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First Evangelical Lutheran Church is a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. About Us »

SEASON OF CREATION

While the COVID19 crisis seems all-consuming, the ongoing climate crisis is the defining issue of our time. In recognizing the ultimate nature of challenges posed by rising CO2 levels, a global ecumenical movement has coalesced to call on Christians to place special focus on care for Earth in a five-week Season of Creation between September 1 (Day of Prayer for the Environment) and October 4 (St. Francis’ Day). This year’s theme is Jubilee for the Earth. While we can and should call environmental concerns to mind any time we worship, participating in this global movement gives us an opportunity to focus on care for creation in solidarity with Christians around the world.

Read more from the World Council of Churches:
https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/season-of-creation

WORSHIP SERVICES

September 6 – Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Service of the Word online at 10:30 AM.  Sermon: Ralph Carl Wushke

September 13 – Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Service of the Word online at 10:30 AM – Sermon: Michael Rehberg

September 20 – Sixteenth  Sunday after Pentecost
Holy Communion online at 10:30 AM.  Sermon: Pastor Ralph Carl Wushke

September 27 – Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost
Service of the Word online at 10:30 AM.  Sermon: Esther Townshend

October 4th – Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Holy Communion online at 10:30 AM.  Sermon: Pastor Ralph Carl Wushke

LINKS TO RECORDED WORSHIP SERVICES

If you want to check-out what our ZOOM services are like, here is a sample from June 21, Third Sunday after Pentecost
Recordings are also available on our Facebook page

CONGREGATIONAL CARE COMMITTEE

We encourage members of the congregation to stay in touch by various means. If you are aware of anyone at First who needs support please contact Pastor Ralph Carl Wushke

 

ZOOM WORSHIP

For the foreseeable future, First Lutheran will continue to offer ZOOM Sunday morning worship. While an online service is different than being there in-person, many people have found spiritual sustenance and community life in our online services. You are invited and welcome to join us.

 

Please call or email Pastor Ralph Carl if interested, and he will provide the ZOOM log-in information.

 

Our services are also streamed live to the First Lutheran Facebook page at 10:30 am, ET on Sunday

ONLINE HOLY COMMUNION

If you would like to participate in our online Holy Communion — first and third Sundays — you my wish to read Pastor Wushke’s discussion paper –  click here to read it .

FINANCIAL SUPPORT

During this time when it is impossible to meet in person and contribute in the offering plate, fixed expenses for our ministries continue, and we invite people to consider other ways of supporting First Lutheran Church financially at this time.  Thank you.

Update

First Lutheran Church is following COVID 19 public health guidelines. As Toronto has entered the AMBER stage of COVID 19 guidelines we hope to resume in-person worship on October 4 in compliance with the guidelines of the Eastern Synod of the ELCIC. In-person worship and ZOOM worship will be simultaneous events. Please check back here for more information about registration in the week prior to October 4, 2020.

The pandemic is both a material and spiritual challenge, as is any health crisis. We pray for those who have died, for the bereaved, for the caregivers, for researchers, for front-line workers and all who are affected by COVID 19 around the world.  If you are feeling isolated or lonely and would like to have a conversation with Pastor Ralph Carl Wushke, please use the contact information on the web site.

SPIRITUAL RESOURCES

Although we can’t worship in the church building let’s continue to hold one another in prayer and practice our faith in our other ways. 

The World Council of Churches Spirituality Team provides a short outline for morning prayer in a time of COVID19 which is updated daily. Scroll down on this page

The ELCIC Council of Bishops has shared this prayer from the Lutheran World Federation which we commend to you: Lutheran World Federation Prayers during COVID-19

COVID-19 Security, Insecurity and Confidence

Many years ago a feminist theologian told me, “Ralph: security is a myth.”

While I have never forgotten her words, they take on a new relevance in light of the COVID-19 crisis. As citizens of a wealthy, stable country, most of us take “security” and predictability for granted. A delayed flight or an out of stock item can leave us annoyed, but we know that the flight will leave eventually, and we can normally make a different choice from well-stocked shelves. COVID-19 changes everything: the familiarity, stability, reliability, and dependability with which we are familiar is suddenly disrupted. Flights are cancelled. Our familiar plans and patterns are cancelled. We don’t know where this insidious virus is lurking in our city and whether or not we, or someone we love has been exposed. We also don’t know how long the crisis will last, and if things will soon be back to “normal.”

While no one would have wished for this pandemic, and we all pray for its quick end, one can ask if COVID-19 is a reminder that all of life is contingent. This is not to suggest that we should worry more during normal times, but rather to live with a faith-based mindfulness in good times and bad. Looking at the COVID-19 crisis through the eyes of faith will help us to see God at work in the incredible dedication of health care professionals, and all who work in the food supply system, communications, transport, utilities, which must be kept running smoothly. People on these front lines don’t have the option of “self-isolation” and face extra risk. Let us give thanks.

One of the most-loved hymns of German Lutherans around the world “Jesus, meine Zuversicht” (EG 427) or “Jesus lives, my sure defence” (ELW 621), came to mind as I tried to keep abreast of all the COVID-19 information.

“Zuversicht” is rendered as “defence” in most English translations; “confidence” comes closer to the heart of “Zuversicht.” As I think about the immeasurable uncertainties created by COVID-19 I also take it as an opportunity to remind myself that my ultimate security rests in God acting through Jesus Christ. This enables me to face these days with confidence, show love to those in need, and do my part to “flatten the curve.”

Pastor Ralph Carl 

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