Another New Year – a chance to take stock and consider where we’ve been and where we’re going. As staff, we are all too aware of the challenges that lay ahead for a congregation such as ours.Read More
I think sometimes we go through life as an exercise in defensive living. We expect the unexpected in our lives, and hope that by anticipating all the bad stuff that could happen to us, we can avoid being hurt.Read More
Early in 2016 McDougall’s team partnered with three other United churches to sponsor a Syrian refugee family. Our formal support began Feb. 6 2016 when we met the family at the airport and ended in June 2017. These 17 months were busy ones, filled with joy, laughter and at times incredulity, as we navigated customs and beliefs so different from our own. Our team probably learned as much as the family did and we felt fortunate that we had such a wonderful family we could call “our’s”. Our support formally ended when, after discussions, the family and the team agreed that they were ready to be on their own.
Since June, some of us have stayed in touch with the family, responding to calls for occasional assistance, but more as friends. Our team met in October to discuss what we had learned from the project and to develop some principles to guide us in selecting our next family. Here they are:
Our primary interest is in providing personal and direct support to refugees. At this point our support will be directed to GARS (government assisted refugees) who are in Calgary.
We are an action-oriented group. Our primary focus is to have personal contact with members of the refugee families we support. We do not wish to limit our initiatives to merely providing ad hoc financial support.
We will build on our previous experience. The family’s characteristics (level of English, size, country of origin, rural vs. urban) determine the amount and nature of support required. Next time we would prefer to support another family from the Middle East and to work with a family that has some English.
We want to work independently rather than partner with another organization to simplify communications and decision making. We currently have sufficient funding.
We will take advantage of our knowledge of Calgary institutions – health, settlement agencies, school systems, transportation, City of Calgary services, etc.
We will demonstrate respect for the families we support through our actions. We recognize that it is essential to build relationships and trust.
Our goal in supporting newly arrived refugees is to help them become self-sufficient and transition from support to family friend.
This is the group that will make decisions about refugee initiatives at McDougall.
We have contacted the Centre for Newcomers to ask for their help finding a new refugee family that is struggling. Our experience demonstrates how rewarding and fun it is to work with new immigrants and with team members who share your commitment and passions. If you think this is something that might interest you, please contact McDougall United Church.
Christmas doesn’t come easy for many Calgary families who struggle to buy gifts or even groceries for a simple celebration. But you can help in many ways by sponsoring a family, purchasing presents or donating online or in person.
The nurses and social workers who forward names to us have intimate knowledge of their clients and take a personal interest in this project – often working on their own time to see that families in need have a reason to smile at Christmas.
- Nov. 5 - “Angel Tree” decorated
- Dec. 10 - All gifts and baking must be at the church by the morning. Gifts will be sorted in the afternoon.
- Dec. 11 & 12 - Volunteers wrap the extra gifts and box the baking and the gifts.
- Dec. 13 & 14 - Volunteers deliver hampers to families around Calgary.
Our project works with South Calgary Family Services and Southeast Health Clinics. Personal referrals from members of our congregation are also included in this project.
We are grateful to the members of this congregation for making the program such a success.
- A grocery store voucher (amount depends on the size of the family
- Two gifts for each family member
- A tray of home baked goodies
- Other gifts of new donated items that seem appropriate
How to help
- Make a monetary donation. This helps purchase the vouchers we provide for the recipient to buy food. Please make cheques out to the McDougall Christmas Hamper Fund.
- Choose a gift to buy from the Angel Tree. Each gift cost between $25 to $30.
- Adopt a family. Read on for more information.
- Volunteer to pack, wrap, deliver, and bake. Sign up sheets will be in the foyer.
Complete: Choose the size of family you would like to adopt - buy gifts, provide a grocery voucher, baking and delivery. Each gift would cost approx.$25 to $30 and a grocery voucher for $50 per person. The cost for the complete adoption of a family of four is about $450.00.
Partial Adoption: Gifts/grocery voucher/baking/delivery - Choose the size of family you would like to adopt. Buy and wrap two gifts: one of clothing and a personal gift for each family member, each gift would cost about $25 to $30. And/or buy a grocery voucher for $50 per person, provide baking and delivery.
Any part of the adoption you do not wish to do (gifts, grocery voucher, baking or delivery) please advise Hamper Coordinator Ken Turnbull so the committee can complete the hamper.
- Choose only one gift stated on the angel, circle the gift given and return your wrapped gift with the angel tied on.
- Place a bell on the unwrapped (gently used) gift.
- Baking of cookies and squares is greatly appreciated to include in the hampers. No loaves please.
- NOTE: All gifts and baking are to be brought to the church Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017.
Ask our coordinator
Ken Turnbull is here to answer all your questions. You can reach him by phone at 403-278-9970 or 403-816-5055 or by email at email@example.com.
What is Messy Church?
It is a way of being 'church' for families of all kinds, people of all ages. You are welcome to come as you are for a night of fun, food, and community. Life is messy, and so are we! This is an inclusive place where we can journey alongside each other in creativity, hospitality, and celebration. The theme for November is Journey to Christmas. Dinner is provided!
Please RSVP with by Friday November 24 through here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the number of adults and children, and any dietary restrictions.
We're marking 500 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses - an act that began the reformation era. Explore this pivotal moment in history, look back to the Treaty 7 signing with the Stoney Nakoda Nation and Rev. John McDougall and discover the church in a new age.
The Reformed and Reforming sessions run from 7 - 8:30 p.m. at McDougall United Church and feature speakers including Rev. Bob Mutlow, Rev. Joanne Anquist, Coordinator Community Care Tony Snow and others. Everyone is welcome, pick one session or come to them all!
Session #1 Wednesday Nov. 1 - All Saints Day, Facilitator: Rev. Bob Mutlow: On the Hallowed Eve, 1517 Martin Luther nailed The 95 Theses to the church door in Wittenberg to open up a discussion with the All Saints Day crowd and sparked the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter-Reformation.
- Reflecting on our Roots
- Naming our Saints
- Candles of Remembrance
- Holy Communion
Session #3 Wednesday Nov. 15 - Learning Circles: Indigenous Spirituality, Church & First Nations, Facilitator: Tony Snow, Coordinator Community Care: Stoney Nation and Rev. John McDougall. John McDougall’s first language was Cree. At the Treaty 7 signing with the Stoney Nation – John McDougall was the interpreter. Morley United Church is the only First Nations United Church in Southern Alberta.
Session #4 Wednesday Nov. 22 - Identities & Belonging, Facilitator: Tara Jorgensen, Chair, McDougall Church in Society: Join in a privilege walk as we explore our identities and our values.
Session #5 Wednesday Nov. 29 - Reformed & Reforming, Facilitator: Rev. Joanne Anquist: Learning new ways of doing church in a new age! The church is always reforming to meet the culture in which it resides. We'll explore emerging theologies and reflect on how worship and work of the church reflects them.
Based on the inspiring true story of a salesman-turned-pastor, the tiny church he was ordered to shut down and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.Read More
Photos by: Valerie MacLeod