Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: Remembrance Sunday, November 10, 2019 – Romans 12: 1-3, 9-18

The place where Remembrance Day really found a home deep within me, was at the first United Church pastoral charge I served after ordination. Our “settlement charge” as we called it in those days, was Wadena, Rose Valley and Archerwill in eastern Saskatchewan.  In those communities, particularly Wadena, there was a huge overlap between the Legion and the United Church.  Local merchants, teachers and farmers, first generation Canadians and those with much longer histories on that land, had gone to …

Read moreSermon: Remembrance Sunday, November 10, 2019 – Romans 12: 1-3, 9-18

Sermon: All Saints Sunday, November 3, 2019 – Ephesians 1: 11-23

All Saints Day was not a religious festival that I recall hearing about in my growing-up years. Much of that was (and perhaps still is) due to a disconnect with the word “saint.”  For those who grew up in the Roman Catholic Church, Sainthood is connected to an understanding of the Saints as intercessors, and the process of canonization. Typically, they lived very devout lives, often died as martyrs, and in most instances are believed to perform miracles.  For those …

Read moreSermon: All Saints Sunday, November 3, 2019 – Ephesians 1: 11-23

Sermon: Affirming Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 – Genesis 9, Galatians 3

Sermon: Affirming Ministry Sunday, October 27, 2019 Genesis 9: 12-17 and Galatians 3: 26-29 Ralph Connor Memorial United Church, Canmore AB – Rev Greg Wooley click here for PDF of this sermon This morning, we engage in worship, and discipleship, in celebration, and in covenant.  We acknowledge the brokenness of the world as it is experienced, and the unifying grace of the Divine which is at the heart of our existence.  We look to a God who gives and affirms …

Read moreSermon: Affirming Sunday, Oct 27, 2019 – Genesis 9, Galatians 3

RCMUC baptismal font

Sermon – October 20, 2019 – Jeremiah 31: 31-34

Today, we gather in joy as we experience the sacrament of baptism.   Obviously, the one experiencing it first-hand is the child being baptized, but all of us are impacted as God’s loving intention gets expressed through the water and the word.  As a sacrament, Baptism is one of those times when something invisible and spiritual in nature – the loving embrace and delight of God – becomes visible and physical.   That holy hope for this young life and for the …

Read moreSermon – October 20, 2019 – Jeremiah 31: 31-34

desolate lands

Sermon: Thanksgiving Sunday, October 13, 2019 – Luke 17: 11-19

Borderlands. We live in a world where border crossings have an ominous tone.  We are familiar with the endless vehicle lineups at the US/Canada border, or queues at the airport, going through a mental checklist – do I have citrus fruit with me?  What’s the total value of purchases?   But in much of the world, border crossings evoke images of Walls being built and families separated… migrants rescued from sea… the Irish, concerned what their border might become again…Palestinian workers …

Read moreSermon: Thanksgiving Sunday, October 13, 2019 – Luke 17: 11-19

Orange Shirt Day

Sermon: September 29, 2019 – Luke 16: 19-31

Today’s gospel reading, Jesus’ parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, pushes us.  It pushes us by its very vivid, physical portrayal of heaven and hell.  It pushes us by its portrayal of the rich and the poor.  It pushes us by its description of the chasm between these two people and their final realities. It pushes us, by wondering about what could change this scenario of ultimate separation. click here for PDF HEAVEN AND HELL I am repeatedly indebted …

Read moreSermon: September 29, 2019 – Luke 16: 19-31

Sermon: September 22, 2019 – Psalm 113

My Mom grew up on a farm near the town of Bruce Mines, Ontario, home of the first hard-rock copper mine in Canada, predating confederation by 20 years.  When the mines were open, which was sporadic at best, they contributed much to the local economy, but they also contributed the dreaded respiratory diseases, silicosis and black lung, to the men who mined there.  Most of the local men, then, knew two things: (1) they’d better have access to some farm …

Read moreSermon: September 22, 2019 – Psalm 113

Sermon: September 15, 2019 – Luke 15: 1-10

The experience of lost-ness is one that resonates at so many levels in so many lives. Most of us can recall a hike that didn’t quite have the landmarks you’d expected, or missing your exit then getting turned around in an unfamiliar city. I hear stories from adults about their earliest or most striking memories from childhood, and becoming separated from their parents in a store or separated from friends exploring the woods, is a really common early memory, along …

Read moreSermon: September 15, 2019 – Luke 15: 1-10

Sermon: September 8, 2019 – Jeremiah 18: 1-11

A potter, working at a wheel.  What a timeless, cross-cultural image that is.  The oldest known pottery, found in China, is 20,000 years old, and by 6,000 years ago or perhaps even 8,000, there is evidence of potters’ wheels in Mesopotamia. The recollection by Jeremiah, then, of visiting a potters’ house and seeing a visual metaphor for a hands-on God at work in the world, is one that resonates across the ages.  It certainly does in my life. click here …

Read moreSermon: September 8, 2019 – Jeremiah 18: 1-11

Sermon: September 1, 2019 – Hebrews 13: 1-7

Our scripture reading this morning comes to us from the final chapter of the Letter to the Hebrews. Hebrews is one of those books that I have chosen to preach from almost never in nearly 4 decades of preaching.  If asked, “tell me what you know about Hebrews” the answer would be, “the great cloud of witnesses” referenced in chapter 12 (starting v.1), a great scripture reminding us of our connectedness with those who have preceded us in faith.  If …

Read moreSermon: September 1, 2019 – Hebrews 13: 1-7