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News from Mount Zion
Dec 16, 2022

Join us for worship in person or on- line at 10 am every Sunday
  • Scroll to bottom of page for contact information and links to services and activities

  • Mount Zion remain strongly supportive of continued use of masks for members and rental groups.

  • Deadline for next edition is Jan 5

The Connor Family

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Advent Services 

We are at that time of the church calendar when we enter the season of Advent, which has its roots in the Latin ad-venio, which means to come to. Beginning four Sundays before Christmas, it is a time of preparation that ends with the celebration of the birth of the Son of God.  In the western churches, Advent also marks the beginning of the church or ecclesiastical year.

A Mount Zion Advent tradition is the joining together for Holden Evening prayer.

Join in on  Dec 21 at 7:00 pm (in person) for the last in the series.

Christmas At Mount Zion 2022

Christmas Eve Candle Light Service     7:00 pm in person and live streamed

Christmas Day                                       10:00 am        in person   

Musical notes from Sarah
Are you ready to sing lots of Christmas carols?
It’s almost time!

This Sunday, the young people will present a program punctuated with the first carols of the season. Then on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, we’ll sing more carols. The choir is preparing some interesting pieces for Christmas Eve, including one by Canadian Mark Sirett, one by American John Carter, and an especially moving piece by young English composer Will Todd. Here’s a taste of the text for you to ponder: 

Shepherds, called by angels, 
called by love and angels: 
No place for them but a stable. 
My Lord has come. 

Sages, searching for stars, 
searching for love in heaven; 
No place for them but a stable. 
My Lord has come. 

His love will hold me, 
his love will cherish me, 
love will cradle me. 
Lead me, lead me to see him, 
sages and shepherds and angels; 
No place for me but a stable. 
My Lord has come. 

Christmas Office Hours and Office Notes

Our Treasurer reminds us that for donations to be counted for tax purposes in 2022, they must be received in hand by December 31st.  In that regard, the office will be open on December 31st until 1:00 pm for any drop off contributions.  Members are reminded that there are various methods to make contributions including EFT’s through your bank to ours however please act by December 31st.  For more information  see  Five Ways to Donate.   Other than the Saturday December 31, the office will be closed from

Dec 26 to January 3 when Margaret, Christine and Philip return from holidays.

Reminder to Committee and Working Group Chairpeople

Annual Report time is approaching and with that comes the reminder to have your reports into Margaret by Jan 6. or earlier if you can arrange it..

The Annual General meeting will be held in-person on February 12th 2023

Changes to picture phone directory

Kindly update Cynthia’s address as she has moved from Hazelglen Drive, Kitchener. Effective immediately the new address is:

 Sharon McBean

C/o Cynthia McBean

920 Sheppard Ave West, Suite 908

Toronto ON M3H 0A2

Christmas Poinsettias

White Poinsettias will be ordered again this year to enhance our chancel for our Christmas Services.  If you would like to participate, there is a signup sheet in the narthex, or you may call Margaret in the church office at 519-886-5820 or email her at  Your poinsettia plant can be picked up immediately after the Christmas Day service.

The poinsettias cost $13.00 for the 6-inch pots and $34.00 for the 10-inch pots.  12/ 16

Open Sesame qualifies for Government program subsidies    

It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost over.  It has been a hectic year for Jana Kelly, Joan Brunger, and Richard Brubacher as they worked together to submit Open Sesame’s application for participation in the Canada-Wide Early Learning & Child Care (CWELCC) program.  

Their hard work paid off, and we qualified, meaning that Open Sesame now receives provincial and federal government funding to cover some of our costs so that we can reduce the fees we charge to parents.  From April to December, our fees were reduced by 25%, and starting in 2023; our fees will be reduced by 50%.   As part of the funding we received, we purchased a new laptop to assist with the extra administration of this new program and are in the process of buying new equipment for the classroom. We are proud to be a part of this program that makes high-quality child care more accessible for families across our province.

New and Staff Updates

We welcomed Open Sesame's new Classroom Assistant, Mya Crawford, who began her contract with us on Nov. 21st.  She is highly qualified, having worked with children for seven years and doing a great job with our preschoolers.  Now that we have an extra staff person, we can increase our enrollment.  

We also applied for and were approved for funding from the Region of Waterloo for an enhanced staff member.  Hannah Kelly has been filling that position and will continue in the new year.  A volunteer placement student from W.L.U also supports our staff.

In January 2023, we will be working with 13 children with a variety of needs. The extra hands are so important with the unique needs of the children with us this year.

New Hours

Beginning in January, Open Sesame will add an extra hour to our schedule.  We will now operate from 9 - 12:30. The parents are delighted with this new arrangement, as they have requested this change for some time.

Other Funding News

We were happy to receive a grant from Synod for $7,000. 

In closing, Open Sesame extends a "Blessed Christmas" to each of you, and we also “Thank You” for your continued support.   Carol Ziegler

November Financial Report

Although member support of $181,827 is $22,307 better than expected, our deficit continued to grow reaching $47, 985 through the eleven-month period ending November 30.

Your continued support of our benevolence projects remains strong. Thank you

For the full report


It is with sadness

It is with sadness that we learned the news of the death of Conrad Barth, father of Karen Bjerland, on Friday, December 9.  The funeral will be held at Henry Walser Funeral Home on Sunday, December 18 at 3:30 pm.  Visitation will be held from 2:30 pm.

Let us uphold Karen, Peter and the extended family in our prayers during this time of grief and loss.

Rest eternal grant him, O Lord, and let light perpetual shine on him.   Peace, Pr. Philip


In Our Prayers

In our prayers let us hold up, Karen and Peter Bjerland and family as they mourn the loss Conrad  Barth who died December 9, Joy and Philip as Joy recovers from surgery, Dianne, Sandra, Jim, Julian, George, Betty, Marjorie, Rosalie, James, Thelma, Helen, Gladys and Don and Jean and their daughter Tai.

Results from the 2022 Mitten Tree Project

A big ‘THANK YOU’ to Mount Zion church members, New Dominion Lodge members, and other friends.   Two hundred and eight six warm and cozy items were collected and donated to the Anishnabeg Outreach in Kitchener.  We appreciate all your donations during this challenging economic period. 

Hand-made and purchased items included a variety of coats, slippers, neck warmers, hats, mitten-glove sets, and sweaters.  Also donated were miscellaneous and educational items such as toys, puzzles, books, craft kits, and teddy bears.

Your donations will assist babies, youth, teens, and adults in having a warmer winter. 

Thank you for your generosity.    Joan and Jacquelyn Schweitzer.

Justice Through Service Updates


Our thanks to all who have contributed to the food vouchers in 2022.  Approximately 30 individuals and 40 families have benefitted from receiving the cards once every two months in 2022. 

In keeping with this year’s emphasis on food security, we have used the community support draw to support Nutrition for Learning.

We are happy to report that the Coalition of the Willing Family Sponsorship Initiative is now over 3/4 of the way to sponsoring the two connected families from Liberia. Mount Zion’s Refugee Assistance Fund now stands at $6360! And contributions are still very welcome. 

Mount Zion Kitchen Receives Beefy Donation

Last week we were delighted to learn that the Mount Zion Kitchen was the recipient of forty-six pounds of ground beef from Nurse Christine’s home church, St. Agatha Mennonite Church. Each year Donna Jantzi and Gary Becker, members of the congregation, donate a beef cow to the church. Bob and Sherri Jantzi of Krug’s Meat Market in Tavistock then butcher it. The resulting ground beef is distributed to several organizations, and Mount Zion is lucky to be included this year. A big thank you to the members of St. Agatha Mennonite Church. We appreciate it, as will the many others who will enjoy the meals made from it.

The Mount Zion kitchen reopens Thursday, January 12th, with some delicious soups on the menu.

Mutual Ministry
Evaluation of Pastor Phillip

The following represents a summary of the evaluation of Pastor Phillip that our congregation completed between April and June of 2022 through the Mutual Ministry Committee, consisting of Lynn Swanson, Nancy Kelly, and Richard Brubacher. After the committee prepared the evaluation form, it was sent to the entire voting membership through mail or email. Of the 184 evaluation forms that were distributed, 40 were completed and returned. The evaluation form asked members to consider Pastor Phillip’s performance in the areas of Pastoral Ministry, Pulpit/Worship Ministry, Church Administration, Interpersonal Skills, and Community/Denominational Participation. Respondents were also encouraged to provide narrative feedback. The evaluations were reviewed and summarized by the Mutual Ministry Committee, and the summary was shared with Pastor Phillip and the Chair of Church Council, Karen Gastmeier, maintaining anonymity of all respondents.

Across all areas, Pastor Phillip was evaluated by the vast majority of the congregation as meeting or exceeding expectations. Within the area of Pastoral Ministry, his listening skills were considered to be an area of particular strength. In the area of Pulpit/Worship Ministry, Pastor Phillip was especially recognized for encouraging a welcoming environment and for the content of his sermons. With regard to Pastor Phillip’s Interpersonal Skills, congregation members especially recognized his people skills.  Finally, within the domain of Community/Denominational Participation, Pastor Phillip’s support of justice initiatives was considered an area of particular strength. More generally, members of Mount Zion view Pastor Phillip as a kind and caring leader, who is committed to understanding the needs of the congregation and sharing the depth of his knowledge and expertise in working collaboratively with the congregation to fulfill our mission.

Join the ClayCrew

Clay is looking for Young Leaders aged 18 to 21 to help lead CLAY 2023

The CLAY Crew is made up of youth, selected from across Canada, aged 8–21, who will be involved directly in leading the CLAY Gathering while having the opportunity to participate in many of the usual Gathering activities like a regular Home Team.

You apply to be in the CLAY Crew as an individual (NOT as a group).

Members of the CLAY Crew will work in one of the main areas of the gathering: Worship and Special Events; Stage Production and Technical Support; Communication and Media; Event Planning, Registration, and Administration; Creative and Performance Arts Support. Please specify which areas you are most interested in and why on the application. Want to learn more?

Find more info here -

Mindfulness Meditation Practice Dec 13

Everyone is welcome to attend our Mindful Meditation group every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. Meet upstairs. 

Wear a mask and be fully vaccinated (preferential) and be fragrance free. Be prepared to maintain a two-meter separation. It is suggested to wear comfortable clothes and bring a pillow, mat, or blanket and water. Open to all. No charge and no previous experience necessary.  Just come.  Call Henriette Stumper  519.885.3434 for more details.

Upcoming meetings:

2022  Tues  Dec 27, 1.30 pm, upstairs        12/16

Upcoming Lessons

Sunday Dec 18 – Fourth Sunday of Advent Readings

Isaiah 7:10-16

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (7)

Romans 1:1-7

Matthew 1:18-25 

Saturday Dec 24 – Nativity of Our Lord Set I – Christmas Eve Readings

Isaiah 9:2-7

Psalm 96 (11)

Titus 2:11-14

Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)  

Sunday Dec 25 – Nativity of Our Lord Christmas Day – II Readings

Isaiah 62:6-12

Psalm 97 (11)

Titus 3:4-7

Luke 2:(1-7) 8-20  

Acknowledgement of the Affirmation of Baptism of Tessa and Evelyn Dec 11

The congregation acknowledged the Affirmation of Baptism of Tessa Connor  and Evelyn Jykrama last Sunday. We are sharing a few family photos.

Congratulations Tessa and Evelyn!


Links for Worship and more


ways to

click here

  • YouTube

Sundays 10 am Click on the logo to join the Live Stream Worship

(Recordings of the services are available)


Sundays 9:40 am Join members for a time of fellowship preceding the service 


VESPERS    7:00 pm Monday - Thursday evenings
(Sign in any time after 6:30, Service starts at 7:00 pm)

MOUNT ZION ZOOM CAFE  10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays


Mount Zion's office tel.: 519 886-5820  office hours: Tues. - Fri. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

How to contact our staff, while our building is closed:  
Pastor Philip Mathai                            cell: 519-781-5602
Music Director Sarah. E. Cardwell
Office Administrator Margaret Waechter           
Nurse Christine Ramseyer            cell: 519-588-8006
Feel free to call our cell phones. If we aren't available we'll return your call!

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Evelyn Jyrkama, Pastor Philip, Tessa Connor

The Jyrkama Family

The Connor Family

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