Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: April 19, 2020 – John 20: 19-31

One assumption that I bring to sacred texts, is that these ancient words can always speak into our present situation. Take, for example, today’s reading from John, with the disciples gathered behind closed doors, and Christ suddenly appearing in their midst. click here for PDF In a typical year, I might focus on their being “gathered together” because in a typical year, we would be gathered together, singing together, praying together, seeking grounding and guidance for the days and weeks …

Read moreSermon: April 19, 2020 – John 20: 19-31

Sermon: Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 – John 20: 1-18

The calendar indicates that April 12, 2020, is Easter Sunday.  And here it is!  The Church building is not open, a public gathering at Riverside wasn’t allowable, a few of you are still providing essential services and we thank you profusely for that, but most of us are pretty much spending our days at home. Yet even with the strangeness of these necessary restrictions, Easter Sunday is here and the message and power of Easter are not diminished, regardless of …

Read moreSermon: Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 – John 20: 1-18

Sermon: April 5, 2020 – Palm Sunday/Maundy Thursday – John 12 and 13

One prediction I have about life after Covid-19, is that hand-washing will never be viewed the same way again. click here for a PDF of this Sermon I have to admit that over the years, I’ve been pretty cavalier about handwashing.  I can proudly proclaim that from childhood, my hands have always been washed after trips to the biffy, and I’m sure that’s reassuring to the congregations I have served … but, have I always washed my hands after handling …

Read moreSermon: April 5, 2020 – Palm Sunday/Maundy Thursday – John 12 and 13

Sermon: March 29, 2020 – John 11: 1-45 (Lent V)

Two words that emerge from today’s passage from John are presence, and absence. click here for a PDF of this Sermon When my Mom was growing up, her Sunday School teacher liked to have Bible “memory verse” quizzes.  When the teacher quoted chapter and verse, Mom said she struggled a bit, but when the students were able to name the chapter and verse themselves and then recite it, Mom had a go-to verse that was a sure winner, and it …

Read moreSermon: March 29, 2020 – John 11: 1-45 (Lent V)

Sermon: March 22, 2020 – John 9:1-41 (Lent IV)

Please note: a live version of this message is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt3edcbl3kY and a PDF may be downloaded at http://ralphconnor.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Sermon_22March2020_LentIV-online.pdf Sermon: March 20, 2020 – John 9: 1-41 (Lent IV) – virtual worship, online Ralph Connor Memorial United Church, Canmore AB – Rev Greg Wooley We live in a time of questions and answers. Most of the questions we have right now, revolve around the global pandemic, and the most effective responses to it: how socially isolated do I need to …

Read moreSermon: March 22, 2020 – John 9:1-41 (Lent IV)

Sermon: March 15, 2020 (Lent 3) – John 4: 5-42

A week after our final grade 12 exams, my best friend and I took a trip from Regina to the big city of Vancouver. We were sent with very specific instructions on how to explore the east end of downtown on foot.  Along the south part of this zone is lively Chinatown, at the north edge is gentrified, touristy Gastown, but in order to walk from one to the other you had to go through about 3 blocks that were …

Read moreSermon: March 15, 2020 (Lent 3) – John 4: 5-42

Sermon: March 8, 2020 – John 3: 1-17 (Lent II)

When we were in the Holy Land two years ago, we learned that when a Bible story tells you where it happened, it is worth paying attention, as the topography or history of a place makes all the difference to the stories told there. In today’s reading about Jesus and Nicodemus, it’s not so much about where it happened, as when it happened. And when it happened, was at night. click here for a PDF of this sermon Nicodemus, one …

Read moreSermon: March 8, 2020 – John 3: 1-17 (Lent II)

desolate lands

Sermon: Lent I, March 1 2020 – Matthew 4: 1-11

The 3rd chapter of Matthew, immediately prior to today’s reading, ends with these words: “when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” click here for PDF Knowing the ministry ahead of Jesus,  we current-day readers may …

Read moreSermon: Lent I, March 1 2020 – Matthew 4: 1-11

Sermon: Feb 23, 2020 – Exodus 24: 12-18 – Deuteronomy 34: 1-5 – Matthew 17: 1-8

TRANSFIGURATION SUNDAY: The term, “mountaintop experience”, is a great descriptor for those moments in life that are indescribably grand.   After great effort or a long, arduous journey, experiencing the strived-for moment is indeed a “peak” moment.  An academic career culminates in an award, a scholarship established in one’s name, or some other great honour.  A team’s season culminates in winning the championship, or a veteran player finally wins a championship after many seasons.  Nine months of morning sickness and backaches …

Read moreSermon: Feb 23, 2020 – Exodus 24: 12-18 – Deuteronomy 34: 1-5 – Matthew 17: 1-8

Sermon: February 16, 2020 – 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9

Last Sunday night was the annual broadcast of the Academy Awards.  As usual, we tuned in to about half of it and as usual, we’ve seen perhaps two of the films that generated nominees, but that doesn’t lessen our enjoyment of the evening.  It is frustrating that the Academy just can’t bring itself to nominate female directors or non-white actors, which points to bigger issues in the industry and society  around whose stories get told, and by whom, but that …

Read moreSermon: February 16, 2020 – 1 Corinthians 3: 1-9