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St. Peter’s Church

There's a Place for You Here

Feed your spirit

In-person worship paused

Worship via CTV: June 27

(we are pre-empted on June 13)

or via the eMessenger / Zoom / stpeterskw.ca

Church building closed

Friends, regrettably this Sunday’s broadcast has been preempted, as we understand, for soccer. We will put out a worship resource via the eMessenger and will be back on the air for a live broadcast on June 27!

The following is shared with Rostered Leaders and Congregations on behalf of National Bishop Susan Johnson, Bishop Michael Pryse, Bishop Jason Zinko, Bishop Sid Haugen, Bishop Larry Kochendorfer and Bishop Greg Mohr

Content warning: abuse, trauma, tragic loss of children, genocide

The letter (with active links) is available for download by clicking here

FEED YOUR SPIRIT 

Peace, Friends,

It is our privilege to share with you the broadcast from Holy Trinity Sunday, May 30, 2021, featuring inspirational music with special guest, vocalist Laura Pudwell, and organist Peter Nikiforuk, prayers including requests from across the country, readings, a message, and the celebration of Holy Communion.

Grammy–nominated Laura Pudwell has a well-established international profile, with recent engagements in Paris, Salzburg, London, Houston, Boston and Vienna. She has sung with many leading orchestras and opera companies, including Tafelmusik, Les Violons du Roi, the Boston Early Music Festival, Opera Atelier and the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony. A specialist in early music, she is a member of the Toronto Consort. Her repertoire covers 800 years from Hildegard of Bingen through Stephen Sondheim and Cole Porter.

We offer these worship elements for you to use this day or at your convenience; the timeline is listed below so you can jump to the pieces that are helpful for you. Hymn numbers are for Evangelical Lutheran Worship.

Blessing to you as you feed your spirit.

 

00:00  BROADCAST INTRO

00:35  OPENING     

03:37  CONFESSION AND FORGIVENESS

05:28  MUSIC 1        413 Holy, Holy, Holy

09:20  GREETING & OPENING PRAYER

10:08  READING      Isaiah 6:1-8

11:46  MUSIC 2        O Praise the Lord (Maurice Greene)

14:24  READING      Psalm 29

15:48  MUSIC 3        832 My Lord of Light

18:04  GOSPEL       John 3:1-17

20:22  MUSIC 4        How Can I Keep from Singing (arr. Richard Walter)

24:13  TEACHING

References: Jake Owensby (Looking for God in Messy Places); Nadia Bolz Weber (patheos.org); Kitchener Waterloo Record (Saturday May 29, 2021); ELCIC Bishops (Letter: June 4, 2020); Racial Justice Advisory Committee (Eastern Synod; Media Release, April 22, 2021; various); Bishop Matt Gunter (Episcopal Church, Northeast WI); Liturgical Conference (James Wilde and Hilary Hayden, eds.)

36:55  MUSIC 5        412 Come, Join the Dance of Trinity

39:43  PRAYERS

Adapted from the ELCA Worship at Home resource.

45:33  MUSIC 5        God is My Shepherd (Antonin Dvorak)

48:21  EUCHARIST

This communion liturgy has been inspired, crafted, and adapted from a variety of sources and authors, and spans several denominations and continents, in particular, that of Richard Giles (Creating Uncommon Worship). See also: Bread and Wine Online (pmphillips); Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church: Eucharistic Prayer for the Global Pandemic (Rev Lane Cotton, Rev Juan Huertas); Scattered and Gathered (Simon Woodman); Evangelical Lutheran Worship; St. Bride’s Holy Communion (Miranda Threllfall-Holmes); Online Communion for Palm Sunday (Rev Maren C. Tirabassi). Post-Communion prayer crafted by Andrew Nunn (adapted).

53:43  MUSIC 7        414 Holy God, We Praise Your Name

56:57  BENEDICTION & THANK YOU

57:35  EXTRO

LABYRINTH

St. Peter’s had planned to host a few public labyrinth walks in the coming months as a way to re-invite the community into the labyrinth space, and to revive labyrinth programming; due to social distancing, we have had to put the walks on hold for now.  However, this does not mean that we can’t take advantage of what the labyrinth has to offer, while we are staying close to home. Click Labyrinth in the navigation bar to find out more.

April 2021

Be kind to yourselves

Peace, friends.

It was  a very emotional week filled with highs and lows.
Meetings. Deaths. Grieving. Sessions. Dealing with an insurance company. Dissertation editing. Video editing. Broadcast stuff.

And then…that Friday happened.

Like many who called or emailed me, I thought to myself “geez it’s Easter, why does it feel more like Good Friday?” 

Many of the folks who telephoned or emailed me find the latest directives announced this week by the Ontario Government challenging. Some were particularly concerned with the policing and enforcement piece. Some were confused. Some were just plain ol’ weary and wondering as many a biblical figure have “How long, O Lord…how long?”

Some people are experiencing what has been named “crisis fatigue.”
 
Let me borrow, adapt, and paraphrase the words of author Jake Owensby for a moment: Confronted by a relentless barrage of stress-inducing events, we respond with a draining mixture of exhaustion, rage, disgust, despair, anxiety, and grief. We want things to change, but the problems seem so huge that we don’t know where to start. We begin to wonder if we could make a real difference anyway. We’re overwhelmed.
 
And no wonder. COVID 19, racism issues, government issues, pandemic inequalities, vaccinations, food insecurity, lack of affordable housing, right relations, climate crisis…the non-exhaustive list continues…
 
These are big problems requiring sustained, vigorous action. And when we’re feeling overwhelmed, the sheer size and scope of the challenges we face can sap us of the energy we need to confront them effectively.
 
If we look at our challenges as whole we may feel too small and inadequate to do anything about them. We know that we should do something, but we may struggle to get started. Here’s  something the recovery community taught [Owensby] about that. Don’t be frozen in your tracks by the illusion that only big things can make a difference. Instead, just do the next right thing.
 
Wear a mask in public. Follow public health directives. Get your shots. If you’re white like me, listen to people of colour talk about what it’s like to be a person of colour in our society and resist the urge to defend yourself. Sit with your Bible and read what Jesus says about the poor, the stranger, and loving your neighbor. Vote when the time comes.
 
Do the good that’s right in front of you. 

 
After many hours, when I hung up the phone and closed my laptop after replying to as many emails as I could, feeling truly blessed to be journeying with people but overwhelmed myself, I thought about Owensby’s words. I felt strangely numb. And then a peculiar thing happened, I noticed that I was humming a hymn.

My Oma used to do that – in good times and challenging times – and she had many of both during her life. As the notes escaped my lips and wrapped themselves around my tired soul, I thought of George Santayana – at least I think it was him – who said religion is another world to live in. That creaky hymn stuck in the back of my throat seemed to beckon me to that world, a word of promise in the midst of the hearts winter, as Martin Marty says.

I’m under no illusions…singing a hymn is not going to solve these big challenges. But it did come as healing balm, as breath, as outlet, as a moment, and as a nightcap for the soul.

Self-care is important, especially now. Be kind to yourselves.

As always, should you feel (mentally) stressed and find yourself in need of supportive conversation, please feel free to reach out to me via email pastormark@stpeterskw.ca or at (519) 591-1551. I’d love to chat.
 
Friends, take care of yourselves and each other.

Onward,
Pastor Mark

PROVINCE-WIDE EMERGENCY SHUTDOWN

April 1, 2021

Peace, friends. 

Today, Thursday April 1, the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, announced that the Province of Ontario is enacting a Provincewide Emergency Brake Shutdown beginning at 12:01am on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Restrictions will be in effect for 28 days. 

There are new restrictions in place for places of worship. Specifically, this directive is:
 
Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.
 
They also add: “On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household.” (see https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/60986/ontario-implements-provincewide-emergency-brake , accessed April 1, 2021)

For St. Peter’s this means that 

  • in person worship continues to be paused (as it has been since Nov 2020) 
  • the building is closed

Ultimately, it is the safety of staff, volunteers, members, guests, and those we serve guides our decisions regarding building use and activities and we will err on the side of caution in our decision making. As such, we will not look for ways to creatively get around or alter public health directives and guidelines.

The leadership team remains committed to providing the St. Peter’s and wider community opportunities for connection and worship, particularly while we cannot gather in-person. Our national television ministry continues; you can tune in on Sundays at 10AM on April 11 and 25 (Bell Fibe: 201/1201  Bell Satellite: 584, 1505; Rogers Cable: 12/109/518;  Shaw Direct: 67/369 *Local listings across the province and country may vary). Online/eMessenger (worship) materials will continue to be provided as well as supportive pastoral conversation and various learning opportunities.

In the book of Ecclesiastes we read that “For everything there is a season…” There is a time for mourning – like for the loss of normal life and routine – and a time to refrain from embracing – due to physical distancing.  But there are also other times. Bishop Larry encourages us to “welcome moments of joy” and “help each other live into hope. Trust that God is at work in this time and look for the new things God is doing even now.” I hope that we can continue to be patient with each other in the weeks ahead.

Indeed, we can still lean into the world with a message of hope and love!

Updates will be offered in a variety of ways; this is an evolving situation. This is a challenging time, and one that we can continue to meet with “dexterity, generosity, and deep faithfulness. […] May God continue to bless us with abundant gifts of hope, forbearance and patience as we navigate the significant decisions and choices that will need to be made going forward” says our Bishop Michael Pryse (Eastern Synod, ELCIC). We couldn’t agree more.

Know that you remain, as always, in my heart and prayers.

Onward,

Pastor Mark

NEED TECH SUPPORT?

There’s a new program called enTECH@home that provides phone- and email-based tech support to anyone who may need a bit of technology help. This service is entirely free, and run by University of Waterloo student volunteers. 

“We are happy to provide support to anyone who contacts us – this service is available to you no matter where you live or how old you are. We are happy to provide support to community members living in retirement homes and long-term care homes.”

Services are currently only offered in English. We are looking into providing support in other languages.

Common issues include:

  • Problems with video calling
  • Setting up an email account
  • How to use YouTube
  • Joining online religious services
  • Other technology issues

A volunteer will make two attempts to contact you, after which we would ask you to reconnect with us and provide your updated availability. (http://www.entech.club, accessed Feb18,21)

Details are in enTECH’s graphic below.   

Worship

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Our Leaders

Rev. Mark Ehlebracht
Pastor

Mark became St. Peter's pastor in 2009 and the dress code at church has never been the same. Mark is a creative catalyst at St. Peter’s, which can be fun at times... Click image to see more.

Dr. Peter Nikiforuk
Director of Music

Peter Nikiforuk is a native of Brantford, Ontario, where he received his early musical training with Nan and Markwell Perry. Over the years, he has studied with John Tuttle, Robert Baker,... Click image to see more.

David Roth
Parish Administrator

David graduated from the Management and Administration Program of The Canadian Institute of Management and Administration at the University of Waterloo in 1988... Click image to see more.

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Hear From Us

Join us for an #EarthDay webinar, presented by Luther partner @earthcharter, followed by conversation with associate professor Dr. Mary (Joy) Philip. Details: https://events.dudesolutions.com/wlu/site/luther/event/earth-day-webinar-and-conversation/ @LundAtLuther @ESynodELCIC @MichaelPryse @NationalBishop @ElcicYoungAdult @ELCAyouth @LWFyouth

What a fantastic example of service! Kudos to #LutherWaterrlooAlumni @itspastormark, the core team & everyone at @stpeterskw! @LundAtLuther @ESynodELCIC @MichaelPryse @NationalBishop @eastcoastpastor @berryonline @Redman4Region @KenSeiling @LaurierAlumni

Affordable housing project coming to Queen Street North

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church partners with a Christian-based charity to provide 40 one-bedroom apartments

www.therecord.com

Excited to see this partnership between @IndwellCA and @stpeterskw in creating another new supportive affordable housing community in Kitchener. Congratulations to @stpeterskw on their new missional chapter! #missionalpartnership #hopeandhomesforall

Affordable housing project coming to Queen Street North

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church partners with a Christian-based charity to provide 40 one-bedroom apartments

www.therecord.com