Pastoral Letters

Further letters to be added.....


Lent 2012

The Children and Youth of Lakeview United Church

Cordially Invite You to Join Them on a Special Lenten Journey to Easter 

eco-footsteps to the Cross 

Each Sunday in Lent, we will work with Scripture, Chancel Dramas, Spiritual Practices, Visual Symbols, Music & Activities to develop weekly themes on healing our relationship with creation. Teachers and Worship Leaders have worked together to support this passion of our children and young people.  Join hands and journey together! 

Lent I:            February 26, 10am From Denial to Affirmation     

with Holy Communion

Lent II:           March 4, 10am         From Convenience to Commitment

Lent III:          March 11, 10am       From Greed to Withholding Nothing

Lent IV:          March 18, 10am       From Guilt to Forgiveness

Lent V:           March 25, 10am       From Despair to Hope

                        intergenerational service

Holy Week Begins

Palm Sunday:   April 1, 10am      From Fear to Faith  

with a Special Musical Service for the day,  Holy  Communion,

and Procession with Palms.

Maundy Thursday April 5, 6pm Simple Supper (soup, roll & water)

& The Last Supper

Good Friday April 6, 10am            Readings, Music  & Prayers for the day,

                                                            & the stripping of the chancel

Easter            April 8, 10am            The Renewal of All Creation!

                                                            Alleluias Fly!  Music!  Baptism!

                                                & the Church is Dressed for Easter!


Dear friends in faith,

Last evening, after a rich Lent I Sunday in worship with our community of faith and a good Faith Formation Committee meeting following fellowship time after the service, I was reminded of how “out of sync” we Christians are with North America’s priorities. It was Oscar night, or as Oscar Host Billy Crystal described it “watching millionaires give each other gold statues”. Well I guess that’s one way to begin a Lenten journey!  In fact, I don’t think Lent even came up once in conversations on the Red Carpet. (Don’t they know the season colour is “purple?) 

Really, though, it is too easy to set our lives beside lives lived in fame and luxury, and take comfort in ourselves living simple lives of simple faith for Lent. It is just too easy. Our lives are not to be set aside just anyone else’s life as a measure of holiness or discipleship or Lenten commitment. Our lives are meant to be set alongside the life of the One we follow---Jesus. This year, our youth and children are leading us on that journey. Will you join them?  Come as you are. Dress as you will. Leave with a blessing, not a statue. 

with you in ministry,

Diane Strickland, Minister.


Advent, 2011

Dear friends in faith, 

On the first Sunday of Advent Lakeview United Church was well and beautifully dressed for the season, thanks to the dedication of our wonderful volunteers. After worship, a group was talking about their plans to decorate their homes. Some were going to start that day and make it an Advent celebration. Others were bursting to share their traditions of decorating inside and outside, and when the Christmas tree usually went up in their house. A few proudly told stories of special items—an angel that always topped the tree, a snowman that greeted visitors just inside the front door, a Christmas runner that topped the dining room table. 

Did I mention that all the people talking with anticipation and delight were adults? 

Yes, this is the season when adults let their guard down just a little, to play with the season and its toys.  We relax into a home décor that we create from our homemade children’s tree ornaments, well worn centerpieces for the table that often sit slightly askew after several decades of use, liberal amounts of sparkle and sequins and glitter, and a colour scheme (if we can call it that) that may or may not match the rest of our home.  But we like it that way. We like it just fine! Because attached to all these things are memories from our lives that are precious—joyous, sad, funny, comforting—they are all precious memories. 

That same Sunday after church, our children were rushing from their Sunday program to rehearse their upcoming pageant that tells the Christmas story in a special way. They hurriedly unloaded their arms laden with things from Sunday school. I saw the United Church Advent Calendars that our congregation had purchased to give them. And then I saw something else—the beginnings of a Christmas crèche. It was easy to imagine how that might become another treasured item to unpack each year, and another way the story at the heart of Christmas would be with them. 

Good people, we are in a deep partnership with parents and grandparents to nurture children with the Christmas story. And no one else is doing it. Only congregations. This is holy work in the seasons of Advent and Christmas. We are passing on this story every way we can imagine, so that when these young lives mature, they will know what is the heart of Christmas. Then, each year, they will unpack their lights, snowmen, and trees with the same feelings that we have. But the most important things they will unpack will be those that tell the real story of Christmas—the most precious memory in which we all have a share. Thanks be to God for the privilege of this ministry with children and their families. 

A blessed Advent and Christmas for you and those you love. 

Rev. Diane J. Strickland.

Please scroll down for seasonal service times and dates. 

And a big thank you from the Board for donations received this year for the Roof-Us Fund! 


Advent, Christmas and Epiphany at Lakeview United Church 

Sunday, December 4, 2011  10am  ADVENT II

Holy Baptism,  The Spiritual Practice of Christmas, White Gift Sunday

After worship, LUC Ladies Shortbread Sale 

Sunday, December 11, 2011 10am ADVENT III

Bethlehem Road, A Christmas Musical Drama presented by Children, Youth, and the Young at Heart, led by Joan Greenfield 

Sunday, December 18, 2011 10am ADVENT IV

I Hear the Prophet Callin’, A Seasonal Cantata offered by Lakeview United Church Choir, with instrumental ensemble.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011 7pm  The Longest Night

A gentle service of music, lessons, and Light for those who may need to steady their spirits at this season of the year.  

Saturday, December 24, 2011  Christmas Eve

5pm   A Family Service,  Designed with children in mind

7pm   Candlelit Service of Lessons and Carols, Holy Communion, Choir   

Sunday, December 25, 2011   10am    CHRISTMAS!

We celebrate the story together. 

Sunday, January 1, 2011 10am  NEW YEARS DAY!

The Seasons of our Lives   Rev. Gerry Scharff, Guest Preacher 

Sunday, January 8th, 2011  10am  First Sunday after Epiphany

The Visit of the Magi   Rev. Gerry Scharff, Guest Preacher



The Rhythm of Summer

I remember lying on the grass in front of the band shell at Ontario Place under a summer night sky, listening to Canadian jazz legend Oscar Peterson relax every bone in my body at the same time as he energized every corner of my spirit. I was so happy to be alive and so grateful for the memory I knew I was making.

Maybe because we Canadians know just how valuable summer is, most of us have memories like that—a hot sticky day that ends in the cool lake, a quiet canoe moment floating alongside a loon, a breezy ride in a convertible, a bite of ripe peach that squirts juice down your chin, a sunset seat on the end of a dock—those magical summer seconds when time holds still and we “feel” our own presence in the world with more joy than usual.

Summer creates a space for most of us to step back a little from the pace and de- mands that crowd the rest of the year. Summer begs us to remember that creation is good, that we are good, and that hope is an awfully good traveler—because it remains resilient come what may.

As I write those words I know that some may not be so sure about hope as I am. Perhaps it’s the season of my own life that gives me such bravado, but I’m pretty sure that when we release hope from our expectations, and let them be different, hope comes with an unfailing truth. And that’s what I think brushed up against me at Ontario Place many years ago, but also many years since in different ways. Hope says “hello” every time I drive with the mountains as good company. Hope nudges my elbow when a crusty soul cracks open with a laugh. Hope passes over with the hawk that dances with the air currents. Hope tucks me in at night when I read my evening prayer from the book Celtic Benediction that my soul sister Gerry Scharff gave me a few years ago.

This summer, how will hope come to you? And how will it lead you forward for all that lies ahead at work, at home, at school, and yes, at Lakeview United Church? Look for it. Wait for it. Greet it with a warm welcome. After all, it’s summer.

with you in ministry, Diane.


The Cradle of Lent

Dear friends in faith,

Lent is well-launched with Communion and a great sermon by Vicki McPhee.  Through Vicki, God invited us to embrace this season before Easter as a waiting time in which grace has “elbow room” to accomplish the things we weren’t even thinking about. 

But even before the first Sunday in Lent, something special had already happened. As in years past, some of us went over to St. Laurence Anglican Church for their Ash Wednesday service and Holy Communion. It’s always special to me because I get to be present in the congregation singing and praying beside my own parishioners, walking with them to the rail for the imposition of ashes, and then a second time for the elements of bread and wine. The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee is a gracious presence who makes us feel so welcome. Her words are deep and wise. Her faith—obvious. Each year I receive something special from this ministry, but this year there was a new clarity.

As I heard the familiar words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” I felt my vulnerability—not just to sin—but to so many things. I wanted to cradle my mortality—hold it carefully so that I could really know it. And if I lived each day of Lent cradling my mortality, what would I discover?

So far, every single day has felt more significant. I live a whole day, lungs breathing, heart beating. Then I close my eyes, fall asleep and with no effort I keep going through night—lungs breathing, heart beating. It’s a gift every single day and night, because during the day I spend time with people living on the edge of their mortality, in the drama of facing real limits, succumbing to them and occasionally surpassing them. Family, caregivers, medical personnel and I try to cradle their mortality with reverence, skill, commitment and love.

But there was more to come. The catastrophic devastation of earthquake and tsunami in Japan seemed to mock the very idea of cradling anyone’s mortality. But even in the face of such unimaginable loss, within hours there were pictures on the news of Japanese adults passing babies and children from arm to arm, getting them to safety—cradling their youngest ones’ mortality. Within days more pictures of people from around the world getting off airplanes with supplies, medical teams, others leading recovery teams of specially trained dogs—everyone ready to cradle the mortality of a whole nation, one way or another.

For me, Lent has become a cradle in which my mortality rests just long enough for me to grasp the miracle of its persistence and the love that is required to respect it.  Will I ever be careless with it again? Perhaps. But when Lent is done and death has done its worst, I will hear again in the Gospel that found me years ago—the Holy miracle of God’s persistence and the Holy love that makes Life stronger than death. I will “Remember that I am dust, and to dust I shall return”. But I will also remember that I am a child of God, and loved with a love that is stronger than death.

And into that cradle of Lent, let us lean back into grace of God together.

With you in ministry,