Crescent Fort Rouge United Church

Marc’s Blog

For March 29, 2020 Sunday Worship

If you would like to join with others in a virtual time of worship this Sunday, you can do so by participating in a “Zoom” video conference through your computer. You will need to enable audio and video on your computer, and follow the Zoom Link below:


Zoom Link   

Meeting ID: 457 193 078

For those of you who are new to using Zoom, the following might help.

ZoomZoomZoom-the-basics (1)

March 28, 2020 from Reverend Marc Whitehead

For the week of  March 29-April 4, 2020

It’s amazing how quickly things have changed—and how quickly we have tried to adapt.

March 29 will be the second Sunday that our public worship has been suspended, and the second time we have gathered via Zoom.

For the last week, our building has been closed for public gatherings, but through the marvels of technology I’ve participated in more virtual meetings, and been part of more webinars, and been engaged with more people than I have in the last month.

When it comes to using social media platforms I’ve always been more of a Luddite than an early adapter, but now I’m willing to consider anything from Instagram to Tik Tok if it will help us stay connected with one another and a hurting world.

These are anxious times for many. We’re concerned about family and friends, folks living in care homes or far away. We imagine what it’s like for those who are ill or in self-isolation. We think about those working away in the front lines of this pandemic—doctors, nurses, the kids who work in grocery stores, custodians who are cleaning door handles, and light switches, folks transporting essential goods. Our hearts ache for those who are laid off from work and for those in the arts community whose livelihoods have all but disappeared. We wonder what tomorrow will bring. We’re not sure we even want to think about next month or next year.

There are times this last week when I’ve felt more than a little overwhelmed by all of the new things I’ve needed to learn, and all the new practices I’ve had to take up almost overnight. The learning curve has been very steep as we’ve tried to plank the curve of new Covid 19 cases.

And yet for all of that, I recognize how lucky I am. I’m able to work from home. I have access to technology that allows me to continue doing the things I’m called to do. No one in my immediate circle is ill and the support from folks as I try to make my way in this strange new world is truly life changing.

Together we’re creatively finding solutions to all sorts of challenges, and have the potential to be a more connected, cohesive, compassionate, and courageous people than we once thought was possible.

These are challenging times, but I see overwhelming evidence that we will rise to the challenge.

And the sabbath time that the virus has imposed on the world, for all of the upheavals it has brought, has also allowed a good many of us the luxury of hitting the reset button, reconsidering our priorities, and finding new ways to work and worship and witness to the good that is in our midst.

I was struck this week by a reminder from historian and writer Diana Butler-Bass that:

“…life-giving practices like gratitude and compassion provide ballast to negative emotions and open mental space to make better choices, balance perspective.  This isn’t a magic pill; rather, it can give you some balance.”

And maybe balance is something we could all use right now.

Advice from Diana Butler-Bass: Add a daily moment of gratefulness. What gifts are present in your life right now?  That you are safe at home? That no one in your family is ill?  The sun is shining?  Your cat is curled on your lap?  

As you reflect on whatever simple gifts are present, remember those whose lives are on the line right now – people who may be sick, workers doing jobs that lights stay on and water flows, nurses and doctors who are risking their own health for us.  Pray for them, perhaps send a note to someone you know in such a position.  Gratitude can take the form of compassion, and now is a time to express your care and appreciation for others. 

A Prayer Of Gratitude And Intercession In A Time Of Pandemic

Holy One,
We are living in an uncertain and anxious time.
Calm us with your reassuring presence.
Remind us that your Spirit surrounds us always.
When information overwhelms us, correct or not,
Help us to be discerning.
When fear makes it difficult to catch our breath
And worry is all around us, slow us down.
We are so grateful for all who are working hard through this time,
Especially for nurses and physicians,
For technicians and janitors, aides and researchers,
Caregivers and chaplains.
We pray for all who are sick with COVID19, or other illness,
And for those who sit at their bedsides, and those who grieve.
For all who are effected in every place.
We are so aware of the common closeness of the human family.
We pray for health, and safety.
May we who are merely inconvenienced remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have few risk factors remember those who are vulnerable.
May we who can work from home, remember those who must choose between risking their health and paying their bills.
May we who have to cancel out trips remember those with no safe place to go.
May we who are isolated at home, remember those who have no home.
May we who are able to care for children at home while schools are closed, remember those who have no option.
As fear grips our community, our country, our globe,
Let us choose love, and compassion, as you show to us.
During this time when we cannot embrace each other physically
Let us find ways to be the reassuring embrace of you, our God, for our neighbours near and far.
To you, our loving Creator, our compassionate Companion, our hope-giving Spirit, we pray.
Amen. Earl Reaburn, Northern Spirit Pastoral Relations Minister—used with permission

The following attachment is the Order of Service and can be followed during the service.

Lent 4 Congregation–March 22, 2020