“Maybe our time in the wilderness is meant to teach us to trust in God, and not just in ourselves, to lead us to the land of promise.”
Matt Miosfky, 2020
There’s a lot Happening at St Andrew’s United!
Please come out and join us at any (or all) of our events!
Worship service is at 9:00 am in-person on Sunday followed by fellowship, tea, and baking. We are following AHS protocols with respect to COVID-19
Christmas 2022, a very special service
Rev. Julia welcomed us all on this frosty, star-lit evening where God’s love infused the sanctuary. We were among friends and not alone. On that cold wintery evening (Dec 18th), we were encouraged to immerse ourselves in the joy of candles and carols and caring and that we could rest in His time for now.
On that evening, we heard a very familiar story in our music but we also listened to a less familiar story and were asked to reflect on its meaning in our lives. The story was taken from the gospel of John who asks us to see more, imagine more, to see the light and live into it.
And with the melting of the candles, our hearts somehow softened, and dripped with the holy, glory, and wonder of all that is – – and was – – and will come in the form of a child to show us the way.
“Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men“.
A wonderful service.
A special thanks to the choir from the Okotoks United Church led by Pat Reader-Downey
Spring Strawberry Tea 2022
Our Tea was different this year as it was held at the Okotoks United Church – thanks Okotoks so much! The number attending was also smaller making the event very cozy so that guests could get caught up with each other. The room was a buzz with the sounds of chatter and laughter. Our bake sale table was a success and we were blessed with Rod and Crissy Curzon’s voices of Leonard Coen’s, Hallejuah. Guests were dressed in their summer finery and spring hats as they enjoyed plates of strawberry desert and lemon squares. Thanks to Bonnie Campbell who helped to keep us organized, to Jean Burns for making all the cakes and to Jenny Wolsley for the scrumptious strawberry compote and to all who helped set up, decorate, and serve the desert and tea. A special thanks to our young server, Autumn Castle who helped where needed without complaint and to our tea makers, Mel Ternan and Wayne Stordahl who made up the tea essence and ensured there was enough for all !
Celebrating Mark, our Board Chair, on his birthday and in becoming a Lay Worship Leader. Congratulations Mark! You almost missed your party!
What an amazing Easter week beginning with Maundy Thursday and a Good Friday Service at the Okotoks United Church, and then an Easter sunrise service at the Erratic – ‘Big Rock’ outside of Okotoks. We are so blessed to be able to have the freedoms to participate and worship God in these beautiful surroundings.
Christmas Service 2021!
We gathered on December 19th on a very cold winter evening for our annual candlelight Christmas service. Many attended in spite of the weather. We thank both Rev. Julia and Matthew for leading the service on this blustery winter’s evening.
Thank you Audrey Hipwell – October 2021
We gathered on October 4, 2021 to pay tribute to Audrey and all that she has offered to our church community; her faithfulness to God in offering her gifts of music, laughter, humor, and grace. Audrey has been a willing and gifted minister in her own right.
Thank you for your service at the various garage sales, playing at Christmas concerts with your daughter, Trudy, working as a member of the Church Board, for participating in a five-mile walk for charity with Eleanor, playing music for us at the church services – – – and we always loved your rendition of “Phantom of the Opera” on the organ.
April 4, 2021
Excerpts from Rev. Julia’s sermon with respect to Mark 16:1-8.
. . . The Easter message is good news because in no uncertain terms it tells us that death, pain, tragedy, despair and hopelessness are absolutely not the last word. That after the worst that could happen happens, there is still the possibility of recovery and healing.
Death and darkness and despair are never the last word, no matter how bleak or hard it gets. This is good news. This is the story we tell over and over and over again, as humans who suffer and survive. About our own lives, about people we know. About the world.
Don’t give up.
I know it’s tough now but things will change. . .
. . . Friends. We are in the midst of very challenging times. Not just a global pandemic but all of the uncertainty and unrest that was taking place before it even started. Maybe you’re not in a place to feel joy or hope right now. We are acutely aware of the suffering and pain of so many.
We are suffering too.
And if that is the case and that’s where we’re at, then it is the place we need to be. We can be amazed and terrified at the same time. It is not our place to take away the suffering. To tell people that there is hope and light down the road. That seems too flippant, too disrespectful.
Sometimes we just need to hold a space for that suffering for a while. To allow people to move into and through it before they are ready for the good news.
We can be there: to love, to serve, to listen and to cry with them. Until one day, they will be ready and receptive, and we will be able to tell them the good news.
Pope John Paul II once said, “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song”.
Sometimes we sing our “hallelujahs” through tears. We are living, breathing, walking examples of this. We tell our stories of hope and grace, of pain and healing of moving on after the tragedies that we have lived through.
This is Easter.
And we will tell them the story of Jesus. That we are convinced that resurrection is possible, that death is not the last word, that joy comes with the dawn.
Easter continues . . .
Easter celebrations continued with a drive-by at St. Andrew’s Church where Easter bags were handed out to all of those who drove by. Lots of fun for all as visitors wore their best Easter bonnet. A kind of guessing game to try and determine who was behind the mask !
Thanks to Sandra Neish for organizing the basket gifts and a big thanks to Mark Dutkoski for sharing his great photos from the day.
The Drive-by Birthday Parade
Though all at St. Andrew’s were aware of the nasty pandemic,
There were Birthdays to be celebrated, so car parades were organized so no one could get sick.
From far and wide they came and gathered safely,
Horns-a-blaring, noise makers a clanking, the line of cars brought smiles and laughter a plenty.
At a time of isolation and restrictions,
What a joy it was to behold that one day we will be past these constrictions.
So keep on spreading the warmth and goodwill,
Because one day, just as the rainbow glows after a rain, we will be Power Socializing at St. Andrew’s again.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Brent and Shannon
Christmas Concert December 2020
De Winton’s annual Christmas concert was wonderful this year in spite of the Covid-19 challenges. An online concert was organized and was a resounding success! As a result, our church was able to donate to the Veteran’s Food Bank.
Contributors to the concert were:
* Bonnie Campbell – Talent Coordinator and Master of Ceremony * Julia Kimmitt – Production Coordinator and participant (on the ukulele) * Crissy Curzon * Rod Curzon * Bev Fess * Don Henry * Terry Martin * Karen & Grant Pryznyk and special guests, “MzBehavin” consisting of Anne, Belinda, Heather, Jen, Pat, and Suzie.
Thanks to all for making our concert such a success!
Thanksgiving October 2020
This year’s Thanksgiving worship involved COVID-19 protocols for those who attended the first in-person service at Okotoks United Church since March 2020. Congregants from St. Andrew’s and Okotoks also attended via Zoom.
This worship was very special as it included Communion. Those who attended in person at Okotoks, as well as those on Zoom brought their own bread and wine (juice) to partake in the sacrament.
In spite of the challenges that we face daily as a result of COVID, we are truly blessed to be able to celebrate and worship God together with the leadership of our Minister, Julia Kimmett. We are grateful to be able to see our friends, even if via Zoom, and for those who were able to attend worship in person, we gladly suffered the masks, wipes, and other COVID protocols.
Thanks be to God!
What’s going on at Chinook Region!
The Chinook Winds Region 2nd annual Regional Council General Meeting was held via Zoom/Whova on September 15, 16, and 17th. Bishop Yvette Flunder from the City of Refuge United Church of Christ in Oakland, CA provided us with her reflections and insights on the topics of radical inclusion, God’s people as prophets, and the shifting and changing that is occurring today within our world.
Bishop Flunder challenged us to have courage, to attempt active listening to hear what is underneath what is being said when words are spoken, to let the Holy Spirit move through us allowing us to be change agents, and in these times of struggle, see this as a time for the church to come alive! She described God not as a monument but as a movement which allows for shifting, shaking and changing. Bishop Flunder’s sessions was supported through her elucidation of scripture to the topic and were very inspiring. Her sessions were recorded and can be viewed at the following links:
Tuesday, Sept 15th (start approx. 1:00:00)
Wednesday, Sept 16 (start approx. 12:30)
Thursday, Sept 17 (start approx. :31)
A workshop was given by Pam Rocker on what it takes to become an affirming region; the Chinook Winds Region is working towards that end. Pam suggested that the Region look at “Who are we now?” and the Region look to “Who do we want to be?”. Pam confirmed that communities of faith within the Region do not have to become affirming. These questions may be something that within our own ministries, we look to discuss.
The business portion of the meeting included approving a new Executive Team for the coming year, priorities for the Region and approving Remit 1 which is a request to change the wording in The United Church of Canada Manual that defines who is eligible for the Order of Ministry to one that is more inclusive of all gender identities. This Remit is being presented at each Regional General Council Meeting across the country.
The conference ended with a church service in which Rev. John Snow was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Canada.
Your St. Andrew’s Regional Rep: Shirle Ternan and Okotoks Regional Rep: Sally Salter
We are thankful for our Daily Faith
We are very thankful to Reverend Julia and Matthew for all the time and effort that is taken for our Daily Faith sessions. Sometimes through the recordings of Daily Faith, an “oops” occurs. Good to know there is laughter and giggles during their work!
A Day for Giving to Rowan House
“A church isn’t about the number of people sitting in the pews, it’s about the size of the heart of its congregation”. That’s what the Okotoks’ Western Wheel said about our little church in the giving of $8,083 to the Rowan House Emergency Shelter on July 16th.
These days, times are very uncertain, and unfortunately the need to support women in need is on the rise. So what did the congregants of St. Andrew’s do? Raise funds of course to address this need!
Many from our parish came out for the presentation, all in COVID gear. It was nice to see everyone, even if it was from afar.
If you are interested, you can read the article here.
Happy Canada Day !
Happy Canada Day !
This year (2020), has seen a different kind of Canada Day celebration. COVID-19 has changed the way we gather to pray and the way we gather to socialize.
But, we still found a way to be with each other, even if it was only for a short time, we were 6 ft away from each other, and we all wore masks.
Celebrating birthdays !
Even though our congregants cannot be together to celebrate each-others birthdays, we gather in our cars and then do a birthday drive-by!
Some come wearing funny hats, many come shaking bells and other noise makers, and as each car drive by, there are loud shouts of Happy Birthday !
Lives lost in Nova Scotia
April 18 – 19, 2020
On Sunday, April 26, 2020, the church bell at St. Andrew’s United Church rang 23 times for each of the lives lost in Nova Scotia. As we sat in our vehicles, we were reminded that each life was precious and loved.
Lisa McCully, Const. Heidi Stevenson, Heather O’Brien Kristen, Beaton, Greg Blair, Jamie Blair, Alanna Jenkins, Sean McLeod, Tom Bagley, Jolene Oliver, Aaron (Friar) Tuck, Emily Tuck, Gina Goulet, Lillian Hyslop, Joanne Thomas, John Zahl, Joey Webber, Dawn Gulenchyn, Frank Gulenchyn, Corrie Ellison, Peter Bond, Joy Bond
And we pray for those souls that are lost and lose their way.
Prayer for Nova Scotia
O God, we are lost.
We cannot comprehend the horror, the pain, the fear.
The incredible anguish and loss.
We pray that those who grieve will find openings in their fear and pain to receive the comfort offered by loved ones, and others who care.
We pray that those whose lives were taken will find their home in you, and that their lives will live on in the lives of those who remember them.
Help us, in our moments of shadows and darkness, to find light and hope.
In our weakness, may we seek not so much to understand, but to find ways to tend to the hurt and pain of others, that we might draw together to share the load.
Thank you for your love and compassion.
Watch over our loved ones, those who are ill, and those who struggle in this time of isolation.
Protect those who continue to work to keep us safe, well and healthy.
You are our strength and our hope.
In you we will trust.
We offer these prayers in the name of the one who loves us and walks with us as we pray the prayer that he taught us,
Our Father, who art in heaven……….
The spring of 2020 brought uncertainties, fear, and loneliness, for many due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our faithful family from St. Andrews could no longer gather for Sunday service or for fellowship. The little church with a big heart had to temporarily close its doors.
But under the guidance of Rev. Julia, the weekly sermons became videos of Daily Faith that were sent to all daily. Rev. Julia and Matthew worked hard to ensure the communities of faith in DeWinton, Okotoks, Black Diamond, and Turner Valley were still connected. A “buddy” system was set up for the St. Andrew’s patrons to ensure the challenges associated with being isolated as a result of COVID-19 were minimal. Easter service at Okotoks’s Erratic (Big Rock) found Rev. Julia and Matthew joyfully celebrating that Christ had risen with many exclamations of Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!
Our congregants would not let the challenges of COVID-19 get them down! Burrell continued to enjoy his tea and scones even with the spring snows around him, Brian and Shannon’s daughter, Lindsay, on her horse and pretty-in-pink brought smiles to many in Revelstoke, Mel continued to “get caught up” on projects, Eileen sewed to her hearts content making much needed masks, and Shirle delivered some Easter dinners. Mark demonstrated how he delivers packages these days. Our family of St. Andrews is still together in spirit.
The season was a busy one at St. Andrew’s. Through one of our members, we became involved in baking of cookies for the Magic of Christmas. A fun morning was had by all! The Magic of Christmas began originally as The Spirit of Christmas by Bob Johnson in 1983. The spirit and cheer of Christmas is brought into many homes in the Okotoks area to those families that lack the emotional and/or financial resources to do so themselves.
The Christmas concert was celebrated with many and varied talents from our local community. Our little church was packed to the rafters and the spirit of Christmas resounded in song from the talented guests as well as a sing-along. Dainties and coffee were shared later for all to enjoy. A truly great way to begin the season !
See you next year !
Mother’s Day Tea
Remembrance Day Ceremony
This year’s Remembrance Day (2019) honored the many fallen soldiers as well as their trusted steeds.
In World War I, there was approximately 40 million civilian and military casualties, of which there was 15-19 million deaths and approximately 23 million wounded. Over a million horses perished during the war. For more info on our equine soldiers please read the attached, In Memory of Military Serving Equine Soldiers.
At this service, we honored the Curzon family for their dedication and service to the community and their country.
Blessing of the Animals
Working and Celebrating Together
Our little church is a place for family to visit. Celebrating Christ’s season in song and prayer, baking (our speciality!) for families in need, gathering together for a picnic, or celebrating our Mothers in a Mother’s Day Tea, we gather to make every event joyful. We gladly volunteered to help celebrate 100 years of De Winton Community, of which St. Andrew’s has been a part of this community’s history.
Come join us at our little church in the country, St. Andrew’s United Church.
Don Henry Concert
Always a favorite at St. Andrew’s is the Don Henry Concert which is usually held in November. Don has entertained us for many years and continues to do so with many favorite songs of yester-year.
The Memorial Bell
A gift from Parkview United Church in Vauxhall to St. Andrew’s United Church in De Winton, Alberta
Many wanted to ring the new treasure. The Bell can be heard in the surrounding area every Sunday morn, calling all to worship.
The challenge was to remove the Bell from the bellfry of the Parkview Church, perseverance, and determination saw the bell and the bats released from the steeple.