“Life is beautiful and terrible, full of hope and
despair and everything in between and there’s no
cure for being human.” Kate Bowler

Sister Joan Chittister says ” Lent is a time to let life in again.” We do this by getting rid of the things that are keeping us small and in the dark. I liken Lent to a spiritual boot camp for the soul. It’s a time for self examination and reflection- what’s working in my life and what isn’t?

To help us with this reflection Jesus suggests three spiritual practices: Praying, fasting, and giving. All three of these practices will help us to let the life and light in again and draw us closer to God and to the Divine within. Perhaps you could take 10 minutes in the morning or at night and sit quietly to hear the still small voice of God within. Carve out that time- make an appointment with yourself to ground yourself in God’s presence. Lent frees us from pretense. We don’t have to act like we have it all together. We are all human. We are all works in progress made in God’s image. We are wonderfully and fearfully made as the scripture tells us. I get a charge out of what Dale Hildebrand says “the church is a very human place that is not immune to nastiness.” My antidote for this is as you know is for us to be good to one another. Finally, Howard Thurman has this to say about the power of prayer:

“Sometimes in the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper in the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear and hope to despair”.

Fasting? You can fast from some of your favourite foods or beverages but better still you can fast from worry, judgment and being critical of one another. Everyone is dealing with something. We all need a helping hand and a kind word on our journey. Again, fasting is to open up space to allow the light and life to re-enter not to gain any gold stars or a direct route to heaven!

Finally, in terms of the third practice—giving and serving—this is the secret sauce of life. This Lenten season our Light Beamers will be engaging in a project called “Coins for Lent”. I will tell them all about this coming Sunday. If other families in the congregation or individuals would like to jump on board so much the better. These three spiritual practices are mere tools to help us toward opening our hearts and personal transformation. They are not just “jumping through hoops”, something we do like a self improvement project. They are practices or tools to help us have a deeper, more fulfilling connection with God and in doing so grow closer in our walk with Jesus- our spiritual guide and mentor. I hope these suggestions will help you as you make your way to Jerusalem to the cross and ultimately to the empty tomb and joy of Easter Sunday.

If you enjoyed a snow day on Sunday or have not tuned into our service online yet- we have begun a six-week Lenten message/sermon series called Wandering Heart. We will discover how the disciple Peter’s journey can provide a mirror for our own; we can learn from him but most importantly we see the story of Jesus unfold through Peter’s experiences. Like Peter we are invited to bring the best (and the worst) parts of ourselves to God. Last week we began with Jesus calling Peter and his friends to be fishers of people and human souls. This week we will witness both Jesus and Peter walking on the water. What does this story have to tell us about our faith and our faith journey? Be sure to look for our two brand new banners hanging in our sanctuary on Sunday. They look amazing if I do say so myself! And we can enjoy them not only for this Lenten series but all year long because they are showing a heart—and Trinity is the heart in the heart of Huntsville—or at least this is the high bar we have set for ourselves. We here at Trinity seek to model Jesus’ radical inclusivity and hospitality by welcoming and affirming all people regardless of what makes us different or alike.

Speaking of Affirm, at this Sunday’s Annual General Meeting a private vote will be taken to see if Trinity will “officially” become an affirming congregation. I am hoping as many of you will attend this important AGM meeting as possible.

Thanks to Cathy and Craig Fairley we will enjoy a hot chili luncheon before sitting down to celebrate the year 2023 in the life and faith of our church. Service. Lunch. AGM. You. Annual reports are available on Trinity’s website in the Members section. There are a limited number of printed copies available too.

Donations for the luncheon will go towards helping the children at the Home of Grace orphanage in Kenya. The website is hogcc.org. Donations of more than 20 dollars may also be made through the church for tax receipt purposes. We are called to love our neighbour and our neighbour is anybody who needs our help- here at home or far away. On behalf of Cathy and Craig, thank you for your support- it means more than we know for these young children.

Our Embracing Spiritual Awakening Circle was postponed this week. We are hoping several others will want to sign up for this time where we explore what changes are happening in the world with regards to our faith and our church” Awakening” is a period of sustained spiritual change in the community that alters the view of a whole culture. Christianity is being reshaped. How our ancestors practiced faith is not how we necessarily practice our faith today. Thankfully. We don’t practice medicine the same way we practiced medicine 500 years ago! Christianity is being reshaped by new cultural realities. Nevertheless, people are still, maybe more than ever, spiritually hungry. Hungry for purpose and meaning in their lives. I believe it behooves us as a congregation to tell our story of love in a fresh and relational way. Drop me or Suzy an email if you would like to attend—Tuesday afternoons 2-4 in the Arnold Room. You will be glad you did.

How are you doing with your God moments? I want to hear about them on Sunday. God is everywhere. In you. In me. And everywhere in between. We will be looking for God moments in our Lenten movie series starting this Thursday night at 7 pm. Our feature film this week is called A Man Named Otto starring Tom Hanks. Hope you can make it- bring a cushion if you have a tender bottom! Popcorn too! Cost? 5 dollars. Best deal in town!

A big shout out to all our Snowbirds wintering in the sunny south. We hope you are wintering well. We look forward to your return after Easter! We are missing you! Any God moments? Send me a note and I will share on Sunday morning. Sharon, I know you and Tony have at least a half a dozen wink face! Doug and Barb Golding- I know what your God moment is- back to the traditional Lord’s prayer! And of course, a hello to Kay Miller out in BC who is transitioning into a new phase of her life. We trust things are unfolding the way you hoped. A big leap of faith!

Finally, I want to throw a huge bouquet of gratitude and thanks to Chuck and Kanu for renovating my leaky sink and bathroom and for the great looking new floor Suzy and I now have in our offices. We are clearly in the 21st century! But, better than that, the musty smell in my office is GONE! It smells clean and fresh! Yay! Thank you both for your time and energy spent on my behalf. It’s much appreciated.

A couple of Reminders:

Deadline for your renewal of Broadview Magazine is March 4th. You can renew with Suzy at the office. Cost is 30 dollars.

Our Outreach Team is requesting jars of Peanut Butter for the month of February. Thank you.

World Day of Prayer is on March 1st 1: 30 pm at St. Mary’s Church in Huntsville.

In our Care Corner:

A quick update on David Wright, our newest choir member. We had a great visit in the hospital yesterday afternoon. He’s going to Barrie for more tests tomorrow (Thursday) and he’s hoping to be back home on Friday. He is dealing with heart issues that he has dealt with in the past. He is thankful for our healing thoughts and prayers and is hoping to be back in the choir soon. Hurry back David!

Jane and Gord Booker are back on the ski trails! Negative tests all round.

Doris Monahan is recovering nicely after her recent fall and goose egg on her head. Hope to see you and Bob on Sunday- all being well.

Hello to Mrs. Barbara Stephen as she recovers from her hip replacement. Maybe when the snow disappears, we will see you back in your pew too!

Sheila Givens is back on track after her hip replacement too. Go, Sheila! Blessings on the rest of your week!

Companions on this journey we call life,

Faithfully yours,

Rev. Diane

Past issues

From The Minister’s Study March 17, 2024

The late evening snow flurries seem oddly fitting for this our last week-end of winter- at least according to our calendars. Spring begins on Tuesday!  I have already heard stories of robins visiting people's gardens and the ice will likely be off the bay here by the...

From The Minister’s Study – March 7, 2024

Hello everybody, Our spring-like weather is continuing for a few more days and Linda Martin tells us they have their first batch of Maple Syrup for the season! It does sound like we are in for lots of rain on the week-end… Did someone say snow? And of course, it's...

From the Minister’s Study – February 28, 2024

" Love changes everything, including us." Trinity United Church is now officially an Affirming United Church faith community. Here at Trinity, we strive to be Jesus-centric as we try to emulate Jesus' radical inclusivity by welcoming all people regardless of what...

From the Minister’s Study – January 31, 2024

"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others" Gandhi Hello everyone, I'm back! Marc and I had a wonderful flying visit with my mom who is living in St. John's. Even though she appears to be slowing down both physically and cognitively we...