Ebenezer eNews and Worship eService

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Image: United Church of Canada
Today is the 1st Sunday in Lent and we celebrated Black History Month
We welcome our guest speaker today, Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae who is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Race, Gender, and Performance; Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo; and a multi-disciplinary artist. 

Her topic is called “Black and Free”.
Ebenezer Rocks!

Yesterday, we walked in support of Blue Door. The funds raised will be used to support Blue Door housing programs including the Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold program that operates from Ebenezer three nights per week. We have eclipsed our goal and have raised: $7,615.00, which is $1000.00 more than last year!!!

Thank you everyone for signing up to walk, for promoting the event, for fundraising (a hard task) to support Blue Door and their programs, for coming to support the walkers, for everyone who helped with set up and clean up, making signs, and all the details that it takes to make the Coldest Night of the Year event such a success. Lastly, special thanks to Marilyn, Jane, Chitra and more for all the drinks and snacks for everyone afterwards.

Enjoy these videos and see many more photos at the end of today's eNews.

Keeping in Touch

with Ebenezer United Church

Our worship service at Ebenezer as well on Zoom is led by Vernon Clarke, Diane McLean, Rev. Nicholas Forrester, and guest speaker Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae with Christine Hanson, Margaret Tribe, and our choir for the musical accompaniment, Diane McLean with Marla Tankard for Sunday School, Susan Ryman for the slides, and James Tribe, Shaun Balasubramaniam, and yours truly for our audiovisual and broadcast support.

Scripture Readings (NIV): 
Genesis 2:15–17 and
Genesis 3:1–7 The Fall
Matthew 4:1–11 Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Sermon: Can We Stay Here?

Here're links from the United Church of Canada this week:

Wishing a Happy Birthday to
Rhian Carreon, March 3
Coffee & Treats Please stay following the service for fellowship and refreshments in the narthex generously prepared by our Justice and Outreach Team, Jane Smyth and Marilyn Tankard.
Ebenezer Rocks!!! Thank you everyone for signing up to walk, for promoting the event, for fundraising (a hard task) to support Blue Door and their programs, for coming to support the walkers, for everyone who helped with set up and clean up, making signs, and all the details that it takes to make the Coldest Night of the Year event such a success!!!
         ~ Marilyn and Jane - your Outreach team
Annual Reports should be ready for distribution MARCH 5, 2023. If you wish to have a printed copy, please let Susan know. Annual General Meeting is scheduled March 12, 2023 after service.
Offering envelopes for 2023
This year we have discontinued the individual sets of offering envelopes. We now have generic envelopes - take a lot or take a few, and get more when you need them. Just be sure to put your name on them. Or better yet - sign up for PAR or do e-transfers. Speak to Joan if you want to know more about PAR. Thanks for supporting Ebenezer.

Office Hours: Susan will be working in-office Wednesday and Friday
10 a.m.- 2 p.m. and from home Tuesday and Thursday
TuesdayOut of the Cold program by BlueDoor & volunteers
February 28 Board Meeting at 7:30 via Zoom
WednesdayOut of the Cold program by BlueDoor & volunteers
ThursdayOut of the Cold program by BlueDoor & volunteers
Choir Practice - 7-9 p.m. in the main sanctuary. Come sing! Please use the side door entrance from the parking lot to the sanctuary.
Sunday – In-person/Zoom at 10 a.m. with Rev. Nicholas Forrester and Worship Leader, Jane Smyth for the 2nd Sunday in Lent and Holy Communion. The children will be singing during service and there will be a Sunday School program in classrooms 1&2 with Diane
Lenten Discipleship Calendar Jackie Lovell has provided a 2023 Lenten Discipleship Calendar to use over the Lenten period leading up to Easter Sunday. Please take a copy today or click here to download a PDF and share with others as we begin our Lenten journey.


Celebrity Server Night Join us on Wednesday March 8th, 2023 for as we celebrate International Women’s Day! A fundraising event for Julliette’s Place in partnership with Boston Pizza Morningside where our staff become servers to raise funds for the shelter. 10% of the proceeds from 6:00-9:00pm (excluding alcohol) will go to Julliette’s Place!! 50/50 draw and AMAZING prizes to be won! Invite your family, friends, neighbours, and colleagues! Please email to RSVP! Simone Cornelissen:
Information on Government Benefits (English)
Friday, March 17, 2023 from 10:00am – 11:00am via ZOOM
Learn About: What is CPP, OAS and GIS? Who is entitled to receive benefits? How to apply for these benefits? What are the latest entitlements offered by the Government of Canada?
What documents are needed to apply for public pensions?
How to prevent fraud and protect My Service Canada Account?
Speaker: Citizen Services Specialist; Citizen Service Branch
Service Canada / Government of Canada
For more information: Call Elsa UY at 416 – 493 – 3333  x 305
Or email at
Offered by: SPLC (Senior Persons Living Connected), S.A.L.T. (Seniors and Law Enforcement Together, Service Canada
Digital Life Skills for Seniors: Safety Tips on Online Shopping
Monday, March 13, 2023 from 1:30pm – 3:00pm via ZOOM
Speaker: Alexandra Suthern, Librarian
This program is for people who have basic internet skills, and want to learn how to: safely shop online with confidence, find goods and services online, look for customer reviews and testing results.
For More Information and Registration
Call Tracy @ 416-493-3333 ext 229 or Email:
Zoom Link will be sent upon registration
Black History Month  We welcome Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae, a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Race, Gender, and Performance; Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Waterloo; and a multi-disciplinary artist.
She is the Principal Investigator of Black And Free, a research-creation project that includes multi-year research partnerships with eight private and public sector organizations. Keleta-Mae’s scholarship has been published in her forthcoming single-authored books Performing Female Blackness (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2023) and Beyoncé and Beyond: 2013-2016 (Routledge UK, 2023).
Keleta-Mae’s articles have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and her chapters in books including bestseller Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada (2020) and award-winning Performance Studies in Canada (2017). Keleta-Mae was the inaugural Subject Editor of Black Theatre and Performance for the Routledge Performance Archive and she is currently the Co-Editor of Theatre Research In Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada.
Keleta-Mae is also an artist who works in theatre, literature and music and who has performed in Canada, France, Jamaica and South Africa. Her music albums are: Fire Woman (2020); Bloom (2009) and Free Dome: South Africa (2001); and her plays are What We Deserve (2020), No Knowledge College (2005); and Stuck (2001). Her op-ed about Black Lives Matter’s sit-in at Toronto Pride broke The Globe and Mail's opinion section record for most shares (2016) and her op-ed article about Beyoncé’s song “Formation” was one of the most read stories for a week across Vice Network’s Noisey websites in 15 countries (2016). She has commentated for outlets including the BBC, CBC, BBN, CTV, The Canadian Press, The National Post, The Fader, and Today’s Parent.
Instagram: blackandfree_ 
Facebook: blackandfree1
Have a wonderful week and stay safe,

Doug Mark
PS Please always remember to support your Ebenezer United Church by giving your time and talents as well as through your offerings. Click here to learn more from our website and remember we accept Interac e-Transfers to Thank-you!
PPS Click here to check our our new CanadaHelps donation link found on our website as well.  

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Ebenezer United Church
1st Sunday in Lent & Black History Month
February 26, 2023
Prelude “Rockingham” by Christopher Tambling
Introduction (Read by Worship Leader)
While Black history cannot be reduced to a month’s observance each year, Black History Month has been observed since 1987 and it aims to remember the struggles of Black people around the world for justice and basic human dignity, while also celebrating the contributions of Black people everywhere, made to the world. Once again, we remember, we lament, and we regret the evil and inhumane treatment of Black over the last 600 years and continues still.
Lighting of the Christ Candle & Fellowship Candles
(Lighting by Sunday School, reading by Worship Leader)
The Christ Candle is a sign to us that Jesus Christ has come into this world as the Eternal Light. The Fellowship Candles remind us that Jesus’ people are the people of Light in this world. As we light the Christ Candle, let us hear the voice of Jesus say, “I am the Light of the World.” And, as we light the Fellowship Candles, let us also hear the voice of Jesus say, “You are the light of the world.”
Welcome & Announcements                                              ~ Vernon Clarke
Chimes                                                              ~ Margaret Tribe
*Call to Worship (Responsive) (Please stand as you are able)
L/   The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
P/   And also, with you.
L/   From tempting desires that cannot fully satisfy we turn away.
P/   From the striving and pursuing things that cannot deliver life we turn.
L/   From emptiness and half-truths we turn away.
A/   We turn to enjoy God, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and worship him together!
Hymn of Praise “Lift Every Voice and Sing”            
Words: James Weldon Johnson 1900, Music: J. Rosamond Johnson 1905
Lenten Candle Lighting Lent 1: Freedom and Responsibility
from The Whole People of God Year A worship resource by Wood Lake Books Inc.
(The Christ candle is lit prior to worship.)
Voice 1:  It is the beginning of the Season of Lent.  We give thanks to God for creating human beings with the freedom to choose our destiny.  Like Adam and Eve, we hunger for more knowledge of God and of God’s world.  May we learn, like Jesus, to exercise this freedom and hunger by loving and serving God with all our hearts.
(Lighting the first purple candle)
Voice 2:  We are free to love and serve God.
All:    God of all time
          Thank you for this special time of Lent.
Help us to cherish our freedom and embrace our responsibilities. Be with us as we walk with hope into your future unfolding before us. Amen.
Invocation (Together) (Led by Worship Leader)
God of love, you created all human beings in your image and likeness. Bearing your image, you call on us to reflect your goodness, justice, and love to all the world. Remind us of our call to follow your Son and to speak out for justice, mercy, and compassion. As we come before you in prayer, teach us to respect your image in all human beings, and help us to defend your image in all human beings. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray, amen.
Choir Anthem “Jacob's Ladder”  by Daniel Kallman
Confession and Lament (Responsive) (Leader, People, All)
L/   God of all peoples, we confess the sins of the Church and the State, including us gathered here, and our European relatives of 600 years ago and onward have committed when parts of your Church along with the State used the Christian faith and your Holy Scriptures to justify the theft of native lands and the enslavement of your people.
P/   Forgive us for where we have failed humanity, O Lord, for we       have acted wickedly towards you and Black people   everywhere.
L/   O God, we confess that we have nursed and nurtured thoughts,       feelings, and actions of racism, discrimination, and prejudice,    which perpetuate the oppression, suppression, repression, and       harm of Black people, making life for them as though slavery never   ended but merely took on a different face.
A/   Forgive us for where we have failed humanity, O Lord, for we       have acted wickedly towards you and Black people   everywhere. Touch hearts that have been shrivelled by   generations of suppressed empathy, and eyes that have lost        the ability to see brothers and sisters who suffer from   systemic injustice. Help us mourn the divisions among the   body of your Son, and work for healing in the places where       we live, work, and gather to worship you. In the name of the       liberator of all humanity, Jesus Christ, we pray, amen!
Assurance of Pardon (Minister, All)
M/  Beloved in the Lord, this is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make God   a liar, and God’s word is not in us” (1 Jn. 1:8–10). To all who turn to the Lord then, he says, “your sins are forgiven.” He also says,         “Follow me.”
A/   Thanks be to God!
The Lord’s Prayer Hallowed Be Thy Name (West Indian Version
Presentation: “Black and Free” Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae
Song for the Young “Down by the Riverside”  trad. Henrik Bergion
A Time with Our Children with Diane McLean
“Where’s the Alleluia”?
One: We’ve looked in here. We’ve looked in there. Hey, where’s the
All:   Alleluia?
One: They’ve buried it, we don’t know where. Hey, where’s the
All:   Alleluia?
One: It’s time for hearts and minds to prepare. So, don’t say
All:    Alleluia.
One:  It seems so strange to be without. Just where’s the
All:    Alleluia?
One:  It makes me want to up and shout. No! Don’t say
All:    Alleluia.
One:  I guess this is what Lent’s all about. We don’t say
All:    Alleluia.
One:  We know Christ died upon the cross. Now where’s the
All:    Alleluia?
One:  We know Christ came to find the lost. So, hold that
All:    Alleluia.
One:  We’re sorry when we stray from you. We can’t say
All:    Alleluia.
One:  Take my life, God, make it new. Then we’ll say
All:    Alleluia.
One:  We’re getting ready! Won’t be long.  We’ll hear the
All:    Alleluia!
One:  We’ll join the heaven’s joy-filled song. We’ll sing our
All:    Alleluia!
One:  We’ll shout it loud and sing it strong.  We’ll shout out
All:    Alleluia!
(Children are welcome to go with Diane McLean and Marla Tankard to classrooms 1&2 for a Sunday School program.)
Prayer for Understanding (Worship Leader)
Holy God, Lord of Life, many voices call to us each week. Many paths and possibilities lie before us. Send us your Spirit, O God, that we may hear your Word speaking through the Scriptures this day, and recognize your guidance more clearly in our activities this coming week, through Jesus Christ, your Living Word, in whose glorious and powerful name we pray, amen.
Scripture Readings
Old Testament: Genesis 2:15–17; 3:1–7 (NIV) (read by Vernon)
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die…. 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
New Testament: Matthew 4:1–11 (NIV) (read by Rev. Forrester)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted[a] by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” 11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
R/   This is the word of the Lord!
A/   Thanks be to God!
Sermon “Let My People Go!”          Rev. Nicholas Forrester
Hymn of Reflection “Kum Ba Yah”                                              
Prayers of the People (Please listen) (Reader, All)    Margaret Tribe
R/     God of the Wilderness, hear our prayer,
A/     And in your love answer.
Choral Response “Great Amen”              MV #: 205 tune VU #:625
Invitation to the Offering (Worship Leader)
God has given us the gifts we need to live full and generous lives. We offer our gifts to God in gratitude for the possibilities we enjoy, trusting God to multiply what we bring for goodness’ sake.
Offering Our Gifts
Offertory Hymn
“Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow”                      VU #: 541
Prayer of Dedication (Minister)
Lord God, we offer our gifts and our very selves in thanksgiving for all that you provide. Receive all that we can offer you and bless us, so that we become a source of life and mercy for others, in the name of Christ, our Strength and our Redeemer, we pray, amen.
Closing Hymn “Amen, Amen” lead solo by Rev. Nicholas Forrester
African-American spiritual, arr. Nelsie T. Johnson
*Benediction (Rev. Forrester) (Please stand as you are able)
M/  God will command the angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear us up. Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High will be your dwelling place.
P/   No evil shall befall us. Thanks be to God!
M/  Go with God, my friends. Amen!
“Go Now in Peace”    by Nancy Price and Don Besig
Postlude “Valley”  by Roger Summers
Acknowledgements: Respectfully adapted from the following resources:
The United Church of Canada @;
The Presbyterian Church in Canada @;
United Church of Christ Worship Ways @;
Spirit Networks @;
The United Methodist Church Ministry Matters @;
The Church of England @
Last week's sermon "Can We Stay Here?" by Rev. Nicholas Forrester
Prayer of the Week
Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV)
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Food for Thought
None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.
Imagine & Do: Naila Keleta-Mae at TEDxUW
from Doug Mark

Today's wonderful inspiration is obvious from our special guest speaker Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae. Thank-you Naila!
Heavenly Humour
from Doug Mark
Dr. Trevor Lau (Jane Smyth's very helpful son in-law) joins Karen (From Blue Doors) and  and her partner Jennifer after yesterday's fundraiser.
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