Virtual Church – October 25, 2020

8:30 am

October 25, 2020

Virtual Service

Welcome to virtual church!

Each Sunday morning we will be sending an email to everyone in the congregation for whom we have email addresses, offering an abridged Sunday morning service — “virtual church.” For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website.

Please contact office@waltonmemorial.com if you would like to be added to our email list.

Sunday Service Video (30+ minutes followed by the hymns)

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – a video and text. If you wish, you can download and print the service from this document – link – or you can read the complete service below.

The hymn-sing is at the end.

Announcements

• THANKSGIVING FOOD DRIVE – It’s not too late!!
On behalf of the Burlington and Oakville Food Banks, The Walton Outreach Committee would like to thank you for your generous financial donations since we entered the COVID-19 world.   The need has increased hugely in our local areas – families who used to be able to scrape by have been forced to use the services of the food banks to put meals on the table. Families who were already registered are feeling the severity of their situation more than ever.
We respectfully ask you to donate if you possibly can spare something. You can donate online, which means that the amount will go through your Givings Statement, or drop a cheque through the mail slot at the church, or surface mail your donation to Walton Church, 2489 Lakeshore Rd. West, Oakville, ON, L6L 1H9. Please be sure to designate either Oakville or Burlington Food Bank if you have a preference and add your envelope number if you know it.
Thank you for your generosity and for thinking of others through our current situation in this Thanksgiving season. Until we meet again…

•  GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP
Walton United Church & other area churches are sponsoring this Grief Support Group starting up on Wednesday, October 28th, running for 6 weeks 7:00pm -8:30pm on line by Zoom.
This education and support group is designed for those who are struggling with the death of a loved one. We will explore various aspects of grief, how grief affects our emotions, behaviours, body, mind and spirit, in a faith-based perspective. We will look at ways to work through our grief, making suggested adjustments and help find ways to find hope and a future in meaningful ways.
The course is based on materials by Dr. Bill Webster, Centre for the Grief Journey.
The cost per participant for the course materials is $20.00. Please contact Maeva Donalson 905-845-7454 or maeva.k.d@hotmail.com for more information or to register.

Lead by: The Rev. Dr. Deborah Hart
Minister of Deer Park United Church in Toronto, who has been facilitating grief support groups for over 25 years. 

•  If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com

• FALL SPECIAL….MIKE’S SEVILLE MARMALADE is available for curbside delivery through the church office – $3.00 per jar. Please contact the office at 905-827-1643 or email the office at office@waltonmemorial.com to make arrangements. All proceeds go to Walton Treasury to fund programs and ministries.

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to Walton. I see you are shivering a bit Val. Yes, it is a little a little chilly out here Jim. We have been very fortunate to have had beautiful sunny days most days we have videoed. Today however it is cold and wet, yes very wet. People have asked over the weeks where we are at when we video. Today we are at Hidden Valley Park in Aldershot. We have had our church picnic here, across the street from where we are over the years. A beautiful place where we have gathered together before. We welcome you to virtual worship this morning.

Minute for Stewardship

Stewardship is…Time, talent, treasure
Thank you to everyone who has been calling our Walton members, dropping off groceries and other essentials, continuing our prayer chain, and so much more. Thank you to our staff who are meeting with our youth over Zoom, engaging seniors, holding virtual choir practices. Thank you to everyone who is supporting Walton financially; we know this is a hard time for many. Together, with God, we are strong and are here for each other. And in the words of Elvis: Thank you. Thank you very much.

Call to Worship

All that we are is a gift of God!
All that we have is a gift of God!
Every breath we take… every movement we make… the life in which we partake…
Is a gift of God!
And so we gather –
To receive and to give back. To listen and to teach, to remind ourselves that we are stewards of all God’s gifts, blessed in the sharing of all talents and treasures!
Alleluia!
Allelulia, Amen!
(Richard Bott, The Gathering, Pentecost 2020)

Opening Prayer

Creator, we come together in community, as one heart and body virtually this morning.
Braid us together. Let us be bound in love to one another.

We recognize in community that when one of us struggles, all of us struggle.
Braid us together. Let us be bound in love to one another.

We join together this morning with a new desire for understanding those in our midst.
Braid us together. Let us be bound in love to one another.

We come to sing a song of hope. We come to dance a dance of peace. We come to share the words of scripture that inspire.
Braid us together. Let us be bound in love to one another.

We are here in this place virtually together. Let us be moved to understand the journey of others a little bit better today. And let us be ever mindful of the opportunities that will present themselves to us.
Braid us together. Let us be bound in love to one another. Amen.
(Jeffrey Dale, The Gathering Pentecost 2020)

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Scripture Reading: Matthew 22:34-46

The Greatest Commandment
When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

The Question about David’s Son
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: “What do you think of the Messiah?[a] Whose son is he?” They said to him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “How is it then that David by the Spirit[b] calls him Lord, saying, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet”’? If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?” No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

Youth Story – Pumpkin Seeds

Message: Thank you! Thank you very much!

It’s been a long while since we have had such debate over a sermon title. You see one group says it’s one way and another group says it’s the other way. How do you think it should be? “Thank you. Thank you very much.” Or, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.” Which title is right?

Whichever group you belong to, I very much thank you today on behalf of the Walton Stewardship Committee for your support of Walton with your time, talent or treasure. Usually we would hold a Stewardship celebration today in our two morning services and during coffee hour in Bronte Hall. That isn’t possible but we can still say thank you.

Hopefully – either electronically or by Canada Post – by now you have received a “Thank You Very Much letter” from Tricia and myself. If not, please let us know. If you are not on our electronic or paper mailing list please also let us know. We have many people who are now part of Walton virtually and we would be honoured to add you to our Walton family.

Well, what are we thanking you today for? It’s because of your support in so many ways that Walton is living today’s teaching of Jesus. “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Your support makes the fulfillment of Jesus’ great commandment possible.

Never in the 36 years I have served Walton Church has Sunday worship not been held. Even through ice storms, SARS, heat waves, H1N1, 9/11 and power outages. No one I have talked to can remember Walton not having live Sunday services over the 170-year-long history of the congregation. At our last live service on Sunday, March 15th I had no idea that on Sunday, October 25th we would still be closed to in-person Sunday services.

The expanded Walton Church Council made the decision back on Tuesday, September 15th not to resume in-person worship at this time. That decision was made as cases were slowly starting to increase. Recent events indicating the second wave may be far worse than the first confirms that decision. They show the Walton Council was so wise in its choice.

Yes, some other United churches have reopened. But they tend to be smaller congregations meeting in very large sanctuaries. We have the opposite; we are a large congregation worshiping in a small sanctuary. While for years the intimacy and close contact of worship in Walton’s historically-designated sanctuary has been a real positive in so many ways, in these Covid times it’s a drawback.

Typically on this Sunday, we would expect to have 250 people or more in Walton’s pews between the two morning services. Under the current Covid restrictions we probably could seat between 25 to 35 people maximum per service, all masked and socially distanced. Of course, the decision isn’t just about numbers or seating, but about the health and safety of all those who may come through Walton’s doors. That is always our number one priority here at Walton. Keeping people well is our duty of care. Doing so fulfills the teaching of Jesus today to love our neighbours.

So Walton has become a virtual worshipping congregation. In recent weeks we have averaged 571 views of our weekly hymn sing, 483 views of the Sunday worship service, and 378 views of the mid-week check-ins. In the first 24 hours it was posted, our Thanksgiving service was viewed 736 times. Often there are multiple people watching each viewing, so the reach is even greater.

We thank all who make these virtual worship experiences possible. Walton is pouring tremendous amounts of staff and volunteer time plus other resources into operating virtually. Your gifts make these services possible. Also, we thank all of you who watch or listen to Walton’s postings and those who share them regularly on their own social media accounts. We also have a large number of people who read the service in a weekly email or who have requested paper copies of the services each week. So thank you, thank you very much for adjusting to this virtual worship format and helping to fund it.

In addition to our virtual services, Walton has also hosted many virtual meetings, youth group game nights, Sunday School lessons, choir practices, men’s group gatherings and Fruit of the Vine get-togethers. Everyone in Walton’s UCW group gets a phone call each month. We might not see our Walton family members every week, but we are still all connected.

We realize there are those dealing with job losses, struggling businesses and added daily expenses due to the pandemic. We have supported people within the congregation as we are able through the Benevolent Fund, and continue our support of those beyond Walton through the mission of our Outreach Committee with the local food banks and Wesley Mission. We have also tried to reach out to people throughout the congregation to touch base through all different forms of communication. Some volunteers are also calling, emailing and even writing us. There have been many face-to-face visits outside the Allen Entrance to the church with those who drop by. But we know we have missed people. Please let us know if we have missed you.

Thanks, too, for those who are able financially and have stepped forward with generously increased givings in support of Walton. Your gifts are truly amazing. Though we are closed to live worship on Sundays, had to pause all rentals except the government-regulated nursery school, and cancelled nearly all our major fundraising events, we are not closed as a family of faith. Every day since our last live service on March 15th we have continued to function as a church family in so many ways beyond what you see on screen each week.

We have loved our neighbours as ourselves through all the pastoral care and support that is being offered by Walton people and staff who reach out and care for others. Life still goes on: babies have been born; people have been in hospital; couples have gotten married; people have been baptized, individuals have had tests and gotten treatments. People have graduated, retired, died, moved, got engaged and struggled, adapted and found ways to cope with life being turned upside-down with Covid.

We thank you, thank you very much. Over the summer we completed Phase One of Walton’s commercial kitchen upgrade, installing the new range, cooler, hood, ventilation system, fire suppression system, major electrical upgrade, LED lighting and painting. We also put in a new fire alarm system throughout the church which is now monitored 24/7.

A new cloud-based church management software system called Planning Center was implemented to better manage the administration, accounting, and other back-office operations of the church, and to make it easier for people to register for Walton events, donate online, check their givings statements and update their personal information. The three main church offices and the caretaker areas have all undergone a major reorganization and renewal, and the entire church building had a major deep cleaning after the kitchen construction was completed.

To some it is, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.” To others, it is, “Thank you. Thank you very much.” Either way, we give you all a huge Walton thank you. Walton is blessed. Thank you very much.

Pastoral Prayer

Heavenly Father, my day-to-day routine is so busy. So much so, that I sometimes forget to stop to thank you for all that is good in my life. My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation. I want to thank you for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Sometimes life is very hard, and it’s a struggle to keep my head above water. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult often hurt. When my heart feels stretched and empty, and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I will rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning. In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional love.

We thank you for every blessing and also for every trial, for they shape us into who we are meant to be and who you want us to be.Thank you for new mercies and blessings each and every day. We thank you for wonderful families, partners, food on the table, and roofs over our heads.

Thank you, Father, that you know us, you hear us, and you see our tears.
We gratefully give thanks for all you have done, Messiah, as well as all you are going to do in our lives. In Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.
(adapted 4prayertoday.com/thank-you-father-god-for-all-the-blessings)

Anthem: Oh, Happy Day!

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Invitation to Offering
God calls us: to respond in faith, to be stewards of great resources, to live responsibly and responsively, to share love and grace. So let us present our offering this day including the offerings of hands, hearts, and lives.
(Beth W. Johnston, The Gathering Pentecost 2020)

♥ by secure online payment from your bank or credit card – waltonmemorial.com/donate

*Important Note*Please enter the donation in one person’s name (preferably the name shown on the credit/debit card) even if you give jointly with another person. As with cheques and cash, donations made online are automatically credited to both adults in the same household regardless of which one made the donation.

♥ by cheque through the mail slot at the Church office entrance or by Canada Post.
♥ by monthly PAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com.

Offering Prayer

Lord, you have spoken and we have answered. Accept our gifts today as a token of our thanks for all the blessings that surround us. May these gifts and our talents be an inspiration to us and others to build a better world in which all have enough. Amen.
(Jim McKean, The Gathering 2020)

Benediction

As we go out from this time together, let us go with a renewed sense of thanksgiving to God, for the wonderful fall blessings he gives to us. Amen.

Walton’s Musical Message

This morning on Facebook and on YouTube, we’re sharing a video where Linda shares with us several of our favourite hymns! Sing along!

♬ Working Together
♬ The Song of Love
♬ Pass it On
♬ Count Your Blessings
♬ The Closing Prayer

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, October 21st