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St. Peter’s Church

There's a Place for You Here

Feed your spirit

In-person worship paused

Worship via CTV: April 25, May 9

or via the eMessenger / Zoom / stpeterskw.ca

Church building closed

Unfortunately we are experiencing some challenges (on our end) with posting the latest broadcast. We apologize and offer this week’s edition of Worship at Home. 

 

Peace, friends.
 
It’s been a very emotional week filled with highs and lows.
Meetings. Deaths. Grieving. Sessions. Dealing with an insurance company. Dissertation editing. Video editing. Broadcast stuff.

And then…Friday happened.

Like many who called or emailed me, I thought to myself “geez it’s Easter, why does it feel more like Good Friday?” 

Many of the folks who telephoned or emailed me find the latest directives announced this week by the Ontario Government challenging. Some were particularly concerned with the policing and enforcement piece. Some were confused. Some were just plain ol’ weary and wondering as many a biblical figure have “How long, O Lord…how long?”

Some people are experiencing what has been named “crisis fatigue.”
 
Let me borrow, adapt, and paraphrase the words of author Jake Owensby for a moment: Confronted by a relentless barrage of stress-inducing events, we respond with a draining mixture of exhaustion, rage, disgust, despair, anxiety, and grief. We want things to change, but the problems seem so huge that we don’t know where to start. We begin to wonder if we could make a real difference anyway. We’re overwhelmed.
 
And no wonder. COVID 19, racism issues, government issues, pandemic inequalities, vaccinations, food insecurity, lack of affordable housing, right relations, climate crisis…the non-exhaustive list continues…
 
These are big problems requiring sustained, vigorous action. And when we’re feeling overwhelmed, the sheer size and scope of the challenges we face can sap us of the energy we need to confront them effectively.
 
If we look at our challenges as whole we may feel too small and inadequate to do anything about them. We know that we should do something, but we may struggle to get started. Here’s  something the recovery community taught [Owensby] about that. Don’t be frozen in your tracks by the illusion that only big things can make a difference. Instead, just do the next right thing.
 
Wear a mask in public. Follow public health directives. Get your shots. If you’re white like me, listen to people of colour talk about what it’s like to be a person of colour in our society and resist the urge to defend yourself. Sit with your Bible and read what Jesus says about the poor, the stranger, and loving your neighbor. Vote when the time comes.
 
Do the good that’s right in front of you. 

 
After many hours, when I hung up the phone and closed my laptop after replying to as many emails as I could, feeling truly blessed to be journeying with people but overwhelmed myself, I thought about Owensby’s words. I felt strangely numb. And then a peculiar thing happened, I noticed that I was humming a hymn.

My Oma used to do that – in good times and challenging times – and she had many of both during her life. As the notes escaped my lips and wrapped themselves around my tired soul, I thought of George Santayana – at least I think it was him – who said religion is another world to live in. That creaky hymn stuck in the back of my throat seemed to beckon me to that world, a word of promise in the midst of the hearts winter, as Martin Marty says.

I’m under no illusions…singing a hymn is not going to solve these big challenges. But it did come as healing balm, as breath, as outlet, as a moment, and as a nightcap for the soul.

Self-care is important, especially now. Be kind to yourselves.

Today’s worship edition of the eMessenger includes texts, prayers, a teaching from Bishop Michael Pryse (based on last week’s Gospel text), and some wonderful music, including the Processional Cross music/art meditation from our Good Friday Zoom worship that some have asked to see again. We offer this worship for you to use this day or at your convenience; as you feed your Spirit, use the elements that are helpful for you.

As always, should you feel (mentally) stressed and find yourself in need of supportive conversation, please feel free to reach out to me via email pastormark@stpeterskw.ca or at (519) 591-1551. I’d love to chat.
 
Friends, take care of yourselves and each other.

Onward,
Pastor Mark

 

Let us gather for worship.

 

Opening
 

Find a peaceful place to pray, perhaps a table. You may wish to light a candle and place a bowl of water in remembrance of your baptism. One person may lead this acclamation and then pray the Prayer of the Day.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God,
and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all.

Amen.

Let us pray.

A brief silence is kept before the prayer.
 

From the comfort of our homes we gather to worship.

Whether through printed word, or through the gift of technology 

we are a community.

Here we seek connection to the Divine.

Come, let us worship God, 

shown to us through the risen Christ.

 

~ crafted by Ann Harbridge

Reading:  Acts 3:12-19
  

Hear what the Spirit says to the church.
A reading from Acts.

 

Peter addressed the people, “You Israelites, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our ancestors has glorified Jesus, the servant of God whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate, though Pilate had decided to release him. But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer given to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And by faith in the name of Jesus, his name itself has made this man strong, whom you see and know; and the faith that is through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.
“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. In this way God fulfilled what had been foretold through all the prophets, that the Messiah would suffer. Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.”

Word of God, word of life.
Thanks be to God.

 

Gospel: John 20:19-31

The Holy Gospel according to John, the twentieth chapter.
Glory to You, O Lord.

 

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Judeans, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing, you may have life in his name.

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to You, O Christ.

Prayers

Friends, this thoughtful intercessory prayer during this pandemic Easter season, was written by Katherine Kussmaul, and is contextually adapted for today.
 

Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed.
 
Risen Lord, hear our cry for help –
for those surrounded by the shroud of death
for those covered by the mantle of dying,
especially we remember Dave Matthies who died this week,

for those hemmed-in by illness, visible or veiled
hear our cry for help…
for those weighed down with worries
for those carrying the burden of distress
for those overwhelmed by isolation
hear our cry for help…
for those who are weary
for those who are tattered and worn
for those who collapse from exhaustion
hear our cry for help…
 
Risen Lord, hear our cry of thanksgiving –
for the graciousness with which you hear
for the patience with which you listen
for the grace with which you care
hear our cry of thanksgiving…
for the ways you accompany us through deep valleys
for the ways you lead us to still meadows
for the ways you provide all we need
hear our cry of thanksgiving…
for transforming death in resurrection life
for blessing and breaking ordinary bread
for opening our eyes to recognize you
hear our cry of thanksgiving…
 
 
Risen Lord, hear our cry for communities of faith –
that we retain memory of being together
that we embrace unity in the reality of distance
that we foresee a future side-by-side, hand-in-hand
hear our cry for communities of faith…
that we sense purpose beyond ourselves
that we perceive the needs of creation
that we stretch ourselves to respond
hear our cry for communities of faith…
that our ways be formed by Your Way
that our lives be shaped by Your Life
that our love be Your Love
hear our cry for communities our faith…
 
And hear us, from basements, living rooms, backyards, kitchens, shelters, homes, hospitals, or wherever we find ourselves, as we entrust our prayers to you, and lift them in your Holy Name.
Amen.

Then speak the Blessing:

God the creator strengthen you;
Jesus the beloved fill you;
and the Holy Spirit the comforter
 keep you in peace.
Amen.

Acknowledgements & References for the above worship at home material

Music (used with permission):  Thine is the Glory (EvLW 376) Bethany Hörst, Peter Nikiforuk; I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked (O’Hara) Muriel Clemmer, Peter Nikiforuk; Meditation – Hertzlich tut much Erlangen Op 122, No. 10 (Brahms) Peter Nikiforuk; Lord’s Prayer (Malotte), Bethany Hörst, Peter Nikiforuk; Teaching: Bishop Michael Pryse, Eastern Synod, ELCIC; Prayers: Ann Harbridge, Katherine Kussmaul; Scripture & Benediction: Sundays and Seasons (sundaysandseasons.com; by subscription); Header Graphic: Mark Ehlebracht; Meditation (Processional Cross) Photos: Mark Ehlebracht; Portions from Evangelical Lutheran Worship and sundaysandseasons.com, © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress, readings from Readings for the Assembly © 1995, 1996, 1997 Augsburg Fortress. Citations from the Revised Common Lectionary © 1992 Consultation on Common Texts, Scripture quotations from NRSV Bible, Copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America, adapted and edited with permission by Gordon Lathrop and Gail Ramshaw.

LABYRINTH

St. Peter’s had planned to host a few public labyrinth walks in the coming months as a way to re-invite the community into the labyrinth space, and to revive labyrinth programming; due to social distancing, we have had to put the walks on hold for now.  However, this does not mean that we can’t take advantage of what the labyrinth has to offer, while we are staying close to home. Click Labyrinth in the navigation bar to find out more.
PROVINCE-WIDE EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN

April 1, 2021

Peace, friends. 

Today, Thursday April 1, the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that the Province of Ontario is enacting a Provincewide Emergency Brake Shutdown beginning at 12:01am on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Restrictions will be in effect for 28 days. 

There are new restrictions in place for places of worship. Specifically, this directive is:
 
Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
 
They also add: “On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household.” (see https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60986/ontario-implements-provincewide-emergency-brake , accessed April 1, 2021)

For St. Peter’s this means that 

  • in person worship continues to be paused (as it has been since Nov 2020) 
  • the building is closed

Ultimately, it is the safety of staff, volunteers, members, guests, and those we serve guides our decisions regarding building use and activities and we will err on the side of caution in our decision making. As such, we will not look for ways to creatively get around or alter public health directives and guidelines.

The leadership team remains committed to providing the St. Peter’s and wider community opportunities for connection and worship, particularly while we cannot gather in-person. Our national television ministry continues; you can tune in on Sundays at 10AM on April 11 and 25 (Bell Fibe: 201/1201  Bell Satellite: 584, 1505; Rogers Cable: 12/109/518;  Shaw Direct: 67/369 *Local listings across the province and country may vary). Online/eMessenger (worship) materials will continue to be provided as well as supportive pastoral conversation and various learning opportunities.

In the book of Ecclesiastes we read that “For everything there is a season…” There is a time for mourning – like for the loss of normal life and routine – and a time to refrain from embracing – due to physical distancing.  But there are also other times. Bishop Larry encourages us to “welcome moments of joy” and “help each other live into hope. Trust that God is at work in this time and look for the new things God is doing even now.” I hope that we can continue to be patient with each other in the weeks ahead.

Indeed, we can still lean into the world with a message of hope and love!

Updates will be offered in a variety of ways; this is an evolving situation. This is a challenging time, and one that we can continue to meet with “dexterity, generosity, and deep faithfulness. […] May God continue to bless us with abundant gifts of hope, forbearance and patience as we navigate the significant decisions and choices that will need to be made going forward” says our Bishop Michael Pryse (Eastern Synod, ELCIC). We couldn’t agree more.

Know that you remain, as always, in my heart and prayers.

Onward,

Pastor Mark

NEED TECH SUPPORT?

There’s a new program called enTECH@home that provides phone- and email-based tech support to anyone who may need a bit of technology help. This service is entirely free, and run by University of Waterloo student volunteers. 

“We are happy to provide support to anyone who contacts us – this service is available to you no matter where you live or how old you are. We are happy to provide support to community members living in retirement homes and long-term care homes.”

Services are currently only offered in English. We are looking into providing support in other languages.

Common issues include:

  • Problems with video calling
  • Setting up an email account
  • How to use YouTube
  • Joining online religious services
  • Other technology issues

A volunteer will make two attempts to contact you, after which we would ask you to reconnect with us and provide your updated availability. (http://www.entech.club, accessed Feb18,21)

Details are in enTECH’s graphic below.   

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Our Leaders

Rev. Mark Ehlebracht
Pastor

Mark became St. Peter's pastor in 2009 and the dress code at church has never been the same. Mark is a creative catalyst at St. Peter’s, which can be fun at times... Click image to see more.

Dr. Peter Nikiforuk
Director of Music

Peter Nikiforuk is a native of Brantford, Ontario, where he received his early musical training with Nan and Markwell Perry. Over the years, he has studied with John Tuttle, Robert Baker,... Click image to see more.

David Roth
Parish Administrator

David graduated from the Management and Administration Program of The Canadian Institute of Management and Administration at the University of Waterloo in 1988... Click image to see more.

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Join us for an #EarthDay webinar, presented by Luther partner @earthcharter, followed by conversation with associate professor Dr. Mary (Joy) Philip. Details: https://events.dudesolutions.com/wlu/site/luther/event/earth-day-webinar-and-conversation/ @LundAtLuther @ESynodELCIC @MichaelPryse @NationalBishop @ElcicYoungAdult @ELCAyouth @LWFyouth

What a fantastic example of service! Kudos to #LutherWaterrlooAlumni @itspastormark, the core team & everyone at @stpeterskw! @LundAtLuther @ESynodELCIC @MichaelPryse @NationalBishop @eastcoastpastor @berryonline @Redman4Region @KenSeiling @LaurierAlumni

Affordable housing project coming to Queen Street North

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church partners with a Christian-based charity to provide 40 one-bedroom apartments

www.therecord.com

Excited to see this partnership between @IndwellCA and @stpeterskw in creating another new supportive affordable housing community in Kitchener. Congratulations to @stpeterskw on their new missional chapter! #missionalpartnership #hopeandhomesforall

Affordable housing project coming to Queen Street North

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church partners with a Christian-based charity to provide 40 one-bedroom apartments

www.therecord.com