year's cases focus on women's rights activists who are being persecuted for standing up for human rights. Copies of this year's cases are available in the narthex if you wish to prepare your letters ahead of time. Donations to cover the cost of postage will be gratefully received.
Sign up to participate on our public event page at:
For further information on this event speak to any member of the committee: Dianne Hope, Muriel Hamdani, Hilton Jeffers, Debby Sturgeon, Larry Van Goozen.
EMUC's Vision is to be a thriving Spirit-filled congregation;
diverse, inclusive, and engaged with the community
The Mission of EMUC is to offer opportunities for all persons
to experience the love of God through Jesus Christ.
Communiqué for 2018
Editor: Janet Morrison
Layout: Barbara Jennings