Greetings to you!
I am delighted to welcome you to the website of Westbank United Church. My name is Frances, and I am the Virtual Minister for this congregation and Summerland United Church until the end of September. I lead online worship every Sunday morning via Zoom, and am exploring this very new experience with the hope that we can discover new creative possibilities within it.
Churches, with and without buildings, have always been groups of people who gather together in community to worship, pray, sing, and study together. Being physically apart right now is hard. In a time of stress, community and friendships are vital. Seeing one another online is better than nothing, but it is not the same as being in the presence of one another. We miss handshakes, hugs – remember when we could do those? – and the conversation that happens around kitchen sinks and teapots.
We miss each other. We miss our sanctuaries. We miss seeing entire people, and not just their heads and shoulders on a screen. This is a hard time, and the anxiety and grief that accompany it are real.
Church cannot wave a wand and make COVID-19 disappear. We cannot erase all the hardship that many are carrying. What we seek to do is name the truth of our difficulties, fears, and loneliness, and then trust that God is still with us in the midst of it. We proclaim the central message of the Christian story: death is not the final answer, and new life can rise again when all hope is lost. We have neither quick solutions nor easy answers, but we have two thousand years’ worth of faith that has been carried through calamity, joy, fear, wonder, despair and hope, and we carry it together.
In the words of our Creed:
“In life, in death, in life beyond death,
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Thanks be to God.”
I welcome your questions, thoughts, and sharing, and you can reach me via email: email@example.com.
We look forward to seeing you on the screen. If you are interested in joining us for a Sunday, please email the office at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom meeting information.
Below is the recording of the sermon by Frances Kitson last Sunday July 26, 2020.