I used to think that Mother’s Day was the most difficult message to prepare . . . until this week. I found the challenge on looking at what the Bible has to say about racism and anti-racism and justice and injustice and equality most daunting. It is a topic that I know little about personally, being a white North American male. Who am I to speak on racism? Yet racial divisions aren’t simply a social issue reserved for politicians or civic leaders to handle. This is a spiritual and moral problem. So we must talk about it. And we did.
Yesterday’s message was difficult to prepare in many different ways, including the fact that there is so much research available to those who would pay attention to the history of racism in our country – and even in the church. I had to pare down what I was preparing so that it would fit within “the time allotted”; I even omitted some of what was on the manuscript to make sure eyes wouldn’t glaze over during our service. And as I prepared the message I had to constantly stop and ask myself if I was guilty of doing and being what I was speaking about!
And as I talked with people in preparation for our message I was told that people who have experienced injustice, racism or microaggression deal with it differently. Some people will speak out, some will not, some will keep it to themselves and cause them to have all sorts of doubts about themselves throughout their whole life (low self-esteem). How can we – as people of God, as people who believe that “all are one” – allow this to happen? And yet it has happened, and does happen. We are complicit by our silence. Martin Luther King’s eulogy included this challenge:
[Those who have suffered at the hands of racist behaviour] have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained glass windows. They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism . . . They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about WHO murdered them, but about the system, the way of life and the philosophy which PRODUCED the murders.
Dare I say that if we believe that racism is wrong then it is time to be militant in standing up against it and that if we believe that all people are equal then it is time to be militant in standing up for them? If you don’t say it’s wrong then it says it’s right.
This week’s service can be found on our Facebook page (click here) and on our YouTube page (click here). Thanks to those who “checked in” during our service, whether live or delayed (the feeds are saved so that anyone can go back to them later). Please use firstname.lastname@example.org to check in rather than using the church e-mail address.
I hope that you will join me as we further discuss what was said in yesterday’s message during our Talk Together Tuesday tomorrow evening. It may be that the message has confirmed in you something that you hold to strongly. It may be that the message has challenged you to think in a new way. It may even be that the message has caused you to ask pastor, are you out of your mind? What were you thinking? Please bring your insights to the table.
We’ll talk about themes and ideas and . . . and whatever else has been brought to mind on Sunday, including what we can do as Christians to lead in equality. Read the message in advance (click here to download a copy), and then join us at 7:00 Tuesday evening. E-mail email@example.com for log-on information.
Pastor Bill Sunberg of our Toronto Emmanuel Church is leading a number of Anti-Racism Workshops on-line [click here to see a list of the books that will be discussed]. These discussions are interesting . . . and challenging! The next workshop begins May 5 and looks at Canadian author Desmond Cole’s book The Skin We’re In – a difficult book to read, but a good introduction to race in the Canadian context.
There is no such word as peoplehood. There should be. Too often we don’t see people . . . we see a kind of person. We see a street person or a homeless person or a troubled person or a troubling person or a . . .
In part one of a four part series Pastor Bill tells the story of Jeremiah Ranger . . . a 15 year old youth from [his] church's youth group was shot and killed across the street from [the] church building. The word used to define Jeremiah was problem. Not a person. Not a somebody. A problem. Click here to read the article. And weep for a young life lost.
If you can, join us Wednesday evening as we meet to pray with and for one another in our “virtual” (ZOOM) prayer room. God hears our prayers, whether they are audible or silent . . . in fact, He wants to hear them! To join us (the “room” opens at 7:00) e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for log-on information.
This coming Sunday we’ll look at why we are who we are: forgiven and hopeful. We sing about glorious freedom and about chains being gone – we are able to do that because Jesus has set us free from the bondage of sin. We know that, but sometimes it is good to remember the very basics of our hope. Our message: unchained.
Our worship team will lead this week’s service from the sanctuary. While we look forward to another great time of celebration and praise through song with them, new provincial COVID regulations and limits mean that only the worship team will be allowed in the building. Please join us from home: click here to join us on Facebook or click here to join us on YouTube. If there are problems with one feed or the other someone will post a cross-link once the problem is known.
Thank you for your faithful and generous giving in support of our ministry at Trinity Church. We continue to receive our tithes and offerings through e-transfer at email@example.com and through the Canada Helps web site (click here). You can also drop your tithe envelopes through the mail slot at the church or mail them to the church. Thank you!
Last year’s annual meeting was cancelled because of the COVID situation; the Government of Ontario has mandated that charitable organizations cannot miss two years in a row. We have scheduled this year’s meeting, then, for May 16 following our service. I will share a review of what has happened at Trinity Church in the past year in our message (from Ezekiel) even as we ask God to direct our dreams and goals for the future.
Our prayer for the times ahead . . .
- that God would grant the Trinity congregation a greater understanding of how we can serve the community around the church through being an engaged church community;
- that God would grant an outpouring of His Holy Spirit as we take this imposed time of isolation and rest and search for direction in preparation for God to work though the church once restrictions have lifted; and
- that God would help the church as we refuse to accept the complacency of normal, and that we would have wisdom and power to engage in being Kingdom people, with Luke 4:18 as our guide to action.
This will be a ZOOM meeting; I will send the links the week before we meet, and we will use an on-line poll to vote (there won’t be much business at the meeting, but a financial statement must be provided and a budget proposed).
- May 2 UN-chained
- May 9 Ah, Yes . . . a Mother’s Day message
- May 16 rattle – our year end review
- May 23 Pentecost
- May 30 Invasion
- Jun 6 District Assembly Service
- Jun 13 a service of music and celebration
- Jun 20 How Holy?
We were anticipating . . . but . . . we just don’t know how to plan. Some of our Sunday themes will stay as announced while others will change. That’s OK . . . we’ll just “roll”.
Staying the same: Misfit Motorcycle Rally Day, May 30
We hope to host the third annual (although the second actual) Misfit Motorcycle Rally Day the last Sunday of May. When we began this outreach to those in the Ottawa Misfits group we had a full day, starting with breakfast, followed by a service and a “blessing of the bikes”. Breakfast is not “on the menu” this year; however, we will invite our “misfit friends” to our service for a blessing (personal as well as bike) if provincial COVID protocol changes.
Staying the same: District Assembly Service, June 6
This year’s District Assembly will be a condensed virtual gathering on Zoom and will be live streamed on the District YouTube Channel Saturday, June 5th between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Local churches will elect delegates to the Assembly. A District Online “Family Reunion” service to be held the following day; this will take the place of our local worship service. It will be streamed to the District YouTube channel.
Date change: Service of Music and Celebration, now June 13
We invite everyone to participate by sharing one song or reading or musical performance in our yearly spring service of music and celebration! Barb will share a song story (I’m looking forward to knowing more of the background of the song she has chosen – you’ll have to wait to find out what it is). Others have indicated they’ll participate. Let me know if you want to be part of this great day.
Because of the number of participants, please chose one song and let me know what it is. Matt and I will work on a “program order”.