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    The Morning After Blog

    From our Minister, John: Welcome to the Morning After. Preaching is created and offered and it’s a little awkward because you 'bare your soul' and it’s like you stand there buck naked, share what’s important to you, people get to peek and then walk away! It’s hard because it feels 'one way'. That is, I speak, people listen, and then choose to walk away or wander back, often with little comment one way or the other. 

    So here is a chance for me and our guest speakers to clarify, and for you to comment and for all of us to learn together! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, questions, or wonderings. This is a free space to engage!


    Why do we baptize, anyway?

    First Sunday back from vacation...glad that's out of the way...!

    Like everyone else returning to work after a holiday there is a sense of wondering - how do i do this again?

    It was a day to ask ourselves why we baptize. We celebrated four baptisms this past Sunday and then all headed out to the front steps where Bryce and I accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Check out the video here

    The news gives us a pretty despairing look at the World, and so I asked the parents why baptize into this world? They gave great responses and I shared them in the sermon.

    If I were to re-emphasize anything from this past Sunday it is that baptism isn't a protection from all of life but rather an invitation to life - with hope for a better world.

    May hope be lived in our lives.

    - John



    This past Sunday we reflected on children as part of our community. Jesus is very clear that children are to be included in our community - as important parts of our community - in fact, as very important parts.

    Children help us see love and joy - they help us remember to be awed and to wonder. They remind us of the vulnerable in our world, and how we need to protect the vulnerable.

    We talked about how we try to be welcoming to children at HUC, and we talked about how God's invitation is to be welcoming and concerned about all children. We are invited to make sure that all children are treated with dignity and respect and that they have their basic human needs met.

    There are many ways to be involved with kids in our community and in the world. Currently, our Kidspace program is hiring teachers - check out the HUC Kidspace webpage for more info. If you're interested in ways to honor children, check out some ideas on Raffi Cavoukian's site.

    What are your ideas for honoring children?  

    - Sheena



    Thinking about the role of church pews this week was a fun exercise - who knew that there was so much history and discussion about pews and how we build relationships in our faith community?

    Paul's idea of the body of Christ is such a great metaphor - and, really, that Mr. Potatohead video will stick with me for a long time….So often we really believe that we are the only ones who can do anything, or we're the only ones who can do anything well. But, Paul says we are better together and we need each and every person and his or her gifts.

    Each week I'm reminded of that at Hillhurst - all of the wonderful people with such diverse gifts who come together and make this place and the world better because of who we are together.

    Thanks to each of you!   

    - Sheena



    After church on Sunday, a woman came up to me and said, "I am going to make it a goal to make space for quiet this week. And, I'm going to do it by reducing the number of computer games I play each week."  I loved this conversation - so often we think that we can't find enough room in our schedules.

    We believe we are too busy to find even a minute of quiet in our lives. But, really, those of us who find our selves "too" busy are the ones who need quiet and stillness the most.

    I found this conversation to be a great challenge to me - I began to think of ways I might also find space during my day for intentional quiet and time for thoughts to emerge and to bubble up.

    How do you make space in your lives for quiet?   

    - Sheena


    The Pulpit

    Last Sunday people made it to church, even though it was next to impossible to get here due to the Sun and Salsa Festival blocking the street. Nevertheless, we welcomed over 180 people to our Sanctuary on a hot summer day.  

    It was a fun day, and I'm thankful for the people who were there to help me with the service. The scripture video was fun, the Acts text was laughable, the piece Pam did was super, the duet by Justin and Adam was sweet and the video showing interviews on 'the pulpit' were great.

    I spoke of the pulpit as place of 'truth', as Fred Buechner begs, and then the idea that for me, sermons should:

    1) Challenge with truth (or insult as Jermeiahs Wrights church might, a prophetic voice);
    2) offer comfort to our sorrow and sadnesses, and;
    3) offer truth that invites us to transform and know that the cross and resurrection are central to our life. Our faith truth.

    Earlier last week I asked 10 collegaues across Canada why they preach and 8 replied (wow) with words of conviction, power, and hope in the endeavour. Their churches are lucky to have them. The sermon felt long to me, but I loved engaging with colleagues and then figuring it out for myself, for today. 

    It was also my last sermon before I take off on holidays so it felt like I 'dealt my cards' and played em out...

     I don't know, what needs to be in great sermon for YOU?

    - John