December 2019


"JOY to the WORLD"

Finding the Light
I first became interested in photography in university, way back when we developed our film in a broom closet lit by a red bulb hanging from the ceiling and dried the black and white images on little clothes lines. I believed then that the best photographers always had the best conditions and therefore, the best photos. I believed that perfect light just followed them around everywhere and that they were never faced with difficult or dark places. What I didn't understand at the time was that - those photographers - didn’t always have the best circumstances. They FOUND the best circumstances, even when conditions were challenging. They knew that there was always light somewhere, they simply needed to find it. And so, they sought the light. They chased the light. And when all else failed, they became the light...creating the very thing they needed to illuminate the darkness.
There's something to be said about this kind of pursuit in life…
Because it’s easy to believe that the best moments come from the best conditions. It’s easy to believe that perfection must follow us around for our days to be bright. But despite our best efforts, we all know that isn’t how it works.
It’s important that we acknowledge the darkness. It can be a really hard and scary place sometimes, and sharing that experience often means that we don’t need to stand in that space all alone. But we also have to recognize that, if we’re not careful, it’s easy to get consumed by the darkness. It’s easy to let the shadows back us into a corner.
We are entering into an immensely beautiful and for some, deeply emotional, time of year.
It’s a season filled with joy and anticipation. A season filled with hope and celebration. A season filled with love and connection.
It's also a season filled with loneliness and sorrow. A season filled with pain and loss. A season filled with distance and conflict.
For some people, it will be a season filled with dark places.
But then there’s the light.
Even if it’s the tiniest sliver finding its way through the cracks of what feels like your broken story.
There is always the light.
My sincerest wish for all of us as we journey through the weeks ahead is that we keep our eyes towards the light and help others to do the same.
May we smile at strangers. May we keep our cool in the parking lot. May we show patience in the face of unruly holiday traffic.
May we honour each other's stories. May we be in this together. May we hold space for those who are struggling.
And may we always find the light.
May we seek the light. May we chase the light. And when all else fails…may we be the light.

Rev. Kathi
From the Chair of the Leadership Circle
A Reflection on JOY
Our theme for this Advent is “Imagine…Joy” and each Sunday we will focus on different aspects of joy: Hopeful Joy, Peaceful Joy, Unabashed Joy, and Loving Joy.
Every night before I fall asleep, I like to think about the “sparks of joy” that l experienced during the day. Often, I recall something from the natural world that made me stop for a moment to relish the beauty or intricacy of creation. Sometimes I recall something that filled me with warmth, like an unexpected phone call from my granddaughter or a pleasant encounter with a stranger. At other times, joy is exhilarating, as it was when I went with a friend to a concert celebrating Caribbean composers of spiritual music. It was pure joy to join in song with lyrics and rhythms I recognized from my youth. There are also nights when I have to think really hard to find that “spark of joy” and I may simply focus on something I am grateful for.
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown references the following quote by Adela Rogers St. Johns:
“Joy seems to me a step beyond happiness…Joy is
a light that fills you with Hope and Faith and Love”.
In the course on intercultural ministry offered by the Forum for Intercultural Leadership and Learning, there is a section entitled (the) “Joy of Unlearning Power and Privilege”. How might such an activity be an act of joy - an activity that often takes participants to uncomfortable places of self-reflection? How could such an exploration fill one with Hope and Faith and Love? I have had the opportunity to attend a number of these courses, both as a participant and as a facilitator. I have found deep joy in working with others towards a common goal. As participants (from different denominations and of varying identities) allow themselves to be vulnerable and open to each other, and to new learning and understanding, there is joy in knowing that others too, share the vision of a more equitable society and are willing to do the work needed to advance this vision.
So, with open hearts and minds, let us engage with the different facets of joy that Rev. Kathi will explore with us during the Sundays in Advent. May we find joy as we share of our bounty with others on Giving Sunday and by participating in the Christmas Hamper drive. Let it be an act of joy when we advocate for prisoners of conscience during the Amnesty International “Write for Rights” event after worship on December 8. May our hearts be joyful as we join in community with others in festive gatherings such as the Christmas Tea. And may joy extend throughout the coming year as we reflect on our power and privilege, our gifts and talents, and the ways we can contribute to a more caring and inclusive society.
A Blessed Advent and Christmas to all!

Dianne Hope
Chair, Leadership Circle

A hearty congratulations is extended to one of our own -  Dianne Hope.  Dianne is a very familiar face here at EMUC. She is currently chair of the Leadership Circle, sings in the church choir and is usually there wherever the need. She has played important roles in various committees here at EMUC as well as the greater community.  Dianne has been appointed to the Admission Board of the Board of Vocation for the United Church of Canada. In this role she will be part of the team that interviews ministers who wish to work for UCC. Dianne has a deep sense of fairness, openness and awareness. These attributes along with her considerable experience with intercultural relationships will serve her well as she takes on this important challenge. We wish her well.
Thanks to:
  • Ian Love for hanging the new memorial banners
  • David Brignall and Ian Love for mounting the new speaker covers
  • Brian Takayesu for the work he did on the new HVAC control program
  • All who donated coats and outerwear to the Deacon’s Cupboard
  • All those who donated Christmas trees for the “woodland theme”
  • All those who helped with the “Hanging of the Greens”
  • The Leadership Circle for providing and hosting the Stewardship Luncheon
  • David Leeder and Mike Ogilvie for organizing and running the Stewardship campaign and for keeping the congregation updated on its progress
  • All those who contributed food or helped with the Open Door dinner
  • Lorraine Moore for organizing the Open Door dinner
  • Len Feldman, Nancy Blackport, Sylvia Arnold, and Rev. Kathi for planning of the Peace Vesper service and for their contributions to the service
  • Sandy Hayes, Sue Ogilvie, and everyone who participated in the dedication of the memorial banners and in the Remembrance service
Life at EMUC
Dedication of the Memorial Banners
On Sunday, November 3 rd , All Saints Day, there was a special service to celebrate the lives of 10 people who have passed away over the past few years and to dedicate memorial banners in their honour. It was a very moving service. Each person’s life was presented and celebrated. Those remembered were Trevor Appleby, James H. Carrott, Lloyd Freel, Stephen J. Hedge, Grace V. Irvine, David Lee, Paul Nauss, Susan Nauss, Gregory Phillips and Frank Sims.
Peace Vespers

The evening of November 10 th , Remembrance Sunday, Len Feldman, our Music Director, presented a variety of jazz music including some of his own compositions, at a Peace Vespers service. He played “Over my Head”, an African-American spiritual; “Peace Piece” by Bill Evans; “Peace” by Horace Silver; “William and Eva” and “The Professors”, both his own music. Readings given by Nancy Blackport, Sylvia Arnold and Kathi Phillips were interspersed throughout the service.
A crowd of about forty people enjoyed the music and readings. Refreshments were served after the service. It was a very pleasant evening. 

Syrian Refugee Status

The Nadaff family settled into their apartment and elementary school well. Nadeem recently lost his job and is very actively job hunting. From his previous position he has good Canadian experience and references. We ask that you keep him and his family in your prayers during his job search.
The single man, Tarek, has moved to the same apartment building as the Nadaffs and is sharing his two bedroom apartment with another refugee. The arrangement is working well and has cut down his expenses. He is doing contract translation work, largely in the legal area. Please remember him in your prayers.
Formal support for our Syrian refugees is finally coming to an end. Barring any unforeseen events, our constituent group - comprising the congregations of Streetsville United, Erin Mills United, Erindale United and Eden United - will be discontinuing our support as of December 31st. We will continue to oversee the funding of an additional Syrian family until June 2020, but will not be actively funding this family.
Tarek and the Nadaff family are extremely grateful for all of the support that they have received since their arrival in Canada. On behalf of the Refugee Sponsorship Task Force; Hermine Bingham, Muriel Hamdani, Janet Morrison, and Debby Sturgeon, thank you to everyone for your financial donations and support over the past four years.
Striders Hike on November 10 th
A small group of Striders enjoyed the outdoors while leisurely hiking the Garnetwood and Fleetwood Parks. It was an easy walk with time to enjoy conversation and nature. 
Women for Women hosted Speaker, Anne Bokma

On November 22 nd , twenty-eight women met for dinner and a presentation by author and storyteller Anne Bokma. We enjoyed turkey pot pie, tourtieres, homemade vegetarian chili and salad. Delicious donated desserts were much appreciated. Anne then spoke to us about her new book, My Year of Living Spiritually . She described how the book came to be, based on her year of trying several different spiritual (but not necessarily religious) practices as well as reading a few selections from the book. It was a very enjoyable evening! Our next Women for Women event is scheduled for Friday, January 10, 2020. It will probably be a movie night at EMUC with hot chocolate and snacks.
W4W Anne Bokma
W4W Anne Bokma 4
Stewardship Luncheon
After the service on November 24 th , the Leadership Circle hosted a luncheon for the congregation. This was a thank you luncheon for the good response given by the congregation to the Stewardship Campaign. Thanks to all who support EMUC. After the luncheon many people stayed to help decorate the sanctuary for the Advent and Christmas season.
Hanging of the Greens
After the luncheon, lots of folks stayed to help decorate the church for the Christmas season.
Open Door Dinner

EMUC hosted and provided a meal at the Open Door on Thursday, November 28th. Thanks to Lorraine Moore for organizing the event, Gene Green, Mary Anna Williams, and Trish Campbell who helped preoare and serve, and to all those who donated food.
Upcoming Events
City Wide United Church Advent Service
Sunday, December 1, 2019
At 7:00 pm. at
Eden United Church
Mississauga, ON

The United Churches of Mississauga are holding
 a common candlelight service to begin Advent.
 Come and enjoy readings, special music and a mass choir!

Advent and Christmas 2019
 “Joy to the World”

Sunday Dec. 1    10 am. Advent 1 – “Imagine…Hopeful Joy”
Sunday Dec. 8    10 am. Advent 2 – “Imagine…Peaceful Joy”
"Giving Sunday" (Previously White Gift - donations of food, gift cards or cash are collected for those in need in our community)  
Wednesday Dec. 11  2 pm. Christmas Tea (all are invited for Christmas tea & desserts, conversation & carol singing)
Sunday Dec. 15   10 am. Advent 3 – “Imagine…Unabashed Joy”
                                  7 pm. Candlelight Carol Service & Reception
Wednesday Dec. 18   7:00 pm. “Longest Night - Hope & Healing Service and Communion” – for those struggling with loss in this Christmas season
Sunday Dec. 22    10 am. Advent 4 – “Imagine…Loving Joy”
             Christmas Eve.
Tuesday Dec. 24   “Imagine…Incarnate Joy”
                                 6:30 pm. Family Service
                                 9 pm. Candlelight Communion Service
Sunday Dec. 29    10 am. “Imagine…Compassionate Joy”
Written by Mora Cairns

The EMUC Christmas Tea is the first to unfold
Later gifts for the poor and clothes for the cold.
Pageants and the Choir singing their very best
Making our Holiday Season just fabulous.
The Christmas Tea has always been a treat.
Starting the Season off with a happy beat.
Holiday decorations make a festive spot.
The food is super - so that helps a lot.
This event is catered by one and all
Just make some cookies and have a ball.
Singing, recitations and a story or two
Start your Holiday spirits, so you won’t be blue.
EMUC is decorated with poinsettias galore
Even a few trees with lights stand by the door.
The candle light service is a blessing to behold
As the Choir sings hymns before we venture into the cold.
Mingling with the congregation is great fun
Getting to know them is where friendships have begun.
The church has many groups; you can see
Often one that would be interesting to you or me.
The true meaning of Christmas is just ahead
As we join the organist and follow what is said.
We all have a chance to pick our favorite hymn
As we think about Christmas and the winged cherubim.
After our Minister Kathi has communion and prayer
We leave the church in her gentle care.
Ready to enjoy our personal Christmas at home
With a large family, group or perhaps alone.
A Merry Christmas to one and all is our plan
Making this season joyous for woman and man.
Each child will be happy as the month unfolds
With wonderful traditions some new, some old.

A percentage of the gift cards we purchase through FUNDSCRIP is donated back to our church. This means that just by paying for your groceries and gas with gift cards, you can generate funds for our church on a monthly basis. You don’t have to change where you shop, what you buy and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Order forms for gift cards will be available the last Sunday of every month. The next order date is December 8th . Simply fill out the order form for the gift cards you would like to buy.