St. Matthew’s United Church eBulletin Mar. 8, 2020   

Second Sunday of Lent: Responsibility



  • What's coming up
  • Thinking about …
  • Official Board meeting this Saturday, March 14
  • St. Matthew's Book Club March 17
  • Two small ways to make a difference for others
  • Observing Lent in a climate-friendly way

1) Give up your dead pens

2) Give it up for the environment

3) Lunch and Learn March 29

4) Green Lent Resources

  • Observing Lent in a prayerful-spiritual way

1) A daily meditation for walking, travelling, or exercising in Lent

2) Lenten Watch for those who want to set aside time for prayer

3) Praying with Scripture resource

  • In the Community



What's coming up at St. Matthew's  (* see below for more information)

Thu. Mar. 12                           Bible study, 1 pm, come to sanctuary doors

Sat. Mar. 14                            Official Board meeting, 10:30 am

Sun. Mar. 15                           Third Sunday of Lent, worship service 10:30 am

Tue. Mar. 17                           Book Club *


Thinking about …

  • Ted Thompson, recovering from illness that sent him to hospital for several days
  • Everyone's concern about the spread of illness, including Covid-19, and the risk any influenza-like disease poses to the congregation – so, St. Matthew's is a handshake-free zone for the foreseeable future.


Official Board meeting Saturday, Mar. 14

The Official Board meets Sat. Mar. 14 at 10:30 am to have a fulsome discussion of the recommendations of the Property Assessment Report. Background material has been sent by email to all members.  If you did not receive the material, contact by Friday morning at the latest.


St. Matthew’s Book Club March 17

The St. Matthew's Book Club will meet Tue. Mar. 17 at 2 pm at 1470 Summer Street. We will be discussing The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker.  It is “...a mesmerizing story of family turmoil, young love, and coming-of-age set against an upending of life as we know it.” For more information, contact Elaine Murray at


Two small ways to make a difference for others

  1. Ushering This involves arriving at about 10 am to greet people as they arrive, give them a bulletin, and assist them in finding a seat as needed. If you can help here is the link to sign up:


  1. Fellowship Time This involves set-up and clean-up of the coffee, tea, etc. that many enjoy after church. It’s a social time enjoyed by all ages, but especially appreciated by our older members, so it’s a real ministry of care. Linda Campbell has a team of folks who "know the ropes" and are looking for partners. If you could do a Sunday, please speak to her or email


Observing Lent in a climate-friendly way

Lent is often considered the season of “working on ourselves” – practising changing things about ourselves that separate us from God and others, practising prayer or meditation to connect more deeply with the Holy, taking something on, or giving something up, whether as an act of service or learning or outreach. Here are some initiatives to consider during Lent 2020.


  1. Give up your “dead” pens for Lent!

Do you toss used pens, markers, etc. into the garbage? That plastic ends up in landfills and who knows where else. But Staples sends discarded pens to a special recycling centre in Ontario. There is a box at the back of the church, decorated by the children, for your discarded pens; bring them in, and we will recycle them for you.

Any writing instruments encased in plastic are eligible for recycling: pens, propelling pencils, markers of all kinds. The EarthSpiritAction Team will count them up at the end of Lent and maybe continue the collection in the future. Keeping plastic out of landfills is a Lenten gift to conserve our environment and sustain Earth for human habitation


  1. Give it up for the environment

Do you typically fast, pray, or perform special acts of compassion during Lent? In the 21st century's climate crisis, perhaps you would like to consider how your Lenten practice can be beneficial to the environment while being spiritually meaningful to you.

Here is one resource you might want to use while observing Lent this year. It is a calendar that provides ideas for reducing our carbon footprint and cherishing the earth that God made. If some suggestions are not applicable to us, we can substitute our own ideas on those days.


  1. Lunch and Learn

The Earth Spirit Action Team is planning a Lunch and Learn on Sun. Mar. 29 at noon on a subject well-known to Nova Scotians: burning trees for power and heat. The session will include a showing of the film, "Burn", and there will be a guest speaker who will answer questions about biomass.


  1. Green Lent Resources

The EarthSpiritAction team is posting other opportunities for observing Lent on our website.  Go to the St. Matthew's website, choose About, then EarthSpiritAction EcoResources

or try this link:


Observing Lent in a prayerful-spiritual way

  1. A daily meditation for walking, travelling, or exercising in Lent

The ‘Serenity Prayer’ is part of a longer prayer written by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr in the 1940s. It is often used by those recovering from addictions.  Its length and clarity also makes it good verse for rhythmic repetition while walking  or exercising, for those who find it difficult to chase "thinking" away. Repetitive prayer and meditation are an ancient Christian tradition, as is walking meditation. But even just  awareness of the rhythm of our breathing, in and out, can help to centre us in an awareness of God’s presence around us as Spirit and Breath and Sustainer. Thanks to Rev. Gordon Murray of our choir for the gift of adapting this work from his time in active ministry for our use.


God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can, and

Wisdom to know the difference.


  1. Lenten Watch, for those who would like to set aside 1 hour each week of Lent to pray with Scripture.


1) Begin the Lenten Watch by taking off your shoes, lighting a candle, observing silence for at least one minute, and opening with a prayer for grace.

2) Then pray with Scripture (one per week).

Luke 4:1-13                 The Road to the Wilderness where the Holy Spirit leads us into emptiness

Acts 9:1-19                 The Road to Damascus, where life is given a new direction

Luke 15:11-32             The Road Home, where the prodigal son discovers wisdom

Luke 10:25-37             The Road to Jericho, where the Good Samaritan cares for one in need

Luke 10:38-42             The Road to Bethany that leads to the home of Martha and Mary

Luke 9:51-62; 19:28-40           The Road to Jerusalem and following Jesus

3) Close each session with the extinguishing of the candle.


  1. Praying with Scripture

STEP 1: Reading

Read through the passage carefully until you light on a word, phrase, image, or sentence that appeals to you, attracts/captures you. When such a word, sentence, etc. has "found you", stop reading. The first step in completed. If in the first reading, nothing emerges, slowly reread until something comes forward to you from the passage.

The intent of this step "is not to stimulate the mind to curiosity. but to awaken the heart." (Anthony deMello) or "nor to get to the end of the passage but to the bottom of it In God, to the word through which God touches you ... " (Tilden Edwards)


STEP 2: Reflection

Focus your attention on the "gift" from the scripture. Turn it over and over and over until you are very familiar with it. What is the meaning of this for you in your life? in the life of the larger community? Let it teach you!

There may be a word/phrase/image within the first that emerges. Follow. Continue to turn it over and over until you are "saturated" with it. (deMello)


STEP 3: Prayer

In some traditions, this is normally done aloud. Pray out whatever is given from your reflection. Talk to God's Presence as though a friend sitting opposite you.

If you notice that you are finding It hard to pray without distraction, return to your word, phrase, etc.


STEP 4: Still Presence

At some point, the vocal prayer often tapers to an end and one is left is an empty silence before God. Simply rest in the spacious presence of God.

 (Recommended: 10-20 minutes)


Concluding: You may discover that there is some intention that comes out of your reflection/prayer that you want to take forward into your next period of prayer or into your day/week. If so, you might want to write that down somewhere. You may want to formally end the time of prayer with the Lord's Prayer or "Amen" or "Thank you" or some symbolic act.


A rural southern minister., not knowing this tradition technically but knowing it in his heart, summed it up succinctly when he was asked how he prayed: "I read myself full; I think myself clear; I pray myself hot; and I let myself cool."                                  gsm/2010.01.20




In the Community

Dixit Dominus by the King's Chorus – Sun. Mar 15 at 7 pm, Cathedral Church of All Saints. King's Chorus 10th anniversary concert, director Nick Halley. Handel's Dixit Dominus plus works by Charpentier and Pärt. Tickets $10-$75 available at


Bach Mass in b minor – Sat. Mar. 21 at 7:30 pm and Sun. Mar. 22 at 4 pm, St. Andrew's United Church, Cobourg and Robie. Halifax Camerata Singers and Symphony Nova Scotia, director Jeff Joudrey. Tickets available at Dalhousie Arts Centre Box Office or Symphony Nova Scotia.


Organ Concert (Jazz, Classical and Contemporary Music) – Sat. Mar. 27 at 7 pm at First Baptist Church, Halifax. This RCCO concert is in memory of the late Allen Wayte, who was director of music at First Baptist until his untimely death in 2008 at the age of 56. Featured performers are Alcée Chriss, organ, and Thomas Leslie, tenor.



Administrative Stuff

Church office: (902) 423-9209,  

Pastoral care: Rev. Betsy Hogan, (902) 423-9209,

Sunday Worship: 10:30 am

Minister of Music: Wayne Rogers, (902) 429-1680,

Student Organist: Matthew Fraser

On the web:


Ushering – Click this link to open the sign-up page


EarthSpiritAction Resources for Thinking About God's Green Earth:


Meeting Schedule 2020

Congregational Meeting       May 3, 2020 (budget)

Session, Stewards                   Apr. 26

Official Board                         Mar. 14

Worship and Music                Apr. 19


Regular Activities

Sunday Free Breakfast  – Sundays 8:30 am

Thursday Afternoon Bible Study – Thursdays at 1 pm, come to the sanctuary doors

Choirs – Thursdays – Handbells 6:15 pm, Sanctuary choir 7:30 pm

Lunch Bunch community choir – Fridays at 12:15 pm

St. Matthew’s Book Club  – Third Tuesday

Melville Heights Service – Third Sunday at 2 pm at Melville Heights retirement lodge

Potluck Church  -- TBA


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