THE BURNING BUSH
101COBURG STREET, SAINT JOHN, N.B. E2L 3J8
GRACE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
PHONE 634-7765 OR FAX 693-3223 OR EMAIL - firstname.lastname@example.org
MINISTER: THE REV. DR. JOHN CRAWFORD, B.A.,M.Div.,D.Min.
Today is a cool, crisp November day, but the forecast is calling for a snow storm tomorrow, and
our landscape may be changing from the crisp leaves blowing about the ground to a frozen
world that begins its journey into a deep freeze until the springtime sunshine releases our clime
from its grasp. The scriptures, from my point of view reflect this imagery very well in that Israel
at the time of Christ was in the grip of a deep spiritual winter. For instance, the prophetic voice
in Israel had dried up for over 400 years, and as a nation that was conquered several times in
this time, Israel’s people had been scattered to the 4 corners of the world. Rome was now
Israel’s political master, and Rome and Greece’s cultural, social and religious influence are
markedly present. Would Israel survive as a distinct people or would they assimilate into the
Pax Romana? The Pharisees ( the only group to survive the destruction of Israel in AD 67 – and
the progenitors’ of the modern Rabbinic leadership), a group of religious scholars and teachers
attempted to thwart this assimilation by “building a hedge around the Law” to protect the
people from Gentile influences, and the religious voices of other Jewish parties such as the
Essenes, Sadducees, and the Herodians, but the results of this entrenchment would only
deepen the gloom and sadness of the people because the Law became legalistic. Religious
legalism is fundamentally brittle because it no longer takes into account other aspects of the
Law such as the fullness of life and joy when one commits to God and trusts.
The Incarnation of Jesus took place during the Pax Romana (the Peace of Rome), but this was
Rome’s version of peace not Israel’s. The birth of Jesus came as eternal light and life to
vanquish the deep and abiding long term spiritual, social, economic, and social crises that
weighed heavy on the shoulders of Israel and the world. As winters grip is broken only by the
spring sunshine so too will Israel’s spiritual winter only be broken by the Son of God’s birth into
the world. The Incarnation stands in stark contrast to all the machinations of earthly authority
whether it is political or religious because when God speaks all will listen and hear his voice,
and see his will and authority done from the healing of the Lepers, to Jesus’ words to
Nicodemus, to the judgment of the cross, and to Thomas’ confession of Jesus as, “My Lord and
The Incarnation echoes yet in us as a people who confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Christ
Mass (Mass from the Latin means a sending) is a sending of the people of God into the world to
be Christ to others, that is to carry the love, the honesty of purpose, and the knowledge that
“God the Father was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” as the scriptures tell us. We go
out knowing that sin has no power and no place in the Kingdom, therefore, in the strength of
the Spirit we seek to replicate the mind and work of Christ in everything we do so that the
world that Christ claims becomes more and more enjoined to him.
Christmas is a time to celebrate and remember that the birth of Christ changed our world.
AFTER SCHOOL CLUB
Attendance is high in this group, ranging between 15 and 20 children each day. A large
percentage of the group are boys and the majority of the children love sports. We are grateful
for the pinnies made for the team by Nancy Hossack. Some of the children enjoy helping to
prepare the food while others enjoy arts and crafts.
We have begun to make Christmas crafts and are decorating gift bags for our group service
I have been collecting fleece for the children to make “Linus Blankets” after Christmas. These
blankets are made of double layers of fleece that are held together by a knotted fringe. They
make a cozy comforter that I’m hoping will be especially helpful in some of the homes with very
little heat. We may move their production to the Books and Blankets program where there is
more space and a quieter atmosphere prevails.
Once Halloween arrives the children’s excitement level rises. It doesn’t level off until after
Christmas. Everyone is looking forward to our Christmas party on December 13th.
BOOKS AND BLANKETS
Every Friday some of the After School Children gather to read a book and play educational
games. There is time for crafts and books to sort through so a choice can be made as to which
ones to bring home.
When Christmas draws near children drop hints about their favorite chapter books, topics and
authors. They know a list is being made of books that will make them especially happy and
might show up as their Christmas gift from the program. One party is held for both the
Our fall sessions have been well attended. With regret, we waved good-bye to Melissa and baby
Savannah who moved to Moncton.
Our kitchen remains a busy place as does the nursery upstairs where there are usually five or
six of our children playing under the watchful eyes of our attendants.
In the kitchen we have tried recipes with titles that read “All I have on hand is a can of “------;
perhaps tuna, corn or tomatoes. Here we pool ideas of how to make a meal from very little
adding, flavours with spices, perhaps protein with an egg, etc.
For the first time the girls tried their hand at canning. Several were interested in learning about
food preservation as a means of saving food dollars since they have begun to grow vegetables
in Community gardens. Everyone gave us a thumbs-up on our pickled beets.
Our turkey dinner was held in November. It is one of the few times we get to sit down and eat
together. Our December meeting is set aside for Christmas baking and our sharing of gifts.
- Glenda Hossack
Church Management Board Report
This fall the board completed a number of projects. The major project was replacing the organ
cloth in the sanctuary. The old cloth was filled with dust and the wooden supports behind the
cloth were wearing through the cloth in some places. The Board would like to thank the
Women’s Group who paid for the new material.
Our custodians Mary Anne and Bob Collett retired this spring due to Mary Anne’s health issue
experienced. Carol Bowes, from the congregation was very helpful in filling in for Mary Anne
from the later spring up until a few weeks ago. We are grateful to Carol for doing this. Recently
we hired a new custodian Ray who has taken over from Carol. Ray has enthusiastically taken
over this work.
The church is used daily by a number of outreach programs and requires a lot more of our
custodian then in the past. We endeavor to keep ahead with the cleaning, however as winter
approaches there will be a lot more required of the custodian. We are approaching the different
groups using the building, in an effort to see they clean up properly after they have used the
The board would also like to thank Dave Cunningham and Jim Thomson for their continued help
with the maintenance. Dave and Jim are normally in the church on most Mondays doing the
many jobs that seem to crop up.
Next year the board would like to tackle the kitchen which is a major undertaking. We will need
a major fund raising campaign to raise the funds for doing this. The major cost will be
appliances which need to be replaced and we would like to install a commercial dish washer as
We will be consulting with all those groups now using the kitchen for their input on this project
before commencing with planning stage so any ideas you may have to improve the kitchen
please write them down and present them to the board.
On behalf of the Board we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
On October 23rd, we prepared and the young people set up, served and helped with the clean-
up of a ham dinner for the congregation. It was a fundraiser for the young people who are
going to Canada Youth 2012 in St. Catherine’s, Ontario in the summer of 2012. They had a
bake sale, and had a 50/50 draw and raised $300 while the dinner raised $700. The young
people did a great job! Many thanks also to David Taylor and David Nickerson who washed the
Mary Anne and Bob Collette were invited as guests. We presented them with a handmade quilt
as a thank-you for everything they’ve done for us and the church. They were delighted and
We have given $500 for the purchase of the organ cloth. As well, we have given $100 and jugs
of laundry detergent to the Stone Church for their Stone Wash Laundry Programme. We also
have given $100 to the Chicken Noodle Club as they serve lunch to the inner city youth at King
Edward, St. John the Baptist School.
We prepared and served the funeral reception for Mona McArthur, a long-time member of our
We continue to make soup for Romero House and would love some help in buying vegetables
and making the stock. If you could help with this, it would be great, just speak to anyone in
the group. If you have time, come and help us make it.
Nursing Home News
Hello once again from the Nursing Home. Advent season is upon us and decorations are going
up in anticipation of Christmas. The home has been a hive of activity this fall and there has
been plenty to keep our residents busy. The van is back in service which is very liberating for
the residents. It was out of service for over 4 months after another vehicle ran into it in June. It
will soon be making tours of the area to view Christmas lights in the city. We currently only
have one volunteer driver. If you have a Class 4 license, or know of someone who does, and
are interested in brightening up a resident’s day it would be very much welcomed. Even
dropping in to spend some time with a resident or two is appreciated especially since not all
residents are capable of going out or participating in the activities available in the home. They
love visitors and the home is always looking for new volunteers! Thanks to the season there has
been an influx of choirs coming to the home to provide musical entertainment. Residents truly
love to hear groups of all ages and musical genres.
White Gift Sunday is next week. This is an opportunity for members of the congregation to
provide residents with personal care items that they cannot get themselves. Some suggestions
are: shaving cream, bath gel, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, talcum powder, aftershave,
deodorant, no-slip socks, low scent body lotions, hair spray, pajamas, women’s jewelry, hair
clips, playing cards with large numbers, slippers, hats and mitts/gloves.
The home will be holding its annual Candle Light dinner for residents and families on December
15. This is a wonderful evening filled with smiles, music, good food and friendship. If you would
like to volunteer for this event you can contact Crystal Loatman at 643-6124. Volunteers are
requested to arrive by 4:30 PM and the dinner starts at 5:00. A yummy meal is provided to all
who help out.
- Janet Soper
Murray Barthelot, grandson of Philip and Sybil Barthelot received the Silver Award for the Duke of
Edinburgh Scheme from Lieutenant-Governor Graydon Nicholas in Fredericton, November 5th.
A new Christmas Carol? You know the tune – sing it now and act on it!
Keep the homefires burning, save yourselves from learning
What it’s like to freeze in bed
Now that winter’s here
There’s an answer waiting, for the cold you’re hating
Buy our kindling, light your stove
AND REGAIN YOUR CHEER!
Only $6.00 [some pay us more!] per massive cedar bundle – they smell good too!
Call Hamish 847.3701 or Laurie 847 4420
Since coming back in September, there have been about 10 teenagers showing up to every 1st
and 3rd Sunday of the month, for our meetings in the kitchen of the church. We eat, talk, and
play in the gym and then move upstairs for some bible study. The youth group conducted a
church service in October to tell all members of the church about Canada Youth 2012. There
will be about 8 members of the youth group attending this summer event. The youth hope to
raise about $8,000 to pay for the trip, with some going towards a mission project. We are about
half way to our goal if you would like to donate money toward Canada Youth you can do this in
your envelopes and get a tax receipt for it. If there are any questions on Canada Youth, Eric
and Patti Daley would be glad to answer them or you can go to the website
The youth group would like to thank the women's group for hosting a ham dinner where all the
proceeds went to the youth group. On this dinner and bake sale we raised $1000 dollars. There
are still many more fundraisers to be held in the New Year and the youth need all the
congregation’s support. The youth are now currently selling tickets on a Christmas basket.
Thanks to all those who have bought tickets, and we will notify the winner.
2012 PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN CANADA CALENDARS are now available. If you would
like to buy one for $5.00 please speak to Kathy McColgan or Judy Hetherington. All proceeds go
toward Mission projects.
SAINT JOHN CHORALE’S 18th Annual Christmas Gala at Imperial Theatre, Saturday,
December 3, 7:30 pm – Tickets $10-$25 available at the Imperial Box Office. Guests this year
will feature Stephanie Mainville, Miranda Lees, Sarah Harrington, KVHS Bluetones, District 6
Honor Choir and the 3rd Field Regiment Band along with a Christmas Audience Sing-a-long.
Come and get in the Christmas Spirit!
A LUNCHEON AND CARD PARTY - will be held at St. Luke's Anglican Church Hall, corner of
Metcalf St. and Lansdowne Ave., Saint John on Wednesday, December 7, at 12.30 pm. Also
included will be a "New-to-You" table. Tickets are $12 and available from Marilyn Craft (652-
1813), Pauline Long (672-8967) and the church office (693-4152). Please bring your own cards
or table game. Proceeds will support St. Luke's ministries in the North End.
THE SALVATION ARMY AUXILIARY AND HMCS BRUNSWICKER are presenting The
Stadacona Band of the Royal Canadian Navy in concert at Saint John High School Auditorium on
Thursday, December 1st at 7 P.M. This is a Christmas themed concert which all are sure to
enjoy. The admission cost is $10.00 per person with a donation of a child's toy or men's winter
clothing item which will then be distributed locally to those in need. You can purchase your
tickets through the Imperial Theatre box office (please note that the concert is taking place at
the Saint John High School auditorium and not at the Imperial Theatre) or online at the
following website address: http://www.imperialtheatre.nb.ca/beary_merry.php
CARLETON CHORISTERS CHRISTMAS CONCERT – December 6th at 7:30pm at Grace
Presbyterian Church. Tickets: Adults - $12, Seniors & Students - $10. Tickets available from the
choir members or at the door. Director – Claire Driscoll; Accompanist – Christopher Lane. For
more information, call 638-9111.
INTERACTION’S ADVANCED PERFORMANCE COMPANY presents: Cinderella: The
Funky Panto December 16th and 17th at Imperial Theatre. This is an exciting, audience
engaging, dancing in the aisles and singing to the music show featuring the members of
InterAction’s Advanced Performance Company, including Grace Church members Ian McGill,
Alex Taylor and Isaac Taylor. Tickets are available at the Imperial theatre box office.
Mona McArthur Nov. 5th
The deadline for the Lent issue of THE BURNING BUSH will be February 26th, 2012. Please
contact me at 849-8934 or email@example.com to submit articles at any time up to that
date. Please pass along news of graduations, anniversaries, or things that the congregation
would be interested in reading about. - Nancy Hossack
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
NOVEMBER 27th – ADVENT I
9:30 am Nursing Home Worship Service – Holy Communion
11:00 am Sacrament of Holy Communion
9:00 am “Deck the Halls” Come help trim the sanctuary for Christmas
DECEMBER 4th - ADVENT II
9:30 am Nursing Home Worship Service
11:00 am Morning Worship
Community Food Basket Sunday
White Gift Sunday (for Residents of Nursing Home - a small gift wrapped with a
detachable tag indicating Female or Male and contents)
DECEMBER 11th - ADVENT III
9:30 am Nursing Home Worship Service
11:00 am Morning Worship
Children’s Christmas Play during worship
Children’s Christmas party after worship – further details to follow
DECEMBER 13th – After School Christmas Party
DECEMBER 15th – Candlelight Dinner at Nursing Home
DECEMBER 18th - ADVENT IV
9:30 am Nursing Home Worship Service
11:00 am Sacrament of Holy Communion
DECEMBER 20th – Tuesday - Christmas Hampers
DECEMBER 24th – CHRISTMAS EVE
2:00 pm Nursing Home Worship Service
6:30 pm Family Service with Koreans
11:30 pm Candlelight service
DECEMBER 25th – CHRISTMAS DAY
11:00 am Christmas Day service at Saint Columba
Merry Christmas everyone!