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In light of the Government of Ontario declaration that houses of worship are now able to re-open, for the time being, Aurora United Church Worship services, committees and groups will continue online.

 

 

“I do not want one single case of COVID-19 traced to one of our churches because we did not care for those whom Jesus loves.”

Bishop Karen P. Oliveto of the United Methodist Church

 

Join us for our online worship service every Sunday.

All AUC in person meetings and programming has been suspended until further notice. We continue to monitor the situation, and we pray that actions taken now will alleviate or prevent suffering amongst our communities.

A Pastoral letter from Rev. Andy Comar, Rev. Lorraine Newton-Comar

and Bill Newman, Chair of AUC Council, March 2020

 

Aurora United Church Council:

Congregation Update: June 2020

Read or view updates

Important Announcement from Bill Newman, Chair, AUC Council

Dear AUC Friends,

The Covid-19 emergency is unprecedented and is forcing us to look at how we operate as a church and to take extraordinary measures to ensure our viability. We see a combination of reduced work loads for some of our lay staff as well as a need for financial belt-tightening.  Therefore, Aurora United Church Council been forced to make the difficult but necessary decision to temporarily lay off three of our lay staff.  

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Shining Waters Regional Council:

SWRC Statement on Anti-Black Violence and Racism

Racism is an ongoing sin existing within our communities.  It is with both lament and anger that we respond to the recent killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement officers, as well as additional examples of anti-Black violence emerging across North America. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Regis Korchinski-Paquet further highlight the injustices encountered by Black civilians every single day.

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From: Members of the Social and Ecological Justice Commission (SWRC)

In a commission meeting on May 27th, 2020, the Social & Ecological Justice Commission was asked to consider endorsing two calls to action in response to what has been learned about the situations in Long Term Care Facilities in Ontario. Both the Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC) and the Ontario Health Coalition have written to the Premier and Cabinet Ministers requesting an independent Public Inquiry or Commission.  

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RESOURCES for ANTI-RACISIM - Shining Waters Regional Council (Specifically Influenced by the Black Lives Matter Protests) 

This past week we have been asked a lot about ways to engage young people in the conversation around anti-racism. Jeffrey Dale has visited several different websites, spoken with authors, and educators to compile a list of books and resources that to help you and your community of faith exploring the conversation of Anti-Racism, and engaging with Black Lives Matter. 

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Shining Waters: Reopening Church Buildings: A Letter to Premier Doug Ford

On May 11th, 2020, a letter endorsed by 250 congregations from across Ontario was sent to Premier Doug Ford, requesting the government lift restrictions on gatherings in church buildings — despite the recommendations of health officials that in-person worship continue to be suspended.

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Shining Waters Regional Council: Statement On The Wet’suwet’en Crisis

In late February, Shining Waters Regional Council prepared the following statement on the Wet’suwet’en crisis. Although its release has been delayed by regional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement has been sent to the offices of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

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Current News from Shining Waters Regional Council

Lessons from Ministry in the Midst of a Disaster by Matthew Crebbin – Disaster Relief, lessons from a minister who attended the community after Sandy Hook. 18.03.20

Offering Support in Anxious Times Pandemic Practicums By Rev. Diane Strickland. Diane is a Certified Community and Workplace Traumatologist & Critical Incident Responder and in this article offers advice to church leaders as they continue to serve their communities during COVID-19.  18.03.20

Pandemic Practicums #1 Everyone’s Response is Unique by Diane Strickland. She has launched a YouTube channel, Things That Matter, to help us respond to the situation.

Pastoral Care for Grieving Families A Google Doc from our partner church in the U.S. The United Church of Christ

General Council:

Note from Nora Sanders: July 24, 2020

This week’s lectionary passage from Matthew offers several different examples of what the kingdom of heaven is like. The tiny seed that grows into a tree.

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General Council Office Reorganization, July 2020

Responding to the changing needs of the church, while continuing toward the goal of reducing GCO expenditures, a number of positions have been eliminated at the General Council Office.

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COVID-19: Global Response

People of the United Church have asked how they can support our church as we reach out to partners and the vulnerable communities they work with during this time of pandemic. Make a gift today to support those suffering around the world because of COVID-19. Your support will reach vulnerable communities in the Global South and provide them with life saving food. To learn more and support this appeal, visit COVID-19: Global Response

Note from Nora Sanders: June 26, 2020 and see video below!

Some people have questioned the phrase, Black Lives Matter with the retort, “all lives matter.” But that misses the point.

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Thank You Aurora United Church for your gifts to the M&S Fund

https://vimeo.com/428897516?mc_cid=fbc36f4154&mc_eid=7b331877a5 Letter

Note from Nora Sanders: June 10, 2020

Happy anniversary to all of us in The United Church of Canada. Our church is 95 years old today! Do you wonder, like me, what those founders from 1925 would make of our church – and our world – today? 

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Take Action: Create a Universal Basic Income Program

Poverty can happen very quickly to anyone. Aware that some pandemic-related relief programs (such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, CERB) are scheduled to wind up in July, Moderator Richard Bott has written to elected officials encouraging them to seize the moment to roll out a Universal Basic Income (UBI) program in collaboration with the provinces, territories, and Indigenous leadership. Find out how you can take action at a local and federal level.

Note from Nora Sanders: May 29, 2020

“I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.” These words from Psalm 104 may challenge us in these anxious and uncertain times.  And yet, why not?

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“Seize the Moment” for a Universal Basic Income in Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated, “poverty can happen very quickly to anyone." Moderator Richard Bott has written to Canadian government officials to move forward with developing and implementing a Universal Basic Income (UBI) program in Canada.

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Possible Postponement of General Council 44

Commissioners of the 43rd General Council will consider moving General Council 44 from 2021 to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Camps Find Ways to Build Community amid Physical Distancing

People who work or volunteer in outdoor ministries are sharing creative and positive ways to ensure that the overwhelming joy of camp will continue in some way despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Political and Economic Sanctions Blocking Aid for Most Vulnerable

The United Church joined with Mennonite Central Committee Canada (MCC) and Nobel Women’s Initiative in a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francois-Philippe Champagne, urging the Canadian government to ensure that humanitarian assistance is not impeded by economic and political sanctions during this unprecedented health crisis.

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Note from Nora Sanders: May 7, 2020

Early on in this time of “lockdown”, the Moderator and I had a conversation (electronically of course) with representatives of community ministries from across Canada. It was a listening time for us, we were not there with any advice or announcements. It was a humbling experience.

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Church Launches Global Response to COVID-19

The United Church is accepting donations to help support Mission & Service partners around the world as they work to meet the needs of these communities in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Stories from our Mission & Service Partners: Keeping Morale Up during Recovery

Overnight, the normal flow of life has changed at the Jellinek Society’s Recovery House in Edmonton, a Mission & Service‒supported 17-bed residence for men in the early stages of the addiction recovery process. Ed Fox, Jellinek Society’s Executive Director, is more concerned about those struggling with addiction living outside the residence than those living under its roof; you can read the full story here

From the Front Lines of COVID-19: April 17, 2020

Community ministries serve the most vulnerable people in our society and are working tirelessly as they seek to meet increased demands with fewer resources.

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Note from Nora Sanders: April 17, 2020

At the first worship service of 2020 in our congregation, everyone received a piece of paper with a word on it.

My word was “praise”.

It wasn’t immediately clear to me what I should do with that word. Was I to be more grateful? Was I to sing more? (Not my strong suit!). Was I to to be more public about giving thanks to God?

Praise is a good word. But I wondered why it was my word.

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Note from Nora Sanders: April 2, 2020

Hello from my basement room which has become my office now, site of countless Zoom meetings and email exchanges. I feel like I have adapted a lot in the past two weeks. It’s odd to work so busily with colleagues that are in the same city yet never in the same building with me. Yet the changes in my working life are small compared to the amazing ways that those in pastoral ministry have responded to the need to serve communities of faith in ways that they would not have imagined a month ago.

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A Message from Religious Leaders in Canada

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 80 ecumenical and interfaith leaders across Canada have come together and added their names to this message of hope, including Moderator Richard Bott. You can read more about the statement here.

Joint Statement from Ecumenical Organizations across the World

In a historic joint pastoral statement, the World Council of Churches (of which the United Church is a member) and Regional Ecumenical Organizations affirmed the urgency of standing together to protect life amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the news piece and statement here.

A Pastoral Letter from the National Indigenous Council - March 26, 2020

The National Indigenous Elders Council, appointed at the National Indigenous Spiritual Gathering in August 2019, has offered the whole church its wisdom and assurance in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Elders advise us all to take care of each other, to heed medical advice, and to continue to engage in prayer and ceremony even as we are unable to come together to do so.

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Closure of Church Buildings: Clarification - March 26, 2020

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Closure of Church Buildings in Ontario

In Ontario, church buildings (other than some community services that may fall under the social services category) have not been named as essential, so Ontario church buildings must be closed. We interpret this as not allowing even a small number of people in the church to provide virtual worship.

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Letter from General Secretay Nora Sanders - March 18, 2020

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Letter from General Secretary Nora Sanders to ministry personnel and church leaders, March 16, 2020.

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Photo Credit: Angela C from Pixabay

Moderator: God is with Us

Covid 19: United Church Statement