Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.
This Sunday, we’ll celebrate the renewal of spring by sharing in our annual Flower Communion service (bring a fresh flower to share, if you can; and, if you can’t, extra flowers will be available for the ritual). This tradition, which originated among our Unitarian cousins in Prague in the early 20th century, invites us to behold the beauty of human community. On Sunday, through story, song, and a child dedication ceremony, we will honour that beauty and explore the many ways that we depend on one another.
You’ll notice, upon your arrival on Sunday, that the sanctuary is set up in a horseshoe configuration that some will recall from many years ago. This seating arrangement will allow for both more intimacy and more interactive services—and it is part of an intentional move to make our services more inclusive. This Sunday will also offer a taste of some experiments we’ll begin in the fall to provide services that speak to a wider range of people, personalities, and worship temperaments.
This Sunday will be my last with you until mid-August. Over the summer, I will be preparing for my comprehensive exams for my Doctor of Ministry program at UofT, so I’m taking an extra bit of time from my sabbatical bank to add to my regular vacation and study leave and hopefully make significant progress in my writing! Thank you for your ongoing support as I work toward the end of this degree.
Happily, Rev. Carly Gaylor and Curtis Murphy will be returning to First in June to serve as our ministry team for the summer. Carly grew up at First and was ordained by our congregation a few years ago. Curtis was our Intern Minister three years ago. Carly and Curtis were married last year and are expecting the arrival of their first child in July (meaning that Curtis will handle more of the preaching). They are excited about this opportunity to serve at First, and I know it will be a treat for the congregation to share in their joy as their family grows. Carly and Curtis will be available for emergency pastoral care; our listening ministry team of Lay Pastors are also available to provide support, as needed.
Wishing you a wonderful summer!
In faith and love,
View the Order of Service.