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our weekly e-newsletter . . . with random thoughts from the Pastor.



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09
December 9, 2019

Yesterday was a special day of celebration. The second Sunday of December 2019 marked twenty-five years since our family's arrival in Ottawa as Trinity's pastoral family. It has been an interesting twenty-five years. We have celebrated good days and we have endured difficult days. We have cried together and we have rejoiced together. Through it all, we have trusted God to do something great in our midst.

In our message we touched on some of the events that led up to our move. We did not have time in our message to cover everything that happened . . . like Barb taking a day to drive Cindy and the children around Ottawa "house-shopping" (I was doing some training sessions in Southern Ontario), or to go into a deeper description of the wonderful welcome we received from the congregation which included amazingly thoughtful and appropriate gifts. We did not mention the comings and goings of those who at one time called Trinity their church home: some who were promoted to glory, some who moved, and some who moved to other churches. All are missed.

As Cindy shared, we have been touched by our relationship with the people of Trinity Church. We have known – we know – love. You have supported and encouraged us as a family, and we are grateful.

But yesterday was not about us as a pastoral family (I hope that it did not seem that way!). It was about the greater "us" as a people of God, as a church, as a congregation trying to discover who God wants us to become, and then walking in faith to become. We talked about listening for and to the voice of God. We talked about . . . let's call them the "difficulties" that come from following the will of God. We make our plans. God may have other plans for us. And we decide which plan we will follow.

Mary had a decision to make. She had her life ordered. She had plans: plans to marry, to set up house, and eventually (in all likelihood) to have children. One angel's visit changed all of that: you have found favor with God, he said; you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son [Luke 1:30-31] Mary was taken aback when she heard this. So many things must have run through her mind. And yet she quickly said Let it be to me according to your word    [Luke 1:38] – she chose God's plans instead of her own. It is a difficult choice to make, but one that we must make, many times, every day: my way or God's way?

Click here to download a copy of yesterday's message to read; click here to watch yesterday's service from our Facebook site (unedited, with all of the technical troubles).

 

Next Sunday is the third Sunday of Advent. It is also our annual day of musical celebration for Christmas. I am looking forward to another great day of congregational participation through music and song and word. But as we look forward to a music day to help us remember the sweet Christ Child of Bethlehem, let us also remember His life and His passion – what He has done for us and what He is doing in us even today.

We would again like to invite everyone to the parsonage open house and fellowship this coming Sunday evening. The open house is our family's way of saying "thank you" for your prayers and support and friendship . . . and to say "Merry Christmas", of course! Please join us for fellowship and sweets any time from 6:30pm. The tea and coffee will be on, the treats will be out, and the warmth of friendship evident.    

 

The fourth Sunday of Advent is December 22 . . . a time of worship and wonder as we look to the manger and the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. We'll continue our series on the comings of Christ with a message that looks to His next coming: Christ Coming in Glory at the End.

Christmas Eve we'll gather for a time of joyous reflection of the incarnation at our Candlelight Service, which will begin at 7pm. Music and the Word will feature prominently in the service, of course. Special music will be shared throughout the service, we'll sing the wonderful Christmas hymns of faith, and we'll hear again the Christmas story before our Christmas Eve message which will remind us of to the response to Christ in the Manger.

Our year end service will be a service of remembrance of the year past and a look to the hopes and dreams of the future.  We will also take time to remember those who passed from this earthly life into the presence of the Heavenly Father. Our December 29 service is one of Remembering.

 

People are more open to an invitation to attend a church service during certain times of the church year than at other times. Christmas is one of those times. With all of the different activities at our church this December, this might be a good opportunity to invite someone to an event where they won't feel threatened.

 

Looking ahead, we have the opportunity to skate at the Governor General's residence/Rideau Hall on Friday January 24, from 7:00 – 8:30 pm. Get those skates sharpened . . . bring a friend, and let's have a great time together!

 

It can be easy to focus inwardly at Christmas and a challenge to focus outwardly, but we want to do just that: to look outside of our own wants and desires and to be aware of others in the world around us that may not have the opportunities that we have. We deliberately focus on being compassionate people.

We can be aware of the opportunites that we have as a denomination. The 2019-2020 Nazarene Compassionate Ministries Canada gift catalogue can be found on-line [click here to access a copy; print copies can be found on the table at the rear of the sanctuary]. You can give through the church or directly to NCMC either on-line [click here] or by mail.

We continue to support Eliezer Garcia Suarez, the son of Pastor Norma Suarez Niles and Jesus Garcia Oberto of the Unas Church in Cuba who were killed in "the plane accident" in Cuba. We have made a commitment to meet his needs for the next nine years [along with birthday and Christmas gifts]. If you would like to be part of the support team, please indicate Child Sponsorship on your tithe envelope or through your on-line giving.

You might also want to think about a reverse advent calendar. Instead of opening a door to take a treat [mmm, Lindt chocolate!], place a non-perishable food item in a basket each day of Advent and at the end of Advent take the basket to a food bank. Or come up with your own unique idea to make Christmas more giving than receiving.

The Sixth Annual CHRI Pajama Drive is underway. The station is asking for donations of new PJs, which will be distributed through local and rural food banks and to given to families who face difficult challenges such as poverty, addiction, domestic violence and mental health challenges.  The Pajama Drive will continue until the end of February. Click here for more    information.

The renewed FreeShare/Care and Share ministry is operational! Our Facebook page is up and running, and a few available items have been noted. Instead of having items stored at the church and opening the building once a month for people to come and see what is available, we'll post pictures of available items on this Facebook page and have people make arrangement for pick-up.                                              

If you have "gently used" items that you no longer need and would like to give to someone who has a need send an e-mail along with a picture of the item to the church or to Emmanuelle, who is leading this ministry initiative.

 

Sundays in December . . .

  • Dec   15   Advent 3: Christmas Musical Celebration
  • Dec   22   Advent 4: In Glory
  • Dec   24   Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: In the Manger
  • Dec   29   Remembering

Our Winter Series: Say What? (Churchy Words)

  • Jan      5   Salvation
  • Jan    12   Sanctification
  • Jan    19   Discipleship
  • Jan    26   Matt speaking
  • Feb     2   Matt Speaking
  • Feb     9   Fellowship
  • Feb   16   Evangelism
  • Feb   23   Holiness               

Christmas Events and Activities

  • Dec   15   Advent 3: Christmas Musical Celebration
  • Dec   15   Parsonage Open House, 6:30 pm
  • Dec   22   Advent 4: In Glory
  • Dec   24   Christmas Eve Candlelight Service: In the Manger
  • Dec   29   Remembering