Virtual Service – November 27, 2022

2:00 pm

November 27, 2022

 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

• Cookie Walk Compromise Saturday, December 3 at 1 pm Walton’s UCW is holding its Cookie Walk Compromise.  It is a sale of pre-selected, pre-packaged homemade cookies, for $12.00 per box. Max 2 boxes per person. Bakers may deliver their cookies to the church on Friday, December 2, or in the morning on Saturday, December 3.

• White Gift reminder– Don’t forget that next Sunday, December 4, is our White Gift service. We traditionally collect donations of new, unwrapped gifts for all ages from babies to adults (no stuffed animals or toy guns please.) Gift cards for supermarkets, drug stores, Walmart, Dollarama, restaurants, and movie theatres are also a popular choice. Financial donations gratefully received as well. Donations go to support the Wesley Mission No Cost Christmas Store. 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 gift, or you can make a financial donation online at https://waltonmemorial.churchcenter.com/giving/to/white-gift-outreach.

• Reminder: there is no Sunday School / Youth Group on White Gift Sunday. Children are invited to remain in the Sanctuary for the whole service to watch the beautiful dance ministry of Spirit Moves and the White Gift play performed by Walton’s kids at both 9:30 and 11:00.

• Walton’s UCW – is hosting its final gathering of the year on Thursday, December 8th at 1:30 and all Walton ladies are warmly welcome. A brief business meeting will include a review of the cookie walk, elections of officers and plans for the upcoming year. There will be time to chat over coffee, tea and cookies and to play a couple of games. You are invited to bring a donation for the food bank.

• 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 instrumentalists and is one of our most popular events. To ensure a safe and comfortable experience for all, capacity is limited and pre-registration is 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 today, 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 – A limited supply isavailable through the church office for $5.00 a jar. All proceeds go to the General Fund.

• Christmas Benevolent Fund Memorials: Anyone connected with the Walton congregation live or virtually has the opportunity of making a special memorial gift to Walton at Christmas time. Donate online by visiting the Walton website and clicking the “donate” button, or contact office.  These memorial gifts will all be dedicated on Sunday, Dec. 18th  at the 9:30 & 11:00am services. The donations go to the Walton Benevolent Fund (see below for the write up on “What is the Benevolent Fund?”)  The deadline for your donations to be included in the December 18th dedication, is 9:00am, Thursday, December 15th. We would not want to miss your gift, so please contact the office, office@waltonmemorial.com or go to the Walton website.

• What is the Benevolent Fund??  How does Walton help people? The Benevolent Fund is a confidential fund, managed by Rev. Gill, with help from some of the other staff, to help people in need due to illness, unemployment,  financial hardship or some unexpected accident, setback, or tragedy. Every year it helps people in this congregation in need through financial and material assistance. It also helps those in the community and occasional transients who stop by the church looking for assistance. This fund helps any youth/adult in the congregation who cannot afford to attend a retreat or church event that involves a cost, and helps with special organization needs in the community from time to time. The money for this fund comes from two main sources. The largest is the Christmas Memorial program (see above notice on Christmas Memorials) and the other is individual donors throughout the year.  All gifts to this fund receive a tax receipt. The work of the fund remains highly confidential to allow for anonymous support of people in need. For more information, please speak to Rev. Jim Gill 905-827-1643 or email jamescgillwuc@gmail.com

• Children and youth are invited to view this week’s virtual Sunday School lesson online. Can you build Christmas with Lego? Let’s find out!

• 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

Val: It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  I love the lights of Christmas, people are so giving.

Jim: Speaking of which, did you know this Tuesday, November 29th is Giving Tuesday?

Val: Yes, I did. Did you know GivingTuesday is about encouraging people to be generous?  And there are so many ways to do that.

Jim: It’s simple: a day that encourages people to do good, on GivingTuesday and every day!

Val: Sure, be giving of your time, make someone smile, help a neighbour, or make a donation.

Jim:  Everyone has something to give and every act of generosity counts.

Val:  This morning we are giving hope.

Jim: Hope?

Val:  Yes, hope, we are lighting the candle of hope in our Advent wreath, a sign of hope that shines brightly into our hearts

Jim:  It is a sign that God is present and that we are once more blessed

Val:   Oh yes, the hope of the Saviour being born.

Jim:  Come let us worship and celebrate, let’s sing together

Hymn: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” verses  1 & 7  1VU

Call to Worship

One: The Reign of God is drawing near:
All: The prophet calls us to change our lives!

One: Prepare the way for the Lord:
All: A just and peaceful path!

One: Welcome one another, for Christ welcomes you:
All: For the glory of God!

One: We are here, to celebrate Advent the coming of our Saviour
All: Let us sing, praise and celebrate the good news, Jesus is coming. The Messiah is coming to earth. 

9:30 Youth Choir:  “Hallelujah, Glory Hallelujah” by Natalie Sleethe

11:00 Chancel Choir: “African Advent Carol” by Michael Barrett, Djembe: Joan Spares

Opening Prayer

All: Holy God, we long for your peace, and trust in your promise;we hear your call to turn toward you, to change our lives and welcome you in.Meet us here and fill our minds with your wisdom and our hearts with your peace, that our worship together may open us to the challenge of your dream of wholeness for all.In the Name of the One who is coming, we pray.  Amen!

(by Rev. Susan A. Blain, in To Dream God’s Dream: posted on the United Church of Christ’s Worship Ways)

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.

Lighting of the Advent Candles

One: Today is the advent of hope.
Two: We light this candle to bring hope into the shadows.
One: We live in hope for the light at the end of the tunnel and the end of the pandemic.
Two: We light this candle as our commitment to bringing healing into the world.
One: We are the hope for a better future.
Two: We light this candle to reveal the Way of Jesus, the Hope of the World.
(Light the first candle)
One:   Please join in singing the first verse of “Hope Is a Star”

Advent Candle Hymn: “Hope Is a Star”  verse 1  7VU

Youth Hymn: “O Chrismon Tree”

Youth Story: Lighting of the Chrismon Tree

V: I’m so excited. The first Sunday in Advent is the day we light our big Chrismon tree in the Sanctuary!

A: Christmas tree?

V: Chrismon tree!

A: (slowly) C H R I S T M A S tree

V: (even more slowly) C H R I S M O N tree!

A: Are you ok?

V: I know, a lot of people get confused about the Chrismon tree, or think Jim and I are just pronouncing Christmas in a funny way. But this is Walton’s Chrismon tree and it’s very special. Does anyone know what a Chrismon is? (kids guess)

A: Ok I just Googled it and it says Chrismons are Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them. They remind us that Christmas is about Jesus Christ, and not about shopping, or parties, or stockings and presents. Val, can you tell us what some of the decorations on our tree symbolize?

V: The Anchor Cross reminds Christians that Jesus is the anchor of their faith. The Triquerta is made of three loops making a triangle representing the three parts of the Holy Trinity. Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. Used together, they symbolize that Christians believe Jesus is the beginning and end of all things. Holds up the three Chrismons to demonstrate.

A: That’s really cool. Val, can you please hang those back on the tree where they belong? The tree looks funny without them. Hmmm…there’s still something missing from our Chrismon tree. What is it? Lights!  Jim, can you please lead us in a countdown?

Countdown from 10 and Sanctuary tree is lit

Jim: Let us pray: Jim prayer

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

9:30 Chancel Choir: “African Advent Carol” by Michael Barrett, Joan Spares on djembe

Scripture Reading: Matthew 3: 1-12  Marie McLeod, Evelyn Taggart

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said,

“The voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’ ”

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey.  Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region around the Jordan were going out to him,  and they were baptized by him in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for his[b] baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?  Therefore, bear fruit worthy of repentance,  and do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with  water for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is more powerful than I, and I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Scripture Response:  “Thy Word”

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 been involved with a nativity scene. Brett Leveridge tells us that, “Tradition has it that Saint Francis of Assisi created the first crèche (or nativity scene)  in 1223, when he mounted a living nativity scene consisting of a manger, an ox and a donkey as part of a Christmas Eve Mass he organized while visiting the mountain town of Grecio. After that first nativity scene, the practice became popular and spread far and wide. Within a century, virtually every church in Italy had taken up the practice. Over time, statues, rather than living people and animals, were used, which eventually led to the in-home nativity scenes that are so much a part of Christmas today.”

Our 2022 Advent and Christmas series of sermons is entitled, “The Message of Nativity Scenes.” Each week either Gill or I will discuss a different nativity scene, which will be shown on the screen. Over the centuries, artists and craftspeople have created various static and live nativity scenes to express a different perspective on the birth of Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem. All different colours, materials, and concepts have been used for various purposes.

Have you ever been to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland? It is a retail store in Frankenmuth, Michigan which promotes itself as the “World’s Largest Christmas Store.” Designed with Alpine architecture and operating year-round, the building is 7.35 acres in size. They now have more than 500 nativity scenes from 59 plus nations, which are part of the Bronner family’s personal collection, plus all the ones they have for purchase throughout the year. Maybe you have your own favourite nativity scene. Maybe it has a personal or faith story to add to its meaning.

Today’s nativity scene, which is pictured on the screen, is a modern one made with LED lights. It is outside. It is life sized. The photo is taken at night. Does it remind you of any place nearby that you may have visited? Maybe you have been there, 91 kms away from Walton. It is the Winter Festival of Lights at the Falls, specifically at the Dufferin Islands above  Niagara Falls on the Canadian side.

Dufferin Islands is a popular area for locals and tourists alike year round. Made up of 10 acres of paradise, the quiet and secluded area contains several small islands connected by bridges and footpaths. From Nov 12- Feb 20 this year there will be countless themed light displays as part of the 3 million lights of the festival. The displays are especially beautiful with the lights bouncing off the waters of the Niagara River which run through the Islands. This year’s display is of animal figures, but in the past there have been nativity scenes.

Just like the photo above on the screen, the lights of the nativity scene bounced off the waters in front of them. Why, you ask, are these waters important? It is about what sets up and prepares the story of the nativity scene. It is the focus of the story of our Bible reading today. “People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.” The “him” mentioned in the scripture is John, John the Baptist. His birth preceded the birth of Jesus. His ministry preceded the ministry of Jesus. John was the miraculous son of Zechariah, an elderly priest, and his wife Elizabeth, who was past menopause and therefore unable to have children. According to the account, the birth of John was foretold by the angel Gabriel to Zechariah while he was performing his functions as a priest in the temple of Jerusalem. Elizabeth and Mary are described as being related.

John is predicted by the prophet Isaiah. We read, “This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”

John, you see, lived out in the wilderness of the Jordan. “His clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” John baptized out there in the wilds of the River Jordan. He had a message of prophecy saying, “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

So when I see this nativity scene on the screen today with the water in front of the creche, it reminds me of what today’s passage is about. It is like John preparing us for the birth of Jesus. This is the first Sunday of Advent. The decorations are put up by the Worship Committee and crew. The memorial poinsettias are in the windows. The Chrismon tree has been lit. The first candle of the Advent wreath is burning. We are in so many ways personally and as a congregation preparing for the birth of Jesus in the creche of Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago, and preparing for that birth in our hearts again this Christmas. Part of that preparation is that on every Advent I Sunday we celebrate Jesus’ holy sacrament of the bread and wine. You are welcome to this table. Come, let us prepare for the gift of the first nativity scene.

Hymn: “One Bread, One Body”   verse 1 467VU

Sacrament of Holy Communion

Invitation

Here is bread – Good News for the world with a headline that says:
let all who are hungry for justice come and eat.
Here is wine – Good News for all who long with a headline that says:
let all who thirst for righteousness, come and drink.
Here is the table – Good News for all who are lost, with a headline that says:
all who are weary come and gather here.
Here is community – Good News for all whom the world ignores, with a headline that says:
behold I make all things new come and be renewed.
Here is Jesus – Good News for all who wait with a headline that says:
I have come that all may have life come and live life fully.
(written by Roddy Hamilton, and posted on Mucky Paws.)

Prayer of Confession

Holy God, Open our eyes to the presence of your Spirit upon us, within us, among us.
For our apathy in the presence of oppression,
All: Forgive us.
If we have contributed to the brokenheartedness of anyone,
All: Forgive us.
For our participation in systems that enslave,
All: Forgive us.
When we are deaf to your good news,
All: Have mercy and open our ears.
When our mouths remain too tightly closed,
All: Loosen our lips with songs of praise.
Hear our prayer, O God, and forgive our sins.
All: Hold us in your mercy, now and forever.  Amen.
(Author unknown)

Consecration of Elements

We thank you Father, that on the night before he died, Jesus took bread, and when he had given you thanks, he broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying,
‘Take, and eat. This is my body given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’
After the meal, he took the cup, and again giving you thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying,
‘Drink from this, all of you.This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’
Therefore Father, we thank you for these gifts of bread and wine, and pray that we who eat and drink them, believing our Saviour’s word, may share his body and blood. Amen.
(Australian Prayer Book)

Distribution of Elements

 

Prayer after Communion

All: God our Father, you fill the hungry with good things and send the self-satisfied away empty.
In this eucharist, you have filled us with the word and the bread of life of your Son Jesus Christ.
Make us hunger now for his coming in the hearts and the homes of all this Christmas season and all year long. Fill us with his spirit of service and self-forgetting love, that through us, he may become near to people. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

(adapted Liturgies Alive, Models of Celebration)

Offering of Ourselves, Our Gifts, Our Tithes

As we enter into the season of giving…
What is that? We have a season of giving?
Why, why do we call it a season, shouldn’t we be living giving? Lord, help us to make giving a way of living, not a season that we enter into once a year.
Help us to share what blessings we have with one another, whether that is through our offering envelope, or online, or by dropping a cheque off here at the church office.
Our offerings 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
♥ 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: “Here our gifts we offer, God” (tune Good King Wenceslas)

Here our gifts we offer, God,
Thankful for your blessings.
Take them, Spirit, use them to 
Spread the hopeful message 
That Christ comes to bring to us 
Life for all creation.
May our gifts help bring to all 
Love and transformation.

Offering Prayer

All: Lord of our life, the path to you is straight, yet we waiver in our behavior like the Pharisees and Sadducees.  Our hopes and dreams often are self-serving and materialistic.  We rush through this season buying gifts that we hope will convey just the right message.  However, you invite us to ask ourselves if we are equally as busy preparing messages that proclaim the Good News to a hurting world.  Through giving, remind us again, O God, of the baptismal covenant. 

This Advent, may we proclaim a message that is exemplified by our generosity, our kindness, and our prayers. In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen. 

by David S. Bell, and posted on Design Group International

Hymn: “Hark the Glad Sound” verse 1  29VU

Benediction

We have received the story of John the Baptist, John the timely prophet.
All:  With the example of John, we will be ready to repent. 
With the courage of John, we will confront the powerful ones.
With the insight of John, we will identify hypocritical behaviour.
With the humility of John, we will give Jesus our commitment. 
With the devotion of John, we will serve faithfully.

God will keep your prophetic vision bright as you go from this place.
All:  Thanks be to God. Amen.
By David Sparks, The Gathering A/C/E 2022/23

Closing Hymn: “Walk In the Light” Don Besig

Announcements


In case you missed it…

Here is Rev. Jim’s mid-week update for Wednesday, November 27, 2022