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“United in God’s Work” Comprehensive Report

March 17, 2015

You can find information on the Comprehensive Review Report at the following websites:


Camp Awesome 2015!

February 19, 2015

Another successful Camp Awesome was held in early July at St. Paul’s.   Thirty children attended this fun filled week long event.

The Way of the Pilgrim: Confirmation Class

December 3, 2014

Faith and spiritual grow is something that blooms and matures throughout our lives. A tradition within the United Church is for youth to engage their faith in a meaningful way through study and reflection and decide if they wish to become full members within the church. Full membership allows one to vote on temporal and spiritual matters within the church. Membership is also transferable to any United Church across Canada.

With this in mind, a program has been developed to give those seeking to become full members within with the United Church a deeper understanding of prayer, of being a 21st Christian, and the development of “church” identity. The hope of this program of exploration is to equip people to continue the journey of becoming more fully the people that God calls us to be. The program runs from December 14th to June 2015.

This program has a number of components but it has a lot of flexibility.


  • This program is open to anyone 12 years of age and older.
  • Attend six classes of 1.5 hours each on Sunday from noon to 1:30PM. Bring your lunch. These will be scheduled throughout the year. The first class is on Sunday December 14.
    Each class will have a take home reflection assignment.
  • Attend at least two worship services during Advent and Christmas.
  • Attend at least two worship services during Lent and Easter.
  • Attend one Board meeting (meetings are on the first Wednesday of the month from 7:309:00PM. You only have to stay for the first hour).
  • Attend one other church committee meeting. There are many to choose from. Dates and time are listed in the bulletin.
  • Attend the Annual Meeting of St. Paul’s United Church in February of 2015.
  • Participate in one of the following: Messy Church, Outreach activity, church fundraiser or Food Bank event (i.e. prepare food hampers).

The hope is to take the class to Worshiplude in February at Dominion Chalmers United Church in Ottawa. Confirmation Sunday will be in June of 2015. Each pilgrim is required to stay for the coffee time after the worship service for a reception.

The aim is for each person to develop an understanding that church is worship in action in our community in and beyond. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call or email Rev. Carla at 613-838-5397 or

December 3, 2014

“What’s Up with the Collar Rev?” by Carla Van Delen

December 3, 2014

“I once heard of a pastor who was offering a series of children’s sermons on the symbols of the church. On one Sunday the pastor was speaking about vestments and asked the question, “Why do you think I wear this collar?” To this question came the response, “Because it kills fleas and ticks for up to 5 months.”

You may have noticed that I have been dressing a little different lately. For worship services and occasions when I am out in the community I have decided to wear a clergy collar. I do so after much thought and prayer (about seven years worth). I realize that the choice to wear a clergy collar has both pros and cons. For instance, I know that some people who have had a bad experience with clergy or the church might judge me by what I wear. For some the collar will be a hindrance to getting to know me and what I stand for. My collar will define me before they even know me. However we are living in a time where more and more people have no experience with the church. They might know that clergy wear a collar and might be intrigued enough to ask me some questions. The fact that I get so many double looks as I am out and about in Richmond says that for many people seeing a woman wearing a clergy collar is not the norm. Also we live in a multi-cultural world where seeing women in positions of authority especially within a religious organization is ground breaking. It may seem the norm for women to be clergy in the United Church but it is not the norm in most of the religious world.

It has taken me a long time to come to the decision to wear the “uniform” of the church. Within the United Church there is no dress code for clergy. Some clergy dress casual, scruffy, business casual, etc. Back in the eighties there was a shift to wearing secular clothes as a way of visibly saying that there was no difference between clergy and the laity. Over the centuries it was felt that clergy had been set above and apart (often on a pedestal) from the everyday person. Our culture has gradually seen a shift toward casual dress in the workplace and in our leisure time. Even doctors and nurses have taken up casual dress which may have made it difficult to discern who was coming into your examination room to take your temperature. Oh and just to be clear, even though we most often associate the clergy collar with a Catholic priest, the collar was in fact invented by a Presbyterian. However culturally, there seems to be a turn in tide toward reclaiming the uniform. A uniform is no longer a dirty word.

For me the collar is a symbol just like anything else. I realize that when I wear it some people will be happy because the collar symbolizes for them familiarity, comfort and stability. For others though it might symbolize stuffiness, self-righteousness and judgment. For me it symbolizes publicly my faith, my role in the church, and hopeful I will wear the collar in a way that says, “I am open to discuss faith and spiritually. “ Truly it is amazing that one little piece of white plastic can symbolize so much.

Advent Musings from the Minister’s Laptop

December 3, 2014

and again Isaiah says, ‘The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope.’
13May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Hope, As Confidence
-Romans 15:12-13 NRSV

About a week ago I had a “perfect moment.” Now what is a “perfect moment” you may ask? Well let me tell you about it then I will explain. It occurred after lunch on a Saturday. Bert, my nephew and a family friend were sitting at our long kitchen table, all deep in thought over their next chess move. Classic music danced in the air, as each sat with a hot chocolate cooling in front of them as the wood fire cracked in the stove. I had just sat down with my own warm cup in front of me as I took in the scene in front of me, husband and these two young boys, and I realized that I was having a “perfect moment.” My next thought was to thank the Lord for that “perfect moment.”

You see “perfect moments” don’t last long. Usually they are over by the time you realize that they are even happening. The trick to “perfect moments” is to be ready for them. They can’t be fabricated even though we may try, and they usually spring up at the most unlikely of times and places. They happen when your baby decides to walk or when your newly adopted child calls you Mom or Grandpa for the first time. “Perfect moments” happen when snow flies all around you and you feel like you are in the middle of a just shaken snow globe. “Perfect moments” happen after a long day when your spouse says, “I’ll cook for you tonight honey.” The trick with “perfect moments” is to be ready for them to happen, believe that they will happen, even if you don’t know exactly when they will show up.

The scriptures we will be reading in community during Advent are all about being awake, being ready, making ready and being on the lookout for what God is up to. “Perfect moments” allow us to see that God is in the world even in the most mundane but nonetheless special moments of our lives. Advent is a time to make our spirit ready for what God has to show us. Winter itself is a time to slow down, take stock, re-energize and plan for what is too come. It may mean adopting a new spiritual practice like prayer beads to help focus your prayer life, or Lectio Divina to help open up the scriptures for you.

Here at St. Paul’s lots of planning is underway to ready our hearts for the Advent and Christmas season. Messy Church, Guitar Sunday’s, Children’s Choir, Bible Study, White Gift, God at the Cinema, Pie Making, Angel Tree, Creative Worship, Confirmation Classes all provide ways of deepening our faith, of expressing and experiencing our faith in word and action. Each activity on offer at St. Paul’s provides a way to live and breathe the Good News. It is my hope that by engaging in the life of St. Paul’s and by nourishing your own inner life, you will be more open to realize that a “perfect moment” has happened.

May your Advent, Christmas and Epiphany bring you closer to the Good News found in this season.

Rev. Carla Marie Van Delen

St. Paul’s News and Happenings!

September 29, 2014

The latest edition of The Epistle Newsletter is here! In this edition:

  • The Nobody Doll by Joanne Braaksma
  • Prayer Beads for Protestants
  • Messy Church Program for 2014

…and much more! Download it today!