Christmas Eve Communion in Towne Square

Christmas Eve Communion in Town Square
Christmas Eve Communion in Towne Square
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Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes

The Reverend Dr. Morar Murray-Hayes is the Minister of Maple Grove United Church, and is a member of the Interfaith Councill of Halton. A chatty extrovert with a conversational preaching style, a multi-tasker who is a “multi-worrier” when it comes to caring about people’s problems, and a leader who treasures teaming with the lay people in her church, Morar says that at Maple Grove she has experienced “a deeper level of ministry than I thought possible.” Anyone who has personally received Morar’s deeply compassionate caring and wise counsel will testify to what an inspirational, healing and encouraging ministry it is.

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Christians sometimes feel that people don’t value faith in Canada.. That’s reinforced by incidents like the banning of the Salvation Army Band from Union Station last season after a fifty year history. Other faith groups have similar experiences.

But it’s not all bad news. I found out about the Union Station decision from my friend and colleague on the Interfaith Council of Halton, Ïmam Abdul Qayyam Mufti, who was so upset he posted his distress on Facebook.

Community Lighting of the Menorah, Oakville, Ontario

Community leaders came out on the 2nd night of Chanukah at Shaarei Beth El Congregation: Photo Credit: SBE

Last Wednesday Shaarei-Beth El Synagogue welcomed people of the community to the celebration of Channuka. People of all faiths and representatives of Oakville gathered to light the candles of the Menorah, to rejoice in the music and readings and warmth of community.

On Christmas Eve, the people of Maple Grove United Church will again be offering communion to anyone who desires it. Last year we served some who couldn’t get out to their own churches. One woman sadly said her husband was in a wheelchair and they had no car to attend Christmas Eve services. We prayed for him as we served her homemade bread and grape juice.

The Rev. Sam Persons Parkes, celebrant last year, describes communion this way:
Communion is celebrated at a table that suggests the dining table in our homes. At the table, we acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the host and all are guests. The meal uses the symbols of small pieces of bread and a taste of wine or juice to remind us of Jesus’ last supper with his followers and of God’s enduring love.

In the United Church of Canada, we have an öpen table where everyone is welcome to feast on the bread of life and drink from the cup of healing, of salvation, of wholeness.

Our worries about offending anyone were baseless. No one complained about our presence and almost everyone wished us a cheery ‘Merry Christmas!’

This experience reassured us that we can practise our faith in the world as God calls us and Pope Francis reminds us: “Go out into the streets!”

If you walk by Oakville Towne Square, receive a greeting or Communion Dec. 24 between 10 am and 12 noon. All ages are welcome. And remember all who celebrate peace and justice in the world and stand against evil.

 

 

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