St. Matthew’s United Church eBulletin Mar. 15, 2020

Third Sunday of Lent: Trust


  • What's coming up – please note changes
  • Covid-19 and St. Matthew's Response
  • Do you need assistance?
  • Urgent repairs to go ahead
  • St. Matthew's Book Club will meet March 17, future sessions TBD
  • Observing Lent in a climate-friendly way

1) Give up your dead pens

2) Give it up for the environment

3) 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

  • In the Community

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

Tue. Mar. 17                           Book Club cancelled

Thu. Mar. 19                           Bible study cancelled

Thu. Mar. 19                           Bell and Singing Choirs cancelled

Fri. Mar. 20                             Lunch Bunch community choir cancelled

Sun. Mar. 22                           Lent 4 Worship Service cancelled

Sun. Mar. 29                           EarthSpiritAction lunch and learn cancelled


Covid-19 and St. Matthew's Response

We've decided to assess whether to have services on a week-by-week basis. Given the age of our congregation and the number of people who are returning from overseas travel due to, well, winter, and also March Break it is important that we respect the importance of social distancing while being mindful of the advice of the provincial Medical Officer of Health.

Mar 15-22       No choirs, No Bible study
Sun. Mar. 22   No service

Each Thursday Betsy will send a note regarding the subsequent Sunday. This will include some church-at-home materials. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to email or call (902) 453-9471 if you'd appreciate help with errands, or just to say hello :-)

•  Circus Programs are continuing, as there's no directive from Public Health to shut down and they are doing extra cleaning.

  • Sunday Breakfast, the Warming Centre, and AA/NA are 'essential to health and well-being' and so we support those responsible for these programs as they make their own plans.


Please note that St. Matthew's is now a handshake-touch free zone. Sanitizer is available throughout the church for the convenience of anyone visiting or on business.


Do you need assistance?

Anyone in the congregation who needs assistance getting groceries, essential supplies like toilet paper, prescription refills, library books, even travel to appointments should email Betsy at or the office Many volunteers in the congregation have offered to assist those who are concerned about being out and around, particularly people in high-risk age categories.

Urgent repairs going ahead

The Official Board met on the weekend to discuss recommendations of the Property Assessment Report. It has been decided to proceed with some of the Priority 1 repairs, which are considered to be urgent and critical. Further discussions are planned after the dust settles from the current health crisis.


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. 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.


In the Community

Bach Mass in b minor with Halifax Camerata Singers and Symphony Nova Scotia cancelled


RCCO Organ Concert scheduled for Mar. 27 at First Baptist Church, Halifax cancelled



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                        

Worship and Music                Apr. 19


Regular Activities

Sunday Free Breakfast  – Sundays 8:30 am

Thursday Afternoon Bible Study – Cancelled for March 19

Choirs – Thursdays – Cancelled for March 19

Lunch Bunch community choir – Cancelled until further notice

St. Matthew’s Book Club  – TBD

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

Potluck Church  -- TBA


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