Virtual New Year’s Day Service – January 1, 2023

2:00 pm

January 1, 2023

Welcome to virtual church!

Today’s service will be offered in 2 formats – video and text.

• View the video below
• download and print the service from this document – link

For the latest news and updates from Walton, please check our Facebook page, Instagram and website. Subscribe to our YouTube channel for videos of service, the choirs and more!

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• Winter 2023 Video Study- Good Boundaries and Goodbyes: Loving Others Without Losing the Best of Who You Are – #1 New York Times bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst helps us stop the dysfunction of unhealthy relationships by showing us biblical ways to set boundaries and, when necessary, say goodbye without losing the best of who we are. Is it unloving or selfish to set a boundary? Are Christians ever called to walk away from a relationship that’s no longer safe or sustainable? Lysa TerKeurst deeply understands these hard questions in the midst of relational struggles. Rev Jim will lead this 6-evening video study Tuesday nights from 7:15pm to 8:45pm in Bronte Hall. There is no cost and no prep required. All are welcome to attend. Please sign up through the church office if you plan to attend at or 905-827-1643 . The dates are  Tues Jan 10,  Jan 17, Jan 24, +no Jan 31+, Feb 7, Feb 14, Feb 21 optional days if snow storm or ill health Feb 28,  March 7.

• First UCW meeting of 2023 – All Walton ladies are warmly welcome to come out to the first UCW meeting of 2023, on Thursday, January 12th at 1:30 pm in Bronte Hall. Constable Mathew Rocca will be talking about current scams and his role as the Older Adults Support Officer. Future meetings will be held on the 2nd Thursday of each month so please mark your calendars for February 9, March 9, April 13, May 11 and June 8.

• 2023 Givings Envelopes – Envelopes are now available for pickup from the Bronte Hall stage. Please pick yours up, and if you would like to be a good neighbour and drop off someone you know who lives close by,  we invite you to help out any way you can. Thank you.

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. We’re making a New Year’s resolution this year that everyone can keep!

• Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayers requests can be sent to

If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at

Land Acknowledgement

As we gather today on these treaty lands, we are in solidarity with Indigenous brothers and sisters to honour and respect the four directions, lands, waters, plants, animals and ancestors that walked before us, and all of the wonderful elements of creation that exist. We acknowledge and thank the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation for being stewards of this traditional territory.


Happy New Year! Blessings for this new year, 2023.
We hope for you in this new year of 2023:
That the single, most significant dimension of life is your relationship with the Source of Goodness
who never ceases to sing love songs to your soul.
That you find meaning, purpose, and vitality in what you do daily.
That you treasure your loved ones and let them know how dear they are to you.
That you make choices and decisions which reflect your truest self.
That you look in the mirror at least once a day and smile in happy amazement.
That you remember relationships are what count above all else – more than work or money,
or all the material things we spend so much time tending.
That you live in an uncluttered manner, enjoying the freedom to be content.
That you keep your sense of humour when things don’t go the way you want.
That you find adventure in each new day and marvel at the wonders of creation which constantly present themselves to you.
That you never give up on yourself when others turn away or do not understand.
That you are attentive to the health of your body, mind and spirit.
That you take risks and accept the growth-full challenges that come to you.
That you draw on your inner strength and resiliency when you are in need.
That you carry peace within yourself, allowing it to slip into the hearts of others
so our planet becomes a place where violence, division, and war are no more.
Joyce Rupp January 2004.  Posted on Joyce Rupp.

Hymn: “As the Old Year Passes”


Call to Worship

One: Happy New Year to all of you, and for those of you watching virtually!
All: May each one of us feel the Holy Spirit filling us up with the hope and peace we need for this coming year.
One: May we feel God’s welcoming love and joy.
All: Thanks be to God.
One:   Let us worship!

Opening Prayer

All: God of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, like the magi from long ago, we come into this time of worship seeking the Light of the World, your son, Jesus.  When Isaiah imagined the coming of your son, he used these words:  “Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.”  We too seek this beacon of hope, peace, joy, and love, a beacon we find in Jesus, a beacon to help us in the midst of chaos, despair, and tragedy.  Help us, O God, to fill our souls with the light and love of Christ so that we may carry this light and love to the greater community around us. Amen.
Sally Tuffin, The Gathering A/C/E 2022/23

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, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Youth Hymn: “We Three Kings”  verses 1 & 2


Youth Story: “A Fresh Start”

Today is the start of a brand new year. There’s something so special about getting out a new calendar, and seeing a blank page. Today isn’t really much different than yesterday, but it feels different, doesn’t it? A new year feels like a new start. It feels like any mistakes we made, or bad things that happened in 2022 are behind us, and we are beginning 2023 with a fresh, clean slate.

Doesn’t that remind you of Jesus? He forgives us for our mistakes, all of the bad things we carry around inside like a stain on our hearts. He wipes our sins away, and gives us the chance to start again with a fresh clean slate. Not just once a year, but every day! What a wonderful gift that is.

Maybe it’s hard to picture what that fresh start looks like. I bet this experiment will help.

Three cups of liquid are displayed. One contains plain water. One contains water mixed with iodine. The third contains water mixed with bleach.

Look at this cup of brown liquid. It looks kind of dirty and yucky, right? That icky looking mess can represent all the bad or sad things that happened, or all the times we messed up and needed forgiveness. Now look at these other two cups of liquid. They look so clean and fresh right? They are  just like the new year – nothing has gone in those cups to mess them up yet.

What happens if we take last year’s mistakes and carry them forward into this new year with us? It’s like pouring some of the dirty brown liquid into the clear one (plain water). The clear one turns brown too. Our fresh new year gets stained by last year’s mistakes. But it doesn’t have to be like that!

When we ask Jesus to forgive those mistakes, when we use the power of God, something amazing happens! Those sins get wiped away. This clear cup (bleach and water) can represent Jesus. Watch what happens when we add it to the dirty water. It becomes fresh and clean. It looks brand new again! Wow! That’s what Jesus does to our hearts when he forgives us. We don’t have to carry the stain of our sins around inside us.

And we don’t need to carry last year’s mistakes into this new year either. We can choose a better way. We can listen to our parents and teachers. We can obey the rules. We can love our neighbours. When we live the kind of life God wants us to, sin doesn’t have a chance to mess up our fresh new year. Watch! (The brown liquid is added to the cup of bleach and water mixture. The liquid in the cup stays clear). Let’s ask God to help us with that. Let us pray:

Loving God, thank you for this new year and this chance to start over. Help us make good choices this year, to be kind to others and to live the way you want us to. Help us to keep our hearts clean. And when we do mess up, thank you for forgiving us. Thank you for all the second chances to do better, the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, and for the fresh start you give us every day. Amen.

Youth Blessing: “Go My Children With My Blessing” 946LUYH


Scripture Reading:  Luke 2: 15-21

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them, and Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told them.

Jesus Is Named
When the eighth day came, it was time to circumcise the child,  and he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Scripture Response:  “Joy Is Now in Every Place”  verse 3  45VU


Hymn:  “Will you Come and See the Light”  96VU


Morning Message:  “The Message of Nativity Scenes”  Rev. Jim Gill

In some form, in some place, at some time, you have probably had one or have been involved personally with a nativity scene. Writer Brett Leveridge tells us that, “Tradition has it that Saint Francis of Assisi created the first crèche (or nativity scene) in 1223. Maybe this week you will be putting away your nativity scene at home for another year.

Our 2022-23 Advent and Christmas series of sermons is entitled, “The Message of Nativity Scenes.” Each service either Gill or I consider a different nativity scene, which will be shown up on the screen. Today’s nativity scene pictured on the screen is owned by a Walton member. It was made in the Holy Land and this member brought it back from a trip there. It is a beautiful depiction of the story of the birth of Jesus.

Our scripture passage today tells us these words: “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”  The “they” are the shepherds. We see the shepherds’ sheep beautifully carved in our nativity scene on the screen.

In the passage today there is another statement I wish to focus on. It is an action statement. It is about how the shepherds in the hills around Bethlehem that night intend to use that night. How they intend to use that time.

The statement is, “Let’s go.”

The location is, “Let’s go to Bethlehem.”

The focus is, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened.”

The reason is, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

This is how the shepherds intended to use their time, how they would use the gift of that evening. Today, time changes. It is day one. Yesterday was day 365. Today we start a new year. There is a new calendar for you, be it electronic or paper. Today I invite you to reflect on how you used 2022 and how you intend to use 2023. Let me share this story.

The telephone rang. It was a call from his mother. He answered it and his mother told him, “Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday.”

Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

“Jack, did you hear me?”

“Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It’s been so long since I thought of him. I’m sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago,” Jack said.

“Well, he didn’t forget you. Every time I saw him he’d ask how you were doing. He’d reminisce about the many days you spent over ‘his side of the fence’ as he put it,” Mom told him.

“I loved that old house he lived in,” Jack said.

“You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr.  Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man’s influence in your life,” she said.

“He’s the one who taught me carpentry,” he said. “I wouldn’t be in this business if it weren’t for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important.  Mom, I’ll be there for the funeral,” Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown.  Mr. Belser’s funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time. Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment.  It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered.

Every step held memories, every picture, every piece of furniture. Jack stopped suddenly…

“What’s wrong, Jack?” his Mom asked.

“The box is gone,” he said.

“What box?” Mom asked.

“There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he’d ever tell me was ‘the thing I value most,’ Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it.

“Now I’ll never know what was so valuable to him,” Jack said.

“I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom.”

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day, Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. “Signature required on a package.  No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days,” the note read.

Early the next day Jack went to the post office and retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention.

“Mr. Harold Belser” it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There inside was the gold box and an envelope.

Jack’s hands shook as he read the note inside.

“Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It’s the thing I valued most in my life.” A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filled his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch.

Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.  Inside he found these words engraved: “Jack, Thanks for your time! — Harold Belser.”

“The thing he valued most was my time!”

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days.

“Why?” Janet, his assistant asked.

“I need some time to spend with the people I love and say I care for,” he said.  “Oh, by the way, Janet, thanks for your time!”

Thanks for your time in this service today – every one of you worshiping today virtually or live. Your time has been a blessing.

Henry Van Dyke wrote of time:

Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

The shepherds in the nativity scene chose to use their time searching for the baby Jesus in a stable.

“Let’s go,” those shepherds said. In 2023 what are you saying, “Let’s go” to?

We are not talking resolutions.
We are not talking time management.
We are not talking goals.
Maybe this poem called “Achievement,” which I frequently use at celebration of life services, sums it up best.


To have lived well,
laughed often and loved much;
to have gained the respect
of intelligent men
and the love of children;
to have filled a niche
and accomplished a task;
to have left the world better-
whether by an improved poinsettia
a perfect poem or a rescued soul;
to have appreciated earth’s beauty
and not failed to express it;
to have looked for the best in others,
and to have given the best of yourself.
That is achievement.
Happy New Year.  Let’s go!

Prayer of the Church: New Year

“There is a time for everything under heaven.” Let us enter the new year by coming to God in prayer.

God of mercy, you live in everlasting glory, and your name is eternal. We give thanks that you have revealed to us the name of your only Son, Jesus, our Saviour, the name above every name, the name by which we are saved, the name in which we have been baptized, and at whose name every knee will bow.
Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

We give thanks for all the blessings of the past year. You have helped us in the past, and there is no end to your mercy. In these difficult times, protect your church from the assaults of evil. Keep all pastors from  discouragement, and keep your flock from indifference and tiredness.
Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Bless the nations of the earth with leaders who are wise and just, with public servants who are compassionate and patient, and with citizens who are honourable and respectful. Bless all the lawful actions taken by our country. Do not let us grow weary in well-doing.
Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Bless the resources of the earth and the labour of all workers. Bless our children. Grant that they may grow in virtue and faithfulness.
Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Have mercy on those who are lonely, tired, anxious, or despairing; on those without home, employment, or family, those who have lost hope and those whose holiday joy has become sorrow for any reason. Remember us in our dark times, and teach us all not to worry about the future.
Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

Merciful Lord, forgive us for the mistakes of the past year. As we look to a new year, we confess to you that we are anxious and uncertain, for we do not know what will come to us. Yet, Lord, we know that you will be with us according to your mercy. Bless the endeavours of our congregation this year and help us to grow in your wisdom.
Lord in your mercy: Hear our prayer

You are our God; our times are in your hands. Give strength to the weary, and new strength to those who wait, especially to us as we wait for the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray.
Adapted Lutheran Church of Australia’s LCA Worship Planning Page

Hymn:  “When Heaven’s Bright with Mystery”   verses 1 & 4  93VU


Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes


We have been given the gift of another year: a gift of renewal and hope, a gift of fresh starts and possibilities, and the opportunity to share that gift with others. As we contemplate all that lies ahead, may our service in this community bring about renewal and hope for any in need. Let our giving provide fresh starts and possibilities for all those whom these gifts touch.

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Offering Hymn: “As With Gladness”  verse 3   81VU


Offering Prayer

All:  Abundant and renewing God, guide us in the endeavours of this new year ahead, that we might
serve you to bring about the redemption of your world and healing for all your children. May these
resources enrich the outreach and ministry of this community of faith, as we praise you with
our lives, so that all may know that we are your disciples. Amen.
Gill Le Fevre, The Gathering A/C/E/ 2022-23

Hymn: “Angels from the Realms of Glory”  Verse 1, 3   36VU


New Year’s Commissioning for 2023

As we leave this place of worship today, may we be blessed in the discovery of new opportunities, new ways to love and live and reach out.
May God send us from here with love to share and make us open and willing to take comfort in the love of others.
May God journey with us into this new year of 2023, as we are full of hope and ready to embrace all that God offers to fill us up.
May God grant us the courage to love freely, without judgment, and to be creative in how we serve and reach out to others.
May God bless those we love and those we don’t.
And now, may we go out in faith, trusting that God will lead us; may we go in love, believing in God’s saving grace; and may we go in peace, recognizing God’s precious gift given to each one of us. Amen.
Adapted Sharon Winegarden, Lion’s Head Pike Bay P.C., Lion’s Head, Ont.


One:  God comes to us now; comes to embrace us.
All:    Emmanuel, God who is with us.
One:  For this Child is Peace beyond all peace,
All:    Love beyond all loves,Light of light,Song of songs,God almighty!
One:  Follow this Child who is Grace beyond all grace,
All:    A Gift beyond all gifts,Joy of joys,God made flesh,almighty!
One:  Go in joy and love to serve your newborn King!
All:   Thanks be to God!  Amen!

Closing Hymn: “Olde Irish Blessing”



In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, December 28, 2022