April 2019

God’s Gumball Machine
Nadia Bolz-Weber is a Lutheran minister and public theologian. She served as the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, a store front congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Denver, Colorado , until July 8, 2018. She is also a two-time New York Times bestselling author and travels extensively for speaking engagements.
Nadia is known for her unusual approach to reaching others through her church. Heavily tattooed , sometimes profane, always blunt; she is also very articulate about her love for worship and liturgy – two of my passions.

I had the pleasure of meeting Nadia a few years ago at an event in Chicago. On finding myself in the presence of one of my living inspirations, I completely “geeked out” – all I could do was smile and nod at her.
I want to share with you one of her recent thoughts on the nature of prayer:

“I used to think that prayer was like the quarter you put into God’s vending machine so the gumball you want will be released. Like prayer is handing God some wish list of everything you want, and if you’re a good little girl or boy, then Santa, or I mean God, would make sure that you get the present.

But now in my life, I mostly pray for my friends and family. And I pray for the pain and violence in this world. And I pray not to be an a******.
I can’t say I’m good at it. But I do what I can. Even though I’m not always sure how prayer works, I know that when someone says they’re praying for me, it matters in some way.
So, I’ve started to think that our prayer is less how we get what we want and more how God gets what God wants because prayer isn’t an individual sport. If anything, it’s more of a relay race. It’s what we do for each other and what we do for the world. When we pray, we hold ourselves and our loved ones and the world up to God. And then we pass it off to the next person to do the same. And these prayers, these times when we mindfully hold others in the presence of God, are like gossamer threads connecting us to God and God’s children. When we pray on another’s behalf, we become connected to that person through God. And we become connected to God through that person because maybe these silken threads of prayer which connect us to God and to one another and to our enemies are how God is stitching our broken humanity back together.

So, definitely pray without ceasing, because God has work to do.”

What does prayer mean for you? Is it as straightforward as “ask and you shall receive”? Is it something more complicated? I know that as my own concept of prayer continues to evolve and develop, I am very grateful for teachers like Nadia Bolz-Weber to lead me to new insights.

Rev. Kathi
From the Chair of the Leadership Circle
Easter Greetings EMUC Family and Friends,

Once again, we celebrate this most significant time in the church year. The combination of Spring and Easter fills us with hope as we witness signs of life renewed all around us – crocuses, daffodils, tulips, pushing their sturdy leaves up through the earth as it thaws; bird song delighting our ears; sunshine warming our faces and children laughing with glee as they splash in the puddles of melting snow. The changes in the natural world help us recognise the possibilities for new life symbolized by the Easter story – healing for our pain, justice for the marginalised, welcome for the rejected.

At EMUC we have many opportunities for reflection and worship during the season of Lent and when we participate in Holy Week activities. I particularly look forward to the time of quiet contemplation when I sit in solitude in the sanctuary during the Easter Vigil, and the Hot Cross Bun breakfast following the Good Friday service is a tradition enjoyed by all. Please join us for any or all of the special Lenten and Holy Week activities. These are detailed on our website under the Coming Events tab. I am truly thankful for the staff and volunteers who make these special events possible and for those who come out to participate. We are truly blessed as we work, worship and celebrate together.
I am also grateful for all your financial contributions. They are vital to sustaining our church and our outreach to the wider community.  I invite you to prayerfully consider making a special donation to EMUC during this Easter season. Easter envelopes are available at the church for these donations. If you are unable to join us in person during this season, donations can be made through our website, or by mail.

May this season be one of renewed hope, healing and sweet fellowship for you and yours,
Dianne Hope
Chair, Leadership Circle
Thanks to:

  • The Leadership Circle members who helped prepare the Annul Report and who helped at the Annual Congregational meeting
  • All those who helped out with the Vespers Service (contributed food for refreshments, helped with set up and clean up etc.)
  • Len Feldman for his arrangements for the Vespers music
  • Fred Shepley for “fixing” the back window sills
  • Everyone who contributed small toiletry items for the comfort kits, with special thanks to Georganne Vickery, Muriel Hamdami, Doreen Sims and Gene Green. We met March 7th and put together 51 gift bags (47 for women and 4 for men). Muriel and Lorraine delivered the comfort kits to the Open Door at Square One. A job well done.
  • Lorraine Moore for overseeing and organizing the assembly of the Comfort Kits
  • Larry van Goozen for organizing the Bunch for Lunch outings
  • All who have cleaned the church over the past weeks
Life at EMUC
 A Message from the Congregational Growth Team
Have you seen the giant cocoons hanging from the rafters in our worship space? They were crafted by Sylvia and Karen, members of our creative worship team. Many of us are curious to know what they will reveal on Easter morning. What are the possibilities? (Be sure to join us at our Easter service to find out what will be revealed.)

“Possibilities” have been a focus of our Congregational Growth Team. Using the book “The Power of Asset Mapping” by Luther K. Snow, a sub-group of the team has been working hard to develop an asset mapping activity for our congregation. This activity is based on the premise that working with gifts and strengths as opposed to deficits and needs, is a more powerful way to discern actions we can take to strengthen and grow our congregation. How can we harness our gifts and strengths to encourage others to join us to experience and share God’s love? How can we define ourselves so that others who resonate with our values and gifts are excited to join with us? What are the possibilities?

Last month, Cathy Kiteley, Patti King, Barb Jennings and Hilton Jeffers led the rest of the team (Kathy Andres, Joanne Hines, Dianne Hope and Rev. Kathi) through the interactive asset mapping activity they have developed. It was a most engaging and uplifting session. By the end of the evening we had been able to cluster our gifts around projects that reflected our values. Our little group was almost ready to say “Hey world these are our values; these are our gifts. Come, be in community with us. Come, share our journey.” 
Of course, the Congregational Growth Team is not the EMUC community.  We need input from the whole congregation to discern who we are as a body and what we have to share. That is the next step in our plan. First, we will conduct the asset mapping activity with the Leadership Circle and then with members of the congregation. Please join us when the invitation is issued. We need your input.

The Congregational Growth Team has chosen a path it hopes will re-energize us all, help us develop a “brand” that we can use to promote our church, and ultimately entice others to join us in fulfilling our unique part of God’s mission in our neighbourhood. Imagine the possibilities!

Dianne Hope
Co-chair, Congregational Growth Team
Baking with Oula

On Saturday, March 9 th , a few women met at the church with Oula Nadaff for an afternoon of baking and conversation. Oula is one of the refugees being sponsored by the Refugee Sponsorship Group, of which EMUC is a part. She demonstrated how to make baklava with a filling of chopped pistachios, and also brought some samples of other Syrian sweets she had made. It was an enjoyable opportunity to chat and spend some time together in an informal setting.
Jazz Vespers a Big Success!

On Mar. 31st approximately 60 people from EMUC and Applewood UC attended a Jazz Vesper service. The theme was "Darkness and Light". Len Feldman, Minister of Music at EMUC and Christina Melanie, Minister of Music at Applewood UC, played keyboards. Music by Joe Zawinul, Charlie Chaplin, Chick Corea, Billy Joel and Ray Charles was featured. Readings were given by Nancy Blackport, Rev. Joanne Hedge and Rev. Kathi Phillips. There was time for refreshments and conversation after the service. It was a lovely evening!
Upcoming Events
EMUC Striders - Spring Hike - April 7, 2019
Meadowvale Conservation Area - exploring more of the Credit River watershed with a 2.5 km walk along this stretch of the David Culham Trail.

Bring a bagged lunch to eat in the Narthex; car pooling will be available to leave the EMUC parking lot at 12:10. Return by 3:00.

Listen to podcast:
Worship for Holy Week and Easter at Erin Mills United
Everyone is invited to join us for all or some of our services! All are welcome!

Sunday, April 14 th at 10:00 am Palm Sunday

Experience the joy of the Palm Parade and
the passion of entering into Holy week.

Thursday, April 18 th starting at 6 pm to 7:30 pm Maundy Thursday

The church will be open from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm for anyone to drop in at their leisure and experience a “meditative style” service with Communion, remembering The Last Supper with Jesus.

Friday, April 19 th at 9:00 am Good Friday

Worship with readings, reflections, and special music. A hot cross bun breakfast follows the service with breakfast for everyone.

Sunday, April 20 th at 10:00 am Easter Sunday

Worship and Communion with the Easter Dance and special joyous music.

Easter Flowers:

Once again, the Worship Committee is taking orders for Easter flowers. Prices for the flowers are indicated on the envelopes, which are located on the back table outside the conference room. Orders will be taken from Sunday, March 17 th to Palm Sunday, April 14 th. .  The flowers will be used to decorate the church for Easter Sunday morning and anyone who wishes can take their flowers home after the service. Please note that we do not purchase lilies out of consideration for those who have scent allergies.

Easter Vigil:

The Easter Vigil is a longstanding tradition at Erin Mills United. Please sign up for one or more ‘one hour’ periods to spend time praying, reflecting, reading, meditating or just being quiet in God’s presence. Many people have found this to be a meaningful and spiritual experience. The Vigil will commence on Thursday, April 18 th at 9:00 pm and continues to Saturday, April 20 th  at 3:00 pm.

The last two years people were invited to sign up for an “overnight” vigil for either the Thursday or Friday night (starting at 11:00 pm to 7:00 am). Since this was a positive experience, you are once again invited to bring your sleeping bag and pillow for comfort.
Please sign up for time slots on the Vigil sheet located on the bulletin board outside the office door. Any questions can be directed to Sylvia Arnold.

Good Friday Hot Cross Bun Breakfast:

Following the Good Friday Service on April 19th, 9:00 am , the Worship Committee will host a hot cross bun breakfast. As well as hot cross buns, bagels, cheese, fruit and beverages will be served! Free-will donations to help cover the costs are welcome. Please join us! 

Bake Sale:

As we have done in the past, Easter breads and baking will be sold in the lower hall during the Hot Cross Bun breakfast.
Green Movie Night:

Join us on April 23rd at 7:00 pm for this informative film, ‘Just Eat It’, and presentation from Region of Peel Waste Department.  The film shows the amount of food wasted and why there is excess food produced. You will be surprised by the hurdles that food items go through, after leaving the farm before getting to the consumer. Bring your questions for Nazreen, a Technical Analyst at Environment Education Section of Peel Waste. She is coming to help us understand how our garbage is sorted and the cost involved when recycling items are contaminated. 
Suggested donation $10. adults, $5.00 children.  Refreshments will be service. Contact Mary Anna Williams if you can help this evening and/or supply cookies.  
Save the Date:

May 25th - Women for Women Retreat. More info to follow.

May 26th at 7:00 pm - Ontario Male Chorus Concert - tickets $20

May 31st - Spring Dinner celebrating Peter Kiteley's contributions to EMUC as Office Administrator as he launches into retirement. More info to follow.
Are you looking for an Easter gift giving idea?  Have a look at the catalogue from our own Mission and Service. There are twenty one Canadian, Indigenous Canadian and nine World ideas, large and small. Plus four back pages of past very popular ones. They cover many areas of need which could help change someone's life for the better. 
Ruth Noble preached at EMUC recently. She is part of the M&S arm of the church who produce this catalogue annually. The United Church and their partners continue to work hard to sustain one of our core mandates - hope and healing for others.  If you wish visit  to donate on line .   There are many needs in this world. Your donation will make a difference.  
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 April 28th . Simply fill out the order form for the gift cards you would like to buy.