Sunday Worship Information

Ponder Anew August 5

“My God, my God why have you forsaken me, why are you so far from saving me.”

These are the words from Psalm 22 that Jesus quotes while he is on the cross, right before he dies. As the church prepares to surround Robb Martin and his children, Erik and Brittany, and his grandchildren, Natalie and Robert Wolfgang, we are feeling the same emotions as Jesus was experiencing.

We are raw and unfocused because of the accidental drowning of Angie. We are angry at the world, and it is okay to lash out in all of our pain and suffering to God, and ask “where exactly are you God?” Life is not fair, and we get angry at that.

But I believe that God will be with the Martins, and with us, in the next grief-stricken days, and weeks and years. In each hug given to Robb, God will be there. In each caring and compassionate word that is offered to Erik and Brittany, God will be there.

Dear God,

We need you today, more than we have ever needed you. We want your presence at the visitation and at the funeral. Please send your Spirit right now to carry us through. Carry us now, because we cannot make it on our own.

In the name of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. AMEN

August 7, 2016 BulletinFred

Ponder Anew – July 27

Good morning,

There has been a lot of changes and transitions here at Floradale in the last thirteen months. This week will be another as Angela leaves her position as Music Minister to move to Manitoba. We are fortunate and excited, to welcome Nichelle Bauman to take over the position. We have known Nichelle for many years and have blessed by her musical and leadership skills.

So how have all these transitions helped our congregation? We have gotten very good people to join our staff. The new people bring different skills and a new kind of energy. They have helped the staff that have stayed around. But these are about the staff.

What have the transitions done for your faith? Have you thought of how your skills might be used at Floradale in new ways? Maybe you can step into new leadership roles in the next few years. If God has a plan for the church, then God has a plan for you as well.

This is not the time to coast in our faith (I am speaking to myself as well). Pray that new skills in our church will be revealed. Pray for renewal in all of us.

Shalom and strength for the journey of faith and life.


July 31, 2016 Bulletin

Ponder Anew – July 22

Good morning,

It is the time of “last things” for me here at Floradale. Someone has mentioned to me that this was the last time you will pick beans, and this was the last baptism service that you will be a part of here at Floradale. Someone else has said how many more meetings do you have to attend before the end of August. I have five more sermons including this Sunday, that I know.

I do think of the last things that I am doing here. I wonder where I will leave my last coffee cup, that is half full, where it makes a huge ring around the cup. I wonder when the last time that I will leave the burner on, of the coffee maker in the foyer, and come into the church, and wonder what is on fire. The last time I forget to blow out my candle or oil lamp in my office. I wonder when the last time will be when I will not put in the code on the alarm for the front door. Sorry about that. I wonder when the last time I will not be able to locate my Bible before I go up to do the sermon. When will be the last time I will will forget my sermon text to bring to the pulpit. Oh yeah, that never happens.

Thank you for enduring my “last things”, but there has been so many great things to remember here at Floradale, that those are the deep memories that will go with me as I move to my next calling. As I enter my last month here, I will remember the first things that we have done together, and the many things that we have done in between.

Blessings in your faith and life… shalom and strength.


July 24, 2016 Bulletin

Ponder Anew – July 15

Good morning,

We are celebrating church membership and baptism this Sunday. We have few rites of passage in the Mennonite Church.

We are celebrating new stages of faith in four people. I think you should attend this Sunday and renew your faith in the church and in Christ.

What does the water mean in the practice of baptism? A clean life? A washing away of sin? Cleaning our clothes whiter than snow? In our confession, it talks of baptism being a sign of something already going on in our life. It means a new direction when the water passes through our hair .

Please come out and celebrate with Sheri and Jeff and Taylor and Taylor. Celebrate with them as they answer the questions of faith.

What do you need in your life to nurture your faith? What do you need from the church and from God? Come and be splashed by God this Sunday.

Shalom and strength for the journey of faith and life.

July 17, 2016 Bulletin

Ponder Anew – July 8

Dateline Saskatoon:

On the first evening two people spoke of hope and fear for the meetings here. We were welcomed by a First Nations Chief of Treaty 6. We sang number one in the hymnal. We are staying with Jake and Louise Buhler. Jake is one of a kind. We have known him for 34 years.

Today was difficult for me. I heard a lot of pain on both sides of the issue of homosexuality. Some see the recommendation not going far enough, while others will leave the conference if there is a positive vote. What to do and what to say? We cannot see from the others point of view.

The prayers to God have been sacred for me. The singing has been marvelous. I saw someone from my recent tour to Uzbekistan. We talked about bombings and safety and faith. I saw Leo Schultz, who I have not seen in 36 years. We were with him in Intermenno. Wow eh!

Conferences are exhausting for me. Too much input…. too many people. … too much to do. I need space and time… but it has been good. And I have a seen God at work.

Shalom and strength for the journey


July 10 bulletin


Ponder Anew – June 30

Good morning everyone,

There was a bombing on Tuesday at the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. Caleb and I went through that airport three times, on June 6, 8, and 17. We walked the various places where the bombs were set off. I am not sure how I feel about having been there just a few weeks ago. A few of the people that were killed were described as interpreters. I have traveled many times to Turkey, and have had many different guides.

Our guide a few weeks ago invited me to bring another group next year. She said to me that Turkey is safe, and it is important for people to come and visit. What would you say to her? Do I give in to fear? If we change our plans for next year because of fear, what does that say about me or my faith in God. I do not want to be a martyr. So, what do I do?

Life is dangerous. None of us are going to get out of here alive anyway. But how much of a risk are we going to take in my life? MCC workers live in dangerous places in the world. Syrian people carry MCC aid inside their country.

I do not have work, and will not have work, until after I leave Floradale. I am trying to live in faith and without fear going forward. When it comes to traveling to Turkey in 2017, shall I live in fear or do I travel into God’s grace?

What should I do, and what would you do?

Pray for our Turkish guides who put their lives on the line everyday as they pick up people at the airport.


N.B. Sunday’s service starts at 10:00 am.



Ponder Anew – June 24

Good morning everyone,

I rode Bus 21 into Waterloo on Monday. I was the only person on the bus, when it picked me up at the corner of Snyder and Ernst here in Elmira. It was almost full by the time we arrived at Conestoga Mall about a half an hour later. There was one Old Order Mennonite lady who got on the bus, near St. Jacobs. There was also a few David Martin Mennonites who got on the bus at Walmart. There were no people of colour on the bus, when we all got off at the Mall.

I got on the iExpress 200, to go to downtown Kitchener. There is so much construction in both cities that we had to go around the regular routes. From the time I got on to when I got off at the corner of Weber and Victoria, it was a United Nations of the world. There were two Muslim women in Hajibs, one , I think, from Sudan or Somalia, and the other from somewhere in the Middle East. There were at least three Spanish speakers from, probably, Latin America. There was a boy and girl who got on near downtown Waterloo. The boy was from Africa and the girl from the Caribbean. Were they going out or were they just friends. Maybe they were both studying Engineering or Sociology and were sharing ideas.

I wonder what all these people thought of me. I do not know if anything that I observed is true or not. I did not talk to anyone, but just made these observations of the people who got off and on the bus. I was the only person with gray hair. Maybe they thought I was retired or poor. People who cannot afford a car ride the bus. I was the only person who was reading a book. Three Indian (South Asian) friends got on and were talking with each other. After about 20 seconds they all began to look at their phones. Most of the people were young adults (whatever that means), and most of them were looking at their phones. A generation ago people would have been reading either a newspaper or a book.

What do we observe as we live our lives? Do we make judgments on people or situations with limited information? It seems to me that we were a community while on that bus. It will never be the same group of people on the iExpress 200.

Why did God put me on that bus, and what am I supposed to learn about myself, about people, about community and about judgment?

Till I ride the bus again.

Shalom and strength for the journey of life and faith.


June 26, 2016 Bulletin

Ponder Anew – June 17

Good morning everyone,

I had asked a few years ago in this blog, “On a scale from one to ten, how are you doing spiritually?” One being that you are struggling with God, and ten being that you are in touch with God at the most intimate level.

What in your life is happening, that affects how you understand God, what you believe, and how close you feel to God. I believe that your health affects what you believe about God.

How does your workplace affect how you find God on a daily basis? If you face difficulties with co-workers or your boss are you able to to still pray to God?

And if you have differences within your family, especially if you are Christians, how do you experience the love God?

We are complex people, who have different areas in our walk of humanity. So where on the scale do you find yourself today? It may have changed since yesterday. Does your Bible reading bring you closer to God? Does silent prayer before a meal draw you into the new place with God?

I trust and hope that that God continues to shape all of our lives.

Shalom and strength for the journey of life and faith.


June 19, 2016 Bulletin

Ponder Anew – June 10

Good morning everyone,

In the book of Genesis, there is the part of the story where Abraham is described as a wandering Aramean. God calls Abram out of the desert to be a person who follows God, wherever it might lead him, and the people he has been called to lead. Abraham is considered to be the Father of the three religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This wandering story is central to the telling of the history of God’s people.

So, should we always feel unsettled in our word and life? Since coming to this community I have admired, and felt jealous about, the stability of this place. People are born here, go to school here, work here, retire here, and die here. I have come here just for a short time to be part of you. Your stability in life, provides opportunity to be risky, knowing the community will be there for you.

Jesus wanders in his life, in a very small area of the world. He goes about as far as Toronto. Really. Jesus invites us to be risky even if we stay near Nazareth all of our lives. Another thing he says (and he says a lot of things) is that he will only have a stone for a pillow. He will be on the run, and that is his calling.

So, what new thing are you/we called to do if we stay a few kilometers from Floradale? What does it mean for us to be both comfortable and uncomfortable in our lives? I was away in Turkey this week. While Caleb and I were there, there was a bombing that killed 11 people. We are fine. Is this too risky, or are we called to be more risky in our thoughts and activities?

Shalom an strength for your journey of faith and life.


June 12, 2016 Bulletin

Ponder Anew – June 3

Good morning everyone,

We were to read the Gospel of John this week. If you are not reading through the Bible, I invite you to read John 15. The setting is the supper that Jesus had with his disciples. Jesus knows that it is the last meal they will share together before he dies. It is his time to go. He must be tense.

As recorded in John, Jesus talks a lot. Maybe he wants to get the last few directions to his friends. But he knows, he will be resurrected or maybe he does not know this. But he does tell them at the supper that he is coming back.

So, what does salvation mean if Jesus knows the whole plan? He will suffer on the cross, die, and be resurrected again. He says that he is going back to his Father. Where does salvation happen in the story, his being on the cross in agony? Or, when he dies and lives in hell for three days? Or, when he is resurrected after three days in the grave? Or maybe salvation comes earlier, when he teaches, heals and confronts the authorities.

In John 15:9, it says, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” We need to love everyone, as Jesus did. Salvation came to us through the love of Jesus, and we extend love to everyone, no one is excluded, because we are not excluded. Who are you going extend salvation to today?

Whom do you/we need to love today?

Shalom and strength for the journey of love and faith, and life,


June 5, 2016 Bulletin