News from Mount Zion
October 1, 2021
Kendra Brown Baptism
Keegan Isaac Sorensen Baptism
for in person worship
Congratulations to all who are celebrating some special days in their lives.
Happy Birthday to Ed Riegert who celebrated his 89th birthday on September 28. Happy Birthday Ed!
We congratulate Joy Philip on her of appointment to Director of the newly organized Centre for Earth Consciousness and Gender Justice (CECGJ) at Martin Luther University College. (See article below)
On September 25th two baptisms took place at Mount Zion. Rejoice with the families of Keegan Isaac Sorensen, son of Sarah and Jason Sorensen, and Kendra Brown, daughter of Sarah and Andrew Brown. They are both grandchildren of Pastor Bill and Joyce Brown. Because of the Pandemic and the protocols only family and friends were in attendance. Let us pray for both these children as they embark on this journey of growing in the Christian faith.
Mount Zion reopens for live worship Oct 3
At long last Mount Zion will open for live worship on Oct 3. Covid numbers are stabilizing in Waterloo Region, people are attending small group gatherings. The time seems right.
Here is what you need to know:
In Person Service will begin at 10 am, but attendees are encouraged to come early to sign in.
Attendees will be asked if they are fully vaccinated and for those of you who are not, a rapid test will be required. In that case you will need to arrive a half hour before the service.
Seating for the In Person Service is limited to approximately 30 people.
For the foreseeable future, you will NOT have to reserve seating.
Communion will be offered.
You will need to remain masked throughout the service except for communion. For communion you will remain in place.
We are not able to offer congregational singing at this time.
The service will continue to be broadcast on You Tube.
Fall Book Discussion, Thursday, October 28, 1:30-3:00 pm
Please register here for the Fall Book Discussion which will be held on Zoom.
The Health Council will be holding a book discussion on The Boat People by Canadian author, Sharon Bala. Inspired by a real incident, the book is about five hundred refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war, who survive a perilous ocean voyage to Vancouver, BC, only to face, in their new land, the threat of deportation and accusations of terrorism. The book is a timely novel in that it may help us reflect on current refugee issues. If you have any questions, please contact Mary Slethaug or Betty Behm.
We congratulate Joy Philip on her of appointment to Director of the newly organized Centre for Earth Consciousness and Gender Justice (CECGJ) at Martin Luther University College.
The centre’s official opening is 5 pm on October 6 during Luther’s open door service. Joy tells us that as part of the dedication, children will plant a selection of shrubs and herbs and a mural will be painted as part of the blessing. Members of Mount Zion are welcome to stop by Monday - Friday, 10am - 4pm to pick up a brush and add their creative flair to the mural. Music will be provided by Brad Mogach, open door musician, in collaboration with Amy Di Nino. Bishop Michael Pryse and Rev. Dr. Marcia Blasi, who is the Program Executive for Gender Justice and Women’s Empowerment in the Department for Theology, Mission and Justice of the LWF will co-preside the dedication service.
In a recent conversation with church council, Joy told us that she is looking forward to working on some future projects together and hoping to see us at the dedication.
Use this link for the zoom invite to attend the dedication.
Joy has written a synopsis of the vision for the new centre.
Centre for Earth Consciousness and Gender Justice – CECGJ
The Centre for Earth Consciousness and Gender Justice envisions an ethos and faith/spiritual praxis that will inspire Luther and the larger community to work for justice for all earthlings where the relationship is defined by interconnectedness, a relational and embodied understanding of the human community vis-à-vis the earth.
The Centre’s goal is planetary well being and justice that works towards the common good, not just for the present but for all future living beings on the planet. A prerequisite for that is to listen to the voice of the earth, which in turn calls for “earth consciousness.” “Earth consciousness fosters an understanding that humanity is part of the earth, part of the universe, not a separate entity.”(1) However, this can be brought about only through both, local and global commitment. Towards that end we are called to gather knowledge and understand issues that affect the planet. Climate issues, economic inequities, political stances, religious beliefs, the myriad of discriminatory structures/systems, and the various ecosystems of governance are just to name a few.
Rejuvenated with the MOU with Earth Charter International located at the University of Peace in Costa Rica and the various partnerships in the community and globally, the Centre hopes to offer courses for both undergraduate and graduate programs in Luther and Laurier. The Centre will work with the church (synod), various faith communities, and other partners, both locally and globally, in fulfilling its mandate of engendering earth consciousness and gender justice.
The dedication of the centre will take place on October 6, as part of open door at 5pm. Bishop Michael Pryse and Rev. Dr. Marcia Blasi, who is the Program Executive for Gender Justice and Women’s Empowerment in the Department for Theology, Mission and Justice of the LWF will co-preside the dedication service. Rev. Dr. Chad Rimmer, the Program Executive for Identity, Communion and Formation in the same department of the LWF will be the preacher. Music will be provided by Brad Mogach, open door musician, in collaboration with Mount Zion Lutheran Church music director, Amy D’Nino.
(1) John Darrell DesRoches, “The Truth About Stories: An Autoethnography Towards Earth Consciousness.” Masters thesis, University of PEI, 2010.
It’s Choir Time
Last Sunday, September 26th, members of the Mount Zion choir gathered together
outside the church for a social time while enjoying a picnic style lunch! It was wonderful to come together and catch up on life and living as well as discussing plans to return to singing as a group again.
We will be gathering together weekly, beginning Thursday, October 7th from 10am to 11:30 am in the sanctuary. Singing masks are required, and we currently have an additional supply available for use. Singing will take place for half an hour, followed by a half hour break outside of the sanctuary, and then returning to sing for another half an hour. As our Sunday morning music will remain pre-recorded for the meantime, anyone who wants to record their parts in-person at the church will be able to do so at your convenience.
Our Thursday morning practices are open to everyone, and as previously mentioned, a singing mask can be provided for you at no cost. We are always looking for new members who love to sing.
Look forward to making music together again! Amy DiNino
Support Mount Zion's Team in Ride for Refuge
On Saturday, October 2, I will be joining others in my faith community in the national fundraising event, Ride for Refuge. Our participation will be in support of SHOW (Supportive Housing of Waterloo Region). I'm hoping you will consider sponsoring me.
Many of us have been able to develop a new appreciation of home as a place of safety and refuge during this pandemic. The pandemic has also revealed to us the stark precariousness and lack of housing for our most vulnerable neighbours. SHOW provides affordable and supportive housing for members of our community who have the most difficulty in obtaining and maintaining it, particularly those struggling with mental health, addictions, and poverty.
We’re walking for SHOW, not just to raise funds, but to expand awareness of people who have little or no voice and who often get left behind or marginalized. And by fundraising, we're supporting a local organization that is bringing hope and refuge to those same people.
You can safely donate online with Paypal or by credit card at the link below and get an instant tax receipt (I know, I've done it). (me too...ed)
Food Donations needed for Luther’s Support of Hungry Students
Martin Luther University College (formerly the Seminary) started providing food for students during the heavy days of the pandemic. Anne Anderson who heads up the program hopes congregations will lend a hand in order to provide food security to needy students.
Anne writes, “We have been running the “distro” for 46 weeks now- brought about by student food insecurity during the pandemic. We are averaging around a 100 students per day and are in need of donations to support this program. If you have any nonperishable items such as peanut butter and spaghetti or granola bars they would be appreciated. We are also in need of toiletries such as shampoo and soap and toothpaste and believe it or not a popular item is dish soap! Please consider supporting the students in our region.” If you would like to make a food donation you can drop it off in Mount Zion’s narthex or call Pastor Anne Anderson @ email@example.com
Sing Fires of Justice 2021: IN-SPIRE
Breathe in the sounds of comfort and challenge. Breathe out the sounds of peace with justice. Be inspired by the work of A Better Tent City and Community Music School of Waterloo Region, the music of Joni NehRita, Sebastian Meadows-Helmer, Laurier Singers, St. Matthews Lutheran Church choir and Mass Choir Waterloo Region, and the sung chants of Jason Sparkes, Mike and Britt Stork, and Inshallah.
October 3 at 7 pm on zoom.
Meeting ID: 898 7229 5402 Passcode: 562920
Sun. Oct. 3 — Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost Readings
Psalm 8 (5)
Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12
Sun. Oct. 10 — Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost - Thanksgiving
Amos 5:6-7, 10-15
Psalm 90:12-17 (12)
In Our Prayers
Let us pray for George, Betty, Jake, Rosalie, James, Willie and Kerry for healing and wholeness. Let us also pray for Ursula, Mark and Helen as they mourn the death of Bill Reimer.
Got Questions about Faith
Recently Pastor PHilip invited us to write down any questions you have in the context of faith and to reflect on it through the week and maybe even discuss it with someone. It was suggested that he collect the questions so that as a community we could reflect together on issues that we struggle with. Pastor PHilip requests you to send the questions to him at your convenience!
Focus on housing and shelter
As part of this year’s focus on housing and shelter, the Committee for Justice through Service would like to share a story from Nancy Kelly, to prompt us to reflect on the importance of proper housing to the health and well-being of all of our neighbours. We would encourage comment and the submission of other stories for a collection on housing justice.
For all the Billys
When the Board of Supportive Housing of Waterloo (SHOW) asked community members to share their responses to: “What draws you to the issue of supportive housing?” Rev. Nancy Vernon Kelly realized immediately that for her and her family, that question begins with “Who?” Although Nancy found this story heart-wrenching to write down after carrying it inside for decades, she “made a commitment to tell it now.”
My cousin Billy was 16 years older than me, about the same age as my big sister. I say “was” because Billy died tragically, and far too early. After graduating from an Ivy League college, he joined the US Navy and became an officer serving in the Korean Conflict. On a furlough in Japan, I remember that he sent me a stunning embroidered turquoise kimono.
Billy was generous, witty, wonderful with little kids like me, well-read, and a devoted letter-writer to his aunt, my mother; he sent her clippings, gossip and postcards from all over the world, even Moscow during the Cold War.
Though we never lived in the same city cousin Billy, my aunt’s youngest son, visited us in Los Angeles on holidays and never forgot birthdays. When he retired from the Navy, he and his mother bought a hillside house overlooking San Francisco Bay. For a time, his sales work took him all over the country but when he was home, his mom took care of him. After she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he took care of her. What I remember most about my aunt’s funeral was how hard it was to see a grown man like Billy so completely heartbroken.
I don’t know when Billy’s drinking became a serious problem; but when he first retired, he managed his addiction well enough to volunteer around the San Francisco Bay Area, including teaching literacy to prison inmates. There he met John, the man who would become his beloved life-partner. Back then, Billy could never bring John to family gatherings; if this story were unfolding today, I would be able to say – among other more hopeful things – that Billy and John felt comfortable and safe among us as a same-sex couple.
During the early 1990s, John succumbed to a fatal heart attack, leaving Billy devastated a second time. He continued living in the apartment they’d shared, accompanied by a pair of beloved German Shepherds. His drinking increased steadily, dangerously. My older sister and Billy’s near-contemporary had also been through the hell of both being gay and addicted; as a knowing survivor, she tried her best to keep in touch with him. Yet by then, Billy was beyond even her reach. Inevitably, he drank himself to death, alone.
We didn’t hear about Billy’s fate for some time. Days later, neighbours called police because of the smell coming from his apartment. Police found Billy’s decomposing body and the desperate dogs, who hadn’t had food or care for many days; what they did after Billy’s death was so horrific I can’t bear to describe it. In short, Billy died without the dignity every human being deserves.
When he was well, Billy always took care of others, but when he was most in need, family and friends never found appropriate local resources to intervene and help reverse his self-harm; we didn’t know how desperate his condition was until it was too late.
My mother, my sister, Billy’s brother and his wife drove to San Francisco to identify his body and clean out the apartment. After that, they were never able to speak about the experience without crying. They brought home Billy’s few treasures and keepsakes and my sister arranged for the Navy to honour Billy’s wishes by scattering his ashes at sea.
None of us was present at the scattering ceremony, but the letter and accompanying map sent by the Navy describes the weather, the sunset, and the wind in that spot on the day Billy’s ashes flew out into the ocean. Every time I visit California and look out over the Pacific, I think of him and grieve the way his life ended.
The circumstances of Billy’s loss have long drawn me to advocate for creating and sustaining more supportive housing for those with needs like his – particularly the mission of SHOW, for all the “Billys” in our midst who need more help than they alone, or their families and friends can provide.
No one as desperate as Billy was should ever have to live without mental health and essential needs support close at hand. In addition to offering 24/7 hope to those struggling with addiction and related health challenges, local supportive housing programs like SHOW make our community a healthier, safer, and more compassionate place in which to live. Nancy Vernon Kelly
Links for Worship and more
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 preceeding the service https://zoom.us/j/96599940521
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 firstname.lastname@example.org cell: 519-781-5602
Music Director Amy Di Nino email@example.com cell: 905-466-3774
Office Administrator Margaret Waechter firstname.lastname@example.org
Nurse Christine Ramseyer email@example.com cell: 519-588-8006
Feel free to call our cell phones. If we aren't available we'll return your call!