Virtual Service – June 27, 2021

8:30 am

June 27, 2021

Welcome to virtual church!

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!

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 – 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

•  Christmas in July – Yes, you read that right, and we want to hear from you!  We would like to know what your favourite Christmas carol is.  I know; how do you pick one? Ok, we’ll let you choose two. We would love to sing Christmas carols together and celebrate Jesus’ birth in July. Of course, we will celebrate again in December too. Christmas in July will be just that, a joyful summer celebration of Christ’s birth.
•  A new way to donate to Walton — Text-to-Give!  Donate securely at any time just by texting a dollar amount to 84321 (eg. $5).  See our Text-to-Give page for more information.
•  Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. Summer’s here and it’s time for VBS at home!
•  Walton’s prayer chain is open. Confidential prayers requests can be sent to office@waltonmemorial.com
• 
If you need Rev. Jim for a pastoral emergency, please email him directly at jamescgillwuc@gmail.com.


BLESSING OF OUR PETS

Welcome

We are so excited to share with you throughout this service many of our Walton families’ pet blessings with you. What a wonderful time it has been to share stories and meet the beloved pets we have heard about over the years. May God bless you as you watch the service with wonderful memories and comfort of special pets you may have, or have had, as we share these special moments together as a family of faith today.

God created the animals – birds of the air, fish of the sea, and the many beloved creatures who walk or crawl on the earth – and God declared them all to be good. The glory of a horse running, the beauty of an eagle in flight, the majesty of a dolphin leaping –  all display the wonder of sacred life.

We are gathered here today to bless the animals that are in our midst, those who are our very close companions, and to ask for God’s blessing on these friends and on the many animals who share this Earth with us. We also remember those pet friends of our past, even those of our childhood who hold such a wonderful place in our hearts still today.

We pray as powerful animals ourselves, that we can be kinder, gentler and more supportive with all God’s creatures.  We pray that this time together, a time of recognition of the gifts and worthiness of every living being will remind us that all life is precious to God.

“O Canada”

 

Call to Worship

One: O God, you created the sun that gives us the light of day.
All:  We gather to thank you!
One: O God, you created the moon and all the stars in heaven.
All:  We gather to thank you!
One: O God, you have given us the gifts of water, earth, wind and fire.
All: We gather to thank you!
One: O God, you have shaped each one of us gathered here. With loving hands you created each one of us.
All: Thank you for this time and this country, Canada, to gather together to worship you!  Amen.

Opening Prayer

God, in your love, you created the whole world. You created all the fish and the animals and our pets.  Help us to love our pets and to care for them well. Help us to learn about all the fish and animals of the world, in the jungles and the deserts, in the forests and the seas. Help us offer our love and friendship to all your created beings. They need our help and our love. Show us how we can be friends to them all. Amen.

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 Story:  “God rocks”

There are so many beautiful places in Bronte to walk your dogs or other pets – you can sit on one of our lovely rocky beaches and watch the sailboats go by. Val and Alison came to one such spot at the bottom of West Street to film today’s youth story for the service. They were talking about how difficult it is for people who have lost pets, or who want a pet but can’t keep one where they live. Our pets give us so much love and companionship – what could those people do instead?

Then Val was inspired by the rocky beach and had a great idea – pet rocks! Do you remember pet rocks? They became a big trend in the 1970s and have appeared off and on ever since. You can make your own pet rock by glueing on googly eyes and yarn for hair or drawing a funny face with markers. She made a cat rock called Pebbles and a puppy called Boulder to show everyone in the youth story.

But pet rocks have a purpose beyond companionship. Have you heard of prayer rocks? When you get up in the morning, place your pet rock on your pillow so that when you lie down in bed at night, it reminds you to say your prayers. Before you go to sleep, place your rock on the floor next to your bed. When you get up in the morning and stub your toe on it, it’s a reminder to say your prayers again!

Pet rocks not only give us someone to talk to when we feel alone, they remind us to talk to God. And they remind us that we are never alone because God is always with us.

Let us pray:

Loving God, thank you for your blessing of our pets, for the blessing of companionship and unconditional love and thank you God that you always give us that too. We pray all of this in Jesus name. Aaaamen.

Anthem: “To Young Canadians”

 

Scripture Reading:  Genesis 7: 1-17

The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,  and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.  Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.” And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him. Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.  And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.  Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground,  male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.  They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in. For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth.

Morning Message: “God’s Blessing Through Pets” – Rev. Jim Gill

Walton has its own modern Noah’s Ark now, right here in the sanctuary. In front of me is this lovely piece of Christian art. It was being thrown out by someone in Burlington and one of our Walton family members saved it from garbage day. Like Noah, they rescued these beautifully hand-carved animals of the ark. They brought the ark here to the church and donated it to Walton. Then one of our resident wood masters gave it some TLC to restore it to its original condition.

This ark has been here through many tapings of virtual services, sitting on one of the youth choir pews. I have looked over at it many times throughout this pandemic we are living through. It has made me think more than once that our faith is like an ark through the floods of the three waves of infection we have all lived through.

In our weekly service videos we have tried to show you many different places, both inside and outside Walton Church, to be touchstones of this place. We have tried over the last 15 months to connect with people of faith, near and far, whether you have been part of Walton all your life or you just found us through our virtual online services. We have tried to involve others in the recording.

However, not everyone wants to be in front of a camera, nor do they have the technology to record videos or the availability to meet the very strict service production deadlines each week presents us with. We had the Grade 3 Sunday School kids receive their Bibles online earlier this month. We have people of all ages come to the church and we record them reading from the Good Book or saying a prayer. But we asked ourselves what more we could do to involve others.

Then Val suggested we bring back the pet blessing service. Until my allergies got too bad a number of years ago, we had a pet blessing service every October right after Thanksgiving. It was held on a Sunday afternoon in the Bronte Hall. It comes from the Christian tradition that on or around October 4, Christians worldwide celebrate the Feast of Saint Francis with a blessing of animals and prayers for Creation. We decided to do the pet blessing virtually this year at the end of June, with people setting an appointment to have their blessing recorded in advance. So we advertised that for a few weeks earlier this month.

Pets of all types have been a huge source of comfort during the pandemic lockdowns. Have you tried to buy or adopt a puppy during Covid? It’s nearly impossible. It is great so many have taken on older pets and rescue animals during the waves of the virus. You cannot go too far on any street without seeing someone walking their dogs. I see people every day walking their dogs through the church parking lot or across the front lawn. But it’s not limited to dogs. I have seen cats, a few hamsters, a ferret and even a parrot being walked.

The Noah story speaks powerfully to us today. The earth is now just one large ark. What we are doing to this planet ark we live in is just plain horrible. Think of the discarded plastic in our waters, food chain and forests. Think of all the animal life going extinct. Think of the wetlands being developed. We are not being flooded as in the days of this wooden ark. We are instead flooding ourselves with deforestation, changing climates and melting ice caps.

Do you know what dog is spelled backwards? Of course, it is God. Pets are just a small way we experience the blessings of God’s creative powers through his creatures. I don’t know about you but throughout Covid I have experienced far more of nature than usual. For example with less traffic I now hear the song birds in the morning. I have seen far more possums around, which are such a great blessing to humanity especially dealing with the recent serious rise of ticks and Lyme disease. There have been more deer in the Bronte Creek valley. Behind the church the beavers are busy at work, as shown in one of our most popular Walton mid-week check-ins. Thanks for not only liking our Walton social media posts each week but for sharing them. It helps us reach so many people.

One of our Walton family members woke up the other day at their cottage and found a moose wandering around their cars. Today is one of those years where Canada Day is in the middle of the week. We usually celebrate events the Sunday before the event takes place rather than after, so today is our Canada Day service. The World Wildlife Fund made a list of the top 10 iconic Canadian animals. Can you think about what would be on the list beyond the moose and beaver? Well here they are in order.

#10 Beluga whale
#9 Canadian lynx
#8 Atlantic puffin
#7 Caribou
#6 Walrus
#5 Southern resident killer whale
#4 Bison
#3 Polar bear
#2 Moose
#1 Beaver

How many of these iconic Canadian animals have you ever seen face to face? Ever better how many of you have seen them in the wild? How many of them are in danger of extinction today?

I thought some of these animals might also have been included on the list:

• Prairie dog
• Arctic hare
• Gray wolf
• Bighorn sheep

And of course what about Bronte’s favourite (not), the Canada goose?

God has richly blessed us with animal life in this ark called Canada. Let’s give thanks for those animals on this Canada Day 2021.  Did you know that five dog breeds are recognized by the American Kennel Club as uniquely Canadian? The Tahltan Bear Dog, the Canadian Inuit Dog, the Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retriever, the Newfoundland Dog, and the Labrador Retriever. There are also four distinct Canadian cat breeds: the Sphynx, Tonkinese, Foldex and Cymric.

Whatever kind of pet you have, from a horse to a gerbil, we bless them and cherish them as one of God’s creatures in this pet blessing service. May we all do our part to protect the ark we live in. Have a blessed Canada Day 2021.

Prayer

God, our Creator, we ask you to bless our pets with your light and love. May our animal friends have good health, happy lives and always be protected and safe. We ask for better understanding as we learn from our animal friends’ wisdom, their innocence, their loyalty and particularly their seeming ability to not judge human beings unkindly.

Thank you for the pleasures, playfulness and sometimes the surprising humour our pets display. Thank you for their companionship and friendship, especially for those lonely hours we may have experienced.

Thank you for our companions’ natural ability to teach us to be aware of the present moment.

Thank you for the pure beauty of every animal – their form, color, texture, motion is all a work of art, and may we appreciate your creation of this masterpiece.

Bless all animals in harm’s way, heal the sick, protect those who are lost, and guide them to safety.

Thank you for the gift of love. Amen

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Those of us who have been blessed to have had a dog,  know just a little of the way God sees us, and greets us and forgives us, that unconditional, no matter what has happened, love. God, dog, greets us and welcomes us no matter how great or not so great the day has been. Let us offer to God, in response to this love and blessing.  Our offering will now be received.

♥ by secure online payment from your debit or credit card. Click here to go to our donation page to make a single or recurring donation. Multiple funds can be included in one donation by using the “Add Donation” button
Text-to-Give – Donate securely at any time just by texting a dollar amount to 84321 (eg. $5).  See our Text-to-Give page for more information.
♥ by cheque through the mail slot at the Church office entrance or by Canada Post
♥ by monthlyPAR payments. To sign up contact stuart@waltonmemorial.com

Offering Prayer

Lord, we thank you for our pets, for these blessings in our lives, for their unconditional love and comfort when we have needed it most. We offer our gifts this morning in that same way. May these gifts be used for the greater good that is within you, and may they send a message of love and support to all who are in need. Amen.

Anthem: “Creation Sings”

 

Benediction

Go out into this beautiful country we celebrate this week, with your tails wagging, your heart filled with love, and the blessing of God, Creator, Christ and Comforter.

Happy trails to you, it’s sad to say “so long”
And to share with you the trail we’ve come to know
It started on the day that we met Jesus
He came into our hearts and then he freed us
For a life that’s true, a happy trails to you
(adapted ideas from Laura Hobgood-Oster,  The Humane Society)

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!

•  All Things Bright and Beautiful (Voices United #291)
•  God of Creation (by L Fletcher)
•  O God, Your Creatures Fill the Earth (words Carolyn Gillette)
•  Let All Things Now Living (Voices United #242)

In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, June 23