Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost Bulletin

Shining Waters Regional Council Prayer Cycle:

Today we pray for Bolton United Church, Dentonia Park United Church, Toronto and Sharon-Hope United Church.

Minute For Mission:

No Longer Asking “Where Will I Eat?”

When the pandemic first struck, we told you that guests at Our Place Society were asking “Where will I eat?” Thanks to the generosity of supporters, that’s no longer a question.

Bulletin cover ...

Images used in worship video... 

God, We Praise You for the Morning -  Photo Credit: Thinkstock/sakepaint 

Jesus, You Have Come to the Lakeshore – 

Will You Come and Follow Me   –  Children – little boy and girl – walking away on the forest path. Brother and sister walking in the woods together. Little siblings. (Libreshot – Free Images)

The hymn recordings today are from… 


God, We Praise You for the Morning - Peninsula United Church, Surrey BC. December 31, 2020.

Jesus, You Have Come to the Lakeshore  – Ebenezer United Church. Murphy Hung, accompanist. August 8, 2020. 

Will You Come and Follow Me  –  Recorded remotely by the Choral Scholars of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in their homes. London, England. 2020.

Reconciliation in the Watershed: Reflections for Creation Time

We Simply Call It Deho - A Story from the Arctic Watershed

Some Dene call it Deho. To others it’s Deh Cho. Both mean “big river.” The Inuvialuktun name, Kuukpak, means “Great River,” and the Gwich’in name, Nagwichoonjik, means “river flowing through a big country.” In their own way, each of these Indigenous Peoples captures the significance and importance of the river to the animals, land, trees, and everything on the Creator’s earth. It is the longest and largest river system in Canada.

Elders say that every creek or water flowing into the big river has a story behind it. They tell stories of how certain hills or landmarks along the river were formed. Every Dene learned early in life just how important the environment, the galaxy, and especially water is to people, land, and animals. Put simply: Without water, there is no life!

One story many Dene groups share is that of Yamoria, or one who walked around Earth: the greatest medicine man who came to the Dene long ago. He brought teachings and laws to the Dene that changed their lives. These teaching stress respect, caring for one another, and living in peace and harmony. Depending on where a person lived, the story may differ a bit, but the lessons are unquestionable!

When the world was new, it is believed there was a family of giant beavers who were terrorizing the land and killing the Dene people on Sahtu or Great Bear Lake. Yamoria was asked to help. He began chasing the beavers down Sahtu de or Bear River, and caught up with them at the mouth of the river at Tulita. Yamoria killed the three giant beavers with a bow and arrow, skinned them, and stretched their hides on the Great Bear Rock.

To this day, you can still see the outline of the beaver pelts on Bear Rock. The arrows that Yamoria shot are still seen each spring where the Great Bear River and the Mackenzie River meet—the poles are still sticking out of the river. Further up the Mackenzie River, Yamoria cooked beaver meat and the beaver’s grease dripped into the fire. It is said that the fire continues to burn near Tulita.

The story has been passed on for generations. It teaches respect, harmony, and living in peace with land and water.Despite the attempts to take care of the land and water, Dene notice a number of changes in the mighty Mackenzie. Pollution is affecting fish and other living creatures. Climate change is melting permafrost, causing more and more landslides into the river. But the biggest concern is water level. It has dropped to the point where there is concern for barges being able to deliver essentials to communities. Many are saying it may be time to return to the teachings of our ancestors to preserve and protect the land, sky, and water.

Prayer: We are grateful, Creator, for sacred water that flows in our bodies and through the Earth.Water is a powerful force that both creates and destroys, sustains and erodes, deposits and washes away; forgive us for all the ways that we have wasted, polluted, and ignored precious water….and help us restore good relations, remembering that Water is Life. Amen

Written by Paul Andrew, who was born in the Mackenzie Mountain across from Tulita. He spent his early years learning the Dene traditions and language before going to school. Paul spent seven years at a residential school in the NWT. In 2012, Paul retired after many years with both CBC radio and TV. He lives in Yellowknife. 

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