Trinity Newsletter June 2020


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We just finished celebrating Pentecost – the day we remember when the Holy Spirit descended on the followers of Jesus and the church was born. And one of the most amazing parts of that amazing story is that those who were gathered together started speaking in different languages – and yet they all understood each other!

We need some of that now – some understanding. I don’t know how often I’ve listened to the news lately and not understood how someone could say something, or do something, and how any of it can make any sense. People are speaking different “languages” and no one is understanding each other.

We need some of the Holy Spirit – the spirit of love and kindness, the spirit of forgiveness and acceptance, the spirit of love and understanding. And we need the Power of the Holy Spirit, the power that can burn away all that is deceitful and hateful, the power of truth and accountability, the power that can change us, transform us, uplift us, and empower us.

On Pentecost we are reminded that such power is bestowed on each of us. We just need to be feel it, be moved by it, and be transformed. That Spirit led to the formation of the church, and that Spirit will sustain our church in this difficult time. There’s no doubt that our church is in crisis – and many of our congregations will close. But there’s a spirit in the air at Trinity. We are a people who are accepting, we trust in God’s guidance and support, and we are open to the new things that God is creating. Trinity is going to survive – because the Spirit is strong here.

It will guide us to whatever lies before us.

I keep coming to “lasts” – and this is my last Pentecost message and my last newsletter article. I write it with a great deal of sadness, for I’ll miss you all greatly. But I also write it with a great deal of hope. Trinity has led the way across the church for many years now, and the national church has acknowledged the important and innovative work being done here – work that the rest of the church now needs more than ever.

So may the Spirit continue to lead you. May this continue to be a place of understanding and kindness. Trust in that Spirit, for when you do, there is nothing in the future to fear. As the disciples found on that first Pentecost, there was nothing ahead of them but new adventures.

Thank you so much for the adventure of the last thirty years. Be well, stay safe, and if you can, remember me fondly – for that’s how I will remember you!

Your friend, Randy



VIRTUAL CONTACT VIA ZOOM Do you know that Trinity folk are able to touch base with others in the congregation through the Wednesday morning Zoom contact? At 11:00 am every Wednesday morning the invitation is extended for everyone with an electronic device (with camera and microphone) to click into: https://zoom.us/j/3378131525 and chat with others. It’s like a telephone conference call with the advantage of seeing the people.

A WEE NOTE FROM WORSHIP (Pat Jackson)

Trinity is so fortunate to have the ability to put services on-line for the world to see! And that has occurred for the past two months and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Yes, we have had viewers from all across Canada, some in the U.S. and some as far away as Australia. Clergy in Thunder Bay have provided Sermons, Prayers, and Scriptures while Church Musicians have led hymns, provided anthems, and supported virtual involvement for singers. Trinity has been blessed with the leadership of the Cosbey family for many, many services and we thank them from the bottom of our hearts!

So what’s ahead?

Some of our city churches have Licensed Lay Worship Leaders who assist with sermons and services when ordained ministry is not available. Trinity is blessed with two such folk in Anne MacDonald and Robert Cosbey. There is a possibility of another Trinity person taking the courses required for this designation. Lori Van Santvoort-Jansekovich is a LLWL from Broadway United and Christina Stricker from Harmony United has her designation as well. Meantime, two St. Paul’s members are completing this commitment. They are Diana Hannaford-Wilcox and Cyndy Raby. I mention this because part of the responsibilities for LLWL is to preach – I’m not sure how many times.

So what’s ahead?

  • Diana will be coordinating, preaching and doing the music for the sermon prior to this Newsletter.

  • Cyndy will be coordinating and preaching on June 7.

  • Rev. Louise Hart from First-Wesley is on deck for June 14.

  • Lori Van Santvoort-Jansekovich will present on June 21 with Trinity doing the music.

  • Rev. Rob Smith will coordinate on June 28 with Pinegrove doing the music.

  • In July Rev. Louise, Rev. Rob and Christina Stricker are on the calendar.

  • We may see a familiar Trinity face in August.

  • And so, we continue to worship on-line with the work of the Trinity Tech Team who do such an awesome job! Due to COVID-19, isolation and safety, Shane Judge has jumped into the job of operating the Tri-Caster, Ross is the rock of the upstairs task force, Maureen Judge has been the “words” person and Randy records all parts of the picture which need recording.

  • We all need to say THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

The services over the past two months have been thought provoking, spiritually lifting and appreciated immensely.

PROPERTY NOTES (Jean Murray)

Just a few lines to bring you up-to-date with some property issues. Due to COVID-19 and the LACK of funds, we have canceled replacing the garden shed where we keep the lawn mower, snow blower etc. and the fixing of the doors on Trinity Hall until hopefully, next year.

Early in the spring we found the company Northern Sun Solar Group who repair solar panels UPON inspection. We found that 11 converts in the panels had failed. These converts are under warranty so the forms were filled out and the converts have arrived. They will be installed sometime in the next couple of weeks. Thanks to a member of the congregation who donated the funds to cover the cost of the labor for this job.

Adan mentioned to us, because of his bad knee, that he felt he would not be able to mow the lawns this summer. At the time, we decided we would hire someone to do the job. With the LACK of funds, we have decided to ask for volunteers to do the mowing. I have volunteers for June, July and August. If you can cover September, please let me know (JEAN at 767-6631). You can use the lawn mower at the church or bring your own. Adan will do any trimming that needs to be done. Our thanks to Alex Cawlishaw for doing such a wonderful job with the garden in front of Trinity Hall.


MINISTRY AND PERSONNEL COMMITTEE (Carol Forneri)

This Committee is not as ‘heavy’ as some of the others – small but mighty – in the pleasure of working with the key people who make sure Trinity runs like a well-oiled machine. I accepted the challenge of chairing this Committee at the Annual Meeting in a year of unknowns facing us with the retirement of Randy looming large. And then COVID-19 arrived!!!

Randy’s retirement became effective on May 31, and what tremendous challenges he faced before he could begin to relax and enjoy himself with some free time. Since our self isolation began, along with everything else in our lives, the fate of our church has been a great fear. Randy has certainly risen to the occasion. “Virtual Reality” has become a living challenge that has allowed us to keep in touch with each other and continues to be important in our lives. With Randy’s electronic expertise and creativity, and the fact that he introduced us to streaming services quite some time ago, we have been able to reach out to our congregation and many others. He also met with the other United Church clergy in the city and proposed that we all work together to keep services going by sharing the workload and stream the services to all the congregations. We have seen how well this is working. Literally, thousands of people across the country and in some other countries also, have been regularly tuning in each Sunday, and have sent their thanks at how well the services have been presented. How fortunate we are to have had a minister with the foresight to bring this about. This will be Randy’s legacy to us.

Our magical head musician, Sandra has been invaluable in her creativity and ministry in music helped in no small part by her extremely talented family who have so willingly stepped in to enrich our services. We’ve enjoyed and appreciated them all, right down to the smallest Cosbey choristers. The choir has a Zoom meeting with Sandra each Thursday evening at the regular choir practice time to stay in touch with each other. Sandra continues to go into the church to practice and to be ‘taped’ for upcoming services.

Marcella is also self isolating at her daughter’s. Last heard, she was busy sewing masks!

Joan Bailey continues to do a very large job in making sure we are able to contact each other. She is in the church about one day a week, but mainly is doing her job from home in self isolation. She monitors the phone calls daily and responds to requests and questions you may have. IF YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY CALL JOAN AT THE CHURCH 345-5621. She will answer your questions and do any follow-up that is needed.

Adan Hernandez does a walk through daily at the church to make sure all is well. This also satisfies the insurance needs. No cleaning is done because: A – the church is spotless, and B – he is also self isolating.

We at Trinity are so fortunate to have so many qualified people in so many different areas who are willing to lend their talents in our times of need. We have two qualified Lay Worship Leaders in our Congregation. Anne MacDonald and Robert Cosbey will be seen in the pulpit in the future to lend leadership to our services, as well as liaise with the other ministers and lay leaders in planning the services for the community.

The Ministry and Personnel Committee is made up of Carol Forneri, Heather Schiewe, Sheila Colquhoun and Jack Buckley. If you have questions that you think you could help with, please phone me (345-5264).

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION (Marlene Perrier)

Due to the distancing precautions, there has been no active planning within this Committee for Christian Education programming. Unfortunately, this will also involve the July 4 All Day Outdoor Retreat. It has been cancelled for 2020 but perhaps some type of meditation/retreat can be held during the winter.


SOCIAL (Lee-Ann Smetaniuk)


We are keeping our fingers crossed as our Welcome Back BBQ is scheduled for September 20th (right after church). More details will be available as the summer progresses.

OUTREACH - REFUGEE UPDATE (Shane Judge)

The COVID-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on a lot of dreams around the world. This included efforts by the Inter-Church Refugee Committee to bring Faisa Saleh, the mother of the Mahmoud children, to Thunder Bay.

This happened because of the Government of Canada’s decision to shut down all of its visa offices around the world. We are still the legal sponsors of the mother to Jamila, Mariam and Omar, though our legal sponsorship of the children is finished. (We now have sufficient funds in our bank account to support mom for one year once she finally arrives.) At the time of the visa office closures, we were waiting for notice of her departure from Malaysia. All of the paperwork and vetting was complete. But for now, we’re going to have to wait until the visa offices are re-opened for refugees to begin their travel to Canada. When that’s going to happen is unclear.

I’ve very recently spoken with our Sponsorship Agreement Holder about what’s going on with the Government of Canada’s plans to re-open the refugee system. He says the federal government is continuing to process sponsorship applications being filed within Canada. However, the health checks and security reviews overseas are on hold.

Meanwhile, in Thunder Bay, the Mahmoud family is hunkered down like the rest of us. Jamila continues to collect support from the Ontario Disability Support Program. Her dreams of getting into the workforce are on hold. She is currently taking sign language lessons to gain proficiency in English or North American Sign Language. Mariam has completed her first year of the Early Childhood Education Program at Confederation College. We have advised her to take advantage of the federal government’s student financial support program to carry her over through the summer months until school resumes. Omar, the youngest, was off work for several weeks when the Canadian Tire Store at Intercity was shut down. However, he’s now back at work since the store has re-opened.

The Arroub family is fine. There was a small hiccup with a licence plate transfer when father Saeid bought a newer van from another person with limited English skills. A police officer said Saeid’s licence plate was listed as “inactive”. Sandra Snider, a member of our Committee, helped Saeid sort the matter out with Service Ontario and the police. Saeid is becoming a real northerner. He’s bought a small boat and motor so he can go fishing, his favourite activity in the world.

On behalf of all the members of the Inter-Church Refugee Committee I would like to thank the members of Trinity and the other member churches for their continued financial contributions to our efforts. I expect that once Faisa Saleh is safely in Thunder Bay, we will begin looking again for other opportunities to sponsor more refugees.

PASTORAL CARE (Roberta Wood)

To keep in touch, Mary Louise Roach and Roberta Wood have been telephoning the people listed on the Pastoral Care roster. This is a valuable effort when you consider many people live alone and have little interaction with other people during this virus distancing.


OVERHEARD IN THE PEWS


- Happy birthday to Wally Cringle for having turned 90 on May 27. Of special note, Rev. Randy married Wally & Eileen 20 years ago on August 25

- Congratulations to Marion Agnew for having had her book “Reverberations: A Daughter’s Meditation on Alzheimer’s” shortlisted for the Louise de Kiriline Lawrence Award for Non-Fiction. Winner will be announced in the fall.

- To keep it in the family, congratulations also go out to Roy Blomstrom for having had his book “Silences: A Novel of the 1918 Finnish Civil War” shortlisted for the Whistler Independent Book Award. Winner to be announced July 16.