This Sunday, June 10th is the 93th anniversary of the United Church of Canada. We will have communion and I will share some of what went on at BC Conference this past weekend.
On Sunday, June 17th, I will have the honour of baptizing Lakai Heppner, who has wanted to be baptized for the past four years! She is now 10 years old, and I met with her and her family today to plan the service. Please come and support Lakai and her family as we honour her growing faith.
Sunday, June 24th, will be my last official service as the minister of Sicamous United Church. We’ll have music by the Black & Bluez band, I’ll cry a bit…, we’ll laugh a bit, worship, pray, sing and share in a potluck feast and some sort of revelry that the congregational members are planning! We will be expecting a few extra guests from Canoe United Church and St. Andrews United in Enderby. Please invite anyone you think might like to come for this final service.
With blessings to all, Juanita
Hello dear friends, colleagues, congregants and former congregants.
After 31 years of ordained ministry, I am formally retiring at the end of June 2018. My last worship service will be held at Sicamous United Church at 10:00 AM on June 24th, followed by a potluck lunch and time for visiting.
If you can join us for the worship service and lunch, I would be delighted. If you can’t make it, I welcome your prayers as I make this life transition. I would also welcome any written memories – poignant or amusing, of my time in ministry, that you wish to share. Perhaps you have words of advice for this next stage of the journey – those are welcome too!
You can email messages to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message via Canada Post to: 790-9th Ave. N.E. Salmon Arm B.C. V1E 4A1
I am grateful for these years of ministry, accompanying others on their faith journey. I’m not sure what adventures may lay ahead post-retirement, but I plan on finishing my book project “Cup of Wine & a Piece of Bread: worship resources to nourish your journey,” and relishing time with family and friends, before madly going off in too many other directions! Let’s see what happens!
With gratitude, Juanita
Hear the story from the palm parade to the crucifixion, from the point of a street cleaner in Jerusalem.
March 30th 7:00 PM Good Friday service – The Nails Speak
” I am the first nail, the nail of betrayal. It can happen rather quickly. In the beginning, I’m right there with you, sharing the dream, the great vision. Then one day there are two visions… ”
April 1st 10:00 AM Easter morning – When Old Dreams Die
“Peter took his guilt and he went back down to the shore. Tried to drown his sorrows, by fishing there once more. When in doubt we go back to what helped us to survive; even when it keeps us just barely alive.” From the song ” When Old Dreams Die” by Rev. Juanita Austin
Well dear folks at Sicamous United Church and those who read these posts beyond – I am embarking on two weeks Study Leave. I confess, and celebrate, that the first week will actually be to meet and bond with a phenomenal little person. His name is Frost Alexander Allen and he was born in Guelph Ontario on February 6th. His parents are Tiffanie Chiasson who lovingly carried him for the past nine months and Aaron Allen, my son. That officially makes me Grandma Juanita. Am I excited? You bet!
Then, I will be taking an additional week to work on my book of worship resources called “Cup of Wine and a Piece of Bread.” I really hope to get it done and printed this year! It will include liturgical resources for the church year, original songs, pastoral prayers for many life situations, and a couple dramatic monologues. I am looking forward to sharing this resource with you all.
What a delightful day we had on January 21st at Sicamous United Church. It was International World Religion Day. Seven members of the Baha’i faith from the Shuswap area joined us for worship, as well as my colleague in ministry, Michelle Rowe from Golden, her husband and mother-in-law, along with our own congregation. They also took turns reading the prayers from other faith traditions. I invited Frank Black, back row, third from the right, to share some of the history and beliefs of the Baha’i faith which sees a progressive revelation of spiritual teachers from Buddha, though Moses, Jesus, Muhammad to Baha’u’llah.
Some of the principle teachings of the Baha’i faith include the equality of men and women, science and religion working together, unity of all humankind, and the oneness of all religions.
Different people took turns reading from 12 different faith traditions.
Mark Sunday February 18th as the day to come to church with your appetite and something to share. We begin the season of Lent with worship together at 10:00 AM and then at 11:30 we load the tables with pancakes and other delectable foods – inviting family, friends and neighbours to a free lunch. Come and be a part of it all.
So… will there be a Christmas Eve service at Sicamous United Church? ABSOLUTELY! It all starts at 7:00 PM on Sunday, Dec. 24th (note – there will be no worship service in the morning) The evening service will include a beautiful original story by Rev. Teri Meyer, some traditional carols, and we will end the service with candle-light: battery-operated or the old fashioned fire-on-a-wick kind.
Come for the story and songs, the cookies and coffee, the mystery and the manger. The Holy Spirit will be there, waiting to be invited into our hearts.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because God has anointed me to bring good news to the poor…” Isaiah 61:1
There are so many ways of bringing Good News to the poor. Here’s one that I want to share.
I got a phone call last week from my friend Lynn Gairdner. I hadn’t seen her for about a year, but she’d been busy. “I’ve been making some quilts for the homeless”, she told me. Recently, she brought some of them over to my house. They are absolutely beautiful, and very practical too. They have a special layer of fabric insulation sown into them, and contain three `pockets’ at the bottom. One contains a pillow – when you remove the pillow, it’s a cozy foot-warmer. Another pocket contains a bag of new socks, mitts, toque, and towel, and a third pocket contains new toiletries. The foot-warmer pocket has some beautiful embroidery on it and the message: God Bless You.
What motivated Lynn? She’s seen some of the homeless people hanging around the downtown in Salmon Arm. The idea of the quilts came to mind. `But`, she said, `I tired to let it go.’ However the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let her go and basically said `Get on with it.’ Lynn could say, along with the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” She made 12 quilts over the past 12 months, and gave me two to take out to Sicamous United Church and Thrift Shop, trusting that we will find someone who indeed can use this beautiful gift. Lynn’s friend Trudy has been making baby quilts and scarves, and together they are blessing the community with their compassion and generosity. Thank you both for living out the Spirit of Christmas.
For centuries the olive branch has symbolized peace. In Palestine, olive oil is the primary source of income for about 75,000 farmers.
Under the military occupation of Israel, Palestinian farmers have suffered the destruction of their trees and land – bulldozed and burned to make way for illegal settlements or cut off by checkpoints, roadblocks or the imposing thirty foot high concrete `security fence.’
Still, there is a way to give hope and income to Palestinian farmers. Zatoun, (Arabic for Olive), is a company that markets fair trade Palestinian olive oil, soap and the aromatic herb mix called za’atar.
With every purchase of Zatoun, you support a fair price for Palestinian farmers in the struggle for their livelihood and land. As well, a share of proceeds supports Project Hope, an education and art therapy program for youth in Palestine. Another portion goes to Trees for Life, a project to plant tens of thousands of olive tree saplings to replaced trees destroyed by the military occupation.
If you would like to give a gift this Christmas that reflects the value of honouring the Holy Land as a home for both Palestinians and Israelis, you may want to purchase the Zatoun products. They are available at Sicamous United Church, and at my home. I have pre-paid Zatoun, so you can purchase from me directly.
750 ml. bottle of olive oil – $20 (comes with flower seeds from Palestine)
Bar of soap – $5 (beautiful for sensitive skin)
Za’atar herb mix – $5 (comes with a pamphlet of recipes)
Blessings, Rev. Juanita Austin