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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, November 21, 2016

Lina Schwermer - World Service Corps CEM Volunteer

Hi! I am a World Service Corps volunteer in the CEM since a little more than two months ago now.

I have visited several congregations and have been to the Women's Retreat, Retiree's and Thanksgiving Retreat over here so far. Into whatever kind of church group I stepped - no matter which age, location or circumstances - I always felt welcomed and included the same way. Of course it is not exactly the same as back home in Germany but it is a very similar feeling of homecoming and peace.

Even just seeing the so familiar symbols of the Mission Initiative hanging in a church. It often felt like I have known those people for ever even after only one Sunday service I participated in a congregation.

People invited me to just sit with them in a service, others walked up to me and started a conversation or showed me around, others again told me a background story, expressed understanding for traveling alone around to a different country or simply welcomed me with big smiles and hugs or taught me a little bit about how to be Canadian. On the other hand I was super surprised and impressed how many people responded with a German greeting or phrase as soon as they heard where I was from.

We are a worldwide church. It is our name and our identity drawing us together. Being one family and One in Christ. Being united however diverse we are but, no matter if someone coming into a church group is a Community of Christ member or not, this is how everyone should feel. That feeling is exactly what will make them wanting to come again.

 We identify ourself amongst others by showing equal respect and love to everyone and by constantly inviting and welcoming people. Let me tell you you are doing a great job! Keep your open arms and hearts. Welcome everyone that warmly. 

Who welcomes God's people welcomes Him.  

Lina Schwermer

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


    Travel delays along the rail line resulted in missing our train connections. Huddled among strangers in the cold and less than hospitable bowels of Union Station, we were remembering the last time this had happened and the long bus ride that took us on a “milk run” from city to city before getting home.
    Our lamenting about the injustice of being so inconvenienced once again, was quickly brought into perspective.  On one side; a young mother with a 15 month old baby, a stroller, several over stuffed carry bags and a cell phone that didn’t work.  Her welfare became our focus.  Befriending and commiserating; sharing our granola bars and bottled water and helping to carry and load her baggage unto the bus became our mission.
    On the other side; a group of visually impaired men and women who were making their way home after winning the National Championship for Blind Curlers.  They were a team of Champions!  Nothing could diminish their enthusiasm and their joy.
    A sweet, loving mother and a smiling baby reminded us that challenges can be conquered with tender patience and trust even in the outstretched hand of a stranger.   The visually impaired reminded us that in spite of limitations, there are still victories to be celebrated and joy to be shared.
    We were awakened to what matters most. We were reminded again of how companions on life’s journey can be a rich blessing to one another when we are fully awake and ready to respond with gifts of shared joy and simple acts of kindness.
        “Every person who touches our lives
            teaches us something about ourselves.” 
                        from Eat, Pray & Love
Ruth Black
March  2016

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Finding Jesus

 They asked: “Is there a picture of Jesus in the church that we can use as our
Worship center?   My walk through the church in search of such a portrait became
a time of awakening.  I went looking for a picture and I found Jesus.
    In the fireside room, I found Jesus praying! 
His shoulders robed in drab hues of brown, his head bowed; his crown of disheveled hair seems to be outwardly portraying an inner struggle. I focus on his strong hands now covering his face; folded in soulful prayer.
    In the foyer, I found Jesus smiling!
With warm colors spread on the canvas, the portrait of Jesus offers me a full, beautiful smile. His welcoming eyes are reassuring and spirit lifting.
    In a classroom downstairs, I found Jesus with children!
With innocence, trust and admiring eyes, the children gather near him. I notice his outstretched hands lovingly cup the face of one of the smallest among them.  
    In the hall cupboard, I found Jesus in a meadow!
He stands on a bed of green grass beside a quiet stream of clear blue water.  A lost lamb has been found. Holding it close, he cradles its trembling body. The gentle touch
of the hand of Jesus brings a blessing of reassurance.
    In the staircase, I found Jesus at a table!
At this table of betrayal and forgiveness, Jesus sits resolute but contemplative. The body language of His followers portray perplexity and disbelief. I pause to wonder if they will recognize the bread broken and spread before them as a gift of grace; will they find renewed hope and peace?
    In the office workroom, I find Jesus with yet another child of God!
The child speaks to me of one who may be ill, lost, frightened or hurting inside.  I see her sad face as she places her head on Jesus’ comforting shoulder. She knows she can rest there until she is stronger.  A compassionate Jesus understands!
    Amid the clutter of a seldom visited storage cupboard,  I find Jesus!
A reproduction of Warner Sallman’s  “Head of Christ”  shows me a ‘serene, thoughtful, visionary Christ. The Jesus who sees His future and accepts it’.
This is the Jesus of the Garden of Gethsemane. This is the Jesus of the Golgotha’s Hill.   This is Jesus the Redeemer.
    The good word is; when we seek Him, we will find Him.
         He can be who the deepest yearning of our hearts need Him to be.

May each of us be blessed as we seek and find Jesus anew during this Season of Lent.

Ruth Black,
Kitchener,  February 3, 2016

Friday, January 8, 2016

“Sleep Tight”

God where will your Spirit lead me today?
Help me to be fully awake and ready to respond.

  It was only a short interview on the noon hour news but, her story and her efforts to raise awareness about domestic violence and the exploitation of women in our community tugged on my heart strings.  In that moment, I wondered if we could possibly be a part of bringing the much needed comfort and hope to despairing women through the “Sleep Tight” pajama collection.   All it took was a quick mention to a few people at church and an opportunity to present the idea to our friends in the Waterloo Regional Police Auxiliary.
    Within just a few days, 56 pair of cozy, comforting pajamas had been collected for women and children.  I was truly thrilled by the compassionate caring so generously shown through the church and community working together.    A few days later, we met with Meaghan Coneybeare, the founder and co-ordinator of “Sleep Tight” and presented her with the pajamas that would be added to hundreds of others collected during this years pajama campaign. These gifts of comfort would be dispensed through the Waterloo Police Service to women who are dependent on the YWCA,  Victim Services and the Sexual Assault Center.
    The warmth and sincerity of Meaghan’s gratitude made the Church’s Peace and Justice Initiative come alive.   While the peace that is so often needed may not always be achieved, simple acts of kindness can be an expression of hope. 

Ruth Black,

Friday, December 11, 2015

“A Blue Christmas”

    It’s Christmas!  I dash into yet another store and weave my way through the
busy shoppers filling the narrow aisle.  One shopper, however, catches my attention.
I pause as she holds in front of her, several sprigs of gold leaves and berries. Those look beautiful, I tell her.  Casting a glance my way, she says,  “Thank you, I’m getting them for the cemetery”. 
    I spend only this brief moment with her before I resume my quickened step to the back of the store.  A few minutes later and we find ourselves standing in line together at the check out counter.  The woman has added other gold ornaments to accentuate the decorative vines she has chosen.  It seems important to her that the Christmas accents be just right!  Still questioning herself, she asks my opinion on her decision.  Again, I assure her that her selection is quite beautiful. 
    “Your taking them to the cemetery?”  I ask.  “Yes,  she says, “I was there before church and I will go back this afternoon”.    
    The woman is about my age, perhaps a few years younger.  She speaks with a European accent which I cannot identify.  Looking into her face now, I say,   “This visit must be for someone who was very special to you”.  Her eyes cloud over slightly but with a gentle smile of remembrance and reflection, she responds, “Yes, my husband and my son are buried side by side”. 
    I offer my condolences. I speak a few simple, yet sincere words of sympathy for her loss.  She seems grateful for our brief time together. As I turn to leave, I hear her voice behind me saying, “I want to wish you a very nice day.” 
    As I reflect upon this encounter, I am in awe once again of how the spirit of the divine catches our attention and unites us even as strangers in the market places of our lives.  I am reminded of how the gracious spirit of a loving and compassionate God opens doors and gently leads us to to bring a ministry of presence where ever needed.
    I think about the many people that I know who are grieving the loss of loved ones at this time of the year and for whom this will be a “Blue Christmas”.  I hope they will “find comfort in the voice of a friend, the flicker of a beautiful memory or the words of a song that are meant just for them”.(Hallmark)  May the awareness of God’s tender touch upon their hearts bless them with comfort and peace this Christmas.

With Caring,
Ruth Black,

Friday, November 27, 2015

“The Joy of Giving!”

               What Joy!   I see it on their faces.  I hear it in their voices.  I feel their excitement as they speak of how their lives have been blessed through their efforts to bring joy and hope to others in the community.
    A ten year old boy, in this 4th Annual ‘Toy Drive’,  has collected another 500 toys this year. These toys, distributed through Anselma House, will bring joy and hope to less fortunate children in Waterloo Region throughout the year.  His eight year old sister, in her second Annual ‘Towel Drive’, collected 80 towels this year for a Women’s Crisis Center.  The selfless commitment of these children is an inspiration to many in the church and community. 
    The congregation’s Young Peace Makers have made their annual visit to a Retirement Home.  There is great joy throughout the room as the 5-9 year olds interact with the elderly.  The elderly residents seldom see children, so the singing, snacks, jokes, gentle beating of drums and the gift of a child’s simple handmade craft bring deep pleasure to the residents. The children are a blessing of joy to the YPC leaders and to the Retirement Home residents.
    Volunteers from the congregation arise very early on Wednesday mornings to assist with a ‘School Snack Program’. This simple gift of time helps to bring the nourishment for learning required by some 25-30 students each day. There is joy in working together to support this community endeavor of expressing love & compassion for children in the neighborhood. 
    In September the congregation began to bring their generous donations of toys, toiletries, school supplies and clothing items to fill shoe boxes for ‘Operation Christmas Child”.  The congregation joined together to fill another 81 boxes this year. These simple expressions of generosity that will put smiles on the faces of children in far away lands who we will never meet.
    The Christmas tree in the foyer is again decorated with hats, mitts and scarves. These gifts will be gratefully received by ‘Out of the Cold’ clients. The congregation’s on going Food Collection continues to be needed and appreciated by families who receive food hampers from the Chandler Mowat Center.  
    There truly is joy ~ in being ~ a community of Christ!

            “If you truly would be Community of Christ,
then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.”   D.&C 164 9d

Ruth Black.
Kitchener Congregation.
November, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

That is the Life We Choose

Community of Christ Sings #205 (adapted)

"When senseless violence takes those we love,
When cruel death strikes childhood's promise down,
When wrenching loss becomes our bitter bread,
We know O God, You leave us not alone.

When unexpected crisis takes those we love,
When those with loathing all their hate impart,
And grief becomes the fabric of our days,
Dear God, You do not stand from us apart.

Our faith may flicker low and hope grow dim,
Yet You, O God, are with us in our pain,
You grieve with us, and for us, day by day,
And loving presence near, always the same.

In an excruciating week of personal, community and global loss, the ever redeeming reality felt within, is that our lives are bound to one another in sacred community and trust that love prevails. In a knowing faith we resolve to live into an inner peace that spurs courageous action to be carriers of hope to a shattered world. 
God bless our collective resolve to be a blessing for others that rises above the pessimism, doubt and hate. Onward we prevail through unconditional kindness, through compassion and blessing; for... that... is... the... life... we...choose !!

submitted by Kerry