Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Week 6 — feels like forever!

Last week, minutes after I pushed the “send” button with my weekly update, a message appeared in my Inbox from Nora Sanders, Executive Secretary of The United Church of Canada. Nora shared how she had come across a crumpled piece of paper from a January worship service in her pocket with the word “praise” on it.

Nora, as she often does, reflected as one of us… living in isolation, suddenly working from home – alone, seeking to serve and connect in new ways to the people and church she loves, as we love… and she ponders on the different Easter we have just experienced… the different resurrection… the different ways we are learning to see, enjoy and even praise in the midst of our lament for our current reality.

In light of Nora’s words… and then the horrific tragedy in Nova Scotia I too, ponder how do we praise in these days of anger, disbelief, deep sorrow, uncertainty, fear… and so many more feelings we are experiencing? How do we make sense of the dichotomy of feeling both hope and fear at the same time… gratitude and despair… and know we can and do feel both… both/and… and it is okay! How do we find/see/experience the Risen One… trust in His abiding presence… when around us there is a LOT of pain; evidenced by protests, finger-pointing, defiance, growing unemployment, uncertainty, domestic violence, and more!

In response to the grief they are enduring (and many of us are living), Nova Scotians have organized on Facebook the “Ultimate Online Nova Scotia Kitchen Party”! People from every walk of life… old and young… are sharing music as a way of being with one another in their grief, supporting one another in their isolation, offering music to one another as a way of providing care, calm, comfort… which will hopefully lead to healing. There have been heartfelt tunes sung in vehicles… beautiful guitar offerings… and today I heard a stunning trio “The Gilberts” singing Bridge Over Troubled Waters… Each offering is truly a gift of love… an offering of praise!

How appropriate then, that this Sunday’s scripture speaks to our current reality… our lament, longing, mixed feelings, need to share, to listen… our desire to offer hospitality and care as we are able… Come, join me on the Emmaus Road, where we will recognize Jesus in a fellow traveler… and in doing so, find our greatest reason to praise!

Stay well!

Looking for the latest info regarding COVID-19 from The United Church of Canada?

From the National Church or

From our Horseshoe Falls Regional Council

Worship Offerings/Opportunities

I have enclosed bulletins and full worship services for Sunday April 26th for you to use and share as the Spirit moves you. I have offered the poem “Emmaus” for your pondering and reflection and provided another Word Search and Crossword puzzle to go with this week’s Bible text!

I invite you to have a candle ready to light at the beginning of your worship, as I have offered a moment for reflection and remembering… the people of Nova Scotia and also all who are experiencing loss/grief at this time.

Again, I draw you to the many and varied worship experiences being offered by colleagues and communities of faith who God has gifted/equipped and called to provide this service to our Church at this time.

This week’s prayer as you journey… from E.E. Phillips

Allow the strength of God to sustain you,
The wisdom of God to instruct you,
The hand of God to protect you,
The shield of God to defend you,
The Spirit of God to lead you,
The Son of God to redeem you,
Until by the grace of God,
We meet face to face.
Praise be to the One who is in us… around us… with us… always!

E.E. Phillips

Have a blessed week!

Sue Cowan
Supply Minister
Carlisle-Kilbride United Churches