Sandcastle Sunrise Service
July 7, 2013 – Shelter Point Park
TUC has been doing this service on the Sandcastle weekend for many years. It is our pleasure and privilege to worship God here with you on this beautiful morning in this incredibly beautiful place!
Is there anyone visiting from off-island today? (introduce and welcome)
Call to Worship: (responsive)
Greetings to our brothers and sisters in the faith.
We come to celebrate God’s presence,
And God’s love expressed through Jesus Christ.
We come remembering Christ’s life and ministry,
And the life we are called to live.
We come as pilgrim people searching for ways to live out our faith.
We come seeking the strength to carry on our journey.
Let us rejoice in God’s gift to us!
Let us pray: (unison)
Who creates, sustains, and redeems all life,
We come seeking your disturbing presence and comforting peace. We praise you for the joy of being your people.
May your Spirit be with us and move within us, in this time of worship.
Give us hearts that hear your Word, and minds that are open to the transforming power of your love. Amen.
Hymn: “Morning has broken”
Jesus was asked by a man who was an expert in the law, “What is the greatest commandment? What must I do to have eternal life?” and Jesus answered, “You must love the Lord your God with your whole heart and with your whole mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” And in another place (John 15: 12-13), “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
Hymn: “When I needed a neighbour”
1st Scripture reading: Psalm 82 – a Plea for Justice (Dale)
Here we sit this morning, in the midst of the incredible beauty of God’s creation. But the Psalmist reminds us of our call – our mission as children of God – to do justice in the world. He reminds us that we “are Gods, children of the Most High, all of you.” He calls on God to come and judge the world, for it is not us but the Creator who owns all the Creation. All the nations, all the rulers, all of us, must answer for our deeds – for the Earth is the Lord’s.
Some of us are the princes, the rulers – the rich and powerful. Others of us are addicted to a variety of substances or practices. Some of us are poor and hungry. Some are ill or grieving. Any of us may at times find ourselves lost and alone, weary and broken in heart, mind and spirit, and feeling far, far from God.
But what did Jesus say? “Love one another as I have loved you.” Such an important message – for this is how we can heal one another – by simply loving one another!
Let’s sing together an old hym that I love very much, because it says it all:
Hymn: “Come in, come in and sit down”
2nd Scripture Reading: Luke 10: 25-37 “Who is my neighbour?” (Donna)
We are gathered here this morning on this beautiful land called Shelter Point Park. Generations of Texadans have used and enjoyed this land: first for logging, and then set aside for recreational use and camping.
We love this park. But we are not the first to use and enjoy this area. If you walk down the nature trail you will see at mid-low tide the fish weirs of the Sliammon people. Those circular stone fish traps are very old. They pre-date the arrival of the rest of us. There are middens too – large piles of shells and bones indicative of human settlement a very long time ago.
You have probably noticed that there are people putting up little flags and digging holes all over the park – but especially this area where we hope to rebuild our food concession, and a new home for the park manager. You see, we had a bad fire here in the park last year, and we lost those two buildings completely.
So now we must build new – and in a new spirit of partnership and cooperation, the Regional District is consulting with First Nations peoples who may deem this area of significance to them. The people you see digging are from the Archaelogical Branch of the Provincial Government. They are mapping the area, looking for sites that may be of historic interest.
Nine 1st Nations groups have been asked to sign off on whether or not this area is of cultural or historical significance to them.
Until both these processes are complete, there will be no new building on this site.
So that’s a bit of information as to what is going on right now. And some of us aren’t very happy about it. This has been our park for a long time. We forget that it hasn’t always been ours.
The Sliammon people , about 860 of them now, live on reserve land 12km north of Powell River. The Sliammon nation is one of about 20 nations comprising the Coast Salish people who inhabit the coastal regions of BC and the Pacific Northwest.
Before contact with Europeans, there are estimated to have been about 20,000 members of the Sliammon nation alone, spread out in villages from Sarah Point to Saltery Bay.
Land ownership the way we define it was foreign to them when first contact was made. Sharing of abundant and God-given resources was an important cultural value to them, and so they were easily dominated by the more aggressive and distinctly territorial settlers.
They had little resistance to the diseases of the settlers, and so their population was decimated by smallpox and tuberculosis and syphilis. With no built up tolerance to social use of alcohol, they were easily manipulated by settlers who well knew it’s effects.
The Indian Residential Schools, which separated very young children from their families and systematically destroyed language and culture are a legacy of shame which we are still trying to heal from, and from which the 1st Nations people are still trying to rebuild their pride and their culture.
So when we look at the process going on in this place today, literally right under our feet, we might take a moment to ask ourselves: where does justice lie in all this, and who is my neighbour?
Prayer of Confession: (unison)
Jesus, who sat at the table with outcasts and sinners,
We confess that too often our words and actions are not consistent with our beliefs.
Often we ignore the needy, show indifference to the lonely, and reject those who seem different from us.
Forgive us, we pray.
Empower us to reach out in love and acceptance, and to make amends to those we may have harmed.
Words of Assurance:
God hears us. God forgives us. Let us be willing to be cleansed and healed in the light of God’s great Love.
Prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me sow love:
Where there is injury, pardon:
Where there is doubt, faith:
Where there is darkness, light:
Where there is despair, hope,
And where there is sadness, joy.
Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and in dying that we are born to eternal life.
The Lord’s Prayer: (unison & in the language of your choice)
Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory,
Forever, and ever. Amen.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus said, “Follow me. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” For us, he is the Way – and the journey of our lives is to follow him. In so doing, may we be a light to the nations, bringing forth great gifts of justice and of truth in his name.
Let us go forth from this place now, knowing that
The love of God is ours to share,
The peace of Christ is ours to extend,
And the power of the Holy Spirit is ours to offer.
Let’s go out with joy this morning, as we join together to sing:
Hymn: “You Shall Go Out With Joy” (Isaiah 55) 2x
Minister: Karen E. May, DLM
Pianist: Maureen Northrop
Minute for Reconciliation - Kathy's Story
1995 Port Alberni, BC. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be in a position like I found myself in Port Alberni. I arrived fresh from a small rural pastoral charge in Saskatchewan to the eye of a hurricane. Just before I arrived that summer,
Arthur Plint was convicted of sexual assault on Children at the "Alberni Indian Residential School". On the advice of its lawyers, the United Church of Canada, who administered the school, refused to acknowledge responsibility for the tragedy. As the lawsuits mounted,they feared the United Church may be sued out of existence.
I found myself in a state of shock. I had been blissfully unaware of Residential Schools and their impact on First Nations throughout Western Canada. I did not know the United Church had any involvement in them, now I had a steep learning curve facing me. Some of the members of my congregation had worked at the school, some had worked at other Indian Residential Schools, some had attended the school. We came together to pool our knowledge and resources, we invited people to tell their stories. We spent a year in study, and prayer. Our sense of shock and denial led to a growing realization that something had to be done. Someone had to face the pain, the anger, and the tragedy of Indian Residential Schools. "Someone had to do something."
Children stolen from their families and communities as young as 5 years old. Language destroyed, spirituality demonized, culture shattered, lack of food and medical care standard. This is horrible enough, but then to face physical and sexual abuse on top of all of that - in a United Church run school!!! "Someone had to do something,"
It didn't take long to realize that we were the "someone" and the "something" was to apologize. Everything we knew as Christians went in to that apology. Our understandings of God, sin and grace, forgiveness and reconciliation, death and resurrection were woven into the words and the spirit of the Apology. We knew that it would not "make everything better", we knew it would not wipe out 150 years of suffering, and we knew we had to do this, that God was calling us to do this.
In May of 1997 we stood in the gym of the former Residential School on Mission Road and presented an apology from our congregation to over 600 members of the
Nuu-chah-nulth Nations. It was the most powerful spiritual experience of my life. An extraordinary moment, it was a moment of turning toward one another with God as witness. It was a beginning.
We are still "beginning". still finding ways to turn toward one another. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission offers us ways of beginning. There we can bear witness to the courage and love of God by our presence, by being Christ for our sisters and brothers in pain, we can continue the "beginning" of healing, reconciliation, of birthing a new relationship between peoples.
The Vancouver Event will actually be a “Week of Reconciliation” beginning on Monday, September 16th with the lighting of the Olympic Cauldron. Tuesday, Squamish Nation will welcome canoes from All Nations at False Creek, on Wednesday the Truth & Reconciliation Hearings begin. Stories from all aspects of the Residential Schools are welcome. If you are a Survivor, Teacher, or Support Staff you are invited to share your story either in the Public Forum, or Privately. Speakers are asked to register at the TRC website, trc.ca. There is NO REGISTRATION for listeners. There will be a Concert on Thursday night that is open to everyone. On Sunday join the Walk For Reconciliation beginning at the Queen Elizabeth Library. Opening Ceremonies begin at 9am. The walk will make its way to Science World where the New Way Forward Event will Celebrate new possibilities between First Nations and Non-Aboriginal people from Noon to 4pm.
If you are planning to join the walk please register at reconciliationcanada.ca All other events do not require registration. Please find time to take in all or part of the Week of Reconciliation. Come and bear witness.
Seven years ago, when I introduced myself to an elderly survivor of the Port Alberni Indian Residential School he said, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you for a long time.” I had never met him before. I wasn’t even born when he was in Residential School so what did he mean by saying he had been waiting a long time to talk to me?
We had gathered at a Dispute Resolution hearing to listen to this man’s painful story of great loss: loss of family, of community, of language and culture, of safety and innocence as a result of the emotional, physical and sexual abuse he experienced during his childhood at the school. As his story unfolded, I began to understand the meaning behind his words. He had been waiting his whole life to ask the United Church of Canada why he had suffered in a school run by people of God. I was the face of the United Church that day.
It’s estimated that there are 80,000 survivors of Indian Residential School still living today. Many of them have also been waiting a long time to tell us their stories about Residential School. It’s an important step in their healing journey and in ours.
As members of the United Church of Canada in B.C., we have the privilege and responsibility to be the face of the United Church to the survivors who will tell their stories about Residential School when the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathers at the PNE in Vancouver this September. I won’t be easy for the survivors to tell their stories because the memories are filled with so much pain and shame. It won’t be easy to hear these stories but it is so important for us to be there and bear witness to the truth.
Seven years ago I witnessed the miracle of Jesus’ promise that “the truth will set us free.” This gracious elder who had been waiting a long time, told us his truth and when he had finished speaking he said he felt as if a huge burden had been lifted off his shoulders. All of us could feel it and see the difference in him.
It was a taste of the healing and reconciliation for which we all yearn and need as a result of this tragic episode in Canadian history.
Please attend the Truth and Reconciliation Commission gathering in Vancouver, Sept. 18-21. And please pray for all participants before, during and after the hearings.
The Rev. Janice Young
St. John’s United Church, Sechelt, BC
Minute for Mission 05/31/2013
All children have heroes. As a child growing up in a minister’s home long before television my heroes were– would you believe it? – missionaries! We read their stories in our Sunday school papers and sometimes they came to our church to talk to us. Many of them worked in northern Canada. Their job was to tell Indian people about Jesus and build schools where they taught little children reading and arithmetic. We collected our pennies and we dreamed that someday we would go to those far-off places, places with evocative names like Bella Coola or – my favorite – God’s Lake Narrows. Who knows? Maybe a few of us would become missionaries too.
Some of those missionaries are still my heroes. Since then though we’ve learned that those missions in which the churches eagerly participated were part of a centuries-long exercise in social engineering based on the assumption that aboriginal people were inferior and that it was appropriate therefore to take control of land and resources away from them. The role of the residential schools would be - in the words of the head of the Department of Indian Affairs – “to take the Indian out of the child”. The result has been catastrophic. Today the evocative place names are Pikangikum and Attawapiskat.
After intense pressure from aboriginal organizations and the churches the government of Canada established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose task it would be to learn the truth of what had happened in the schools and to work toward healing. Since 2009 three commissioners have travelled the country meeting with survivors and their families, listening as with many tears they bravely told their stories of abuse and discrimination and encouraging them as they sought healing. Always large numbers of fellow citizens have been there to witness to their truth and to commit themselves to work for reconciliation.
Now it’s Vancouver’s turn to host the provincial meeting of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The gathering will be held from September 18 – 21 at the Pacific Coliseum on the PNE grounds. Hundreds of survivors and their families will be coming from every part of the province to meet with the commissioners. Church members and other citizens will be there in the thousands to support them as they give their testimonies.
We think you’ll want to be there for some or all of the sessions. After all, they’re telling us the truth, truth that we need to hear in order that we and our nation may live. Maybe we should think of them as missionaries!
Robert Smith, Halfmoon Bay, BC
- Church Notes
- Past Events
- Karen May, New Legion Chaplain
- Battle of Atlantic service - April 2015
- Dessert Tea & Bake sale April 2015
- Certificate of Thanksgiving 2014
- Chor Musica Powell River Mens Choir - March 2015
- Chor Musica Video
- Christmas Dinner 2014
- Christmas Concert 2014
- Doretta's 60th
- Christmas Day 2013
- Christmas Eve 2013
- Christmas Concert 2013
- Christmas dinner at Legion 2013
- Church Tea & Bake Sale Dec 2013
- St Patricks Day Tea and Bake Sale 2013
- Church Photos
- Battle Service 2010
- Joyful Noise Photos - 2008-2010, 2013
- KSE Photos 2010
- KSE Photos 2009
- KSE Photos 2008
- More Photos