South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge

South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge...We Are Linked In Love!!

Whether you attend the Courtland United Church or Cultus United Church, you will be met with warmth and sincerity. We are a 2 point charge known as the South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge. We welcome ALL to join us on Sunday mornings, or anytime...for worship and friendship! Under the loving and brilliant guidance of our Minister  Ted Smith, you will be enlightened and moved.

CULTUS UNITED CHURCH: Located at  748-6th Concession Road ENR, Cultus, Ontario          WORSHIPS on Sundays at  9:00am  

COURTLAND UNITED CHURCH: Located at 133 Talbot Street, Courtland, Ontario                   WORSHIPS on Sundays at 10:30am        

Our Mission Statement:   The South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge is called to be a Christian community empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit and to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

CONTACT US:   EMAIL:                  Office Phone: 519-688-4050

OUR MAILING ADDRESS: South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge, P.O.Box 129, 119 Talbot Road, Courtland, On., N0J1E0  




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Discipleship, Where Do We stand? 

And Jesus said:” If anyone wishes to be first, they must be the last of all, and the servant of all” 

Hey, wait a minute, that’s kind of confusing isn’t it. It’s backwards. If you wish to be first, you must be last? Let’s ponder that notion for a moment. Well, for us to try and better understand this advice from Jesus, let’s put ourselves into the context of the story… 

Jesus had just told the disciples, once again, mind you, what lay ahead for him, and them…. Jerusalem, betrayal, and the cross and how did they respond? The Gospel story says that they did not understand what he meant, and they were afraid to ask.

They ramble off into a conversation, which turns into an argument about who among them is the greatest. Those knuckleheads! Nothing so well shows how far the disciples were from realizing the real meaning of Jesus’ Messiahship as this does. There is something kind of heart-breaking in the thought of Jesus going towards the cross and them arguing about who is the greatest among them. Yet in their heart of hearts they know they are wrong, for when he asked them what they were going on about, they didn’t answer him. They had nothing to say. It was the silence of shame. It is both strange and wonderful how a thing takes its proper place and acquires its true character when it is set in the eyes of Jesus. So long as they thought that Jesus was not listening and that he had not seen, they thought the conversation about who should be greatest was fair enough. But when that argument had to be stated in the presence of Jesus it was seen in all of its unworthiness. 

I invite us all to consider this: If we took everything set it in the sight of Jesus it would make all the difference in the world…. if everything we did, we asked: “Could I go on doing this if Jesus were watching me?”. 

Last week we talked about our tongues and the power that’s attached to the words we speak. In light of that we could ask ourselves as certain conversations unfold: “Could I go on talking like this if Jesus were listening?” There would be many things that we would or could be saved from doing or saying if we held these questions in front of us always. But the fact is, for us as Christians there should be no “if” about it. All deeds are done, all words are spoken in his presence. 

Jesus dealt with this issue very seriously. He sat down and called the twelve to him. When a Rabbi was teaching as a Rabbi, as a master teaches his scholars and disciples, when he was really making a pronouncement, he sat to teach. He taught them if they sought for greatness in his Kingdom they must find it not by being first, but by being last, not by being masters, but by being servants of all. It’s not that Jesus was abolishing ambition, he was recreating and sublimating ambition. For ambition to rule, he substituted ambition to serve. For the ambition to have things done for us he substituted the ambition to do things for others… 

For some, in fact for those with their minds and hearts on the trappings of this world, this might seem like an impossibly idealistic view. But really, to me, it’s a view of the soundest common sense. The really great people of history, those who are remembered as having made a real contribution to life and the world are those who said to themselves, not:” how can I use the world and society to further my own prestige, power or personal ambitions…but…..“How can I use my personal gifts and talents to serve the world?” And in light of this conversation I think of people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Betty Ford, Nelson Mandela, Princess Diana. True selflessness is rare, and when it is found, It is noticed and it is remembered. 

The Greeks had a story of a Spartan called Paedaretos. 300 men were to be chosen to govern Sparta and Paedaretos was a candidate. When the list of the successful was announced his name was not on it. “I am sorry that you were not elected” said one of his friends, “the people ought to have known what a wise officer of state you would have made. I’m glad, said Paedaretos, that in Sparta there are three hundred men better than I am”. Now here was a man who became a legend because he was prepared to give others the first place and to bear no ill will. If we apply Jesus’ lesson to our world and our living today, then we could witness some amazing and wonderful changes in the world. 

I wonder if every economic problem would be solved if people lived for what they could do for others and not what they could get for themselves. Every political problem could be solved if the ambition of politicians was only to serve their community, county, province, or country and not to enhance their own power or prestige. The divisions and disputes within our own families and relationships would be solved if each of us were about putting others first. When Jesus spoke of the supreme greatness and value of the one whose ambition was to be a servant, he laid down one of the greatest truths in the world. Then he makes it even easier for the disciples, and us by paring this down to its most simple, understandable form. 

He took a child and set him in the midst. A child has no influence or power at all. A child cannot advance a person’s career nor their prestige. In fact, Jesus invites the child and uses that image to help us better understand the point he is trying to make. A child is helpless, a child needs things done for him or her; to be fed, clothed, to be protected, to be nurtured, to be loved. 

We are called to see those around us, all whom we share our lives with as that child.

To selflessly put the other person first. It’s a lesson and a message that directs us to humility and servant hood that reflects the Grace of God and the love of Christ in our living and will fill all of our relations with a peace and a joy that reflect the Kingdom of God. That is where Jesus is inviting and welcoming us. 

We can weave the words of James into our reflection today as from James letter we are given these amazing words that the wise among us show themselves to be such by their deeds done in humility. These words of James reflect and totally support Jesus lesson on putting others first. This teaching of Jesus. This wisdom from heaven as James describes it….. 

“The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; Then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace, raise a harvest of righteousness.” 

This where Jesus invites us today as he sits down and teaches us. For when we are open to the lesson, the gift, willing to apply it. Joy and Peace are ours. This is God’s unconditional love. 

Deep Peace be yours,   PT                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       



South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge of The United Church of Canada


Music Leaders: Judy Dekorte / Heather Myers / Lynn Jennings / Gwen Booker

Office Administrator: Leslie Pettinger        Office Phone: 519-688-4050            Email:  

~ Sunday, September 23, 2018 ~     A Wondering Church




CENTERING MOMENT AND COLLECT                                  

INTROIT: Spirit of Life, come unto me. Sing in my heart all the stirrings of compassion. Blow in the wind, rise in the sea; move in the hand, giving life the shape of justice. Roots hold me close, wings set me free; Spirit of Life, come to me, come to me.    (VU# 381, used with permission)



O God, quiet us.

(gently cover mouth with the fingertips of both hands) Speak to us in this worship.

(place one hand to one ear, in a listening gesture)

Empty our hearts and minds of things not so important. (both hands sweep gently away from the head and heart, in a smooth, outward motion)

Open us and fill us with your presence. Amen.

(arms move in, crossing over the chest)


HYMN: “This Is the Day”                                                     VU# 412*


PRAYER OF RENEWAL: (Unison) God, we find it difficult to trust the promise of your overflowing goodness and mercy. We are always worried about running out of things: money, energy, health, compassion, time. This scarcity anxiety shapes who we are as individuals and as a church. We are so conscious of dwindling resources that we forget that you are indeed God—unfailing, unresting, undiminished, and undiscouraged. Forgive us; help us turn our hearts to you so that we may find the abundance of life that you alone can give. Lord hear our prayer.   Amen

(Time of Contemplative Silence)




MISSION HYMN: “Jesus Came a Child Like Me”       VU# 583



Epistle Reading:                  James 3: 13 -18

Ministry of Music                                                                          

Gospel Reading:                 Mark 9: 30 - 37                                                                       

HYMN: “It Only Takes a Spark”                                    VU# 289 *


MESSAGE: “Responding as Servants”




THE LORD’S PRAYER                                 



OFFERTORY: “Grant Us God the Grace of Giving”     VU# 540*


HYMN: “We Are Pilgrims On a Journey”                   VU# 595*




CHORAL CLOSING:I feel the winds of God today; today my sail I lift, though heavy oft with drenching spray and torn with many a rift; if hope but light the water’s crest, and Christ my bark will use, I’ll seek the seas at his behest, and brave another cruise.” (V# 625 vs 1, used with permission)


The South West Norfolk Pastoral Charge is a Christian community empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit, following the teachings of Jesus Christ and showing our faith by our actions and deeds.