Message from Rev. Michelle Owens
“Why do we make the simplest things so hard?” – line from Arlo Parks song “Too Good”
How is 2023 starting off for you? Are you having any days where you ask yourself the question “Why are simple things so hard?”
I think this is a common question for people who procrastinate or struggle to stay on top of “simple” tasks. Have you had the experience of avoiding something for days, only to discover it only took a few minutes to complete?
For some of us, this difficulty might be rooted in fear or anxiety. It might be connected to perfectionism – putting something off until we are sure we can get it just right. “Now is not the right time” we might think, “I’m waiting for ….”
What are we waiting for?
In the Gospel of John, the story that follows Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan is the wedding at Cana. In fact, the text says Jesus went on the third day to the wedding, invited along with his mother, and the disciples. When the wine runs out, Mary refuses to listen to Jesus telling her that it isn’t his time yet. She circumvents Jesus’ refusal, instructing the servants to do whatever he says. Is this a story about Jesus making excuses? Turning water into wine seems to be very simple for him – the first miracle in his ministry, the first sign of his glory.
What was Jesus waiting for?
Sometimes we need a nudge, or a deadline to get us moving. Sometimes we need encouragement and support to get unstuck. Sometimes we need reassurance that it will all be okay. Sometimes we need to know that even if we mess up or fail, it won’t be the end of the world.
Sometimes we need to believe that our simple action will be a blessing to the people around us, so much so that they might wonder where we’ve been hiding all this time – just like the wedding guests wondered why the good wine had been kept until later.
What small, simple thing can you tackle? Today? Tomorrow? On the third day?
Whenever you choose to try, remember that sometimes even Jesus needed a nudge of encouragement. Whatever you try to do, remember that Jesus is with you, ready to perform unexpected miracles.
Prayers for the People of Ukraine
We ask you to hold the people of Ukraine deep in your heart.
Protect them, we pray;
from political gamesmanship,
from being used and abused.
Give, we pray,
the nations of the world the courage
and the wisdom
to stand up for justice
and the courage too,
to dare to care―generously.
Lord, in your mercy,
take from us all
the tendencies in us
that seek to lord it over others:
take from us those traits
that see us pursuing our own needs and wants
before those of others.
Teach us how to live in love
and respect―following your example.
In your name and for your sake,
The invasion of Ukraine is costing precious lives and creating a humanitarian crisis as people flee to safety. The United Nations reports that a growing number of over a million people, displaced from their homes, are seeking refuge in their neighbouring countries. Many have lost friends, loved ones, and property; struggle to meet their basic needs, and face an uncertain future.
United Church Mission & Service partners are responding to the rapidly unfolding crisis.You can help. Right now, people urgently need shelter, clean water, food, and medical attention.Please show your support by making a gift today.
Send a cheque or money order to:
The United Church of Canada
Philanthropy Unit – Emergency Response
3250 Bloor Street West, Suite 200
Toronto, ON M8X 2Y4
Please be sure to note “Emergency Response—Ukraine” on the memo line.
White Oaks United Church Update – COVID-19
Effective September 11th 2022, providing proof of vaccination is no longer required and masking will not be mandatory. Coffee time will resume following worship.
Council strongly encourages everyone to follow the guidance of the Middlesex London Medical Officer of Health and the following recommendations:
1) Stay up to date with vaccinations, including third and fourth doses when eligible
2) Wear a mask indoors particularly in common areas (i.e. hallways, bathrooms) when other groups are present
3) Maintain social distancing
4) Stay home if you are not well
5) Avoid large public indoor gatherings, if possible
While relaxing the requirements places the onus on individuals to protect themselves and others, we remain committed to collective care for vulnerable people. We ask that you respect the needs and comfort levels of each other. For example, prior to sitting beside someone, please ask permission and respect the response.
Council reserves the right to review this decision and alter restrictions and policies if the situation changes and/or more stringent recommendations are made by the London Middlesex Health Unit.
If you have any questions about our safety protocols, please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org and it will be directed to Council.
Services start at 10:25 am, so remember to come a little early on Sunday morning to ensure extra time to settle before worship begins.
Be well, stay safe and keep connected.
Sunday morning worship is at 10:25 am where we seek to connect God’s ways with our lives through scripture, music and prayer, sometimes with presentations of video, drama, and liturgical dance.
Everyone is welcome at our church! Our building is wheelchair accessible, and children are welcome to stay with their families in the sanctuary, with activity bags available.
Your offering may be dropped off during office hours: Tues 9-1 Thurs 9-12 and Friday 9-12
Open to God
Joyfully worshipping in diverse ways
Seeking and finding God in all of life
Celebrating many ways of experiencing God
Open to New Life
Exploring questions of faith and spirituality
Cultivating life-changing experiences
Making a difference in the world.
Open to You
Embracing individuality and inclusivity
Nurturing strong relationships
We are a Congregation of the United Church of Canada, located in the White Oaks neighbourhood of London, Ontario. We are in the Antler (or Thames) River watershed, and this territory has been occupied by Indigenous peoples for millenia. We settlers and newcomers live here under the covenants of the London township and Sombra treaties of 1796 and the Dish with One Spoon covenant Wampum. We acknowledge these lands and waters as the traditional territories of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Attawandoran and Lunaapeewak peoples of Turtle Island. We seek to live in right relationship with our neighbours: the Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, the Oneida Nation of the Thames and the Munsee Delaware Nations.