Virtual Service – November 20, 2022

2:00 pm

November 20, 2022

Laity Sunday -- In-person services at 9:30am (with kids and youth programming) and 11:00am -- Virtual Service 2:00 pm

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!

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


Announcements

• This morning is Laity Sunday:  This year, Gill and one of her classmates from Emmanuel College/ University of Toronto, will be exploring the life of Mary, mother of Jesus, and looking at Mary from the perspective of two faiths, Christianity and Islam. So please join us to learn more about the place of Mary in both these faiths and reflect on what Mary’s legacy can teach us today.

• Today is the last day to order Christmas memorial poinsettias — If you would like to purchase a memorial poinsettia in memory of a loved one, friend, or family member, please place your order for either a 6” red, white, or pink poinsettia for $12.00 before the end of day today, November 20.  You can order online by credit/debit card, email Val at familyministries@waltonmemorial.com, or call the church office 905-827-1643. Sorry, no take-home orders will be available this year. ​The flowers will be placed in the Sanctuary for the worship services on Sunday, November 27th. Memorial poinsettias will be included on the list of Christmas memorials which will be dedicated by Rev. Jim during the Sunday, December 18th service.

• Fruit of the Vine – Walton’s social group for women is hosting a board game night on Wednesday, November 23rd from 7:00-9:00pm. We’ll meet in Youth Hall at Walton (it’s the hall below Bronte Hall). Cost: Free! We encourage you to bring along an item or two to donate to the Food Bank.  RSVP:  Please let us know if you are able to join us. Hope you can join us, renew old friendships or make new ones. If you have any questions, send Steph an email via the office at familyministries@waltonmemorial.com Thanks.

• Coming up!  Cookie Walk Compromise….on Saturday, December 3 at 1 pm, Walton’s UCW are holding their Cookie Walk Compromise.  It is a sale of pre-selected, pre-packaged homemade cookies, for $12.00 per box. Max 2 boxes per person. Please mark your calendars.  Details for bakers and buyers will be coming soon.

• Give for White Gift – On White GiftSunday, December 4th,  we collect new, unwrapped gifts that will be donated to make Christmas brighter for those less fortunate. The need is great this year! The tradition of White Gift Sunday dates back to 1904 in Ohio when the wife of a Methodist minister and her daughters thought of the idea of giving gifts wrapped in white paper at Christmas time to people in need.  Gifts are wrapped in white so that they will be anonymous.  While you are shopping, remember that each recipient will most probably only receive one gift; that will probably help with your generous gift selection.  Suggestions include toys, PJs, small appliances, and electronics for all ages from toddlers to adults, as well as gift cards. No stuffed animals or toy guns please. If you are not able to get to the church, please call and we will be glad to have an Outreach Committee member pick up your donation. https://waltonmemorial.churchcenter.com/giving/to/white-gift-outreach

• Carol Service Sunday, December 11 – The wait has been long, but Walton’s annual carol service finally returns on Sunday, December 11 at 7pm. This joyful celebration of Christmas through scripture and song features Walton’s Youth Choir, Chancel Choir, and guest musicians, and is one of our most popular events. To ensure a safe and comfortable experience for all, pre-registration will be required online or by calling the church office. Note: Choir members and participating musicians do not need to register but their family members and guests do. Registration will open next Sunday, November 27 at 12:00 noon.

• Walton MITTEN TREES are up – For the month of November please bring new mittens, gloves, toques, hats and scarves to hang on the Mitten Trees until we can deliver them in December to people who really need the warmth.  Giving something warm to wear is something we can easily do for others.  In particular, young people love water-repellent gloves and mittens. We look forward to chatting with you about where your donations are so gratefully received. Thank you in advance from the members of the Walton Outreach Committee.

• Sam’s Lady Rose Relish & Three Pepper Relish Limited Supply available through the Church Office., $5.00 a jar all proceeds go to the General Fund.

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. Something very exciting is about to happen! Are you ready?

• 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.

• Join us again next Sunday for thoughtful worship, uplifting music, Sunday School for all children & youth, and coffee/tea and cookies between services.


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.

Welcome

Good morning and welcome to worship at Walton. We’re delighted to have you with us this morning, and I’d especially like to welcome those joining particularly for today’s service. Peace and blessings be upon you.

Also, I’d like to welcome and introduce Emmanuelle Manigat, who will be leading worship with me. Emmanuelle and I are classmates together at the University of Toronto, where she is completing her masters degree in Pastoral Studies with a Certification in Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy.

Eman was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, and is a proud child of Haitian immigrants. Eman is the Convert Care Coordinator at Rabata and a graduate of Rabata’s Ribaat Academic Institute where she obtained her Ribaat Islamic Studies Teacher Certification in 2022 under the mentorship of Shaykha Tamara Gray. 

In addition to being a Ribaat graduate, Eman is the chapter lead for the Rabata Toronto Chapter where she strives to bring Rabata’s ethos of positive cultural change to her local community. Eman also serves on the steering committee for Black Canadian Muslims, a non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of Black Canadian Muslims of the African diaspora by reviving a sense of community based on Islamic principles, education, art, and support. 

Eman lives in Toronto with her two beloved children and her husband.

Eman – welcome, thank you for joining us today and for partnering with me in this service, as we look to broaden our perspectives and deepen our faith.

Hymn: Mary, Woman of the Promise  16VU, v. 1-3, 5

Call to Worship

Gill: In worship, we celebrate the diversity of God’s love.
Eman: Young and old, tall and short, black and white and brown.
All: Let our differences remind us of the power of God’s creative love.

Eman: In our prayers, we affirm the support of God’s hopeful love.
Gill: In our hymns, we affirm the vitality of God’s joyful love.
All: In our worship, we affirm the abundance of God’s forgiving love.

Eman: Together, we give thanks that God loves us.
Gill: Together, we remember God calls us to love.
All: Together, we proclaim that God is love.

Opening Prayer – Eman to lead, pulpit

All: Including and all-loving God,

Help us in our living and our loving. Let your love for us bring us peace and courage, blessing us with your eternal mercy. Forgive us when we fall short of your teaching, to love one another and to love without fear. Help us recognize the fear that too often divides us and remind us that your love has no end. Strengthen us with your love for us and for all creation. Let our lives shine as beacons of your love, that all the world may know us by our loving and give thanks that we are yours.

Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

We pray together now, the Lord’s Prayer, remembering that Jesus shared this with his disciples, as a first-century Jew. He was raised a Jew; and he worshiped as a Jew – throughout the gospels we read of his participation in the Jewish rites and festivals; and he prayed as a Jew. Our prayer thus honours the God of all, and seeks God’s help for our lives and our world. Let us 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 Hymn: Praise with Joy the World’s Creator –  312VU, v 1, 3.

Youth Story: Spot The Difference

Ways we are different:

• Where we were born (me: Scotland/ Eman: Montreal)
• Where we grew up (me: Australia/ Eman: Canada)
• Different foods we like (Eman broccoli/me: ugh)
• Skin colour
• Religion

Ways we are the same:

• Go to school together
• We are both mothers
• Cheese lovers
• Love watching films
• Love drinking coffee
• Our religions may be different, but we believe in the same God
• God loves us both, just the same

Dear God, Thank you for all the wonderful differences you have created in our world. Help us appreciate that our differences make life more interesting. Help us realize that we are also more alike than we might think. Thank you for the most important way that we are alike – that you love us. Amen.

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

9:30am Anthem: I Wonder (Junior, Youth & Chancel Choirs)

11:00am Solo:  Make Me A Channel of Your Peace (Alyssa)

Prayer: You Embrace All Peoples (VU 525)

All: Eternal God,
whose image lies in the hearts of all people,
we live among peoples
whose languages are different from our own,
whose faiths are foreign to us,
whose ways we fail to understand.
Help us to remember
that you embrace all people with your love,
that all religion is a response to you,
that the yearnings of other hearts are much like our own,
and are known to you.
Help us to recognize you
in words of truth, things of beauty,
and actions of love about us.
We pray in the name of the One who calls us
to be neighbour and friend.

Hymn: Be Still

Scripture Reading:  1 John 4:16-21 and Surah 19:16-22

1 John 4:16-21

So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.

God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because he first loved us. Those who say, “I love God,” and hate a brother or sister are liars, for those who do not love a brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.

A reading from the Quran, Surah 19.

And mention in the Book, O Prophet, the story of Mary when she withdrew from her family to a place in the east, screening herself off from them. Then We sent to her Our angel, Gabriel, appearing before her as a man, perfectly formed.

She appealed, “I truly seek refuge in the Most Compassionate from you! So leave me alone if you are God-fearing.”

He responded, “I am only a messenger from your Lord, sent to bless you with a pure son.”

She wondered, “How can I have a son when no man has ever touched me, nor am I unchaste?”

He replied, “So will it be! Your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me. And so will We make him a sign for humanity and a mercy from Us.’ It is a matter already decreed.”

So she conceived him and withdrew with him to a remote place.

Here ends the reading of God’s holy word.

Scripture Response: Thy Word is a Lamp to my Feet 956VU

Morning Message:  The Many Faces of Mary

Gill: As many of you know, I am studying theology part-time at the University of Toronto, through the United Church school there, which is Emmanuel College . The diversity of the programs available has been a highlight of my degree, and Emmanuel is particularly rewarding in this regard, as it provides not only Christian courses for its degree programs, but also Muslim and Buddhist streams.

In fact, with Emmanuel, one of the requirements for my degree is that I complete a class to learn about other faiths. Now, I’m also an avid historian, and so when I saw a course titled Classical Islam, looking at the development of Islam from the seventh to the eleventh centuries, this was a perfect fit for me.

Which is how I ended up on a Zoom call last September, as the only Christian in a class of about 14 students. And that’s where I met Emmanuelle.

Eman: As mentioned by Gill, Gill and I met in one of the required classes for the Muslim Stream in the Master of Pastoral Studies. This degree is the answer to the supplication of my heart because it has allowed me to have clarity on my purpose in this life, in helping others, while at the same time  allowing  me to find inner peace and healing for my soul.

One of the things that attracted me to Gill is her love and reverence for God. Additionally, similarly to me, she is passionate about the role of women in a spiritual leadership position. We could see the light of her beautiful soul from the Zoom room, which prompted me to send her a Whatsapp message. We eventually started chatting about our roles in our own spiritual communities, and here we are, one year later, honoring the legacy of Marie, Mother of Jesus, together.

Gill: Mary is a particularly compelling person for me, in part because of the way in which she transcends and connects faith. Of course, in the Gospel of John we read about her asking Jesus to get some more wine for a wedding, so I like her for that too.

But the Christian tradition has often diminished the role Mary likely had in the life and ministry of Jesus. In fact, in the New Testament we only read about Mary in the nativity scenes of Luke and Matthew, and then in the Gospel of John, where she is recorded traveling with Jesus and the other disciples.

Mary is central to Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus, where the conception of Jesus is described in terms strikingly similar to the passage we heard today from the Quran. And it’s in Luke’s Gospel where Mary makes the longest speech attributed to a woman in the New Testament, the Magnificat.

If we just relied on the New Testament, that would be the end of Mary’s story. But many early church historians believe that, following Jesus’ death, Mary was a major leader in the emerging Christian church. Our New Testament tradition does not emphasize this, as the books that became our Bible are dominated by other leaders such as Paul, Peter and James, but there is one other reference to Mary that is key here. Mary is named in Acts, with the remaining male disciples as the ministry of the first Christians began. This is key – Mary is mentioned by name in a text where women were largely only included when it was impossible to leave them out, because it would have been completely incongruous for the early listeners.

Mary’s involvement in the early church is supported by other texts and graphical works, dating from the second century through to the fifth and sixth centuries. These demonstrate the natural extension of Mary’s presence with the disciples in Acts, and so we can see and read of Mary debating with Peter, leading the disciples in prayer, and broadly demonstrating power and authority in the Jesus movement.

There is however another sacred text that records Mary’s story in much greater depth, and it may surprise you to know that I’m referring to the Quran, where Mary appears more often than in the entire New Testament.

Eman: Mary is honoured in Islam not only for being the mother of Jesus, but also for her life of faith and service to God. Significantly, the Holy Quran mentions and praises Mary in many different chapters, emphasizing the way in which she was chosen by God.

From the Quran, chapter 3: O Maryam! Verily, Allah has chosen you, sanctified you and chosen you above all the women of creation.

And in chapter 21, which honours many sacred prophets, including Moses, Noah and John, we read: And [mention] the one who guarded her purity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit and made her (Maryam) and her son a sign to the worlds.

These two chapters illustrate why many Muslim scholars view Mary as a prophetess: firstly she receives revelation by means of an angel, as occurred to all other prophets; and secondly she is described as being a ‘sign’ as a clear proof of God’s miraculous power.

In her book “Mary the blessed Virgin in Islam,” Aliah Schleife writes about Mary. She explains that “Mary in traditional Sunni Islam is an important figure in herself. Her position is not just that of the most exalted category of women, but she is ranked in the highest category of all human beings.”

Not only is Mary considered by many to be a prophetess, “but she is also seen to have been blessed with stages of spiritual development that approach those of the Prophet Muhammad (^).”

“In no case is Mary seen solely as the mother of Jesus. Rather, Mary and her son together form a reminder of God’s unique authority and power. Together they are one of the many signs which the Qur’an sets forth, to help humans look beyond earthly concerns, and to recognize the limitless possibilities of God’s infinite love.

In this way, through Mary’s life, Muslims contemplate the image of a human who embodies the faith and devoutness which they strive to achieve, and who can remind them “that despite their faults, God is Merciful and Capable of all things.”

Gill: As I reflect on Mary’s life and tradition, a legacy that is much more varied and detailed than we might gather from the Gospels, I came to a realization – this is not my childhood Mary.

Growing up in a Presbyterian household, Mary only really featured in the school nativity play, where she was obedient and silent – literally without any lines to say. This was definitely not the part to which I aspired.

And then, when I was a young adult, Mary typically was associated with submission; too often in the context of domestic violence and distressingly used as a justification for looking away.

Emphatically and joyfully, this is not the Mary we praise in worship today. Instead, I’m encouraged by the many ways in which we can be inspired and enriched by the example of Mary.

As we sang earlier this morning, we reclaim Mary as a woman of wisdom and justice; as a woman of the Gospel, who raised and then followed Jesus, and proclaimed his message of love and salvation.

This is the Mary that the people of Ukraine revere; the Mary of protection and resistance.

In early demonstrations against the war, Ukrainian clergy could be seen holding images of Mary, with her hands outstretched and holding a cloak. The image recalls the events of a 10th-century siege, where Mary is said to have intervened, appearing and covering the besieged citizens with her veil so that the invading armies could not see them.

In Kyiv itself, in the Church of St. Sophia, there is an 11th-century mosaic, showing Mary with her hands raised in prayer, in an action of authority and presence. The mosaic forms part of what is described as the “unbreakable wall” – the oldest part of the church that has survived for centuries, prompting the belief that as long as the hands of the Virgin Mary are raised in prayer, the city will stand.

Whether or not that is the case, I relish the image of an “Unbreakable Wall” of love and prayer.

Here is also the Mary that Prince Turki Bin Talal, a regional governor in Saudi Arabia, highlighted at the outset of the Covid pandemic; the Mary of strength.

In a newspaper editorial, Prince Turki used the example of Mary to provide a road map of “courage, strength and finding strength in faith.” In her story, he said, she faced “the struggles of her pregnancy against a harsh society that had shown her no mercy.” But through God’s love and teaching, she found resilience and determination.

This is the Mary that I hope can inspire us today: to pray to God in times of need; to listen to God’s word for us and to God’s guidance in our lives; and to follow God by leading lives of service and love.

Eman: I have a personal story to share today. The story of my mother, a woman of God who followed the footstep of Hannah, mother of Mary, in her intentionality in asking God to make her child their devotee. 

My mother is a devoted Christian woman who has 100% reliance on God, even when facing a difficult situation, such as losing our father 15 years ago. My mother, who has the name Marie in her name, is a Haitian woman who immigrated to Canada in the late 70s. Both my brother and myself were born in Canada. 

Growing up, I remember my mother telling me about her pregnancy and how she asked God to bless and protect her children. However, it wasn’t until I learned about the story of Hannah, the mother of Mary, that I understood the significance of her prayer when I was in her womb and after she gave birth to me.

Similar to the story of Hannah in the Christian Old Testament, the Quran tells of how Mary’s mother Hannah, prayed to God for a child, despite her advancing years. When she conceived, and expecting the child to be male, she dedicated her unborn baby to God’s service. Powerfully, when Hannah gave birth to Mary, Hannah’s prayer of thanks to God recognizes that her daughter is God’s gift and may yet be more wonderful than Hannah had hoped for.

The root word of “the womb” in Arabic is Rahma, which means mercy. A young female scholar and speaker living in the U.S explains that when a woman is pregnant, the womb is the place where the connection between human existence and divine light occurs. The link happens when God sends the angels to bring the fetus’s soul into the mother’s womb.“God says in The Holy Quran (The crowds) chapter Al Zumar: “He created you in the wombs of your mothers in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness” (The Holy Quran, 39:6.”

My mother shares with confidence and pride the story of my arrival at our family home after she gave birth to me l. She says that the first thing she did after settling in at home was: to put me on her bed. She kneeled on her knees and said these words: God, this child is your servant. You can do your best with her; she is at your service.

In Islam, we believe that the supplication of a mother is always heard and answered by God. Hence, I stand in front of you today as a believing woman whose story of spiritual upbringing began in her mother’s womb. Looking back, my mother’s prayer allowed me to start my spiritual journey.

I leave you with these words: Heaven lies beneath the feet of your mother; therefore, I remind myself first and invite you to honor, respect and cherish your mother as Jesus himself (peace be upon him) has kept his mother, Marie.

Gill: “God, this child is your servant. You can do your best with her; she is at your service.” This prayer that has shaped Eman and her calling, resounds with the strength and faith of Mary from centuries earlier. And it is a prayer for each one of us.

As the history and tradition of Mary shows, God works through surprising people in surprising ways. God uses the desires of our hearts and the challenges we face to bring about God’s purpose in the world, helping each one of us to grow in strength and faith and love.

It is a legacy that we are honoured and humbled and inspired to live into, thanks to God’s mercy and God’s love.

Praise be to God!

Pastoral Prayer

Eman: O God, be with us today and hear our prayers. We pray for peace in the world between Ukraine and Russia. We pray for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. We pray for peace between the many different tribes on the African continent and the descendants of the enslaved Africans who currently reside in North America and the Caribbean. We ask you to heal our trauma and pain and give us instead solace and understanding.

Eman: In faith, we affirm that you, God, are love, and we ask for your help:

All: Loving God, show us how to love.

Gill: O God, we pray for peace between different faiths around the world. We pray for understanding between the Muslims and the Christians in Egypt and elsewhere. We pray for peace between the Israeli Jews and the Christians and Muslim Arabs. We pray for reconciliation with the Indigenous communities from the land we live in. We ask you to heal our suspicion and bitterness and give us instead compassion and tranquillity.

Gill: In faith, we affirm that you, God, are love, and we ask for your help:

All: Loving God, show us how to love.

Eman: “O Allah, place light in my heart, and on my tongue light, and in my ears light and my sight light, and above me light, and below me light, and to my right light, and my left light, and before me light and behind me light. Place in my soul light. Magnify for me light, and amplify for me light. Make for me light, and make me glow. O Allah, grant me light, and place light in my nerves, and my body light and in my blood light and in my hair light and my skin light.”

Eman: “We pray for divine light, to be transformative and enable us to be a light for our family, neighbors and community.”

Eman: In faith, we affirm that you, God, are love, and we ask for your help:

All: Loving God, show us how to love.

Gill: O Allah, Yahweh, God – you have many names but you are one source of love. We pray for clarity as we journey in this world together. Lord, help us see your truth clearly and reject falsehood and give us the gift to see others in love, as you see them, and the gift of discernment to follow your guidance.

Gill: In faith, we affirm that you, God, are love, and we ask for your help:

All: Loving God, show us how to love.

Gill: To you, God, be glory and power, forever and ever. Amen.

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

Through our offering, we seek to make the world a better place. Our offering is used to support and extend our ministry here at Walton, as well as for outreach to those in need in our surrounding communities. We make our offering as a sharing of God’s universal love and a desire to grow peace and healing in our world.

♥  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
♥ 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 Hymn: Thank you Lord, On This Day

Offering Prayer

All: Loving God, bless this offering before you now, as you have blessed our lives. Use our gifts to heal the divisions in the world, between black and white, rich and poor, Christian and Muslim. Help us to see each other as you see each one of us – as a beloved child of God, deserving of your mercy and love. Amen.

Hymn:  All of Life is Filled With Wonder  All of Life is Filled With Wonder v. 1, 3, 4.

Benediction

Go forth from here ready to be surprised by God and open to let God use you in surprising ways. May the example of the strength and faith of Mary sustain you, nurture you and inspire you. Above all, may your days be blessed by love that you may bless those around you, bringing the light of God’s mercy into the world. Amen.

Closing Hymn: Go Now in Peace

Go now in peace, never be afraid
God will go with you each hour of ev’ry day
Go now in faith, steadfast, strong and true
Know God will guide you in all you do.
Go now in love, and show you believe.
Reach out to others so all the world can see.
God will be there watching from above.
Go now in peace, in faith and in love.

Announcements


Scripture Readers:  Russell Derrah, Debbie Mings
Soloist: Alyssa DiMarco
Worship Leaders: Gill Le Fevre, Emmanuelle Manigat


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, November 16th