June Reflection

Dear LRW family

Here we are in the middle of June and still struggling within the confines of COVID – we have now moved to Stage 2, but with many strings attached – Masks, when to use them; Gloves, do we need them?  Social Distancing – how does that work in our new “bubble”;  What’s Open – What’s Not;  No “Hugs”, Remember to Wash Your Hands Often.  These circumstances have brought families closer together in one way and yet separated in another way, have caused stress and anxiety as people deal with job losses and financial hardships, and the inability to socialize face to face for us all, but particularly for our vulnerable Seniors who may be
feeling isolated and fearful.  One thing for sure, this has brought about the importance of home life and family.

Our own congregation and community has suffered at the hand of COVID.  Family members who have been ill from the virus, those who continue to work in the hospital or homes and are “at risk” of the virus and those who have lost family because of the very severe costs of the virus.  Ian LeConte has very graciously permitted our sharing of pictures of his Dad, Howard LeConte, at Vision Nursing home.  First in early April they were able to visit outdoors and then later in April,  once the first case was confirmed at Vision, residents were confined to their rooms and visitation took place from the parking lot.   The sad effects  of isolation,  being unable to touch, hug and be with a loved one causes stress for both the elderly and family members.  Ian LeConte lost his Dad to COVID on May 16th at the age of 96.  We all send our condolences to Ian & Wendy’s family and Thank them for sharing this special time with us.

As you celebrate Fathers Day, thinking of those no longer with us and the Father’s in our midst, we give thanks that we have our memories and can still make memories with our families.

I have included a musical selection  – The Gaither’s  – “A Few Good Men”

Thank You to Rev. Marilyn for sharing a Father’s Day Reflection with us today.

As Father’s Day approaches on Sunday, I am reminded of all of the qualities that make our fathers so special to us.  I think about all of the many ways our fathers have imparted knowledge and values to us.  Some of those values are honesty, integrity, punctuality, giving everything we do our all, trying our best at whatever we undertake, assuming responsibility, caring for other humans, working hard, sharing what we have with others who have less, having faith and trusting in God.  As well as those values our fathers imparted the importance of having balance in our lives, the value of family, and having fun.  I remember my own father telling me that if he raised children to be contributing members of society, he had done his job.

            We generally look up to our fathers and respect them.  I used to think that there was nothing that my father didn’t know, until I got to high school and had the shocking realization that he didn’t know everything.  When I shared this startling revelation with him he was pleased that I was beginning to think for myself.

            When I think of fathers, I think about our Father God.  God is the ultimate example of what a father should strive to be for their children.  Above all else, God is loving.  Besides that, God is compassionate, caring for all of God’s creation, including every single one of us.  When we may feel abandoned by everyone else, God never abandons us.  God always understands what we are going through.  God knows our challenges and our struggles, and is there to guide us through those difficult times in our lives. 

            We are living in troubling times, with the Covid-19 pandemic still alive and infecting people.  We feel cautiously optimistic about the gradual reopening of a variety of businesses.  But I believe we need still be vigilant in our social distancing and hygiene.  The death of George Floyd has raised awareness of the continuing racism that exists in our world and protesters are marching all over the world.  Strange weather was reported in Calgary last weekend, with flash flooding and hail that broke windows in houses, cars and severely damaged siding on houses.  We are living in uncertain times.  There is economic uncertainty for many people because of the pandemic and people have lost their jobs, businesses are closing for good.  The news is filled with terrible images and stories of brutality of people against people.  Is this the world that God envisioned for us?  I don’t think so.  We need to get back to the basics, returning to a world where people believed in God and followed the Ten Commandments.  This is the world that we need now.  Our faith is more important to us now than ever. 

            This Father’s Day, let us be grateful for the men who raised us, who tried their best to pass on good values to us, and let us celebrate the fathers in the world who are now raising their own children.  Happy Father’s Day, and God bless you all.  “

This Sunday, we hope you will have the opportunity to share with your family in some way, to celebrate Fathers and one another.

In times of trouble, God will support us;

In times of weakness, God will be our strength;

In times of doubt, God will give us direction;

In times of loneliness, God will touch us with the friendship of others;

In times when we lack confidence, God will show us our worth;

In times of sadness, God will embrace us with love.

 

May we all find our spirit to share with one another through our actions of loving-kindness.

Blessings to All & Continue to be Safe.

Betty

 

 

 

 

 

July Reflection

Hi to our LRW family members                                                          July 10th, 2020

Well it looks and feels like summer is upon us.  I hope you are able to find a cool, restful spot to stay distanced and out of the newly opening community.  There are certainly lots more cars and folks out and about in the stores, the beach areas and just generally moving about.  We are urged to not become complacent but to remember to distance and wear a mask when you are unable to be 6’ apart.  It is still of time of vigilance.

We continue to invite and urge our members to join one of the many on-line worship services being offered.  There are various churches offering this throughout the summer and we hope you will take advantage of that worship time.  There are also some good radio spiritual messages on Sunday morning CHOK to provide inspiration.

A huge “Thank You” to those who helped with the curbside dinner – although it was hot, we managed quite nicely out of the lower basement and served up 272 meals.  Appreciation and Thanks to those who delivered meals – we had lots of good feedback on that and a Special Thank You to Gracie Turnbull and Nathan Knight – our runners – without them we old folks would have been pretty tired up and down those stairs. And we “Thank” you, the congregation for your support in ordering meals.   We do apologize to those who got very few or no potatoes – we will make sure that doesn’t happen again.  All in all it was a great success and we are already planning our next Curbside Beef Dinner – watch for more details.

Thanks to Jeff, who has gone back in time and pulled off some of our older music that was recorded during music Sundays and special occasions.  I’ve included one here from our Sunshine Quartet – “I Go To The Rock”   This has to be more than 25 years ago and the Sunshine Quartet out of LRW was made up of  Carol Monteith, Carol Ritchie, Mary Moore and Betty Allison with Ruby Blanchard on the Piano.

I hope you enjoy.

Just to keep you informed as to what is happening around LRW, the Search Team continues to meet, almost weekly and working towards providing ministerial personnel once we are open to worship services.

As you will know from the last correspondence, LRW will not open before September 1st, and only if it is deemed safe for our congregation and in a manner that will make sense for us.

Out next scheduled Official Board meeting will be August 10th at 6:30 via teleconference.

In the meantime, Our “Re-Opening” Committee, made up of Doug & Laurie Beatty, Mary Moore, Bill Moore and Jeff Searson will meet to discern the many rules and regulations in place, and changing weekly, for re-opening in a safe manner.

We “Thank You” for your continued financial support during this down time.

This week, the thought of the “Fruits of the Spirit” brought about thinking how we are doing during this time of COVID, not being out as much as we’d like, unable to do the things we used to do.  If we look at the 9 characteristics of “Fruits of the Spirit”, how are we doing in light of what is happening around us.

Take a few minutes to reflect upon the attributes listed and how each of us may measure up.

Every one of us needs an occasional visit to the doctor for a checkup to make sure everything is working alright and that we don’t have an unknown serious internal condition.

The same is true with our spiritual lives. As creatures of habit, we tend to go through life on autopilot. We often miss clues that indicate that our spirit is not enjoying the good health that God created it for.

In the same way that the doctor puts us through a battery of tests to diagnose potential physical problems, God has given us a process of evaluating spiritual problems in our lives.

Bible Verse for this week:    Galatians 5:22-23

            But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,

            goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Each of these is a characteristic of the Holy Spirit’s active presence in our daily activities. Let’s look at each one and ask some diagnostic questions to make sure we’re healthy.

  1. Love.  This word for love doesn’t refer to warm feelings but to a deliberate attitude of good will and devotion to others. Love gives freely without looking at whether the other person deserves it, and it gives without expecting anything back.

Question: Am I motivated to do for others as Christ has done for me, or am I giving in order to receive something in return?

  1. Joy.  Unlike happiness, joy is gladness that is completely independent of the good or bad things that happen in the course of the day. In fact, joy denotes a supernatural gladness given by God’s Spirit that actually seems to show up best during hard times. This is a product of fixing your focus on God’s purposes for the events in your life rather than on the circumstances.

Question: Am I experiencing a joy of life on a regular basis, or is my happiness dependent on things going smoothly in my day?

  1. Peace.  It’s not the absence of turmoil, but the presence of tranquility even while in a place of chaos. It is a sense of wholeness and completeness that is content knowing that God controls the events of the day.

Question: Do I find myself frazzled by the crashing waves of turmoil in my life, or am I experiencing “the peace that passes all comprehension” (Philippians 4:6-7)?

  1. Patience. Other words that describe this fruit are lenience, long-suffering, forbearance, perseverance, and steadfastness. It is the ability to endure ill treatment from life or at the hands of others without lashing out or paying back

Question: Am I easily set off when things go wrong or people irritate me, or am I able to keep a godly perspective in the face of life’s irritations?

  1. Kindness. When kindness is at work in a person’s life, he or she looks for ways to adapt to meet the needs of others. It is moral goodness that overflows. It’s also the absence of malice

Question: Is it my goal to serve others with kindness, or am I too focused on my own needs, desires, or problems to let the goodness of God overflow to others?

  1. Goodness. While kindness is the soft side of good, goodness reflects the character of God. Goodness in you desires to see goodness in others and is not beyond confronting or even rebuking (as Jesus did with the money changers in the temple) for that to happen.

Question: Does my life reflect the holiness of God, and do I desire to see others experience God at a deep level in their own lives?

  1. Faithfulness. A faithful person is one with real integrity. He or she is someone others can look to as an example, and someone who is truly devoted to others and to Christ. Our natural self always wants to be in charge, but Spirit-controlled faithfulness is evident in the life of a person who seeks good for others and glory for God.

Question: Are there areas of hypocrisy and indifference toward others in my life, or is my life characterized by faith in Christ and faithfulness to those around me?

  1. Gentleness.Meekness is not weakness. Gentleness is not without power, it just chooses to defer to others. It forgives others, corrects with kindness, and lives in tranquility

Question: Do I come across to others as brash and headstrong, or am I allowing the grace of God to flow through me to others?

  1. Self-control. Our fleshly desires, Scripture tells us, are continually at odds with God’s Spirit and always want to be in charge. Self-control is literally releasing our grip on the fleshly desires, choosing instead to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is power focused in the right place

Question: Are my fleshly desires controlling my life, or am I allowing the Spirit to direct me to the things that please God and serve others?

  1. Walk by the Spirit. While not a fruit of the Spirit, the final item on the checkup produces all nine qualities listed above. When we follow the Spirit’s lead instead of being led by our self-focused desires, He produces the fruit.

But even when we don’t walk by the Spirit, He is the very one who convicts us that things are not in proper order in our lives.

God promises that if we are willing to admit that we have been walking our own way and ask for His forgiveness and cleansing, He will empower us through His Spirit to live above ourselves and live the abundant life for which He has created us.

Question: Am I actively depending on the Holy Spirit to guide me in God’s ways so I don’t get wrapped up in myself? If not, am I willing to confess to God that His ways are better than mine, and that I need the Spirit’s guidance to live above the fray?

Even though we are unable to meet together, we hope you are doing well.

I will leave you with a piano solo by Carol Ritchie  – “In the Sweet By & By”

Blessings & Stay Safe

Betty Allison

OB Chair