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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As we move into and through the season of Easter we will be discovering passages from the bible that provide us with joyful images of weddings, celebrations, gifts, and renewed community. Specific to our biblical exploration this week, Israel’s relationship with God is intimately described as a marriage as Isaiah’s words describe. 

And in the Gospel, John begins his account of Jesus’ ministry with an extravagant miracle of abundance and generosity---- the transformation of water into wine….. So through this week’s biblical study let us be filled with joy and a hopeful mood of what lies ahead. 

It’s a story that we all know so well. Where Jesus turns 100 gallons of water into wine. I will point out that most mainstream biblical scholars view this story as a metaphorical narrative….. and it is rich with metaphor… 

So what is the story telling us……….

Let’s start with the literary context, the wedding at Cana (John 2: 1 – 11). This is the opening scene, the inaugural story of Jesus’ public activity in the Gospel of John. Inaugural stories are very important in the Gospels. In this case it sets the stage and the theme for Jesus’ ministry and purpose. 

Marriage was a rich metaphor in Judaism and early Christianity: ie, the image of the marriage of God and Israel is revealed through the words of the prophet Isaiah …   also the wedding of heaven and earth, the mystical marriage between a person and God, the church as the bride of Christ…… 

Moreover, in Jewish peasant life at the time of Jesus, weddings were the most festive of celebrations. Think for a moment about how much weddings mean to us now in our life stories…and technically we live lives of material abundance, freedom, safety, free choice, etc. By Comparison life was hard for the people in Jesus’ time. Their diet was basic and meager, seldom including meat or poultry. But a wedding celebration meant momentary release from the unremitting labour and struggle of life……a celebration offering momentary freedom and the rich experience of enjoying copious amounts of food and wine, accompanied by music, dancing, story making and storytelling. 

This opening to Jesus ministry shows that the miraculous life giving power of God is at work even, (and perhaps especially) in the intimate daily places of human lives. These associations that we’re so familiar with help us to understand the power of John’s inaugural scene:

The story of Jesus is about a wedding…and even more…… it’s about a wedding where the wine never runs out……….and even more, it’s a wedding where the best wine is saved for the last. 

All of this flows from a more than literal reading, we need to engage the story and seek the metaphorical narrative. To the ears of the Jewish audience to whom the Gospel of John was initially addressed, this wedding feast at the beginning of Jesus ministry would have symbolized nothing less than the great Messianic banquet of the coming age with its abundant table of unending food and wine, where all people are welcomed and none will be turned away. 

For us, here and now the parabolic meaning is that Jesus meets us where we live and provides all that we need with an unending supply of the best of life. A way of going that fills our empty vessels with the fruits of the Spirit, and the nourishment that we need to make the most of all our relationships.                  

It’s so easy for us in our daily living to forget about this ongoing buffet of the best that God is offering and keeping fresh. All too often we feel that the wine is running out and we struggle to imagine that our host offers an unending supply of all that we need and more. It’s a great “life-giving” story

that invites us to once again belly up to the bar at this wedding of hope and possibility and say yes to the one who lovingly offers, “fill your glass again friend?” Indeed, let it be filled to overflowing and let the dance go on without end.           Peace……………….. 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, May 27th, 2018 ~Trinity Sunday~





INTROIT: Spirit of Life” VU # 381                          


OPENING PRAYER: ( Unison) Come Holy Spirit, blow into our lives. Come move among and through your people. Create a sense of presence, purpose and empowerment to enable us to do what you desire to fulfil in your world. Breathe on us, breath of God. Be with us Lord Jesus. Amen.


HYMN : “ Holy, Holy, Holy”                                 VU # 315              


PRAYER OF RENEWAL: (Unison) We admit Lord, that as we search our hearts and our lives for your presence, we long for physical signs. We want to see, to hear, to smell, to taste, to feel, before we begin to believe. Forgive our stubbornness and self-reliance. Help us to remember that the greatest treasures you bless us with, though invisible are more powerful than even death. May love, grace, peace and joy remind us of your power and your presence, always with us. May we trust only and always in you, Oh God. Amen.  (Time of Contemplative Silence) 




HYMN : “I, the Lord of Sea and Sky”          VU# 509                     



Hebrew Reading: Isaiah 6: 1-8

Ministry of Music                    

Gospel Reading: John 3: 1-17                                                                              

HYMN: “Love is the Touch”                                  MV # 89


MESSAGE: “ Winds of Change”





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


HYMN: “In Christ There is No East or West       VU # 606                                     


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." (VU# 625). 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.