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Trinity United Church
May 8, 2022
4th Sunday of Easter

Worship Leader: UCW and Joy Galea
Music Leader: David Rogers
Scripture Reader:  Judi, Peggy, Joan, Olina and Joy
Zoom Hosts: Ross Shearer, Jennifer Em
Soundroom: Ross Dunning

May the Peace of Christ be with you. And also with you.

Welcome to Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam. We are grateful you have joined us for worship this morning. 
Trinity United Church in Port Coquitlam resides on the unceded traditional territory of the Coast Salish People the Kwikwetlem First Nations. Our acknowledgement of unceded traditional territory is a first step in reconciliation between settler cultures and indigenous peoples and the decolonization of western systems that continue to oppress and exploit indigenous peoples and land.
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On this Mother's Day Sunday, all mothers are wished special blessings. In this 60th Anniversary year of United Church Women (UCW) we will share in a worship service written by Elaine Burrows, President of Maritime UCW ( A Service of Thanksgiving for the United Church Women, “Time, Talents and Treasures” from Jan 2022).

Prelude: David Rogers

Welcome and Preparation for Worship

Lighting of the Christ Candle

Sung Introit: VU 315 Holy Holy Holy (verse 1)

Call to Worship:
We gather today to celebrate, to remember, to offer gratitude for 60 years of  Christian witness, study, fellowship, and service.
We give thanks.
For the leadership inside and outside the walls of  the church,  and at all levels of the United Church Women. 
We give thanks.
For the hospitality, pastoral care,  and outreach ministries  provided through receptions and events of all kinds. 
We give thanks.
For the willingness  to fill in when needed – to lead  a church service, to organize an event, and to provide money for an item not on any budget line.
We give thanks.
For attending meetings – local, provincial, regional and national, and bringing back  ideas,  new study books, and  new hymns suggestions.  
We give thanks.
For supporting camping ministries,  Vacation Bible Schools, Sunday School, World Day of Prayer, Mission and Service, food banks, and much more. 
We give thanks. 
For decorating at Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving or finding someone to take on the task.
We give thanks.
For pushing for changes when the carpet got worn, the curtains shabby, and the room needed a cleaning and a painting,
We give thanks. 
For their many and varied ministries over 60 years,
We give thanks for their gifts and talents, and sharing their treasures.  

Hymn:  VU 660  "How Firm a Foundation"   (Sung at the inaugural service in 1962.) CLICK HERE

Gathering Prayer:
We gather this day in gratitude and thanksgiving for the thousands of women across Canada who gave over  60 years of Christian witness, study, fellowship, and service to their churches, their pastoral charges/communities of faith, their Presbyterial/regions, and to the national UCW. We give thanks to the families who supported them in their endeavours while  eyeing  the goodies on the counter – that were going to the church. For their energy, vision, outreach, and pastoral care, we give thanks.
In gratitude, Amen.  
The Lord's Prayer: spoken

Listening to God's Word

Psalm 95    VU 814 Part One  1-7 with the refrain

                    Luke 10: 38-41      Jesus Visits Martha and Mary

Hymn: VU 595 "We are Pilgrims on a Journey" 

Message:  Our Time, Talents, and Treasures of the Past, Present and Future.

 The Past: Light a Candle (Spotlight Communiton Table and reader to the slide)

From the “Song of Faith” - A statement of Faith of the United Church of Canada, approved by General Council in August 2006” comes these words:

We sing of a Church
    seeking to continue the story of Jesus
    by embodying God's presence in the world

Our ancestors in faith 
    bequest to us experiences of their faithful living;
    upon their lives our lives are built. 

When the United Church of Canada was formed in June 1925, the two major women's organizations continued. There was the Women's Missionary Society (WMS) which focused on world wide  mission and education.  The other group was the Women's Association (WA) which focused on the needs of the local congregation and community. In some communities,  there was the Ladies Aid and other local women's groups.

From The Voices of United Church Women for all church purposes.  The Women's Missionary Society (WMS) had a budget of $1.5 million a year, and a staff of 165 people at work in 80 centres across Canada, with 97 active missionaries around the world as nurses, doctors, teachers, etc. They also helped to set up a network of study groups to help groups learn about mission work. 

 The world kept changing, and so did the women's groups over the years.   From the book “Ordinary Heroes” page 21, we learn that  in 1960 the United Church General Council approved the formation of a new organization for women to “share in a much more meaningful way in the work of the church within the congregation, Presbytery, Conference, and in the various boards of the church under the General Council.” This meant that the Women's Association (WA) and the Women's Missionary Society (WMS) would be united under one name.   The United Church Women was created on Jan. 1, 1962  by joining together the Women's Missionary Society and the Women's Association to unite  women of  the congregation for the total mission of the church.   

And so the purpose of the UCW: To unite women of the congregation for the total mission of the church and to provide a medium through which we  may express our loyalty and devotion to Jesus Christ in Christian witness, study, fellowship, and service.

In our UCW tradition, at Trinity, we honour those women who have died at each Annual Meeting. SInce we have not held such a meeting since 2019, today we honour those we have lost in a flower memorial.

(Camera on communion table and speaker at the pulpit)

Hymn: VU 494 "Those Hearts That We Have Treasured" (sung to honour deceased UCW members)

(The  Present: A candle could be lit.)

(From a Song of Faith, 2006)
We are each given particular gifts of the Spirit.
For the sake of the world, 
    God calls all followers of Jesus to Christian ministry,
In the church,
    some are called to specific ministries of leadership,
    both lay and ordained;
    some witness to the good news;
    some uphold the art of worship;
    some comfort the grieving and guide the wandering;
    some build up the community of wisdom;
    some stand for the oppressed and work for justice.
To embody God's love in the world,
    the work of the church requires the ministry and discipleship of all believers.

Anthem: Trinity Choir, "Servants of the Lord" (Price and Besig)

Message Continued: A lot has happened in 60 years. The world has changed. The roles of women have changed. How the United Church is organized has changed. There are both Marthas and Marys in our UCW. We need the action and the prayfulness to carry on our work.  
Witness: We witness through our actions and what we do on a day to day basis. UCW members witnessed financially through their support of  their church, the  Mission and Service Fund, and local community groups. They witness through their work within their churches. 

Having a devotion or a short worship and a program is a part of most United Church Women meetings.  At UCW rallies, Presbyterial/biennials, and other UCW events, having a speaker as part of the  program is usually part of the day's agenda. 

There is fellowship in attending regular meetings, from preparing and being a part of events that take place in the church.  One highlight event that ran for years at Trinity was the Holly Fair held in November, usually with a luncheon (chicken and potato salad). Groups have had take-out lobster suppers, prepared for wedding receptions, funeral receptions, anniversaries, etc. Working at these events was hard work, but the fellowship of working together for  a common purpose  created  community. 

Events mentioned under fellowship fall here. United Church Women have led the way in providing service to their church – at the local level, Presbytery/Conference now Region, and at the National level (National UCW). 

Groups provide hospitality, informal pastoral care, and outreach by providing for funeral receptions, anniversaries, and all sorts of other events such as yard sales, take-out or sit-down meals of all kinds, teas for all seasons, musical events and the list goes on. These events did raise funds for which the churches and others benefited.  

United Church Women have prepared and lead many worship services over the years. From Thankoffering Sundays to participating and organizing World Day of Prayer services in March. 

United Church Women have  been part of National United Church Women programs over the years such as the Beads of Hope (2002-2004); Sisters of the Spirit (2004). A more recent  national UCW project was the  “Child Well-Being Initiative” where among other work done in that area,  Poverty Dolls were made and given out to politicians to raise awareness of the challenges facing many children in this country. . For the 50th anniversary of UCW,  the national project was to raise $50,000.00 for the Morogoro Women's Training Centre” in Tanzania to teach traditional birth attendants (mid-wives). The actual amount raised was over $250,000.00. The 60th anniversary project is supporting  “Women for Change – Zambia.” This is to help fund educational opportunities. They have been partners with Mission and Service for a number of years.  

Every UCW within their  community of faith  has stories to tell of their work – some funny, some serious but all  showing their commitment to the life and work of their congregation and  to the world beyond their walls.

(The Future:  A candle can be lit.)

Hymn MV 138  "My Love Colours Outside the Lines" (We need to move into places where we have not been before.)

From the Song of  Faith (2006) comes these words:

We sing of God's good news lived out, 
a church with purpose:
    faith nurtured and hearts comforted,
    gifts shared for the good of all,
    resistance to the forces that exploit and marginalize,
    fierce love in the face of violence,
    human dignity defended,
    members of a community held and inspired by God, 
        corrected and comforted, 
    instrument of the loving Spirit of Christ, 
    creation's mending.
We sing of God's mission. 

How do the UCW members use their time and talents as the groups are aging? United Church Women  have certainly contributed their time, talents and treasures to the United Church in a big way over the past 60 years. Millions of dollars have been given to the Mission and Service Fund for the many ministries across Canada and around the world. Millions of dollars in volunteer time, and money have been contributed to the local churches for them to continue their work in the communities where the churches were located. How can the Marthas and Marys continue their work in these pandemic times? 
The future of UCW is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic that we have been experiencing since March 2020 with different regulations across the country from day to day; week to week, and  month to month. Mask on, masks off; physical distancing; vax passes; ever changing numbers for public places including churches. It is difficult to maintain momentum when things keep changing.

Maybe the UCW needs to start new programs (lunches out; book studies;  short-term studies  related to Easter, Creation time, or Christmas). Perhaps new leadership will emerge from these projects. More people may become involved with short-term projects.

UCW members need to continue  mentoring other women and men of the congregation in how to organize and run events since that is something that UCW members are good at.  Share those potato salad recipes, how to cook potatoes for potato salad without a scum on the top, how many sandwiches and sweets are needed for a reception of 100.  How does the dishwasher work? There are all kinds of ways that knowledge can be passed on without having to do the hard labour.  

United Church Women have decades of wisdom and experience that can be shared with those folks newer to the United Church, and in what is involved in the life and work of the congregation.  

The church needs both Marthas and Marys as United Church Women are leaders. 

We need to keep connected – phone, email, zoom calls – whatever – keep in touch with the members of your group. 

Responding to God's Word 

Hymn:  MV 171 "Christ Has No Body Now but Yours" 

Minute for Mission:     
Update on the UCW 60th anniversary project in Zambia

We come with gifts – of the mind and the  spirit. We come with tangible gifts that can be put to work in our communities of faith, and with  Mission and Service. These gifts will enable our communities of faith to live to their mission, and our Mission and Service gifts to  go to ministries  across Canada, and around the world providing hope to many. Let us now receive those gifts.  Amen. 

Offertory Prayer:
We give thanks for these offering gifts. We have set these gifts free to do their work in our community and around the world. 

Call to Prayer:  VU 381  "Spirit of Life"

Prayers of the People:
We come today in thanksgiving for the gifts, talents, time and monetary gifts that have been given by the Women of the United Church over the past 60 years. For the hospitality and outreach and pastoral care  that UCW provided through their offering of food such as the muffins, biscuits, pies,  cakes,  preserves, the  sweets, the yummy egg  sandwiches, wonderful desserts, and  the cups of tea and coffee served over the decades. We remember those women who  nudged the congregation when the floor in the hall needed to be replaced. We remember the UCW member  who always had a sermon ready if something unexpected happened that the minister could not lead the service. In each of our congregations, we remember the gifts that members offered to their group,  and to their pastoral charge.  We give thanks for their leadership in the many ministries of the local congregations/communities of faith, to the Presbytery/Conference/Region. 

We give thanks for the  groups who preceded the United Church Women - the Women's Missionary Society, The Women's Association, the Ladies Aid, and  other women's  groups  who did important work in their time and place. For the decades long  friendships made, the outreach carried out, and the pastoral care work provided – the cards, the Christmas treats, the phone calls, the visits, we give thanks. For the thousands of projects supported by United Church Women  over the decades with their  hands, voices, and financial assistance, we are grateful.  For support for projects beyond our regions, we are grateful. Let us continue to support UCW  members who no longer can attend meetings nor help with events.  We remember those hundreds of  members who have died  and the  many wonderful contributions to their  churches  in their time and place. 

We give thanks for the Marthas and Marys of the congregation who work in the ministry of our church in different but needed ways. As we continue to “colour outside the lines” 
let us give thanks for the past, and continue in hope for the future. Amen. 

Hymn: VU 481 "Sent Forth by God's Blessing"

Commissioning and Benediction

Hymn: VU 428 "A Blessing "  
 May the blessing of the God of Sarah and Hagar, as of Abraham,
The Blessing of the Son, born of the woman Mary, A
nd the blessing of the Spirit, who broods over us,
As a mother her children, Be with you all.
UCW Prayer:
And now go with us Lord, into the days ahead,
Strengthen us for peace, give us wisdom, keep us humble
And may we live and work together
And so striving, build a new and better world of tomorrow.  Amen

Hymn: VU 649   Refrain only,  “Walk with Me.” 

Postlude: David Rogers