Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

St Julian Church Norwich UK

Sermon: January 10, 2021 – John 1: 1-18

Words are powerful.  Words can build up or break down, they can inspire us to see things in new ways and challenge us to new heights, or, as we saw last Wednesday in Washington DC, they can draw out humanity’s worst, most selfish instincts, with the catchphrases of derision, words of division and unfounded claims sowed by the hour for four long years, blossoming in violence. Watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7AlkjaVsp0  Download PDF at Sermon_10January2021 In your experience, you have, no doubt, …

Read moreSermon: January 10, 2021 – John 1: 1-18

Epiphany Sunday, January 3, 2021 – Matthew 2: 1-12

Journey with me, 12 months back, to the time that 2019 was ending and 2020 just beginning.  With the teens rolling into the twenties, there were a number of recaps, remembering back to 2010, and the things that had changed over a decade, and many we looked forward to a year of potential clarity, the year 2020 as a time of 20/20 vision.  Admittedly there was awareness of a recently reported, highly infectious form of coronavirus elsewhere in the world, …

Read moreEpiphany Sunday, January 3, 2021 – Matthew 2: 1-12

wildflower growing in Judean wilderness

Message for the Sunday of JOY – 13 December 2020

Today is the third Sunday in Advent, the Sunday of JOY. Watch at https://youtu.be/xAmhdJfNHBk  Download PDF at Sermon_13December2020_Adv3 Each year, this Sunday arrives, with its special pink candle signifying a break from the darker hues of pensive blue or penitential purple.  And every year I draw just a bit of a blank for JOY can be a rather distant word for folks like me who have journeyed with depression over many decades.   Words like pleasant, satisfying and enjoyable, I find easy …

Read moreMessage for the Sunday of JOY – 13 December 2020

Sermon: Remembrance Sunday, November 8, 2020 – 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

Worry is a difficult and unpleasant companion. Download PDF: Sermon_08November2020 (1)  View at https://youtu.be/ZYLzMMYiMoU Sometimes, worry originates when our brain chemistry gets off-kilter, anxiety, fretting and insomnia take on a life of their own, and therapeutic intervention is required.  But often, worry has an origin you can identify, arising in a time of uncertainty, when we have just enough information to stimulate the fight, flight or freeze instincts and with worry. Sometimes we worry about ourselves – a lingering cough, …

Read moreSermon: Remembrance Sunday, November 8, 2020 – 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

Sermon: October 4, 2020 – Jonah 3: 1-10

This week, illumination has come from a few different angles… and if all goes well, they will converge at something resembling a sermon! watch at https://youtu.be/EkyucrRnq1w  download PDF at Sermon_04October2020 The first angle, is from the spiritual practice we have been following all month: the Examen.  The first three steps of the Examen are all pretty agreeable: Asking God for light, Giving thanks, and Reviewing the Day. Step four, which we take today, requires some heavier lifting:  “Face your shortcomings …

Read moreSermon: October 4, 2020 – Jonah 3: 1-10

Sermon: Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Acts 2: 1-21

JOIN US ONLINE FOR COMMUNION this Pentecost Sunday: Pentecost Sunday, is widely regarded as the birthday of the Church, so today’s message starts with the not-very-liturgical words, Happy Birthday!   We won’t be having cake, but later in the service as we share in a socially-distanced communion service, we will have bread and wine or whatever celebrative beverage suits the occasion for you – and I hope that the mood of celebration permeates this time of worship.  This week, our focus …

Read moreSermon: Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020 – Acts 2: 1-21

Sermon: May 10, 2020 – Colossians 1: 3-14

We are now in our eighth week of providing Worship through virtual means rather than in-person. While I wouldn’t say there’s a good time for a pandemic to be declared, it was interesting from a preaching standpoint to see how the time of year – the end of the season of Lent, followed by Holy Week and Easter, when we go through very shadowy times before emerging into the light once more– helped us examine how God is present to …

Read moreSermon: May 10, 2020 – Colossians 1: 3-14

Sermon: April 26, 2020 – Acts 2: 14, 32-33, 36-47

What an amazing time it must have been. click here for a PDF of this Sermon or view at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCi8loA1BP8lNAppSRR9_aQQ As described in the book of Acts (2: 42-47), life in the earliest community of Christian believers was just about perfect. “All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying …

Read moreSermon: April 26, 2020 – Acts 2: 14, 32-33, 36-47

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: 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