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November 10, 2023

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Mount Zion

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

  • Masks are optional at Mount Zion 

  • Deadline for next edition October 26

New Mission Statement and Strategic Priorities Adopted at Congregational Meeting

A round of enthusiastic applause followed the adoption of Mount Zion’s chosen new set of Strategic Priorities. It was the second of two critical motions carried at the Sunday, November 5 congregational meeting by the nearly 50 people who attended. 

After some discussion, by the end of the meeting, Mount Zion had a new Mission Statement and a set of Strategic Priorities.

Our new Mission Statement describes our reason for existence –what we will do and who we will serve is, “Striving to reflect God’s unconditional love, we are committed to understanding and acting on the needs of society and God’s creation. We respond to those needs with our gifts, talents, skills and assets.“

The three strategic directions the congregation set for themselves for the next two to three years are in the Ministry Areas of Leadership and Administration, Worship and Music, and Programs Supporting Social Determinants of Health.Each of these categories contains priorities and strategies to move forward. The priorities and the mission statement were informed by gathering information gleaned through recent surveys, congregational meetings and work the congregation has completed in the past.

We were reminded by Karen Bjerland, who has been facilitating this initiative, that sustaining ourselves and our ministries into the future is the ultimate goal of the process.

I think that Church Council is excited that we have some guidelines and a process for our future deliberations.Our next step is to contact possible partners in each area we adopted.

We have come a long way since last March when we began. We will take a short moment to celebrate what we have achieved to date, take a deep breath, and move on to the next step.

And once again, we are very thankful for the leadership provided by Karen Bjerland. Thank you!

Pastor Philip writes about two journeys, guitars and the Bishop

My two-and-a-half-week trip to India this October was much more relaxed than my earlier one in June.  On this trip, I had time to spend with my family, especially my mother, who is doing well! She lives with my brother now, which has been a good change for her.  I connected with many people I grew up with at the seminary where my parents were professors and also visited the seminary campus.  The principal/president of the place now is Samuel George. You may remember that he talked to us about the impact of Covid during a Sunday morning Zoom service. Samuel is a good choice for president, but he needs a lot of prayers!!

Another first was worshipping twice at my brother’s church, where he is the senior pastor.  Because our mother lives with him, I was at his house on weekends, and so I chose to go to this non-denominational community on Sunday mornings. Their two-hour service included worshipping through songs for 30 minutes, prayers, a member testimonial, reading from scripture, the sermon, announcements, and the offering at the end. Seeing everyone contribute their offerings to the container up front was interesting. Given their context, I was intrigued by the delicate balance between charismatic character and justice issues.  It was not just about a personal and literary view of faith. Still, they were equally concerned about the marginalized in society, about communities suffering from political and religious upheavals, and how they opened their church to the poorer segments of society who had their own worship there.  Seeing how some of these evangelical churches evolved while not losing their essential character was interesting.

We too are on a journey as a congregation.  I was delighted that we approved both our strategic directions and our new mission statement. I am reminded that we are on this journey together as we wait for God to discern how we can be effective and relevant in this changing world.

This Sunday, we have our guitar choir giving leadership in worship. I am grateful for our members' willingness to contribute their gifts, talents and passion to the worship and edification of the community.  Another service to talk about in our more extensive networks would be the German Christmas Service, which will be held at Mount Zion on December 22 at 7 p.m. Pass the word around to any that would be interested in attending the service.

Bishop Michael Pryse has been leading our synod stupendously since 1988, through the many ups and downs.  He has indicated retiring at the Synod Assembly in June 2024. The Vice-Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer of the synod and one of the Bishop’s Assistants would also retire along with him. The pastoral letter from the bishop is also included.  Let us pray for our synod as we transition, elect a new team to lead into the future, and give thanks to these leaders who have been faithful in their call.

A note from Finance
Financial Update – October, 2023

Treasurer Richard Brubacher's monthly report states a $68,798 deficit for the first ten months of 2023. Compared to our budget for this period, we are tracking better than planned, with a positive deviation of $19,206 in our Ministry & Mission (current) account. Total receipts exceeded the plan by $12,540, and disbursements were under $6,667, resulting in a positive deviation of $19,206. Click here to read the full report.

In Our Prayers

Let us pray for Mary Helen (mother of Bob Kelly), Sandra, Julian, George, Betty, Rosalie, James, Thelma, Helen, Gloria, and Don and Jean and their daughter Tai. Let us continue to pray for peace in the world, in Palestine and Israel, Ukraine, Yemen, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and other places.

November 18 Mount Zion’s Caribbean Christmas Party  

It’s time for a party!  Mrs. Bell and her crew will be cooking up a storm creating a Christmas feast embellished by tastes of the Caribbean. Along with the food will be music from the Acoustic Steel Band.   The doors will be open at 5:45 p.m.  Festivities will begin at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are $50 and will be available in the narthex. 

The funds from this event support the expenses incurred by February’s Black History Month Celebrations.

Pick Up Dinner Also Available 
A pickup dinner will also be available for those of you who are not able to attend. Menu items will be available soon.

Please Note that the pick-up time is between 4:00 and 5:15 pm. The cost for pick-up meals is $45.

November 26     Justice through Service launches

Beginning later this month and continuing through 2024, the Justice through Service Committee of Mount Zion will host a series of seven climate-focused workshops facilitated by Isaiah Ritzmann.

Each workshop will be about an hour long and follow Sunday worship, with a coffee/tea/snack pause in between.

The organizers would like to know the approximate number of attendees in advance for planning purposes. Please sign up on the sheet located in the narthex.

Sunday, Nov. 26: Climate Emergency 101

This workshop introduces people to the core of what it means to be living through a climate emergency. It looks at the basic mechanics of climate change, our timelines, and our limited carbon budget. It poses the question, “what does it look like for a government to act like it’s the emergency they say it is?”


Isaiah Ritzmann is a community educator with the Working Centre. He is a local climate activist who is passionate about the intersections between environmental sustainability, economic justice and community building. He has taught courses for the Working Centre’s Diploma in Local Democracy program and facilitated workshops, film documentary evenings, neighbourhood environmental walks, and other initiatives on ways to respond to the climate emergency. He is also part of the Louisa Street Hospitality House, where newly arrived refugees are welcomed into the community. Isaiah earned a Master of Theological Studies from Conrad Grebel College and the University of Waterloo in 2015.

Upcoming topics in the New Year will be (dates to be announced):

Climate Justice 101 – Climate change is marked by extreme inequality. What can we do about it?

Mining Justice and the Energy Transition – The mining required for solar and wind power will be immense. How do we transition to renewable energy resources fairly and without violence?

Consumer Culture and the Climate Emergency – Everything we buy comes at a carbon cost. Can we make and buy less as a society?

The End of Advertising? – We did it with tobacco and other products known to endanger health. Should we also ban other advertising that fuels the climate crisis and endangers the health of the planet?

A Four-Day Week? – Limiting mandatory work time is not only good for us but is also healthier for the planet.

When the Odds are Stacked against Us – Improbable does not mean impossible. But with climate change the odds (scientifically at least) are stacked against us. How can we persevere?

2023 Assistance to Refugee Family 

Through a referral from Faith Lutheran in Brantford, we have an opportunity to help a refugee family who arrived in Waterloo from the Middle East a few weeks ago.  The father was a doctor, originally from Palestine, and the mother was a nurse, originally from Syria.  They have four daughters, aged 16, 15, 14, and 5.  The younger girls started school last week, and the two older ones will start next week.  Their rent being quite expensive, they would appreciate donations of the following items:

  • School bags, e.g. knapsacks, lunch bags

  • Raincoats, winter coats (adult size), hats, gloves for all;

  • Snow pants and snow jacket for 5-year-old

  • Winter footwear, e.g. snow boots

  • Pillows, cushions

  • Coffee table

  • Serving tray, serving dishes

  • Kitchenware, particularly a large cooking pot

  • TV set

  • King-size bed

If you have any of these to offer, please contact Mary Thompson at 519-886-4393 or   The family has a friend willing to transport items.

The Mount Zion Kitchen

Cooking every week until Mid-December

See the menu here

Monday afternoon  Exercise/Walking Group 

Come out for a walk with music, stretches and sit-to-stands every Monday afternoon. Call Marg Tupling for more details.

Nov 22, 10 am  Mount Zion Cafe

Meet your friends and enjoy a coffee and a few activities at the Mount Zion Café meeting every second and fourth Wed of the month. Nov 22, Dec 6

Nov 14, 1.30 pm. Mindfulness Meditation  Practice

will meet the second and fourth Tuesday of the month upstairs. Henriette reminds you to bring a pillow, mat, blanket, water or nothing (all optional). Wear comfortable clothes and be fragrance-free. Open to all. No previous experience is necessary.  Just come. ( Nov 14 Nov 28 Dec 12 Dec 26)

November 12   Inshallah: Singing toward Peace with Justice

In the midst of chaos and suffering, know the strength of community with two concerts.

I Choose Love, Sunday, November 12, at 3 p.m. Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church, 55 Erb St. West, Waterloo. Free Will offering In support of Humanitarian Coalition for Gaza Humanitarian Emergency.

Sing Hope, Tues, Dec. 12, 6:30 pm, Kitchener City Hall Rotunda, 200 King St. West, Kitchener Free Will offering in support of Indwell Affordable Housing.

November 12  ‘Baroque and Beyond... A Musicians’ Fundraiser.’

Sunday, November 12, 2023, 7 pm – St Jacobs Mennonite Church (1310 King St. N, St Jacobs) is hosting Musicians of the KW Symphony in a Fundraising Concert entitled ‘Baroque and Beyond... A Musicians’ Fundraiser.’ This concert of Baroque music will be conducted by Andre Feher and feature Ian Whitman on solo bass and guest soprano Bethany Horst.

Sunday, November 12, 2 to 4 pm   Community Conversations & Confections, Sunday  Martin Luther University College.

Community Conversations, at their very core is centered around relationship building. We seek to engage the work of racial justice within a community of people who also want to see the world become a better place for all people. In our sessions, we will discuss what it takes to do the work, ways to support one another, and even practice how to have difficult conversations. We'll also explore other things relating to the topic, such as Indigenous teachings. The idea is for these sessions to build on one another and for the people to become a community of learning and support.    Rev. Joanne Millar

Sunday, November 19, 2 to 4:  printmaking workshop.
Martin Luther University College

Feather & Cross is hosting a free print-making workshop on November 19, 2023, called "Reflections on A Visual Reconciliation". This workshop is based on the Seven Sacred Teachings theme of an exhibit held in the Keffer Chapel at Martin Luther University College, and sign-up via Eventbrite is required as numbers are limited. All supplies will be provided.

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ways to

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Links for Worship and more

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

(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)

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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