Archive for September, 2012

This service can be done outside and runs around 30 minutes plus the blessing of each animal:

Blessings of the Animals


“The Feast of St. Francis of Assisi”


The animal’s of God’s creation inhibit the skies

The earth and the sea.

They share in the fortunes of our existence

And are an important part of human life.

In the story of the great flood,

The animals were saved from the waters,

And afterwards were made a part of the covenant with Noah.

They share in Christ’s recognition of all creation.

We therefore gather to ask God’s blessings on these animals.

      As we do so, let us praise the Creator

      And give thanks for the animals in our lives.

Hymn 291   All Things Bright and Beautiful


A Storytelling from the Book of Genesis 1


God created us and all the animals,

Sharing the Spirit of life with us and all creatures

Therefore let us praise God saying:

O God, how wonderful are the works of Your hands.

We thank you, God, for the gift of life;

For the beauty and wonder of creation

And for our own life which comes from you.

     O God, how wonderful are the works of Your hands.

We thank you for the richness and variety of animal life

For fish and birds, insects, reptiles and mammals

And we especially thank you for all the animals

That have gathered in our midst.

            O God, how wonderful are the works of Your hands.

We thank you for the animals

Who give us faithful companionship

Joy when we are happy and comfort when we are sad.

            O God, how wonderful are the works of Your hands.

We thank you for allowing us to care for animals

and pets of all nature

May we learn love and respect for all living things

This we pray in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ

Who taught us to pray saying….

Our Father who art in heaven

Hallowed be thy name,

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,

Forgive us our trespasses

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

For thy is the Kingdom, the power and the glory

Forever and ever. Amen

Act of Blessings Animals (each individual animal is blessed during this time)

Bless, O God, this …………..

And fill our hearts with thanksgiving for its being

For this pet, we thank you, God

Concluding Blessing:

May God who created the animals of this earth

Continue to protect and sustain us all

Now and forever. Amen



I live in an apartment building, and since we moved in out tub has been a point of contention in that it barely drains. We used a hair trap (a metal strainer that sits over the drain to catch hair), so we knew it wasn’t our hair causing the issue. The property management company told us, “Our snake is broke we will be in next week”, they never arrived, “That is just the way the pipes are” and that “We can’t do anything unless it doesn’t drain at all”. It was taking almost 30 minutes to drain, when showering it would get ankle deep in water. I didn’t like having to use chemicals but I didn’t know what else to do.

I tried bottle after bottle of draino with little change. I tried natural ways like vinegar and baking soda with a little more drainage but not much. I tried using a plunger. Within 3 months we had used 5 bottles of draino, a box of baking powder and a a litre of vinegar and little to no change. I did wait about two weeks between tries, so I am pretty sure the chemicals were out of the pipes.

I went to the store and I saw liquid plumber foaming pipe snake. I bought two bottles and figured for around $6 I would try it. I figured like anything else it wouldn’t do a thing.

I carefully pour the liquids down the drain (the bottle is divided into two liquids that when mixed create a foam). Right away the mixture foams like shaving cream and the drain plugs up with foam. I wait the hour and then flush the drain with hot water. I do notice some of the foam coming up through the overflow drain. I also notice an immediate difference in drainage, it seemed to actually be draining almost regular. After flushing for several minutes, I use the second bottle and repeat the process. After about 70 minutes I flush with hot water and I see that the drain is draining.

I showered this morning and for the first time since we moved in the tub works well. I am going to keep a bottle of this stuff on hand. I don’t like to use chemicals but this really works. It is cheaper than Draino and it works on my issue. I am so glad that this product was made. It saved me a call to a plumber. If this hadn’t worked I was going to pay a plumber to come and try to fix it for me since the landlord wasn’t going to fix it.

Dear friends:

The antelope alarm of my blackberry intruded into my sleep at 6:30.  I had set it for half an hour after my usual alarm time, and half an hour before I thought I needed to actually get up to have a run before breakfast here at Five Oaks.

At 6:30, it was too dark to see the trees outside my window, but I could hear the rain and the wind blowing the wet leaves.  I lay there in the dark for a bit enjoying that sound, then checked a few emails and sent one home, filling in time to see if the rain would let up.  It didn’t, and I couldn’t stand the thought of a whole day inside, so out I went. 

As my shoes hit the wet gravel I found a song running through my head, or at least a fragment of one.  My head for music is like that, there are bits that come to me but I seldom have the whole thing, even with the ones I know and love the best.  I have no idea where this one came from this morning:  it might have been that I heard someone singing it yesterday, or maybe it was just there.  Anyway, the song I sang as I ran went like this:

Let there be peace,
let there be understanding,
let all the nations gather,
Hallowed be thy name.

I know there is more to it than that, but that was the song – or prayer – that carried me past the wet cornfields, along the familiar roads of this beautiful part of southwestern Ontario.  Did you ever notice how the rain brings out different shades of colour, and the cloudy sky offers a different light by which to see familiar country?

There was more than a song in my head through the run.  I was thinking of all the people I’m here with this week, the executive secretaries and speaker from all the conferences, the executive ministers and officers from the general council office, and the Moderator.  I was thinking of our opening time in worship together yesterday, and our Bible study last night and the discussion generated by the text of Jeremiah 29:1-15 that Moderator Gary had chosen for us.  I was thinking of how much I learn when I am with this group of people.  I was thinking about how each time the group is a little different, with some new and some preparing to move on to other things. 

I was thinking all these things through the run but on another level I wasn’t thinking at all, just enjoying the movement and the beauty of being out in God’s world. 

I came back soaked, energized, and somehow…… washed.

Nora Sanders

Wow now this is excited news. What do you think about this?

Could Jesus have married after all? A previously unknown papyrus fragment provides the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married, Harvard Professor Karen King told the 10th International Congress of Coptic Studies today.

Scholars say the four words suggesting as much are in a scroll they’re calling “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.”

It’s always wise to take such archeological pronouncements about the “real” life of Jesus and a “new gospel” with a grain of salt, especially when they come from people trying to promote new TV documentaries or books. But this announcement, out of Harvard, carries more weight than the usual, largely unfounded sensationalist claims. It will be subject to rigorous examination by other Bible scholars.

Here’s an excerpt from the Harvard Divinity School news release that came in minutes ago. (Prof. King is holding a news conference about it at noon PST.):

The four words that appear on the fragment translate to, “Jesus said to them, my wife.” The words, written in Coptic, a language of ancient Egyptian Christians, are on a papyrus fragment of about one and a half inches by three inches.

“Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim,” King said. “This new gospel doesn’t prove that Jesus was married, but it tells us that the whole question only came up as part of vociferous debates about sexuality and marriage. From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether it was better not to marry, but it was over a century after Jesus’s death before they began appealing to Jesus’s marital status to support their positions.”

Roger Bagnall, director of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York, believes the fragment to be authentic based on examination of the papyrus and the handwriting …. Final judgment on the fragment, King said, depends on further examination by colleagues and further testing, especially of the chemical composition of the ink.

King has posted a draft of the paper (PDF), an extensive question-and-answer on the fragment and its meaning, and images of it, on a page on the Divinity School website. {A story, with photo above, also appears in the Harvard Gazette.)

The brownish-yellow, tattered fragment belongs to an anonymous private collector who contacted King to help translate and analyze it. The collector provided King with a letter from the early 1980s indicating that Professor Gerhard Fecht from the faculty of Egyptology at the Free University in Berlin believed it to be evidence for a possible marriage of Jesus.

King said that when the owner first contacted her about the papyrus, in 2010, “I didn’t believe it was authentic and told him I wasn’t interested.” But the owner was persistent, so in December 2011, King invited him to bring it to her at Harvard.

…. The main topic of the dialogue between Jesus and his disciples is one that deeply concerned early Christians, who were asked to put loyalty to Jesus before their natal families, as the New Testament gospels show. Christians were talking about themselves as a family, with God the father, his son Jesus, and members as brothers and sisters. Twice in the tiny fragment, Jesus speaks of his mother and once of his wife—one of whom is identified as “Mary.” The disciples discuss whether Mary is worthy, and Jesus states that “she can be my disciple.” Although less clear, it may be that by portraying Jesus as married, the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife conveys a positive theological message about marriage and sexuality, perhaps similar to the Gospel of Philip’s view that pure marriage can be an image of divine unity and creativity.

From the very beginning, Christians disagreed about whether they should marry or be celibate. But, King notes, it was not until around 200 that there is the earliest extant claim that Jesus did not marry, recorded by Clement of Alexandria.

Book: Precisely Terminated

Author: Amanada L. Davis

Publisher: Living Ink Books

From the Back Cover-

With microchips implanted in their skulls at birth, the slaves of Cantral and Cillineese have labored under the tyrannical rule of the Nobles and their computers for decades. Monica, a Noble who avoided the implanting and escaped a death sentence at the age of four, is now sixteen and is in hiding. She lives with the slaves inside the walls of the Cantral palace, pretending to be one of them while the slave council plots a way to use her chip-less state to destroy the all-powerful computers that strike down any hint of rebellion.The Nobles hear of Monica’s survival and try to exterminate her before she ruins their upper-class utopia. The rebels send her to find a missing paper bearing instructions on how to shut down the computers that control the chips in Cillineese, a major city-state. The Nobles are alerted to the plan and prepare to seal Cillineese in a giant dome to gas the inhabitants, including Monica.The fate of millions rides on Monica’s shoulders. As the only chip-less person in the world, she must find the paper, destroy the computers, and free Cillineese from the Nobles’ iron fist before they strike with the ultimate punishment—death for everyone inside the city walls.
Can you imagine a world without Hunger? Wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Precisely Terminated explores what it might be like to live in a world without hunger and it may not be that wonderful. The reader is invited to follow the life of a young woman who doesn’t think of herself as strong, but shows extrodinary strength in deadly circumstances. I found myself engrossed in the story line. I could not put the book down as I wanted to find out what happened next to Monica. I felt emotionally connected to her. I can’t wait until the next book comes out so that I can find out what happens, does she save the millions and survive, or does she die and let everyone down?

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes the science fiction genre. It is set in a futuristic world. This book however would be better for someone over the age of 12 as there is some violence and bloodshed in the storyline. I cannot wait for the next book to come out. I will be reading it.

Book has been provided courtesy of Living Ink Books and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Living Ink Books.

Book: There is Hope For Your Church: First Steps to Restoring Health and Growth

Author: Gary L McIntosh

Publisher: Baker Books 2012


“Your church’s bright future starts now. It’s easy to feel discouraged by shrinking attendance and slow spiritual growth in your church. But the first step to turning things around is hope. God can and does restore churches to new life, even as he restores individuals. Church health expert Gary McIntosh offers you real hope by showing you the first things you need to do to make a new start for your church. The street-smart ideas and step-by-step instructions found in this book are ones that you can put to use immediately in your church to bring about solid growth and renewed hope for the future.– Back cover
We live in a world filled with unrest, and in churches that are seen as irrelevant in a world that is becoming more secular. There are however still leaders in the church and people in the pews. How do we begin to dream about a future instead of walking a death march to the grave? This book contains a wealth of knowledge for our shrinking congregation. It first tells us that we are not alone in the struggle, there are many other congregations just like ours who are hurting and lost. The author challenges us to take hold of our churches and instead of seeing hopelessness to once again see hope.

This was a very positive book, it contains some case studies to delve into but most of all, it challenges the reader to take charge of the situation.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Books and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 
Available at your favourite bookseller from Baker Books.


Book Review: I am Second

Posted: September 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

Book: I am second: Real Stories. Changing Lives

Author: Doug Bender

Publisher: Thomas Nelson


Picture from:

There is nothing quite as compelling as a personal story–an account of someone’s life, radically changed. This book is filled with some of these amazing stories.

Across North America and around the world, millions of people are proclaiming a new anthem: “I Am Second.” No longer are they number one. These people have come alive to the truth that God has a plan for this world…a plan that specifically  includes them. In this book you will discover their stories–some from notable people and some not so well known– who have had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ and are walking in radical  obedience by putting Him first in their lives.

These stories are raw and real, dealing with the darkest moments of the human experience. Addictions, depression, infidelity, abortion, cancer, pornography, loneliness, jealousy, divorce, war…each story shows the redemptive power of Jesus…bringing purpose and true joy to every secret place of life. Along with each story, there are also helpful insights from the Bible and authentic life application for you or a group of your friends to discuss.

Your story may not be included in this book…but you too can be a Second.”

“I am Second is a movement meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others. Actors. Athletes. Musicians. Business leaders. Drug addicts. Your next-door neighbor. People like you. The authentic stories on provide insight into dealing with typical struggles of everyday living. These are stories that give hope to the lonely and the hurting, help from destructive lifestyles, and inspiration to the unfulfilled. You’ll discover people who’ve tried to go it alone and have failed. Find the hope, peace, and fulfillment they found. Be Second.”

This is the first time I heard of the authors Doug Bender and Dave Sterrett. I hope that this will not be the last. I enjoy firsthand experiences and stories. This book is not the type of book to read in short sittings, as it consists of almost short stories of different people from all walks of life. I found it was a book I could pick up when I had 10-20 minutes to spare.

Each story is powerful, and they all had one thing in common, struggling with faith and with life. How do we find God when we are in the middle of the whirlwind. The book challenges the reader to put God first and themselves second, hence the name: I am Second. It is an odd concept in a world that is self obsessed, but the only way to live a life that is full.