Virtual Church – September 20, 2020

8:30 am

September 20, 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

•  SPAGHETTI DINNER A DIFFERENT WAY?????
WALTON FRIENDS OF WESLEY URBAN MINISTRIES: Every September the Outreach Committee holds a Spaghetti Dinner. With COVID this is not possible. We would still like to do something for Wesley Ministries as they are struggling to feed so many more people during our COVID times. With the job loss situation in both in Hamilton and Halton Regions which Welsey serves, there has been a doubling of their meals served from the 3,000. per week pre-pandemic to well over 5,000.We ask for your financial donations through Walton Church. You can give online through the website, mail a cheque to the Church made out to Walton United Church or drop one off through the mailslot at the Allen Entrance in any amount you can afford. Truly, all donations really add up.
As it is not possible for the Walton Outreach Committee to host the annual spaghetti dinner this year,  we would like to deliver to your front porch if you would like the ingredients for a modest spaghetti dinner for 4; a sample of what families going through difficult times can afford. Let us know you wish this optional drop-off.
Questions to the Church Office: 905-827-1643 or email office@waltonmemorial.com 

•  WALTON SURVEY RESULTS – Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our survey or to share their thoughts with us personally. After carefully considering the survey results, and evaluating the risk presented by the recent increase in new COVID-19 infections locally, the Council has decided not to resume in-person services at this time. For now, we will continue with the current virtual service format and Council will re-evaluate at the end of October the feasibility of opening at a later date. We appreciate your continued prayer support as we continue in virtual worship together.

The results of our three survey questions are as follows:
1. Do you think Walton should resume in-person worship services?
54% – No
46% – Yes
2. If we did resume in-person services, would you attend with your pre-COVID regularity?
76% – No
24% – Yes
3. Instead of attending in person, would you prefer to watch the current virtual services until there is a vaccine widely available?
82% – Yes
18 % – No

•  CAN WALTON BORROW A POP-UP TENT / FOUR POST CANOPY COVER?? Do you have an easy to assemble pop up tent / four post canopy cover 8 X 10 or larger than we could borrow as needed? Please contact the church office.

*NEW OFFICE HOURS* As of Tuesday, September 15th, the church office will be open from 9am – 12pm Tuesdays through Fridays.

–  A locked door policy is in effect to limit traffic flow. Please use the rear entrance and ring the white doorbell to the right of the window.
A reminder that masks are required to enter the building and all staff and visitors must read the health declaration and sign in and out.
– Not all staff members will be in the office each day during this time; please make an appointment if you need to see a specific person.
– We encourage you to continue dealing with staff by phone or email as much as possible. Staff can be reached at their individual emails, via the central email office@waltonmemorial.com, or by the central telephone number 905-827-1643.

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

•  *CHOIR NEWS* – Understanding the strong need for social interaction, this fall Walton singers can continue to experience the joy of singing from the safety of your own home. Choir rehearsals will take place online via Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions. New members are always welcome!
Please contact Linda Fletcher – music@waltonmemorial.com

Chancel Choir will resume on Thursday, Sept 17th at 7:45. We will work on musicianship skills, learn new songs for our virtual choir projects, and continue to foster a sense of community within our choir.
Youth choir
will resume on Thursday, Sept 24th at 6:45 -7:30. The youth choir will be a time of social interaction, working on musicianship skills and vocal production, building confidence, and the joy of singing with friends.

• MIKE’S SEVILLE MARMALADE are available for curbside delivery through the church office – $5.00 per jar. Please contact the office at 905-827-1643 or email the office at office@waltonmemorial.com to make arrangements. All proceeds to Walton Treasury to fund programs and ministries.

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

Welcome – Light of the World

This is the last Sunday of summer, and we have an outdoor service this week. May you feel God’s presence in the beauty of his amazing creation in this world.

Call to Worship

You and I are here this morning because God has called us to worship. You and I are not so different. God made you in God’s image. God made me in God’s image too. We gather together, as the great people of God’s making. We gather to be transformed into tighter unity with one another to further cement our connection with our Creator.
Let us worship God boldly!
(Elaine Bidgood Sveet, The Gathering, Pentecost 2, 2019)

Opening Prayer

God, we gather here together in this glorious autumn season of cool starry nights and bright sunny days, and we wonder how illness, Covid and challenges can co-exist with such beauty. Where are you, O God? Where are you God, in this foolish, mixed up world? How do we make sense of apparent nonsense? We come to you seeking comfort, answers, and wisdom, knowing that in your compassion, you are near us. Amen.
(adapted Fern Gibbard, The Gathering, Pentecost 2, 2019)

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: Genesis 50:15-21

Joseph Reassures His Brothers
When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” So they sent word to Joseph, saying, “Your father left these instructions before he died: ‘This is what you are to say to Joseph: I ask you to forgive your brothers the sins and the wrongs they committed in treating you so badly.’ Now please forgive the sins of the servants of the God of your father.” When their message came to him, Joseph wept. His brothers then came and threw themselves down before him. “We are your slaves,” they said.

But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

Youth Story

Our Sunday School theme this month is Not Afraid: Being Brave With God’s Help. Everybody gets scared sometimes. Everybody worries – big kids, little kids, grown-ups, even Reverend Jim! But God has an important message he wants us all to know – we don’t need to worry about a thing.

“Don’t Worry” https://youtu.be/XgAVWKqcyMU

Song – “Don’t Worry About A Thing”

https://youtu.be/ECtrMo-QcME

Morning Message: The Intentions of God

The ultimate question in life may be that three letter word: WHY?

WHY are we in the midst of a pandemic? WHY have our lives been turned upside-down? WHY are we not having our Sunday School covenanting in a packed church today, as we usually do each year on this Sunday? This is the day we usually return to two live services after our one 10 am service over the summer. But today, we have only this virtual service.
Today’s scripture story you may recall from the musical Joseph and the Technicolor Dream-coat. It is the story of Joseph sold into slavery by his very jealous brothers, who were full of that green-eyed monster, envy. The story today of Joseph gives us some insight into the question WHY, and how God works even in evil situations.

“Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for am I in the place of God?” Once again in this powerful story, Joseph reassures his brothers and tells them not to fear. Joseph is denying here that he has the right to exercise the kind of judgment that belongs only to God. Good lesson for us all, I think. God is the judge, not us.

“Am I in the place of God?” makes it sound as if Joseph has no right to retaliate. By the standards of the “eye for an eye” culture in which Joseph lived in those days, both in Egypt and Israel, that is not true. However, Joseph is not a servant of the prevailing culture, but a servant of God. That is true of you and me walking today in the steps of Jesus. We are servants of God, not the prevailing culture in which we live. Being Christian is truly being counter-cultural. We are the salt or the yeast. We are the lesser ingredient compared to the flour, but we are still essential for the recipe of the bread of life.

“As for you, you meant [or—planned] evil against me [by selling me into slavery], but God meant it for good.” God’s plan for good superseded the brothers’ plan for evil. The brothers’ purpose was evil, but God took their evil act and brought something good out of it. God turned it to his merciful purposes. God does that every day of life. The fact that God transforms evil to good is a common theme throughout both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, but also throughout our lives today. The cross is the most obvious example on which our faith is built. The bad of the crucifixion. The good of the resurrection.

In this scripture story we are told God is “to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save many people alive.” God proposed to save not only Jacob and his family, but the people of Egypt and all those whom Egypt’s food was feeding during the famine.

There are three general views of God at work in the world today. The first view is what could be called the “set in motion” philosophy. God is the Creator who set it all in motion. But then God leaves us alone. The world totally becomes our responsibility. God walks away from it.
The second view is what could be called “God has pre-destined everything.” God has planned it all out and we are just acting out that plan.

The third view is what I believe we see in this story of Joseph today, and see here and now today. We have free choice. We can choose evil. But God can choose to bring good out of evil. God acts in this world. The Holy Spirit works in situations, circumstances, and in peoples’ lives for good.

COVID is not a good thing. COVID is at times made worse by the greed, ignorance, cruelty, intolerance, self-centredness and denial of people – from those in the grocery store to those who are the modern-day Pharaohs of our time.

Originating in Christian theology, the seven deadly sins are pride, envy, gluttony, greed, lust, sloth, and wrath. Pride is sometimes referred to as vanity or vainglory, greed as avarice or covetousness, and wrath as anger. Gluttony covers self-indulgent excess more generally. When you think of it COVID has brought out the seven deadly sins.

But the good news is that COVID has also brought out the good rather than evil in people. I am continually struck by the good in people, for example, the Oakville Care Mongers or the Burlington Dads groups. Or here in Walton those who help others with calls, emails, socially-distanced visits or drop-offs. Those who reach out, offering a socially distant hand to others to lift them up or help them out. The seven opposites to the seven deadly sins are the seven Christian virtues. This is how God works for good. As my sermon title reminds us, all these are the intentions of God. This is what God intends in response to how we can face the WHY question in life when confronting evil. God worked in Joseph’s day and still works here, today, on September 20.

God works through these virtues:
Faith is belief in the right things God shows us (including the virtues!).
Hope is taking a positive future view, that good/ God will prevail.
Charity is concern for, and active helping of, others. Could be called generous of spirit.
Fortitude is never giving up. It is “keep on keeping on.”
Justice is being fair and equitable with others.
Prudence is care of and moderation with money.
Temperance is moderation of needed things and abstinence from things which are not needed.

This is always God’s intention. As Joseph said, “but God meant it for good.” Amen.

Pastoral Prayer

Lord, help us welcome you and all who come in your name. Give us a deep love for your living word and for all our brothers and sisters. Help us to avoid slander and deceit in all our dealings. Guide us, O God, by the law given by your Spirit that our way may be blameless and pure. Help us always to please you rather than the favour of others. Make us gentle and compassionate, humble and forgiving, just and holy in all our relationships. Help us be like Christ in whom we believe. Help us to meditate on his word and his example day and night. Lord, help us not only share the good news of your love with all we meet, but also to share our very selves.

We continue in silent prayer …..
Thanks be to you, O Lord, for the word you put upon our hearts. Praise be to you, O God, for the spirit which brings it to life in us. Amen.
(Copyright © Rev. Richard J. Fairchild. Posted on his Kir-Shalom website)

Anthem – When You Believe

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Invitation to Offering
This is how the earth praises God: giving thanks for God’s abundance! The meadows clothe themselves with flocks and the valleys deck themselves with shimmering fields of grain, sharing their bounty with the rest of creation. We, too, are to worship God by being abundant and fruitful with our lives, offering up our yields as if they were songs of joyful praise. Let us worship God with our gifts.
( from How the Earth Praises God. Posted on the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways)

♥ 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

God of the wilderness, We give these offerings in gratitude,rejoicing in the abundance of your gifts to us. We give these offerings in faith, trusting that you will provide for our needs. We give these offerings in hope, knowing you can use them to spread your love in this world. And with these offerings, we give ourselves; May we live with generous hearts, with open hands. Amen.
(written by Joanna Harader, and posted on her Spacious Faith blog. http://spaciousfaith.com/ )

Benediction

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit. Amen.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8)

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!

♬ This Is God’s Wondrous World
♬ Great Is Thy Faithfulness
♬ God Moves in a Mysterious Way
♬ Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
♬ The Closing Prayer

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, September 16th

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