Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sermon: December 1, 2019 – Advent 1 – Isaiah 11: 1-10

A shoot, growing from the stump of Jesse. How appropriate, in this year when we’ve chosen to build our Advent themes around the classical elements of wind-fire-water-and-earth, to begin with a vivid visual metaphor from nature, of the kind of tenacious, powerful leadership that we see in Jesus Christ. click here for PDF Rather than going immediately to words, let’s spend time “seeing” this stump and wondering about it, because the varied ways we visualize this stump of Jesse and …

Read moreSermon: December 1, 2019 – Advent 1 – Isaiah 11: 1-10

Sermon: Reign of Christ, Nov 24, 2019 – Colossians 1: 15-20

Most of us are familiar with discovering an idea or a technology, that is “radically new.”  A well-worded phrase gives us a new way of conceiving things, or a new technique or technological gadget gives us a radically different way of approaching a problem, and we go forward enlightened in a new way. click here for PDF This week’s reading from the 1st chapter of Colossians, presents us not with something that is “radically new” but rather, something that is …

Read moreSermon: Reign of Christ, Nov 24, 2019 – Colossians 1: 15-20

Sea of Galilee

Sermon: November 17, 2019 – Isaiah 65: 17-25

What are our longings?  What do we yearn for? This is what that the writer of Isaiah 65 was wrestling with, as he searched for Divine hope for the next steps of his people’s journey. click here for PDF Isaiah is a tricky book to pin down.  Though named for “a” prophet, as it appears to have been written by a collection of prophetic authors – at least three, perhaps more – spanning several generations of the people of Judah.  …

Read moreSermon: November 17, 2019 – Isaiah 65: 17-25

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: 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

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