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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?"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Post-dated Remembrance Day Prayer

Remembrance Day Prayer 

Dear God,

As adults in this world, as keepers of the littlest of Your children, we are charged with the task of explaining how the world we live in actually works. Not least of which, I might add, is the insurmountable, alpine task of explaining to these innocent, wide-eyed children why wars happen, why people feel the need to kill one another, why hatred exists, the reason why their big brother or sister is never coming home again. I feel so unequipped for this task, O God. I can’t even begin to understand why these things happen for myself, Lord, let alone explain it to our most precious of cargo, and to be frank, oh Lord, I’m not sure that I ever want to understand that kind of hatred.
What I do know, O God, is that for all the evil man has created in Your world, for all the atrocities we see, and that we attempt to prepare our young to go out into, Lord, You are the good, You alone are the way, the truth, the light and the life. Despite all the bad in our world, or perhaps because of it, You have planted a mustard seed of talent within each and every one of us, a gift to be used for the establishment of Your Kingdom. 

I pray to You, O God, on this Remembrance Day, I beg of You, to help us remember the power which each of us has inside, the power to affect change, to be a pillar of light and of all that is good in this world, a pillar of Your love, help us to be Your hands, on earth, God, doing Your will, spreading Your message of love and salvation to everyone we meet, Lord, not through proselytizing, but in the way in which we live our lives, Lord, may we always seek to glorify You. 

For although we are fortunate to live in an area of the world that remains relatively untouched by armed combat, and although the war-torn areas of the world often seem so far away, Lord, the same blood that runs through their veins, runs through ours, and the same blood that runs through our veins runs through theirs, we are one. And if the peace that we seek, that we pray for each day, shall come to pass, the kind of all-encompassing world peace that will bring an end to war, hatred, and suffering, if that peace is ever to come and reign over all of Your children, Lord, it must begin with us. It is in our day-to-day interactions with other people, Lord, that we create that peace that can change the world. Please help us to use the power You have instilled in all of us, Lord, for good. Help us feel Your love for us, Lord, that we may forgive ourselves for our own missteps. Help us to share the love and to treat each person we encounter with respect and understanding, bearing in mind that the wars we send our young men and women off to fight, end with us, and our actions and how we choose to treat each other, with Your love. 

In Christ’s most holy name we pray,

Posted with permission from Aarika Black, Hamilton Congregation, Nov 11, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012

Toilet Paper

It was not because it was American Thanksgiving yesterday that I started thinking about this, although it is something to be thankful for, and I am.  Nor is it the fact that today is so called Black Friday and several million people are out frantically shopping for great bargains on things they mostly don't really need, (Just saying).  This reflection started simply because the toilet paper roll was empty. I opened the cupboard to get some more and there they were, several rolls all lined up just waiting until they were needed.

 At the risk of sounding really, really, really old, when I was a child we did not have toilet paper.  We didn't have a bathroom for that matter.  What we had was a well ventilated outhouse, especially in the wintertime!  I know some of you will have similar memories, while others are probably appalled.  To my childhood mind, the lack of indoor plumbing and toilet paper did not make us poor since all our neighbours had the same.  My grandmother told us that when she was a child they had to go to the bush!  We really had nothing to complain about. Of course toilet paper was not unknown to us, but it was beyond our family budget.  Instead we had last year's Eaton's or Simpson's catalogue.  It was the 1950s form of recycling paper I guess.

At S.S. # 2 Eastnor school, toilet paper was provided but students were always cautioned to use it sparingly.  I can still here the teacher saying to use "just one square!"  We didn't.

In preparation for a trip to Honduras for a World Accord build last January, one of the things we were told to take with us was toilet paper.  In that not-so-far-away part of the world, T-paper is still a luxury item for many people and not readily available, so we should bring our own.  We did.

How many people in our world today still do not have toilet paper, I wonder?  How many people use an old catalogue or newspaper, or magazine or whatever they can find?  Probably millions.  How many people must go beyond the treeline to relieve themselves, then use leaves or long grass? 

Some readers may find this a weird post and wonder what on earth I was thinking, but I am grateful for a heated, indoor washroom with hot and cold running water and flush toilets, especially on nights like tonight when there is a cold wind blowing with snow in the air,.  And I am thankful for a cupboard well stocked with toilet paper.  I do not want to forget the disparity in which we live or take this simple item for granted. 

Do we realize the myriad ways in which we are fortunate? 

Posted by Carman

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Friends, I am aware that I have not been blogging very frequently on What's the Good Word? and that is a disappointment to some of you, however I am determined to only post when I have something to say that I think (or hope) matters.  I am also watching for inspired or thought provoking work by others that can be shared here.  Sometimes permission to put that work on the blog comes easily, and sometimes it takes a while or is not forthcoming.

For the next three weeks I will be away, and hopefully not near a computer.  Let me take this opportunity to remind you that there are many excellent sources of inspiration that are readily available.  Several can be found to the lower left of this blog under the heading, "My Blog List."  I hope you are following some of those.

One such source is The Daily Bread, which you can have sent to your email inbox every day.  It features some excellent writers, and occasionally a sparkling gem or two.  If you are not subscribed to this short, daily, inspirational piece, let me recommend it.  You can start by reading Carolyn Brock's post Ikebana, then if you wish to subscribe, you can do so by clicking on "Subscribe".

In the meantime, if you have sources of inspiration you are finding enjoyable, would you be willing to click on the comments button and share those with the rest of us?

Blessings today,


Friday, November 9, 2012

Blue Christmas

Everyone of us has something in common.  We have all experienced …


It could be:
the death of a family member, friend or pet;
the end of a relationship through divorce or estrangement;
the loss of a job or career;
a move that has left you physically and/or emotionally disconnected;
and so, so, so, much more.
We are getting to the time of year where people are celebrating
Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, and more.

However, a lot of people who have experienced a loss don’t think they should celebrate.       They think that they shouldn’t laugh,  smile, or have happy thoughts.  Instead they think that they should be miserable, lonely or just waiting to feel better no matter how long that takes.
If you would like to stop waiting and actually start looking forward to this holiday season, 
EVERYONE is invited to join us for our

Sunday, November 25, 2012
2:00 p.m.
Community of Christ Church
817 Upper Sherman Avenue at Cameo
Hamilton, Ontario
Major intersection is Upper Sherman Ave and Mohawk Rd
Just east of the No Frills / Walmart plaza

Refreshments to follow

If you wish, please bring a candle to light and a photo to display.
Candles will be re-lit during our Christmas Eve Service. 
Photos will be returned at the end of the Blue Christmas Service.
Need more info? or or the phone # above.

Posted on behalf of  Hamilton Community of Christ

Monday, November 5, 2012


So, I am thinking this morning about how we invite friends and neighbours to various events at church.  Specifically, this pondering is about the way we describe the event in which we would like people to participate.  Here is why.

Last (Sunday) evening, I spent a lovely couple of hours with some friends from the Hamilton congregation.  There were six people present besides me plus two young folks, perhaps too old to be called children, in an adjoining room.  The evening got a lot more interesting when one of the participants came in carrying three pies she had baked.  Now I need to confess that I never met a pie I didn't like, so I am probably biased, but to paraphrase  Renée Zellweger's famous comment in the movie Jerry Maguire, she had me at hello!

The evening was planned to help congregation members and leaders learn more about hospitality, and how to be a welcoming church.  We talked for about ninety minutes, discussing several aspects of the subject.  The conversation included a lot of good-natured joking around, and then the leader closed with prayer.  It was time for pie.

The choices  included a lovely looking raspberry pie with real whipped cream, a delicious banana cream pie, and a coconut cream pie that was simply to die for.  Mmmmm!  The two young folks joined us and together we had a great time eating more pie than was probably good for us.  It was so delicious!  What a great evening.  Too bad there weren't more people present.  And that brings me to the point of this blog.

How would you invite folks to such an event?  Would you say,
"We're having a meeting to talk about how to become a more welcoming church; would you like to come?"  (This might be called the boring, business like approach; probably not too interesting and perhaps even scary for unchurched friends.)

Or would you say,
"Some folks are coming to our pastor's house to talk about how we can make the church more welcoming, and I'd really like to hear your thoughts on the subject.  Will you come?"  (Better, but probably still pretty scary for non-members.)
 Or how about something like (to anyone and everyone),
"I'm getting together with some friends from church to visit about how we can make church better.  They are fun people and I'd really like you to meet them.  The highlight of the evening will be that we get to sample some of Mary's wonderful pies.  Come with me.  Its going to be a fun evening, you'll meet some new people, and I promise the pie will be delicious!" 
Now, I am not trying to be critical and I am trusting that my dear friends in Hamilton know me well enough to realize that.  I really don't know how the word went out about this event, but I can guess.  If they were like most congregations, it was probably in the bulletin or up on the screen during the announcement time.  That's okay, but I'm guessing we could have easily doubled or tripled the number of people present if we had also used the more personal and interesting approach above.  Why not invite friends or neighbours to such a gathering?  Wouldn't their input be wonderful and helpful?  They would certainly enjoy themselves, and probably they would also have been blessed by Brother Kerry's touching prayer.

If you would like to know more about what the Hamilton folks are thinking about these days, check out their website at

What are your ideas about how to invite folks to participate in fun events at church?

Okay, enough of this, I wonder if there is any of that pie left that Mary sent home for Joan. 

Posted by Carman

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Will You Pray For Me?

About a week ago, I posted a blog entitled Peace about the experience of Evangelist Lu Mountenay of Independence MO.  I did not know at that time that her post would have a sequel.  It is remarkably touching and very worth reading.  It is amazing what can happen when we are deeply prayerful and really open to the leading of God's Spirit.

I invite you to click on the following link and read of Lu's continuing adventure with God's children in Was Poverty Their Crime?.

I know that some of you had similarly remarkable experiences as you have followed the Spirit who led you into unfamiliar places.  Would you be willing to share at least one of those with the rest of us?  If so, please click on the comments button and share those special moments, or if you would prefer, send me an email at  I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted by Carman

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I have been somewhat encouraged lately about the church in Canada East.  I might even go so far as to say I have allowed myself to become just a little bit hopeful.  I am encouraged because a few congregations seem to be "getting it", that church is about serv-ice, and not about serve-us.  The following are a few examples that give me hope.

Brydges Street Community of Christ in London has been reaching out to their neighbourhood through regular community dinners.  These and other events are designed to bring them into dialogue with their neighbours so they can be of service to them.  They feed the hungry, both those who hunger for food and those who hunger for human contact.  They provided the school across the street with support in the form of playground resources for the children which they paid for but gave away for free.  That brought them into contact with the parent-teacher group and they partnered with them as a way to serve, again for free.  They work with other churches to provide support for needy families, and that is just the beginning.   After years of being in the area, they have now become part of the community.  The community knows they are there and the neighbourhood is paying attention. A few are even attending church, being baptized and and joining the church in joyfully doing mission.  This congregation has learned to love serving.  Praise God!

Last Sunday I spent the day with Cambridge Community of Christ in a What Matters Most workshop.  This congregation does not own a building but rents space in a neighbourhood filled with rental housing.  There are literally hundreds of families with children and seniors withing a three block radius.  Somehow the Spirit seems to have been whispering and the congregation has been paying attention.  In response, they have decided to become servants to their neighbours.  They began with a community barbeque to which twenty people came.  It was fun, and they met some new folks.  Now they are planning to cook a spaghetti dinner for their neighbours.  This congregation is on the verge of discovering the joy of service, and a hunger seems to be growing inside them to do more of it.  Halleluiah!

Hamilton Community of Christ, like many churches, has grown quite small over the past few years, but that hasn't stopped them from having some big ideas!  Those few member know that they have something of value and importance in their fellowship, something other people long for.  They have meaning in their lives!  What if their little church on Upper Sherman could become "The Meaning Place" for their community?  They are just beginning this journey, but stay tuned, folks, I think you are going to hear a lot more from this faithful, inspired, and caring little community of Jesus followers.

So yes, I am encouraged today and have even begun to have hope.  In fact, there are moments when I allow myself to feel downright excited.  These congregations have rediscovered their purpose!  When we do that, and follow the leading of the Spirit in God's generous love and grace, there is no telling what might happen. 

For more on servant ministry, you might be interested in this post called Saints Wear Aprons (not bibs) from achurchforstarvingartists.  If you want still more, you can follow the links to the original article posted on

Posted by Carman