|Posted by Harmony United Church on May 7, 2020 at 2:40 PM||comments (0)|
From Christina Stricker …
I received a brief note from Rev. Sakala yesterday. He expressed his appreciation for the photos I sent and shared the family's excitement at becoming part of the Harmony Family. They all chuckled at the Balloon-Head choir and enjoyed the creativity expressed. (Thanks to Ruth and Richard for that one!)
Some of the photos I sent included 'eating with church folks' pictures - he remarks that one of his professors in the past once said 'a strong church will always have a good kitchen'. When I asked if his congregation celebrated by eating as often as we seem to he replied that they ate together for Special occasions as 'we do not find it easy to prepare a meal for over 300 people every Sunday'!!! I wonder how they will respond to our coffee times, for about 50+ people, usually every Sunday. I'm sure they will all enjoy the fellowship time we share.
I did include one of my own photos of one of those mornings when the fluffy snow sits on everything like pillows and is so beautiful. I asked whether the family would be delighted or horrified. He responded that although he has been in snow no one else in the family has experienced it: they are excited enough to be looking forward to coming into physical contact with snow rather than just seeing it in movies and books. Their only question was 'what do you do when you wake up I the morning and you find the car buried in snow?'
Rev. and his family try to keep up with the whole COVID event around the world but especially how it affects Canada and the steps being taken as we all work our way through.
Finally, the family appreciate the prayers and kindnesses we offer by our friendship and they look forward to the time when we can 'recognize one another in person'.
So that is the most recent update to share.
|Posted by Harmony United Church on May 7, 2020 at 2:30 PM||comments (0)|
May 6th, 2020
“In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.”
W. H. Auden (last stanza of his poem “In Memory of W. B. Yeats”
Friends, even if we too may feel like we are isolated and imprisoned
because of the global pandemic, it is vital to remember that freedom
is a state of mind and a gift of the Spirit. We have the freedom to
dream, and to use our God-given imaginations to bring our dreams
to life. What visions do we have for our own lives – our activities
and friendships – and what hopes do we have for our church's life?
Is the extent of our dreaming limited to simply going back to how
things were, or is God giving us a chance to dream of how things
I pray that God will keep you safe and well, and that the Holy Spirit
will guide your dreams and imaginings. In the church year this
coming Sunday is celebrated as Christian Family Sunday. Please be
assured that you are an important and loved member of our faith
God bless you,
|Posted by Harmony United Church on May 6, 2020 at 6:50 PM||comments (0)|
From Linda Hammond .....
Heather and I have been cleaning out the front gardens and we were wondering
if you could send out a plea to members see if they could contribute Flowers
cuttings, seeds or bulbs, soil, fertilizer, garden ornaments, or even a lawn
They could leave in a container at the door or call me at my number.
Please label what the plants are.
We are have been digging out the roots of the old trees, and that's taking
We have such a lovely church on the corner, with an awesome sign, so want to
keep this alive and growing for us and the community.
We might even plant garden seeds or sunflowers and scarlet runners.
|Posted by Harmony United Church on April 30, 2020 at 4:55 PM||comments (0)|
April 30th, 2020
“I meant to do my work today
But a brown bird sang in an apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field
And all the leaves were calling me.”
This Sunday seven weeks will have passed since we last gathered
in person in our church. Seven weeks of self-isolation in our homes,
and physical distancing when outside. We are fortunate in many
ways – we can connect by telephone, and for those who have the
appropriate technology, we can participate in online worship
services and virtual meetings with family or friends. We have good
community services and wonderful neighbours, sufficient food and
Nevertheless, the effects of this global pandemic are emotionally
and physically exhausting for many of us. We hear bad news, we
feel helpless, and feel we must somehow try harder to make things
better. Our sleep may be disturbed, and we wonder if this will ever
Maybe we are trying too hard, and in danger of slipping into despair.
I love the simple message in the little poem quoted above. God
speaks to us through nature, inviting us to slow down, take time out
from our striving and worrying, and notice all the signs of spring.
All creatures great and small have something to teach us – like
birds overcoming unimaginable hardships to survive the winter and
now building nests to nurture a new generation.
Trees and flowers and butterflies all gift us with a reminder that life
goes on in beautiful and mysterious ways. Our sense of hope is
renewed as we see the transformation of the earth in spring. It is
just as God intends. Yes, there are huge challenges for us as a
human family, but with faith we will find the best ways to face them
together, in a spirit of harmony and hope. Consider the lilies of the
God bless you dear friends,
Rev. Joyce Fergus-Moore
|Posted by Harmony United Church on April 23, 2020 at 4:35 PM||comments (0)|
April 22nd, 2020
The Serenity Prayer goes something like this:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the fact that I cannot
change everything, the courage to change what I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
In the midst of a global pandemic, and with the tragic news this week of mass murder and grief in Nova Scotia, many of us are in desperate need of serenity. We want so much to stop the suffering, to end disease and violence. But we know that we ourselves do not have the power to do this. What we can do, though, is to pray to God for comfort and guidance every day. Help will come! We are not alone.
I am so grateful for all the good and caring people in our community and throughout the world who are doing their best in millions of ways to bring about the positive changes we need so much. Each one of us has a part to play in healing the world and its people. Today is “Earth Day”, a good time to pause and reflect on the great gift of life on this beautiful planet, and to think of ways we can help keep it healthy. Our interdependence with all nations of the earth was brought into sharp focus in the special program televised on Saturday: “One World”. It was so inspiring and hopeful to see and hear this shared global outpouring of concern about the pandemic and appreciation for the World Health Organization (WHO), and all the efforts of caregivers and researchers in many countries. Never doubt that you too are making a difference by respecting the mandate to practice physical distancing. We are doing what we can to protect the most vulnerable – and we are all vulnerable. This is a humbling experience. Yes, we are discovering our strength, but we are also re-discovering our need of God and of one another. I believe there is wisdom and blessing to be found even in these challenging times.
So, dear friends, I pray that you will be blessed with serenity, courage, and wisdom today, and in the days ahead.
(Rev.) Joyce Fergus-Moore
|Posted by Harmony United Church on April 16, 2020 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
April 15th, 2020
“I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)
As I write to you, dear friends, while working from home in self-isolation, and knowing you are self-isolating too, it is challenging to find the joy Jesus is speaking about. However, it is also vitally important that we keep on the pathway of peace and joy even, and especially, in these difficult times. Otherwise we may be overcome be sadness and despair. If that happens, we are unable to keep Jesus' number one commandment – that we love one another as He has loved us. And without love, there can be no joy.
So, please, please, do not let yourself feel guilty if you find yourself enjoying the day, or laughing now and then. It does not mean we stop caring about the sufferings of others, or that we stop helping to alleviate suffering and sadness in whatever ways we can. In fact, as we share lighter moments with others (from a safe distance, of course), we help to bring a little joy and love to one another. We are keeping hope alive in the midst of dark and scary times.
This coming Sunday is usually celebrated as holy humour Sunday. We are not able to worship together in person as yet, but I would encourage you to watch the live-stream worship service via www.trinityunited.church. Every Sunday morning at 10:30, Harmony UC joins with the other United Churches in our area in a shared online worship service. We will continue to plan and offer this kind of worship experience until we are allowed to meet in our own buildings again.
I also encourage you to balance your time of watching the pandemic news coverage with lighter moments. I really like the short inspiring stories generally shown towards the end of the news each evening – often clips of children sharing their kindness and laughter. They never fail to lift my spirit. It also helps to seek out a gentle comedy or read a good story. What kinds of things have helped you to keep positive and joyful? Now is a good time to exercise our imaginations and stir up hope in ourselves and others. We are not alone; we are in this together and we will come through it well, with the Spirit of Jesus by our side.
May God give you strength, resilience, and joy!
|Posted by Harmony United Church on April 16, 2020 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
Easter Outreach Report
We continue to pursue our mission and service for Harmony Church. In troubled times we must look outside the box. We must always see where we are needed and to give with no thought of getting in return.
Our Pancake Lunch produced over $500.00 which will go to a few needed projects for our charities. At this time we are concentrating on our Food Cupboard commitment and Milk Fund at the schools, although these organizations are closed.
We also ensure a small portion goes back to our church that is always there to support and host our projects.
Although at this time of Covid 19. The church and activities are closed, that means no collecting on Sundays, or bringing in of food for the cupboard.
So PLEASE, dear people, don't forget the vulnerable, the hungry, the struggling. We are here to help and can do our part. If you feel in your heart to give more, or food articles, let me know and we can get it to where you want it to go.
Our congregation has AMAZING PEOPLE who help and support us. Our Yard Sale was to be on June 6th. We have been collecting articles, and still feel it may still happen, by summer. All depends on the social distancing.
Yes, you have to stay positive!!
Stay well and stay strong!
Submitted by Linda Hammond, Chair
Happy belated Easter Greetings, dear friends, from Outreach.
|Posted by Harmony United Church on April 11, 2020 at 12:30 AM||comments (0)|
April 9, 2020
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
(Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”)
Friends, I hope you are keeping safe and well. It has been good to speak to many members of our church and to learn that so far everyone is managing well in spite of the challenges posed by the pandemic. There is a strong network of support that is helping to keep our spirits up. In fact, there is an amazing spirit of cooperation and caring growing more evident every day in our Thunder Bay community.
It seems so strange and sad to be approaching Easter weekend without being able to worship together in person in our church. Tomorrow is Good Friday, the day when we remember with sorrow the suffering and death of Jesus, whose love for us and for all the world, generation after generation, has no bounds. In faith we know that joy will come again on Easter morning, for Jesus has risen from the dead, and He is with us forever and for always. His Spirit cannot be contained in any tomb. This awesome and holy Spirit blows like a freshening breeze in and among us, bringing new life to our flagging spirits.
What will our life be like when the pandemic threat is over? No one knows for sure, but as we live as faithfully as we can through these strange times we will be part of God's plan for a renewed spirit of harmony, cooperation, and compassion in our community and in our world. In trust we can be sure that the best is yet to come – the best of times for all God's people.
May God bless you and your loved ones.
Praying you will have the happiest possible Easter!
(Rev.) Joyce Fergus-Moore
|Posted by Harmony United Church on March 31, 2020 at 4:30 PM||comments (0)|
The Earth is Crying Out
What is the Corona/ Covid-19 Virus Really Teaching us?
I’m a strong believer that there is a spiritual purpose behind everything that happens, whether that is what we perceive as being good or being bad. As I meditate upon this, I want to share with you what I feel the Corona/ Covid-19 virus is really doing to us:
It is reminding us that we are all equal, regardless of our culture, religion, occupation, financial situation or how famous we are. This disease treats us all equally, perhaps we should too. If you don’t believe me, just ask Tom Hanks.
It is reminding us that we are all connected and something that affects one person has an effect on another. It is reminding us that the false borders that we have put up have little value as this virus does not need a passport.
It is reminding us, by oppressing us for a short time, of those in this world whose whole life is spent in oppression.
It is reminding us of how precious our health is and how we have moved to neglect it through eating nutrient poor manufactured food and drinking water that is contaminated with chemicals upon chemicals. If we don’t look after our health, we will, of course, get sick.
It is reminding us of the shortness of life and of what is most important for us to do, which is to help each other, especially those who are old or sick. Our purpose is not to buy toilet roll.
It is reminding us of how materialistic our society has become and how, when in times of difficulty, we remember that it’s the essentials that we need (food, water, medicine) as opposed to the luxuries that we sometimes unnecessarily give value to.
It is reminding us of how important our family and home life is and how much we have neglected this. It is forcing us back into our houses so we can rebuild them into our home and to strengthen our family unit.
It is reminding us that our true work is not our job, that is what we do, not what we were created to do. Our true work is to look after each other, to protect each other and to be of benefit to one another.
It is reminding us to keep our egos in check. It is reminding us that no matter how great we think we are or how great others think we are, a virus can bring our world to a standstill.
It is reminding us that the power of freewill is in our hands. We can choose to cooperate and help each other, to share, to give, to help and to support each other or we can choose to be selfish, to hoard, to look after only our self. Indeed, it is difficulties that bring out our true colors.
It is reminding us that we can be patient, or we can panic. We can either understand that this type of situation has happened many times before in history and will pass, or we can panic and see it as the end of the world and, consequently, cause ourselves more harm than good.
It is reminding us that this can either be an end or a new beginning. This can be a time of reflection and understanding, where we learn from our mistakes, or it can be the start of a cycle which will continue until we finally learn the lesson we are meant to.
It is reminding us that this Earth is sick. It is reminding us that we need to look at the rate of deforestation just as urgently as we look at the speed at which toilet rolls are disappearing off of shelves. We are sick because our home is sick.
It is reminding us that after every difficulty, there is always ease. Life is cyclical, and this is just a phase in this great cycle. We do not need to panic; this too shall pass. Whereas many see the Corona/ Covid-19 virus as a great disaster, I prefer to see it as a great corrector. It is sent to remind us of the important lessons that we seem to have forgotten and it is up to us if we will learn them or not.
|Posted by Harmony United Church on March 24, 2020 at 6:20 PM||comments (0)|
Minister's Easter Message
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)
Dear friends, in these days of troubling news regarding the global covid-19 pandemic, we can be forgiven if we are anxious and afraid. This is a season of Lent like no other in recent memory. We are in a strange wilderness, having to change direction day by day, and unsure what tomorrow will bring. “Self-isolation” and “social distancing” are being mandated. However, I have heard it said, and I agree, that it's better to think of this as “physical distancing” rather than isolation and social distancing. As members of a family of faith, we must seek caring but safe ways to connect with one another, so that no one is left feeling all alone. Prayer, phone calls, emails and online networks, all are some of the helpful ways to support and care for others, and to reach out when we need assurance ourselves. I am working from home and will try to contact as many of you as possible. Please don't hesitate to call or email me if you wish. You are in my prayers every day.
It is wonderful to see stories of amazing acts of kindness and generosity, which often provide a welcome balance to the disturbing news about the pandemic. Medical students volunteering to do anything needed by emergency doctors and nurses, like running errands, doing child care, and so on; businesses donating masks and disinfectants to hospitals; people dropping off groceries to shut-ins; former strangers becoming friends through making music together – and many more stories that help restore your faith in humanity. The Spirit is continuing to be at work, and seeds are being planted in the midst of this crisis that I pray will grow into a greater appreciation for our need for one another in this world.
As we embrace opportunities to connect with one another, locally and globally, we are reflecting the spirit of power and love given to us by God, and as we respect all the necessary precautions we are doing so with “a sound mind”. Fear not – Easter is coming with its promise of new life.
May God bless you and keep you. May the face of God shine upon you and be gracious to you. May God look on you with kindness, and give you peace.
Rev. Joyce Fergus-Moore
Harmony United Church