Ralph Connor Memorial United Church

The Little White Church on Main Street, Canmore, Alberta

Sunday, February 13, 2022 – Luke 6: 17-26

Forty-plus years ago when I started preaching, I spoke in a lot of different communities, both in ongoing appointments and as a Sunday pinch-hit preacher, and as I recall, ten of the first twelve communities that I preached in were well under a thousand population.  In many of those situations, the United Church of Canada was one of no more than three Churches in town: commonly there would be United, and Roman Catholic, and Lutheran or Anglican or Orthodox or …

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Sermon: February 20, 2022 – Luke 6: 27-38

I find myself amidst a dilemma this morning. On the one hand, this section from the gospel of Luke holds core teachings of how we are to live in community with one another in this world.   The familiar words tumble one after another: love your enemies – turn the other cheek – if someone takes your coat, give them your shirt as well – do unto others as you would have them do unto you – judge not, lest ye …

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Sermon: January 30, 2022 – 1 Corinthians 12: 4-27

Note: I am greatly indebted to my spouse, Rev Shannon Mang, for much of the groundwork that went into today’s sermon.  Some of these words are hers, some are mine, some are quoted from or influenced by other authors, and I trust that the Holy Spirit has been at work knitting it all together! – GW Watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXaOe44PDcs  Download PDF: Sermon_30January2022 The community of Jesus followers at Corinth were a messy bunch.  The apostle Paul loved them deeply, but …

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Sermon: January 23, 2022 – John 2: 1-11

Pretty much everyone in Ministry has some good stories about weddings, and wedding receptions.  Other than a few brides being prodigiously late, there haven’t been many silly things happen at weddings, but wedding receptions, welllll, that’s another story. Watch at https://youtu.be/FUgxe_bsumA   Download PDF: Sermon_23January2022 There have been heartfelt, touching, entertaining receptions, there have been top-notch plated meals, and there have been DJs or bands who did an excellent job of inviting and encouraging all ages and abilities to enjoy a …

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Sermon: January 16, 2022 – Luke 4: 14-21

Watch at https://youtu.be/7zHNqhKFNfE  Download PDF at Sermon_16January2022 What do you consider to be your life’s purpose?  A couple of years ago, a team from WorshipHouse Media went around the US asking people this question, and here is what they heard: https://www.worshiphousemedia.com/mini-movies/4577/what-is-your-purpose {this is a “preview” version of the video; the actual video seen in Worship has been purchased from the vendor} Unless you have been thinking about recently in a structured way, that would be a really hard question for …

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Sermon: January 9, 2022 – Isaiah 43: 1-7

I have to admit that politically, emotionally and theologically the past two years have been a grind.  With COVID setting the context, we have watched as the inequalities of our world have presented themselves, one at a time and all at once.  The shocking murders in the United States of people of colour, Residential School burial site discoveries here in Canada, the embarrassing inequality of global vaccine distribution, and the political divisiveness in this province and around the world, have …

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Sermon: January 2, 2022 – Epiphany Sunday – Matthew 2: 1-23

One of my favourite aspects of the narrative of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany is how, at each turn, we are shown God’s commitment to those who hold neither status or power.  The circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy is outside what genteel society would approve of, and Jesus’ birth happens amidst the livestock. The family that raises Jesus is neither from Jerusalem nor from a priestly family: they are Galileans, from the high country of Nazareth, the household of a builder.  The …

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Sermon: December 19, 2021 – Advent IV-C – Luke 1: 46-55

For nearly two years, we have spent a lot more time apart than together, reading and watching rather than exchanging and interacting.  That being the case, in planning for the 2021 Season of Advent, I looked forward to dealing with scriptures that had real-live embodied characters, rather than more conceptual or theological passages.   I was particularly drawn to the two just-forming nuclear families: Elizabeth and Zechariah and their child-to-be, John; Mary and Joseph and their child-to-be, Jesus. What I didn’t …

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Sermon: December 12, 2021 – Advent 3 – Luke 1: 26-45

The annunciation to Mary, followed by the visitation of Mary and Elizabeth. These are our back-to-back gospel readings from Luke for this third Sunday of Advent, the Sunday of JOY. Watch at https://youtu.be/BZBuymsiMec  Download PDF: Sermon_12December2021-Advent3C The second scene, of young Mary and her much older kinswoman Elizabeth, is a scene particularly bathed in joy, yet it is with some trepidation that I attempt to unpack what is going on here; for I am hindered both by cultural practices that …

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desolate lands

Sermon: December 5, 2021 – Advent II – Luke 3: 2-18

Watch at https://youtu.be/aPOvM021kKw Pause a while with me, in the presence of a sacred moment between parent and child, as we hear the final verses of the “Song of Zechariah” from the first chapter of Luke, which we heard last Sunday: “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their …

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