Come, share the gifts of God with us,

and serve the world together,

at

OUR SAVIOUR'S LUTHERAN CHURCH,

10 Farrand Street (at River),

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO, CANADA

Our congregation is located on the traditional territory of the Ojibway of the Fort William First Nation, a signatory to the Robinson-Superior Treaty of 1850.

Welcome!

We invite you to be part of our community of grace and faith, active in Thunder Bay for the past 114 years. We seek to continue to be a place where people can grow in their understanding of God's forgiving love revealed through Jesus. Gathered in to worship, God's Spirit calls us out to share in word and action what it means to be people of God.

OUR VISION:

"Come share the gifts of God - serve the world"

Province 'Stay at home' lockdown

The present provincial 'stay at home' State of Emergency began on Thurs. Jan. 14 and continues through at least Thurs. Feb. 11 During this time the church building will remain closed.

Pastor Matthew remains working and is available for pastoral care, although not in-person. He will be going to his church office as necessary -- to check the building, pick up mail and your offerings (thank you!), answer phone messages, use resources, and do other tasks that need to be done on-site. These times will not be 'office hours' - i.e. the building will remain closed.

In-person worship is now suspended at least through Sun. Feb. 14.


The good news is that the government is encouraging virtual services. The limits set on persons present will enable us to tape these for each Sunday.


The Worship folder and sermon for the current Sunday continue to be available on this website (click on 'Worship Outline and Sermon' at top of page), and also by email (subscribe by sending a note to osimm@tbaytel.net ).


Our council continues to monitor the situation.

Christ's peace, and hope, be with us during these times. God's compassion and presence be with all those suffering. The Spirit's gift of love be shared through us.

January 25-31

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

7:00 p.m. Bible Book of the Month club (Zoom)

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday, January 31 - Season after Epiphany

In-person worship suspended

Readings: Deuteronomy 18:15-20; Psalm 111; I Corinthians 8:1-13; Mark 1:21-28.

Sermon - "Authority" - Pastor Matthew

11:00 a.m. - Virtual Fellowship Hour

Newsletter:

To receive a copy of the monthly 'Ambassador' by email, please send a request to osimm@tbaytel.net.

The text version of our January Newsletter is on the page ' Our Newsletter'.

Deadline for February 'Ambassador' articles: Feb. 1

Sunday Virtual Fellowship Hours

Join us each Sunday until we gather again for in-person worship, 11:00 a.m. - Noon,.

Upcoming:

-Jan. 24

-Jan. 31

-Feb. 7

-Feb. 14

Zoom invitations are sent out each Saturday, or contact Pastor Matthew. Bring your coffee!

Bible Book of the Month Club

To be part of our national Bishop's initiative, we have organized a Bible Book of the Month club. In Janaury we are studying Ecclesiastes.

Once a month, we gather by Zoom and share our experiences of reading. You can join any time -- contact Pastor Matthew.

Our next meeting is this Weds. Jan. 27, at 7:00 p.m. Email Pastor to receive the sign-in invitation.

Our Pancake Supper will have a new face this year. We are all invited to join in by Zoom, having our own pancakes and coffee/tea at home.

Put the date on your calendar: Tuesday, February 16, 5:00 p.m.

Your donations will be thankfully accepted, and will be presented to the Dew Drop Inn.

Recipes and sign-in invitations will be emailed.

Recorded Services:

-Services are recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel, Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Thunder Bay’:

New: Third Sunday after Epiphany, January 24:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5QqBCLg0WA

New: Second Sunday after Epiphany, January 17:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3NcO_iwIJg

Baptism of our Lord, January 10:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3Yj5_VoSfs

Our plans for Ash Wednesday, February 17, continue to develop, due to the changing pandemic regulations:

12:15 p.m. Devotions - Gathering by Zoom

6:30 p.m. Live-stream worship, hosted by Eastern Synod, ELCIC

The Annual Congregational Meeting of Our Saviour's Lutheran Church of Thunder Bay, Inc. , originally scheduled for Sun. Feb. 7, has been postponed, due to the stay-at-home order of the province.

It has been rescheduled for Sunday, February 28, at 11:30 a.m.

The format will be a hybrid in-person/Zoom event. Hopefully, Pastor Matthew and the Council excective, plus some members, will be able to meet in Immanuel Hall. All others will be able to connect via Zoom. A quorum of 25 voting members is required.

When you receive instructions on how to sign in, you can begin to do so at 11:00 for Registration and Fellowship. The meeting will formally begin at 11:30 a.m.

Reports are due at the church by Mon. Feb. 8. Annual Report packages will be available by Sun. Feb. 14 -- either through email or by pickup at church.

As we move forward with firm plans, you will be kept informed.

In-Person Worship

The service looks and sounds different than it did 8 months ago, but the goals are the same: to give God thanks, to be refreshed in faith, to build up community, and to be renewed in service and witness.

-Please enter at the wooden doors off Farrand Street, answer the screening questions asked by the Greeter, wear a mask, and follow the posted guidelines on social distancing and seating.

-There is a limit of 30% of capacity inside the sanctuary, 50 in attendance.

- The worship folders are found on the pews. Spoken responses are permitted, provided masks are being worn and social distancing protocols are being observed. There is no congregational singing, but you may hum along to the hymns, or sing softly, as you would do while sharing a lullaby with a child in your arms.

-There are containers for offerings at the entrance to the sanctuary.

- There is no Fellowship hour. On the way out, please maintain physical distancing, exiting by the doors to the parking lot.

Holy Communion

We remain in our places, as we share the bread only. You receive an individually wrapped wafer as you enter. Gluten free wafers are available on request. If you feel more comfortable, you can bring bread for yourself or your social bubble.

Children’s Ministry

Due to Health Unit guidelines for places of worship, for the time being there will be no in-person Sunday School classes. Handouts are available at worship – they can be emailed to you, or picked up at the Martin Luther statue in the front hall.

“Where we are headed is not to be back to where we were, but we give thanks that who we are as a church has not changed.”

Your Congregational Council and Pastor Matthew

Epiphany Sermon Series

ELCIC National and Synod Bishops have committed to preparing sermons for congregational use through the season of Epiphany for the Sundays from January 10 to February 14.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Mark 1: 14-20

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Bishop Greg Mohr, BC Synod

Ominous words begin today’s gospel reading.

“Now after John was arrested…”

You can hear the music in the background change. There is a sense of foreboding . . . danger.

Granted, these are not the first words in the gospel of Mark, but they are pretty close to the beginning. After all, we’re only in chapter 1, verse 14 here.

But these are the first words of this large, major section of the gospel of Mark. This begins Jesus’ ministry.

Before I go further, I want to bring my greetings to all you across the ELCIC, as well as to the parishes of the Anglican Diocese of Caledonia in northern BC, and to Bishop David Lehmann, upon his invitation to share in this way for the observance of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

Now after John was arrested…”

Reading those words, you know that there is more than a hint of danger here. There is a recognition that evil, that sinister powers, are at work. There’s a darkness that hangs in the air. It’s a foreshadowing, certainly, for we know the rest of the story and of what happened to Jesus.

Jesus is always mindful of what he will be facing, confronting, and encountering in the months and years ahead.

The gospel writers often refer to Jesus as “turning his face toward Jerusalem.” (Again, another ominous statement.) Maybe John’s arrest was expected; inevitable.

Not only did John confront the religious leaders of the day by using some not-very-nice words – “you brood of vipers” probably doesn’t sit very well; I mean, that is going to elicit a few calls to the Bishop, I tell you, by congregational members concerned about their pastor’s lack of tactfulness.

But John the Baptist also had the temerity to challenge King Herod #2. John made the unpardonable sin (from the King’s perspective, that is) of challenging the King’s morality. Herod not only married his own niece, which was verboten enough, but his niece was also married to Herod’s brother at the time.

Well, John the Baptist didn’t think this was an action worthy of a king and said so. He condemned Herod and Herod took offence.

And so now John is in prison and things look grim. Enter, stage right, Jesus. Jesus is from the town of Nazareth in Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is about 30 kms to the east. Jesus comes proclaiming the good news of God — “gospel.”

This is the kairos time, the right time. The reign of God has come near. It is at hand, right in front of you, all around you. This is God’s time, breaking in, among us, in us, through us.

“Turn around,” said Jesus. “Repent. You’re going the wrong way. The good news is here. God’s activity is among you.”

Then Jesus goes for a walk along the beach. He sees Simon and Andrew — brothers — fishing. And he calls them, to come and follow.

It’s sort of not how we do things when calling someone for ministry. What happened to the colloquy exams of candidates? And what of ordinations and council meetings and issuing formal letters of call?

No. Here, Jesus speaks, a word: “ Come. Follow me.”

It is a word that invites us, calls us, calls us to something, calls us into something; calls us on a journey of which we cannot know the ending.

Simon and Andrew are the first to be so called. Then also, Jim and Johnny. There are more to come in this Round #1 of the Disciple Draft. But these four begin the gathering of the disciples.

Now remember what I said about the theme of the opening statement in this story — about John’s imprisonment. That is the context in which this “Call” story takes place. It speaks of the hardships and challenges of life, and it speaks of ministry “in spite of” such things.

The gospel calls us, compels us, to be people of grace, to be light in this world, and salt of the earth, in spite of, or maybe because of the difficulties and challenges we face.

Jesus calls.

Jesus does not promise a life of ease. He certainly does not promise riches and wealth. But he does promise that he will be with us, all the way to the cross and beyond.

It is this promise of grace and presence that sustains us during the dark moments of our lives.

Jesus and John the Baptist faced the reality of despotic rulers and the likelihood of imprisonment – even death. They witnessed evil incarnate, and they also saw how cheap life was and how easily people were cast aside in their society.

For us, maybe it’s not “evil,” so much as just the reality of life in this day and age. COVID-19 is laying bare the divisions in our society and the systemic injustices all around us.

We see more clearly the financial inequities, the extra burdens placed upon the poor,

the underemployed, those without security of housing, without secure access to food, without guarantees of work.

We see those who are marginalized be even more at risk.

We see so vividly how this COVID-era has affected people’s mental and emotional health; the increasing stress and strain, the challenges many face in their relationships.

We see more clearly the fragility of life, the vulnerability of elders in care.

And yes, for many of us, for all of us, there is the reality of heartache, pain and sorrow; of isolation and loneliness, and perhaps also the death of a loved one.

For many people in this COVID-era, there is a renewed search for meaning and purpose;

unsure of their place in this world, of what they want their future to be.

Old patterns and ways of being and thinking are being re-thought.

What can be, should be, needs to be, set aside? What am I learning about this time that I want to ensure stays with me as we move forward together?

What does it mean to be kind? To be part of community? To live out our faith? To live out this calling that we have been given by Jesus?

As the world has changed around us, we are struggling with questions as to what it means to be the church in this 21st century. It used to be that we could put up a new church building and people would come and fill it. That doesn’t happen anymore.

Our world today is quite different: it is increasingly multi-cultural; increasingly multi-faith; there is a strong emphasis on “personal” and “individual” faith; and where everything is “relative”; and there is a significant consumeristic approach to religion as people pick and choose from a variety of religious and spiritual practices.

In addition, religion is often seen as suspect, particularly as the radicalism of religion increases.

As if these challenges were not enough, we are hearing more and more that people simply find the church irrelevant.

In light of such dramatic shifts in the world and within the church itself, it is easy to be paralyzed. We often are unsure of what it means to be the church and how to be the church in this day and age.

But in the midst of this uncertainty, in the midst of this changing culture, Christ’s call to each of us remains the same.

Jesus prayed for us with these words: “As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” Such words are a reminder that the church does not exist for itself but that Christ calls us to be in the world.

Jesus’ call to us continues to re-orient us; to refocus our attention and our action.

First and foremost, his call reminds us of our identity: that we are claimed by God, adopted, spirited, enlivened.

It is Christ who calls us; and it is Christ who sends us into the world . . .

Or maybe a better way to say that is: It is Christ who calls us out into the world in which Christ is already there; to join Christ in the world, walking along the seashore, serving those on the margins, challenging systems of injustice, caring for the lost, the last and the least, welcoming prodigal children, turning water into wine, and hearing that even a cup of water given in his name is big and huge and Christ-like.

Our identity informs our living; that is, our living arises out of our calling, out of our identity. Baptized into Christ we are called to the same mission and the same ministry to which Jesus himself was engaged.

That is our calling. That is our vocation. The word vocation literally means a call or summons.

According to James Fowler, “Vocation is NOT our job, our work, or our occupation. It may, of course include (such things) but it should not be limited to …one’s source of livelihood (or) identified with one’s career.”

“What is vocation, then?” asks Fowler. He proposes the following:

Vocation is the response a person makes … to the address of God and to the calling to (be in) partnership (with God).”

(It) involves the orchestration of our leisure, our relationships, our work, our private life, our public life, and the resources we steward, so as to put it all at the disposal of Gods purposes in the services of God and the neighbour.”

(James Fowler, Becoming Adult, Becoming Christian)

That is pretty heavy stuff.

But what it is reminding us of, is that because we have been called by God, all of our life is to be lived in grace – in joyful response and thanksgiving to the grace and love of God.

Mother Teresa, among others, says it in a similar way. The story has it that when a young man asked Mother Teresa how he could know what he should do with his life, she responded, “Where the needs of the world intersect with your gifts, there is your calling.”

Jesus calls; calls us to follow, calls us to faithfulness, calls us to be like the sower, out there sowing the seed regardless of the results.

The sower is all too aware of the rocks, the trodden path, the birds, the thorns. But the sower sows nonetheless.

Our job, our calling, our vocation, is to sow the seed, to serve and love, to worship and praise.

Our calling, our vocation, recalls the words of the prophet Micah:

“What does the Lord require of you,but to do justice, and to love kindness,and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)


“Now after John was arrested . . . “

Jesus walks beside the Sea of Galilee . . . and he calls: Simon, Andrew, James, John, me, you …

to ventures of which we cannot see the ending by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown.

We walk forward in faith, trusting in the God who has called us by name.

Amen.

Lutheran, Anglican Leaders Encourage Observing World Interfaith Harmony Week

Lutheran, Anglican leaders encourage members to observe the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) from February 1-7, 2021.

January 14, 2021

Dear friends in faith and siblings in humanity,

As leaders of Canadian churches in ‘full communion’, we wish to encourage your observance of the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW) from February 1-7, 2021.

Begun in 2010, the annual WIHW has today become a preeminent opportunity for raising up the imperative of dialogue between religions and spiritual communities of all kinds for the sake of greater understanding, peaceful coexistence, and mutual collaboration for the common good. Its basic premise is that regardless of religion, faith, or system of belief, there is a common affirmation shared by many: that our highest convictions about life and meaning impact not only ourselves, but also compel us to love of our neighbours.

In 2012, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) endorsed a request to encourage the local observance of WIHW each year among people and congregations in their personal and communal prayers. Though in a less formalized way, members of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACoC) have also engaged in the week for several years through local events, services, and celebrations of various kinds. Our mutual commitments to www.acommonword.ca, made last year at this time, include lifting up WIHW.

We feel it is highly significant that WIHW takes place at the end of the liturgical season of Epiphany. Each year on January 6th we are reminded of a meeting between the child Jesus and some Seekers of Wisdom from a far away land. As followers of Christ in a religiously diverse time, we hear a call to cultivate encounter and relationship with neighbours who journey along different spiritual and religious paths. Histories and incidents of hostility and violence between faith communities amplify the significance of cultivating relationships as a contribution to the work of making peace.

The urgency for interreligious awareness and cooperation to respond to the many challenges facing the one human family continues to grow, and we believe it is a critical part of Christian discipleship today to commit ourselves to the way of genuine encounter and peacemaking with people of other faiths and beliefs. Together we therefore wholeheartedly endorse the global celebrations of WIHW, and encourage the members of our churches to embrace its vision and aims as a faithful expression of their love of God turned outward into love for all others.

We offer the following list of possibilities for people and congregations to explore together when looking for ways to learn more and to get involved, not only during WIHW itself but throughout the year:

O God, Creator of all, you have made us in our great diversity out of the abundance of your love. For the sake of that same love, you invite the whole of creation into your welcoming embrace through your beauty and wisdom made manifest in the world – the same beauty and wisdom made known in the person of Jesus Christ. Grant that those who seek to draw closer towards his humble and hospitable way may also draw closer to our neighbours, that together we might share more fully in the peace and harmony that is your will for each one. Amen.

The Rev. Susan Johnson, National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

The Most Rev. Linda Nicholls Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada

The Most Rev. Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous, Anglican Archbishop

World Council of Churches Prayer Cycle:

Cyprus, Greece, Turkey

24 - 30 January 2021

Intercessions

We are thankful for:

  • the 2,000-year presence and witness of the church in Asia Minor (now Turkey, Cyprus, and Greece) – the region in which St Paul and other apostles first planted the seeds of the Christian faith – and for how Greek culture influenced the early church

  • the Church Fathers who came from this area, along with many men and women who were Christian martyrs, and where seven ecumenical councils were convened

  • the pioneering work of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in quest of Christian unity and for protection of the environment

  • those who have reached out to assist people who have fled to, and through, these lands.

We pray for:

  • the healing of memories and wounds inflicted by early 20th century genocides of Armenian, Greek, and Assyrian communities, and for current tensions in these lands

  • enhanced respect for all minority groups and their claims,

  • those who work for justice and reconciliation

  • the people who struggle because of economic and political crises in these countries

  • more stable democratic governments that further the good of all.

Prayers

A morning prayer

Our spirit seeks you in the early dawn, O God, for your commandments are light.

Teach us, O Master, your righteousness and make us worthy to follow your commandments with all our strength.

Take away from our hearts every darkness.

Grant to us the Sun of righteousness and protect our lives from any bad influence with the seal of your most Holy Spirit.

Direct our steps to the way of peace and grant to us that this present morning may be peaceful so that we may send up the morning hymns to you the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, the only God, who is more than without beginning and creator of all. Amen.

(Excerpt from a morning prayer to the Holy Triniy, St. Basil the Great, 4th century, from Let us pray to the Lord, p. 58, WCC Publications)

A prayer to Christ

Christ our God, who at all times and in every hour are worshipped and glorified in heaven and on earth; long-suffering, generous in mercy, and rich in compassion; loving to the righteous and merciful to the sinner; you call all to salvation through the promise of blessings to come: Lord, in this hour accept our prayers and direct our lives in the way of your commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds, and deliver us from all affliction, evil, and distress. Encompass us with your holy angels, so that guided and guarded by their company we may reach the unity of faith and in the knowledge your unapproachable glory, for you are blessed unto the ages of ages. Amen.

(From the Office of the Hours)

A litany

Priest: Have mercy upon us, O God, according to your great mercy, we pray you, hear and have mercy.

Again we pray for all those responsible for our churches and communities and for all brothers and sisters in Christ, for every Christian soul afflicted and weary, in need of God’s mercies and help.

Kyrie eleison.

Again we pray for the protection of this city and those who dwell in it; for the peace of the whole world; for the well-being of the holy churches of God; for the servants of God here present and all those working for the ecumenical movement.

Kyrie eleison.

Again we pray for the salvation and help of all who labour and serve; for those who travel; for the healing for the sick; for the deliverance of captives and refugees.

Kyrie eleison.

Again we pray for the repose, refreshment and blessed memory of … and forgiveness of sins of all who have gone to rest before and lie here and everywhere.

Kyrie eleison.

Again we pray that God will keep this city and every city and country from famine, pestilence, earthquake, flood, fire, pollution, war and civil strife, that our good God who loves humanity will be gracious and merciful and deliver us from his righteous chastisement which impends against us, and have mercy on us.

Kyrie eleison.

Again we pray that the Lord God will hear the prayer of us sinners and have mercy on us.

Kyrie eleison.

Hear us, O God our Saviour, the hope of all ends of the earth, and of those who are far off upon the sea; and be gracious, be gracious, O Master, unto us sinners and have mercy on us. For you are a merciful God who loves humanity and all your creation, and unto you we give glory, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever and unto ages of ages.

Amen.

In: Let us pray to the Lord, p. 89-90; WCC Publications.

Mandatory Use of Mask or Face Covering within Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church

Under instructions issued by the Medical Officer of Health, all businesses and organizations, including places of worship, in the Thunder Bay District Health Unit area must adopt a policy that requires all members of the public and employees who enter or remain in an enclosed public space to wear a mask or face covering.:

1. Beginning 12:01 a.m., July 24, 2020, all members of the public, employees, and others who enter or remain in enclosed public areas of Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Thunder Bay, Inc. are required to wear a mask or face covering. The mask or face covering must cover the nose, mouth and chin without gaping.

a. The following persons are exempted from the requirement to wear a mask or face covering and will not be required to provide proof of such exemption:

i. Children under two years of age, or children under the age of five years either chronologically or developmentally who are unable or refuse to wear a mask or face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver;

ii. Individuals with medical conditions rendering them unable to safely wear a mask or face covering, including breathing difficulties, cognitive difficulties, hearing or communication difficulties;

iii. Individuals who cannot wear or are unable to apply/remove a mask or face covering without assistance, including those who are accommodated under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) or who have protections under the Ontario Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c.H. 19 as amended;

iv. Employees who are within or behind a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglas).

b. Temporary removal of the mask or face covering is permitted where necessary when:

i. actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity, including water-based activities;

ii. consuming food or drink;

iii. receiving services in a personal service setting on an area of the face that would otherwise be covered by a mask or face covering; and

iv. for any emergency or medical purpose.

2. This policy will be implemented and enforced in “good faith” to primarily educate people on wearing masks or face coverings and promote their use in enclosed public spaces. Persons listed under 1a) are not required to show proof of exemption.

3. Signs about the requirement to wear masks or face coverings will be posted prominently at all public entrances. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will also be made available at all entrances and exits for persons entering or exiting Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church of Thunder Bay, Inc.

4. Employees/staff will be trained on the policy, including:

a. How and when to provide verbal reminders of the policy’s masking requirement to persons entering or remaining without a mask or face covering, and those who remove their mask or face covering for an extended period of time.

b. where and how to properly wear a mask or face covering;

c. how to respond to customers who do not have a mask or face covering;

d. where people can get more information about the policy; and

e. how to handle a customer who becomes aggressive about the new requirement.

5. A copy of this policy will be made available on request to a public health inspector or other person authorized to enforce the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Dr. Janet DeMille, the MOH has included these words in her directive:

Emerging evidence supports that wearing a mask or face covering when in enclosed spaces is an important measure in reducing community transmission of COVID-19. Increasingly, recommendations and expectations around masking in enclosed spaces are being strengthened to reflect this...

Implementation of the policy should be enacted and enforced in ‘good faith’ and should be primarily used as a means to educate people on mask or face covering use in public spaces."