On Saturday, July 16 members of the church will be hosting a Bake Sale outside the church starting at 10am. Proceeds towards the new roof for the church. Please stop by; your support is appreciated.
As we enter into the Advent and Christmas season, in a world torn by violenceand so many seeking safety, let us remember that our faith is centered on a child born under military occupation, who had to flee his homeland with his parents shortly after his birth. The Christ child was no stranger to conflict, to poverty, to world in deep need of compassion. It was his life’s work to bring that compassion to a hurting world. In our small but powerful way, it is what we strive to do through our ministry at Sicamous United Church.
Our ongoing work at the Thrift Shop gives us opportunity every week to practice compassion in the way we interact with our customers and work with each other as staff and volunteers. Last week, a young woman that I’ve had some wonderful and tender conversations with, said: “You seem to show up, just when I need you.” I know it doesn’t always work that way, but when it does – I’m so grateful to be working here, listening, hugging, praying and laughing with people.
Our worship during this season is also rooted in compassion and justice.
The Advent Candles: This year our Advent Candle liturgy will be based on United Church of Canada resources seeking a just peace for Palestine and Israel. Each week, a symbol from the Advent Peace box will be offered, along with a story that comes from the Holy Land illustrating hope, peace, joy and love.
The Advent Peace Box: For over 10 years, Canadians working for a just peace in Israel and Palestine have been purchasing and distributing Zatoun olive oil and other products as a means of advocating for economic justice for Palestinians. Last year I purchased a box and had 5 bottles of olive oil for sale. This year I doubled my order of oil, plus an herb mix and olive oil soap. I’ve completely sold out! Thank you to those who supported this ministry, and my apologies to those who missed out. Nutters Health Foods in Centanoka Mall in Salmon Arm also has fair-trade Palestinian olive oil for approx. $20.00 per 750 ml bottle.
Saturday, Dec 19th 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM Complimentary Coffee & Cookies day: During the hectic and final $2.00 per bag sale before the Thrift Shop closes for the holidays, the congregation will be offering coffee, tea and cookies to our volunteers, staff and customers.
At 4:00 PM that same day, I will be offering a Blue Christmas service in the sanctuary for anyone who needs to acknowledge that this can be a difficult time of year if you are grieving a loss or significant change in your life. Come – light a candle, and be held in God’s love.
Sunday Dec 20th 10:00 AM: The seven piece Black & Bluez band will again be our musical worship guests – blessing us with some familiar carols to sing along with, and some beautiful new melodies. This is a great service for those who are a little church-shy, but love great music.
Thursday, Dec. 24th 7:00 PM: All ages Christmas Eve service. Come and hear afresh in word, symbol and song, the Christmas story. We will end the service with candle-light.
Sunday, Dec 27th 10:00 AM: We will worship together and bless each other into the New Year.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the congregation for blessing me with a modified sabbatical for three months starting in January. I will be here most Sundays to lead worship, but will be working from home during the week to do some writing and compiling for a book of my songs, prayers and short stories.
In the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, sings a blessing to his newborn child. I have adapted the blessing and offer it to you during this holy season:
You, children of God, are the messengers of the Holy One.
Go into the world touching the lives of the broken-hearted,
so that the healing love of Divine Mystery may enter th
Teach and live forgiveness, so that Divine Light may enter
the dark realm of misery, pain, addiction, and loneliness.
May Love and Light guide you on the path of peace.
Many blessings for a happy and holy Christmas
Rev. Juanita Austin Sicamous United Church
Yes, the Ethical Wills Worshop is stll happening at 10:00 AM this Friday, October 9th, but it will now be held at Sicamous United Church as the Seniors Centre is being used for advanced voting. Think about someone that you admired or loved, who has passed on. What would you have liked to know about them? Do you know what was their greatest joy? Greatest sense of acheivement? Favourite song – and why?
An Ethical Will gives a chance to share some of these precious values and memories with those we love and those who love us. Come and begin the journey of sharing treasures of the heart. Call 250-832-6385 for more information.
If you haven’t seen the posters yet, here’s a heads up – there will be free BBQ hotdogs with your $2.00 per bag sale on Saturday, September 26th from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM. It’s our congregations way of saying thank you for supporting our Thfit Shop ministry and being a part of our community. There will be cookies and juice as well. It’s on us! See you there.
It was the last hour of $2.00 per bag day last month when a mother and daughter came in to find some treasures. You’d think it was Christmas day. They had a blast. They found the perfect clothes for each other and for themselves, and for another friend who had come in with them. They squealed with delight, laughed with joy and their love for each other was palpable. One had been ill, one had to leave a relationship quickly, along with most of her belongings, and this amazing generous $2.00 deal was just what was needed. It was a privilege to be with them.
They shopped, and shopped and shopped. With each new discovery, there was a fresh expression of delight, and I told them I wanted to hire them to just be present in the store with their infectious enthusiasm. As the clock struck closing time, they made their way to the cash register. They lined up their bags. Twenty two bags in all! Amazing! Linda helped them load their treasures onto trolleys and wheeled them out to the car. As she returned, closing the locking the door behind her, the last I heard from the parking lot was a marvelous “WOOHOO!” as the happy customers drove away.
That’s why I love working here. How fortunate I am that part of my ministry is `a ministry of presence’ – just being there to listen, to help if possible, to rejoice with those who rejoice, and to grieve with those who are grieving. I am proud of this little congregation and the wonderful dedicated group of volunteers who come from many different parts of the community to offer their time and talent at the Thrift Shop. A big “WOOHOO” to all of you!
Abundant blessings, Rev. Juanita
Welcome to the seasons of Advent & Christmas. As well as our ongoing Thrift Shop ministry and Sunday morning worship, we have several ways in which we are honouring this time of year.
Starting Sunday, November 30th: The Advent Candles This year our Advent Candle liturgy will be based on the four directions and four colours of First Nations traditions – red, yellow, black and white. The liturgy is adapted from Cree elder and former United Church moderator, Rt. Rev. Stan Mckay, with a song I wrote to compliment the liturgy.
All December: The Advent Peace box For over 10 years, Canadians working for a just peace in Israel and Palestine have been purchasing and distributing Zatoun olive oil and other products as a means of advocating for economic justice for Palestinians. I have purchased an Advent Peace box from Zatoun, which includes five additional bottles of high quality olive oil. If you wish to support this venture, you may purchase a 500 ml bottle for $15.00 Just speak to me or give me a call and I will have a bottle ready for you.
Saturday, Dec 20th 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Complimentary Coffee & Cookies day: During the hectic and final $2.00 per bag sale before the Thrift Shop closes for the holidays, the congregation will be offering coffee, tea and cookies to our volunteers, staff and customers in the sanctuary. Quiet Christmas music will be playing in the background, while you rest your bones, enjoy your treats, and meet your neighbours.
Sunday Dec 21st 10:00 AM: The seven piece Black & Bluez Band will be our musical worship guests – playing favourite Christmas carols and a few special band selections.
Wednesday, December 24th 7:00 PM: All ages Christmas Eve service. Come and hear afresh in word, silence and song, the Christmas story.
Sunday, Dec 28th 10:00 AM: Spirit of Christmas Past A gentle service of favourite carols, and sharing meaningful Christmas memories.
As you go into this season, may these words from poet Joyce Rupp bless your day:
May the hope of this sacred season settle in your soul. May it be a foundation of courage for you when times of distress occupy your inner land. May you give and receive love generously. May this love echo in your heart like the joy of church bells on a clear December day.
Blessings of the season,
Rev. Juanita Austin
Hi everyone, check out the photo gallery for a look at the Fashion Show – a fun night and a great fund raiser for Doctors Without Borders along with food items to the Sicamous Resource Centre Food Bank. Thanks everyone, it was a great success!
What a wonderful turnout and successful evening we had with our Fabulous Fashion Show at Sicamous United Church on November 9th. With models of all ages, shapes and sizes, we featured a sampling of the many great fashions available at the Thrift Shop.
Our models included members of the social justice class from ERSS, as well as community and congregational members. Yup, we had everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The congregation provided coffee and treats, and folks brought food donations for the local Resource Centre Food Bank. All the proceeds from the post-show $2.00 per bag sale, plus additional financial donations, totaling a generous $800.00, was send to Doctors Without Borders for the treatment of Ebola patients in West Africa.
Thank you to Alice Duck for all your hard work organizing this project, everyone else who offered their time and talent, and the community for supporting the cause.
With gratitude, Rev. Juanita Austin (a.k.a. Second Hand Rose).
Sicamous United Church supports Doctors Without Borders /Medecins Sans Frontieres, with a Thrift Shop Fashion Show on Sunday, Nov. 9th at 7:00 PM. We’re also supporting our local foodbank, so please bring a food offering for the Sicamous Food Bank. Enjoy the show, music and refreshments. Following the show there will be an opportunity for late-night $2.00 per bag shopping. Proceeds from the bag sale, and any over and above donations, will go to Doctors Without Borders to treat Ebola patients in West Africa. For more information call Rev. Juanita at 250-832-6385.