December 2017



  A time of waiting.  A time of anticipation.   The theme this year is:
What are YOU waiting for?

In This Issue
Embrace the Miracle

I once had a friend tell me that the problem with my life was that I was too optimistic for my own good. As he saw it, every time I got enthused about something that was yet to come, I was setting myself up for disappointment. All my built-up hopes could never be fully met by the reality of the way things were going to turn out.
I suppose he was right. There are definitely those days when I have made the mistake of focusing on expectations and having my happiness ride on them. My sense of success or accomplishment is often tempered by the knowledge that things didn't turn out exactly as I had planned.
I think it is especially easy to feel this way at Christmas. We often can put so much pressure on ourselves and others to make Christmas fit our vision of the ideal holiday that we can only end up burnt out and disappointed.
What do you do to avoid the expectations of a "perfect Christmas?"
Are you able to look beyond your expectations and recognize the invitation to be part of the miracle and the promise of Christ's birth?
Will you be able to let go of your disappointment at the lack of perfection in Christmas and be able to see the wonderful things happening all around you?
Or are you at risk of sitting outside it all, dressed in your disappointment? (I know it's comfortable, but you'd look so much better in a Christmas sweater!)
It is interesting that as we prepare for Christmas, through the season of Advent, the first Sunday of the preparation is always dark. The readings are about the end of time, the sky turning black. Some of us have experienced Christmas like this: it's not perfect. The right people don't show up or they do and then they don't do the right things...the meal goes all wrong...the gifts don't arrive...those people sat in your favourite spot in church (and they only come at Christmas and Easter!)...and all of a sudden it's the end of the world. Everything is spoiled. Christmas goes from sweet to bitter; from joy to stress...and everything is ruined!! (Time to start wrapping yourself in disappointment.)
Of course, the third week in Advent brings us an invitation from John the Baptist to "prepare the way of the Lord"; open ourselves up to the coming of Jesus; to God breaking into our regular routine lives. But we can't really hear or act on that invitation if we are still stuck in the dark "end of the world" feeling that comes with high expectations.
"Come on," says John, "let go of the darkness and prepare for the light...never mind what you thought might happen, look at what is happening!"
The fourth Sunday of Advent brings the story of Mary and the realization that this is all very personal; not abstract or happening to someone else. God is coming into your don't have to go searching, you only need to say "yes" - just like Mary.
But it is so hard to say "yes" when we are focused on what might have been, what should have been and what will never be because our expectations haven't been met.
It's stunning to see how real this little Advent drama is. It isn't something the Church dreamed up for something to do in December - it is a truthful, often accurate description of the human journey from dark to light; from disappointment to engagement; from confusion to discovery.
It is an invitation for each of us to let go of our expectations and embrace the miracle that is happening all around us. To let go of what we thought should happen at Christmas dinner and enjoy the pasta that is being served instead of turkey; enjoy the children who aren't acting like angels; embrace that person or moment that we didn't expect to come along this year. It is an invitation for us to let go of what we expect God to be or do in our lives, and open ourselves up to God breaking in to our lives in new ways; new traditions, new faces, and unexpected moments.
As we accept this invitation and let go of our devotion to our expectations, we just might find Christmas...we just might experience the presence of God...something entirely new just might be born to us, through us and deep inside us.
My prayer for you is just that...God's presence in new and unexpected packages...oh, and something cozy to wear, after all you won't need to wear your disappointment this year.

                                                          Rev. Kathi Phillips

From the Chair, Leadership Circle

Counting Your Blessings

The song lyrics from the recent White Christmas play I took part in, encouraged a young character who was sleepless and worried to "count her blessings instead of sheep".

Advent is the time of year that we are often encouraged to count our blessings and share our gifts, remembering those less fortunate who may struggle to get through this holiday season.  Many organizations provide food, services and care to those individuals and families that may need a helping hand and EMUC is no exception.  The generosity of this congregation warms my heart, and with outreach programs like the Christmas hampers we all have a chance to provide much needed help to our community.  We count our blessings and we give what we can in order to help spread the joy of this season to those who may find it difficult to remain joyful.  I thank all of you for your generosity and a special thanks goes out to those folks involved in organizing and distributing our donations.

I hope each of you can take time to count your blessings this season.  I count this church family and home as a blessing in my life and I look forward to the special events and services that take place in this season.  You are welcome and invited to join us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus through music and worship.
May your holiday be filled with peace, reflection and love.

                                        Joanne Hines, Leadership Circle Chair

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Thank you to:
  • David Thompson, Heather Nutbeem and Larry van Goozen for reading on Peace Sunday
  • Cathy Scattergood for providing pictures from her trip to France for the AV on Peace Sunday
  • Barbara Jennings for donating a new Christmas tree for the sanctuary
  • All those who brought decorations for our Christmas Tree to make our EMUC  tree a personal reflection of who we are!
  • All those who helped prepare decorations for Hanging of the Greens and to all those who stayed to help decorate the church
  • Paul Marot and David Leeder for their presentation on the cell towers and to Ian Thompson for his thorough investigation kick starting the project
  • Fred Shepley for his handiwork around the church building
  • Ian Love for the hours spent on arranging for the repairs to the cement work at the front entrance and to the elevator
  • The Leadership Circle for providing a soup luncheon for the congregation thanking them for their participation in the Stewardship Campaign
  • Cathy Scattergood, Cindy Young, Laura Macro, Patti King, Barbara Jennings, Deb Sturgeon and all who contributed desserts for the Women for Women meeting and activities.

Life at EMUC

Stewardship Program 2017 - AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

As of the end of November we have received three more commitments than last year with a total monetary value essentially the same.  It is too early to make an accurate projection of givings for 2018.  Early in January the final results for 2017 givings plus the results of the stewardship program will be used to arrive at projected revenues for 2018.

If you have not returned your commitment form, be assured that we are still accepting them.  The greater the response we receive, the more accurate our givings projection for 2018 will be.

It is with a heartfelt sense of gratitude that your Leadership Circle expresses its appreciation for your support.

                                                     Dave Leeder Treasurer &                                                                               Chair, Finance Committee

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              Building & Property Update - End of November 2017

Fall 2017 has been a busy time for us doing repairs to the EMUC building and property.  The EMUC is getting to that age, 25 years, when we need to undertake various repairs to ensure the integrity of the building and also to ensure the safety of various groups using the building. This has meant we had to undertake a significant number of major repairs by contractors, which has meant substantial costs during this period. The following provides a list of the major repairs that we undertook during this period, and the approx. costs, excluding HST:

1.     Raised the concrete sidewalk from the Collegeway to the parking lot at the south end of the building. This removed the tripping hazard and should defer having to replace the sidewalk concrete for about another 3 to 5 years. ($2,800)

  2.    Installed a new security system to control access to the EMUC office area and also the lower hallway area during the week for the various rental users. Based on feedback I have had from Peter and Sylvia, the system appears to be working well. ($4500)
3.    Removed the old ramp and installed a new concrete wheel chair ramp area from the parking lot to the side walk with a larger access area by removal of the some of the curb from the parking lot to the sidewalk. Also fixed the access from the sidewalk to the wheelchair ramp up to the front doors of the church. This should make it much easier and safer for those in wheel chairs to access the church building.

4.    Repaired the concrete stairs going up to the church doors in several places, filled in the openings between the stairs and the side walls and fixed the hand rail to the concrete. Again this has helped removed various safety concerns we had with people using the stairs up to the church.

5.    Filled in the gaps between the raised concrete side walk in 1. above and the existing curb using felt expansion material to remove the potential hazard of people getting stuck in the gap. ($9,500 for items 3,4, and 5)

6.    Completed last week all the repair work to the building lift to meet the safety upgrades specified by TSSA, the Ontario Government inspection agency for elevators and lifts. We expect TSSA inspector will complete his review of the lift the first week of December.  This should allow us to continue operating the lift for at least the next year. ($ 5,800)


7.    Signed the snow removal contract with the same contractor for the winter of 2017/18 period with no increase in cost from previous year.

We also performed lots of small repair jobs during the last 4 months and would like to thank everybody who helped get them done.  I would especially like to give a big "Thanks" to Fred Shepley, who has done great work repairing all the holes in the walls in the building and repainting them and making them look as good as new. Thanks Fred, keep up the good work!!!

This covers most of the large expensive repairs we need to undertake in 2017. There are other repairs we will need to do in 2018, but hopefully they should not as expensive as this year.

On behalf of the Building & Property team, I would like to wish everybody at EMUC a Merry Christmas and All the Best for the New Year.

Ian Love

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                       Deacon's Cupboard

                 Tremendous Response
On behalf of the guests of the Deacon's Cupboard,  thanks to all those who donated coats and winter clothing items. There was a tremendous response from EMUC.  You have helped many of those who visit the Deacon's Cupboard get ready to brace the winter weather.  As you prepare for Christmas keep the cupboard in your thoughts by donating food or making a special donation.
                                                                    Linda Leeder (Coordinator)  

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         Striders' November Hike

Sunday November 12th the Striders hiked in Port Credit and visited Vimy Park on Peace Sunday/ Remembrance Day. 

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Women for Women

Twenty-seven women from EMUC & the community met on Friday, November 24 for an evening of food & fun.  A pizza & salad dinner with scrumptious desserts (thanks to all who brought the desserts!) was followed by baking & decorating cookies & making Christmas ball ornaments.  Thanks to Barb Jennings & Patti King for preparing all of the dough, baking dozens of cookies to be decorated & getting all of the icing & decorations ready.  A huge job!  For the Christmas balls, we swirled, shook & twisted various colours of paint inside the balls to form beautiful designs.  Thank you also to those who brought in feminine hygiene products for the Deacon's Cupboard.  This initiative will continue at our next event.
Organizing an evening such as this one takes a lot of preparation.  We have a very small core group of dedicated women who put in a lot of time before, during & after each event to make it as successful as possible.  If you have enjoyed this event or any other Women for Women event & would like to get more involved, please contact Cathy Scattergood.  There are lots of opportunities, large & small, to help out one time or on an on-going or rotating basis.
                                                 Cathy Scattergood

Circle of Friends

On November 22nd, Circle of Friends celebrated its 15th anniversary.  The group was started by Marg Holder and Shirley Runia is also an original member.  Shirley was in attendance that day and pictures were sent to Margaret.  Thanks, Marg, for ensuring we didn't miss celebrating this milestone.



                                 Upcoming Events

Amnesty International "Write for Rights"

On Sunday, December 10, International Human Rights Day, please join the Interfaith Justice and Peace Building Committee following the morning service to write letters to defend individuals and communities who have risked everything to help others.

Come out to write letters to government officials on behalf of people like:
  • Clovis facing jail time in Madagascar for protecting the rainforest
  • Shackelia harassed for speaking out against police violence in Jamaica
  • Xhula murdered in Bangladesh for defending LGBTI rights and whose killers have still not been brought to justice.

There will also be petitions available to sign and you will also have the opportunity to send a card or greeting to those we are defending to let them know that they are not alone.  Our actions and letters do make a difference.

To learn more about Amnesty International and Write for Rights and to sign up for our event on December 10,  go to: 

                Submitted by : Debby Sturgeon

Advent 2017
Theme: What are YOU Waiting For?

Sunday Nov. 26     10 am. Advent 1 - 'Hope'
                                11:30 am. Hanging of the Greens
Sunday Dec. 3       10 am. Advent 2 - 'Peace'  & Communion                        
Sunday Dec. 10     10 am. Advent 3 - 'Joy'
                                & White Gift Giving (unwrapped donations of food,                                  gift cards or cash are collected for those in need in                                  our community)
Wednesday Dec. 13    2 pm. Christmas Tea (all are invited for                                                  Christmas tea & desserts, conversation & carol                                        singing)
Sunday Dec. 17     10 am. Advent 4 - 'Love'
                                7 pm. Candlelight Carol Service & reception
Wednesday Dec. 20    6:45 pm.  Service of Hope & Healing - a service                                    for those struggling with loss in this season of                                          celebration
  Christmas Eve.
Sunday Dec. 24     10 am.  Pageant & Family Service
                                  9 pm. Candlelight Communion Service

Comfort Kits

It's that time of year!    Time to gather up all those travel-sized personal care items from your various travels & bring them to the church for the comfort kits. 

Items will be sorted at the end of February & taken to the Open Door at Square One for distribution to their guests.  Items needed include:  soap, shampoo, toothpaste & toothbrushes, body lotion, tissues, disposable razors (for men & women), combs, deodorant, socks, feminine hygiene products, etc.  As well, we will collect SMALL, GENERIC gift bags for the items.      Please bring in your items starting in January.    See Cathy Scattergood for further information.


                                            Loaves & Dishes
Tourtieres and turkey pies which were ordered are ready for pick-up.  Once the current supply is sold, there will be nothing available until Loaves and Dishes starts cooking again in the new year, 

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Communique Dates for 2017


Editor: Janet Morrison    Layout: Barbara Jennings
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