News, events, stories for the month of February 2020

It’s a grey day - again - and January has flown by entirely too quickly. There’s something about midwinter that pull the complaints out of us: we’re tired of feeling tired, tired of the grey days, the cold… please insert your favourite winter complaint! So how do we move from complaint to praise? From a heavy spirit to a light one?
O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
Perhaps you recognize those words – they’re from the end of St. Francis’ famous prayer which begins “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace”.
Today when I sat down to lunch, I opened my devotion book to the mid-day words, and those words from St. Francis jumped out at me – and God reminded me of this truth. When I focus on me, complaints take over; when I focus on God and others, my complaints take a back seat and soon disappear. Then my spirit is lighter; I feel connected to God; I am hopeful.
Today, I needed my little book right where I would stumble over it. Because when I’m stuck in a grey mood, I forget; I lose my way. I suspect that we’re all that way.
Here are some hints to chase away those inner complaints:
1. Keep the daily discipline of reading the bible and prayer – find a time and place to do that – and keep at it, whether you feel like it or not. Habits take time to form; this one is a life-saver.
2. Keep affirmations around you. Use index cards or sticky notes – write out words that help – and put them where you’ll see them: the mirror in your bathroom, the door of the fridge or a cupboard door; the dash of your car; any place else you can think of.
3. Keep a bible or favourite devotional book where you eat breakfast or other meals. So that like me, you can’t fail to notice it when you take a break.
I have lots of favourites but here are two quotes I keep in my office:
“Prayer is the most important thing in my life. If I should neglect prayer for a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.” Martin Luther
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.” Anne Lamott
Try this passage from Matthew (11.28-30): “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
I know that I feel better already – I hope you do to! May God’s Spirit continue to remind us and draw us out of our complaints, back to the One who loves us.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Ann
Join us for Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday!
Tuesday February 25th, 6:30pm. 
We will be featuring yummy pancakes with savory sausages! Freewill offering.

The Parish Nurse Corner
Cold and flu season is upon us. The common cold and the flu are respiratory illnesses that are caused by different viruses. There are hundreds of cold viruses and fewer flu viruses. The main 2 types of flu virus are influenza A and B and the inactive variations of these are what we receive in our annual flu vaccination. But right now, the News is reporting on this new coronavirus. The coronaviruses most commonly cause the common cold, but this latest coronavirus is a novel virus that has crossed from a non-human population to a human population. When this type of transfer occurs, and begins to be transmitted amongst humans, these new viruses seem to be able to cause more serious problems like we had with SARS. Any viral infection can lead to serious complications like pneumonia or bronchitis, particularly in individuals who have weakened immune systems or who have underlying chronic diseases like asthma. The incubation period for viruses can range from 1-4 days; so, we may not know we are ill. But we are still contagious because we can shed viruses for up to 24 hours before we become symptomatic with a cough, sore throat, fever, headache or sneezing. Generally, in healthy individuals, viral shedding continues for 5 – 10 days after we know we are sick. The good news is that there are some time-tested facts and some tried and true precautions that apply to any cold or flu virus infection.
This is a new virus and it is still too early to say how this will develop. Listen to public health officials and forget getting your news from social media.
And perhaps it is time to think about what could we be doing at church during cold & flu season to prevent passing along any virus to our unsuspecting brothers and sisters? As we get older, we have more chronic diseases which may put us at more risk, and if we get sick, it takes an older individual a lot longer to recover. So, for the sake of a handshake, is it worth it? Some people (myself included) may prefer to bump elbows or to bow to fellow congregants, rather than shake hands. Something to think about.
Yours in health,
Ruth Ann

Messy Church
Messy Church is ready to start up again. Join us, invite friends/families, maybe you can help out! We meet next on Tuesday, February 4, 2020 and will be exploring the theme of love!

WOW News
Our next meeting for the Women of Westside will be February 18th at the church at 7:30pm. We will be getting ready to do plans for our annual April Shower for the Women and Children's Shelter, we have it every April. Please come out and have a social evening with us including tea & coffee with some sweet treats!
God bless, Deb

Calling all readers!
I love to read when I find time – mysteries, romance, fantasy, historical novels… Anything that’s interesting. Maybe you do to!
Carrie is an avid reader too and has some books she would like to share. She was wondering about bringing her extra books and putting them on a table – I was wondering about our Westside bookshelves – I suspect they could use an overhaul.
If you like reading – if you have books at home you would like to share – let’s find a corner to put them and have some fun! Please talk to Carrie or myself. How about a mix between PG and Adult? Not too explicit, not too violent.
Pastor Ann

Winter Book Club
Dear friends: Please let me know if you’ve read a book lately that you think others would enjoy – a book with some good spiritual insights in it – a book that leaves you feeling hopeful.
In past we’ve read books like:
 The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – an interesting story based on Dinah in the Old Testament
 Still Life by Louise Penny (Canadian author) – the first in a murder mystery series with profound observations about life and death, good and evil
 At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon – the first of a series about the joys and troubles of Father Tim Kavanagh and his mountain town Mitford
 Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – an interesting novel about loss, redemption, and an actual heart transplant
I have two books in mind, but would love other suggestions:
Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti. I recommend this one! It’s about Lucy, her family, her passion as a music educator, and her challenges: loss of her career, struggles in her relationship, an accident… and the hope that finds her. ($6 used; $20 new on Amazon)
Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations by Richard Wagamese. This is not a novel but a collection of wisdom meditations hard won. From his obituaries: The tragedies that shaped him from early childhood gave birth to demons that chased him throughout his too-short life. His words are powerful: alive with raw honesty, searing insight and a delicate eloquence. ($16 to $19 on Amazon)

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Members of Westside! Are you looking for a great chance to meet and fellowship with other members from your church family while enjoying a delicious meal? Well here is your opportunity!
Save the date of Sunday, February 23 at 5:00 pm. Several hosts will open their homes and have awesome simultaneous dinner parties! This is a fun event where we have an opportunity to give and receive hospitality. How it works is that people sign up to participate as a host or a guest. The organizing team will assign guests to each host’s address; the host won’t know who is coming and the guests won’t know where they are going until Sunday February 23 when all is revealed during Sunday morning worship. The purpose of this event is to bring the families of Westside together for an evening of fun and fellowship. Please join with us as it will be a wonderful evening! Look for the Host and Guest boxes in the narthex. Fill out your ballot with the number in your family participating and any food allergies, if you wish to be a guest or fill out the ballot with the number of guests you can host.
On Sunday February 23, all will be revealed!!

Prayer Circle
Our ELCIC National Bishop, Rev. Susan Johnson, has designated 2019/2020 as the year for congregations to focus on prayer. While prayer in our worship service is an integral part of what we do on Sundays and other special days of worship it is much harder to make personal prayer an integral part of our week between worship services. If you struggle to find the time or words you are not alone with these challenges to enriching your relationship with God.
Here are some suggestions to help with the words from In Touch Ministries ( to help with finding the words:
Intercessory Prayer
The simplest way to learn to pray for others is to imitate how those in the Bible interceded. Paul prayed for the Colossians to have knowledge, wisdom, and understanding (Col. 1:9). Jesus prayed for us in John 17, asking God to keep believers in His name so that we may be unified (John 17:11). He also prayed for us to have joy, protection, and sanctification. — Pray the promises of God. For example, you can turn Ephesians 5 into a prayer for others to imitate God and walk in love, or for God to teach and instruct them (Psalm 32:8). — Pray for a person, simply asking God to grant healing or favor. For instance, Matthew 6:8 says, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” — There may still be times when language fails you—in those moments, simply pray the person’s name. As noted above, God knows what each of us needs better than we do. By calling individuals to mind in the presence of God, we’re effectively bringing them before Him, in a way similar to how the young man in Luke 5:17-26 was lowered through a roof by his friends. Praying in this manner allows us to faithfully remember a greater number of people from day to day, asking God to show each one His customary love and mercy.
Westside’s Prayer Circle is a group of our members. We are always looking to grow our group of people who will dedicate some of their time to offer up prayers to our Heavenly Father. The Prayer Circle receives request for prayer from many different sources and from a wide amount of geography. Lists are generated from time to time with updates for Prayer Circle members to use a focus for their prayers. From time to time (6-8 times a year) we gather for a breakfast meeting (attendance not required) to listen to updates on those we have in our prayers and to have fellowship. Please contact Pastor Ann if you wish to find out more about being a part of this spiritual pastoral care ministry.

World Day of Prayer…will be held on Friday, March 6th at 2:00pm at Trinity Anglican Church, Barrie. This years’ service is written by the women of the Zimbawe.

Friday February 14th is Valentine’s Day!
Westside Story is published by:
Westside Evangelical Lutheran Church
At 510 Ferndale Dr. N., 735-3433
Editor: Christine Gondosch