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May 17, 2024

This newsletter is best viewed on computer screen

  • Scroll to bottom of page for contact information and links to services and activities

  • Masks are optional at Mount Zion 

  • Deadline for next edition May 30

Join us for worship in person or on- line at 10 am every Sunday
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Our Pentecost Doves have 

taken flight again this year. Thanks to all, particularly the specially recruited taller members who did quick work of the hanging.

Anne Lowe snapped this photo at yesterday's choir practice of the choir members breathing through straws as part of their warm-up. Choral Student Grace led this exercise in breath control.

Mount Zion's Peace Pole

Upcoming Events

May 26 – Blessing of Seed and Soil

June 16 – Congregational Meeting

Sept 29 – New Member Sunday

Pastor Philip Writes

John Pavlovitz, a writer, pastor, and activist from North Carolina, had an article in the Christian Century titled, “Is Christianity helpful anymore?”

He writes:

“Many of us are asking that question about the Church right now.

We’re looking out across our nation and seeing a rising expression of our religion that, while claiming to be of Jesus, often seems antithetical to him. We too often see a Church that reminds us that equity is still elusive, that all people are not fully seen, that justice to many is still delayed.

Given this, I find myself asking a question that I like to ask of similarly frustrated followers of Jesus: “Is Christianity helpful anymore?”

Not is it true or real or provable or noble—but is it helpful?
Is its net effect on humanity redemptive?
Is it marked mostly by love or by something else?

As we seek to be agents of compassion in the world, is claiming this faith now a liability to authentic relationships because of the unscalable barrier it represents? Is the name Christian now so inextricably entwined with misogyny, bigotry, and phobia that it cannot be untangled? The answers don’t seem encouraging.”

While he may be talking of the US, this is also true of Canada. Recently, I received a WhatsApp message from a group chat asking that we sign a petition to demand that December be declared Christian Heritage Month! We all know where it is coming from. Hate, bigotry, and suspicion are all part of who we are as a country, too, though proponents of such a position would say that they are also for an inclusive and free country.

Our calling is to be compassionate and loving and welcoming and inclusive but the model of Christianity that seems to be gaining traction in many circles seems to be otherwise. I share in the author’s frustration and am conscious that more than ever, we need to be intentional about our response to our call, to be there for the vulnerable, the weak, the poor, those that are othered in multiple ways, the exploited, the hungry, the shelterless.  We are called to be ambassadors of the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. Being there for the other, suffering with the other and crying with them.  Our being is also about the being of the other.  The thought about a Christian Heritage Month came in the light of months being dedicated for Indigenous Heritage, Pride, Black History and so on. But, our calling is to be living embodiments of the love and compassion of Christ and not to place ourselves up against our neighbour. The Spirit that was poured out on Pentecost moved the timid disciples to reach out in God’s love and compassion. People were moved on Pentecost because the message of love and life was extended to all and not just a select few.

This month we remembered the many Indigenous women, children and two-spirited siblings that were murdered and have been missing in our country on Red Dress Day. We had and will have a number of other festivals in our church calendar – Ascension Sunday, Pentecost and Trinity Sunday -. In the midst of these let us commit ourselves to who we are and not lose hope but make this faith meaningful and helpful in our times. May we, as a community that embodies Christ, be there for and with the vulnerable and suffering.

Next month, we will observe National Indigenous History Month and Pride Month and celebrate the gifts those siblings bring to our lives as individuals and communities. This is also a time for introspection when we look within ourselves. How many of us know the history of Turtle Island, as our Indigenous siblings refer to North America, before colonization? Are we aware of the pains, struggles and journeys of our LGBTQ2+ siblings?

Upcoming conferences and Vacation Time

I attended the Festival of Homiletics from the 13th to the 16th and will attend the Canadian Council of Churches from the 22nd to the 24th of this month.

Joy and I will be visiting Cheryl and John from May 26 to June 11.  Pastor David Malina will be the emergency contact for those days that I am away. Please contact Margaret for any emergencies.

Passings

Fred von Heyking passed away on  Sunday, May 12.  Cremation has taken place, and a Celebration of Life will be held in the summer. A private family interment will be held at St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery, Wellesley.

In Our Prayers

Let us pray for the family of Fred von Heyking, who died last Sunday in his 101st year, Claudine, Christine, Fred, Claudine, Christine, Marilyn, Konrad, Mary-Helen, Sandra, Julian, George, Betty, Rosalie, James, Thelma, Helen, and the Stewart family. Let us continue to pray for peace in the world, in Palestine, Israel, Iran, Ukraine, Yemen, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and other places.

In Christ,

 

Pr. Philip

May  2024

 

Music Notes

The choir is preparing to celebrate the feast of Pentecost this Sunday and Trinity Sunday the following week. The anthems and hymns are appropriate for these special days, and we hope they will enhance your worship experience.

Sarah will be away on June 16th and 23rd. She and Ken will be sailing all the way around the British Isles on a special "bucket list " trip. 

Kaelyn Pereira, a student of Joyce Knarr, will be playing on the 16th. I know that you will make her welcome. 

Beginning on June 16, we will be using setting 10 for the summer. Setting 10 is entirely set to hymn tunes we are familiar with, which makes for easy participation during the summer when the choir is on a break and visitors are likely.

 

Member Update

Long-time members Gerry Roeder and Linda Roeder have transferred their membership to St Peter’s, Zurich, nearer their home in Grand Bend. Gerry has been commuting to Mount Zion for eleven years, loyally bringing his mom, Gladys, to church here. When we call Gerry a long-time member, we are not exaggerating. He is what we fondly call a “charter child”, his parents being charter members.

He has been the usher captain for years and has served on many committees and working groups. Gerry, we will miss you, and we appreciate all that you have done for Mount Zion over the years. We are looking forward to a visit now and again.

 

National church leaders bring Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimages to Parliament Hill on May 22

National church leaders bring Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimages to Parliament Hill on May 22

Our National Bishop, Susan Johnson, will participate in a pilgrimage to Parliament Hill on May 22 where national representatives and church leaders will participate in a prayer vigil and meetings with MPs. The gathering on Parliament Hill is the culmination of walks by many faith communities mobilized across Canada who have been walking for 42 kilometres, the length of the Gaza Strip, to call for a just peace in Palestine.  The Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage: Canadian Churches for Just Peace is an initiative organized by KAIROS Canada and its member churches.

 

Blessing Seeds and Soil Service

Our annual Seeds and Soil Service will take place immediately following the service on May 26 in the Alfred Brunger Community Garden, weather permitting.

 

Reimagining Mount Zion Update

Several members of church council attended Opportunity, Hope, Resurrection, A further conversation about Congregational Development last Saturday. It was the third in a series of combined Two Rivers and Grand River Ministry Area gatherings held here at Mount Zion. During the morning, we heard representatives of three area congregations discuss their redevelopment journey. Rev. Jennifer Hoover, a synod staff member working on the Congregational Redevelopment file, facilitated our conversation. The council will continue its conversations with potential partners, albeit at a slower pace, allowing for vacations over the summer.

 

You cannot see food insecurity - An Update from Martin Luther’s Distro

That is a message we’ve recently been reiterating at Distro. The stereotype of who should use food banks is solidly ingrained in the Canadian consciousness. The reality is that you cannot see food insecurity, and it can affect anyone at any point. At Distro, we encourage our users to self-reflect on their needs, providing the statement below as a guide. After all, we cannot know everyone’s story.

“If you regularly skip meals or eat smaller quantities at meals or choose less healthy/other food than you’d like, or have to choose between food and textbooks, rent, bills, or other financial costs - then you may be experiencing food insecurity.  You are not alone.”

All of this is to say that this past year (May 2, 2023 – April 30, 2024) has been another year of immense growth for Distro.  Amongst the busyness, we:

  • had 5862 visits, 160% over 2021-22

  • ran our first formal survey and found that

    • 20% of our students rely fully on Distro for their grocery needs

    • Fresh produce, eggs, and baked treats are the favourites

    • Users appreciate the friendly, judgement-free space

  • added a second fridge on wheels to handle the increase in cold products

  • ran our first Funds Only fundraiser, generously matched by the Matthew MacGregor Giving Fund

  • continued to strengthen ties with on-campus allies

  • distributed over five thousand pounds of bananas

All of this is achievable because of your partnership.  With your generous in-kind and financial donations, we are able to continue the Free Weekly Distro and grow to meet the needs of the students.  Thank you so much for caring. Distro really is a community effort, and we are grateful to have you as part of that community.   

Tavia Weber  Development & Partnership Coordinator, the Distro Team

Congregational Meeting June 16 to Adopt new Constitution and Bylaws

The meeting's purpose is to Adopt a new Constitution and Bylaws document. Over the last several months, the council’s executive has been working on these new documents. We are doing this now because we learned that the government of Ontario is requiring all incorporated non-profits to amend their Letters Patent and update them as Articles of Amendment.

In order to do this, our Bylaw #1 (Constitution) must be updated so that the information contained aligns with the new requirements for the Articles of Amendment.  We are warned that if there are discrepancies, the Articles of Amendment will take precedence over our constitution. (Not a good thing)

Much of the new document remains similar to our current Bylaw  #1. The main changes have to do with the number of directors and determining what the classes of membership are in the organization.

We are grateful for the synod's support and guidance during this process. They have sought legal advice and provided us with a template for our new Bylaws and Constitution, making it much easier for us.

The council reviewed the package and moved that it be taken to the congregation for your approval. If you wish to read the new documents, you can do so at this link. https://www.mzlc.ca/filing-cabinet

New Member Sunday…September 29

All the discussion surrounding membership in the new constitution has reminded us that, even though we have welcomed several new members recently,  we have not had a service to acknowledge them in more than a few years. To address the issue, we will be conducting a New Member Service on September 29. If you are interested in becoming a member, please speak with Pastor Philip soon.

Exercise Classes continue on Tuesdays 

Community Support Connections Exercise Classes continue on Tuesday afternoons at 1:00 p.m. These one-hour classes include cardio, strength, balance, and flexibility exercises. This is a free service.  

Mount Zion Cafe -10 am

Meet your friends and enjoy coffee and a few activities at the Mount Zion Café, which meets every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. Call Margaret the day before if you need transportation; she will arrange a driver or taxi.

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ways to
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Links for Worship and more

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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWXECBJ1qAjDtjkimg2Q2GA/videos

(Recordings of the services are available)

 

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

https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81418960353?pwd=c1pFK3lCZDVRMHl0RUUvR0dxaEZhUT09

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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               pmathai@mzlc.ca                       cell: 519-781-5602
Music Director Sarah. E. Cardwell   sarah.e.cardwell@gmail.com
Office Administrator Margaret Waechter mtzion@mzlc.ca           
Nurse Christine Ramseyer     pnchristine@hotmail.com            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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