Virtual Service – January 3, 2021

8:30 am

January 3, 2021

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 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.


• Christmas office hours – The church office will be closed on Christmas Day December 25, and New Years Day, January 1. There will be no set office hours from Monday, December 28 to Friday, January 8. Please email staff members directly or leave a voicemail at 905-827-1643 with any requests or to set up an appointment to meet at the church. Regular office hours resume Tuesday, January 12th.

•  Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online

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

Welcome to our New Year’s Service

Good Morning and welcome to Epiphany Sunday.

Val: Good Morning Jim what are you doing?

Jim: Val, it’s a New Year, and with the new year we are supposed to turn over a new leaf. So I’m turning over all the poinsettia leaves. It is the only leaf I have to turn over.

Val: I think you are taking that a little literally Jim; it means you are going to start fresh, start something new, change something for the better. You know – a new year, do something new, like go to the gym, start an exercise routine, go on a diet?

Jim: Do things differently than last year. We sometimes make a new year’s resolution to help us keep doing the new thing we want to start. It is a way to do something we may have been putting off… the start of a new year.

Val: Happy New Year, let’s join together in worship!

Call to Worship

Every second of every minute, every minute of every hour, every hour of every day-
is God’s.
Every breath we take, every heart that beats, every laugh lived, every tear dropped –
is God’s
Gift of the Creator. Gift of the Christ. Gift of the Spirit-Alive!
Gift of God.
And so we are –
And so we are –
And so we are –
And so we are –
here, to worship God.
(Richard Bott, The Gathering A/C/E 2021)

Opening Prayer & Lord’s Prayer

Every time we answer your call, O God, we meet you again as if for the first time.
Each moment is a revelation. Each meeting leads to our hearts opening wider to you and to others.
Each encounter shines light onto the strength of relationships fostered while following Jesus the Christ, the one who invites and equips, the one who is companion and guide, the one who is Giver and Gift, the one who gave us these words to utter as we pray:

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 Story: Psalm 23 by the Junior Youth Group

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 60:1-6, John 1:1-9

Isaiah 60:1-6
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the LORD will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms. Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall proclaim the praise of the LORD.

John 1:1-9
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

Morning Message: “Epiphany Light” – Rev. Jim Gill

Today is one of the least understood Sundays, the most often misspelled, and even more often mispronounced Sundays of the liturgical church year. Of course for those here in Bronte, we have it a little bit easier thanks to our Anglican neighbours just across Bronte Road.

Epiphany is a Christian feast or festival day that celebrates the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ, or simply put, God with flesh on. That happened at Christmas. It is also the name of the Anglican church near Walton, the Church of the Epiphany. My message is entitled Epiphany Light. It’s a mini Epiphany 101 Basics course to shed light on the meaning of this Sunday. In Western Christianity, the feast of Epiphany commemorates the visit of the three magi, or three kings, or three wise men to the Christ child. It was not on the same night that the shepherds saw Christ, though we put both together in most Christmas pageants. The significance of the wise men’s visit is the physical manifestation of Jesus to Gentiles. This means non-Jews, for you and I are Gentiles.

Epiphany is sometimes called Three Kings Day and in some Christian traditions, it is celebrated as the Little Christmas. Moreover, the feast of the Epiphany, in some denominations, also begins the liturgical season of Epiphanytide or what we in the United Church of Canada simply call Epiphany. Since Covid, many people tell me they have forgotten events and even missed important meetings because they didn’t check their calendars. Many don’t do it as much as before March 15. Have you missed something? It seems even in these most unusual days we still do need calendars. I hope you have flipped yours if you use a paper one. In the church office, we have an electronic calendar in our phones to track all the things happening here but we still have paper United Church calendars to follow the liturgical church year. The traditional date for Epiphany, whether on paper or in an electronic calendar, is January 6th, which is this Wednesday. At Walton, we celebrate liturgical events on the Sunday before they happen, unless they actually fall on a Sunday in that calendar year.

This Epiphany 101 Course as we start 2021 is also a primer on the meaning of our denominational differences as Christian believers. We do worship differently at times but we all worship the same Triune God. Later in January is something called, “A Week of Prayer for Christian Unity,” a week when different faith traditions all worship together. Yes, there are a few differences among denominations but what’s most important is what we all have in common. It’s our common belief in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Hear this: let’s not get too caught up in the differences between Christian denominations but rather treasure like the valuable gold, frankincense and myrrh what we hold in common in Jesus.

For example, people often ask me what they should call me. Is it Minister, Pastor, Priest, Reverend, or Father? I usually answer jokingly, “Call me the Bishop of Bronte.” I prefer to just simply be called Jim. But legally on your baptism certificate, confirmation certificate or wedding license it says Rev. James C. Gill. All these name options I mention come out of different Christian traditions and all of them point to a person set aside by a community of faith to ordered ministry in the footsteps of Jesus. Their calling is to lead worship, preach, administer the sacraments, teach, pastor and administer.

In many Western Christian, the eve of Epiphany is celebrated as Twelfth Night, like Shakespeare’s famous play, or it’s simply called Epiphany Eve. The Monday after Epiphany is known as Plough Monday, which in England is the traditional start of the English agricultural year. In Canada of course on Plough Monday the only thing we plough are snowdrifts! There are other popular Epiphany customs including Epiphany singing, which we so look forward to doing again sometime well beyond widespread vaccinations. There is chalking the door, which has been in the media a lot this year. It is a form of having one’s house blessed. I do house blessings, by the way, often throughout the year and not just at Epiphany.

Chalking the door at Epiphany usually involves writing inscriptions such as 20 ✝ C ✝ M ✝ B ✝ 21. The numbers refer to the calendar year (20 and 21, for instance, for this year, 2021); the crosses stand for Christ; and the letters have a two-fold significance: C, M and B are the initials for the traditional names of the three magi or wise men (Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar), but they are also an abbreviation of the Latin blessing, “May Christ bless this house.”

Another Epiphany tradition we should maybe take up here at Walton is eating Three Kings cake.

It’s a type of delicious dessert associated in a number of countries with the festival of Epiphany. In other places Three Kings Cake is associated with the pre-Lent celebrations of Mardi Gras or Carnival. Apparently it started out roughly 300 years ago as a dry French bread-like type of dough with sugar on top and a bean inside. It now comes in many varieties depending on the country. Let’s start next year off with Three Kings cake in Bronte Hall during coffee hour on Epiphany Sunday January 2, 2022.

Winter outdoor swimming is also very big in places like Russia for Epiphany. It represents Jesus’ baptism which we celebrate next Sunday in worship. I think I will pass on that Epiphany activity of winter swimming but I know some of you actually do the January 1st Polar Bear Dip here in Oakville.

Light is also a very important symbol in Epiphany. It is customary for Christians in many countries to remove their Christmas decorations on Epiphany Eve. In Canada I think the May 24 long weekend, when it is finally warm enough, is when a lot of Canadians actually remove their outdoor Christmas

Lights. Many of us think of Christmas being over with the start of Boxing Day sales on December 26 but that’s not so.

In this Epiphany 101 message today I wanted to shed light on three things: The first I hope is for us all to realize Christmas really ends in the Western church on January 6, not December 26. The second one is wh other denominations may have traditions that are different from ours. The third one is that the Epiphany is chock-full of meaning for us all as believers. The magi, the three kings or the wise men – whatever we call them – show us who Jesus is and how we can worship the Baby of Bethlehem. Epiphany blessings to each of you.
May Christ bless your home.

Anthem: Home

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Let us bring to God our gifts in response to God’s gracious love. Like the wise men, we give offerings to offer to the King.

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Offering Prayer

We bring before you today God our gifts, not gold frankincense and myrrh but gifts of time, talent and treasure to offer to you. Bless these gifts and bless us in our various ministries and activities as we journey to build your kingdom here on earth. Amen.


As you continue your journey through life in faith, carry this time of Epiphany and the epiphanies of this time with you, sharing the light of Christ with family, friends, and strangers, neighbours everywhere. Amen.
(Adapted George Allan, The Gathering A/C/E 2020/21)

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!

♬ As With Gladness Men of Old
♬ We Three Kings
♬ In the Darkness Shines the Splendour
♬ When Heaven’s Bright With Mystery
♬ As the old year passes

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update from Wednesday, December 30th