Worship with us on Sundays at 10:30 am.
Feb 7: Rev. Eric Stephanson preaching
Wednesday, Feb 10, 7 pm: Ash Wednesday service at St. Helen's Anglican.
Feb 14: Lent 1 – Communion –Karen Hollis preaching
Feb 21: Lent 2 – Communion – Rev. Eric Stephansonpreaching
Feb 21: Lent 3 – Communion – Rev. Eric Stephanson preaching
Dear friends of University Hill Congregation
As I walked toward the new VST building after 5pm this evening, my spirits lifted as shafts of sunlight slanted in from the west through the wet branches of the trees. Lengthening its stride towards me, yellow light illumines the buildings with a different interplay than I have seen for months. The days themselves lengthen by the shifting angle of the earth’s axis in relation to the sun. Spring beckons.
Did you know that the word “lent” comes from the old English word “Lencten” which means “spring” and which also means (can you tell?) “lengthening”? Lent is the time when days grow longer. In other languages, the words used for “lent” literally mean “forty”. Why? Look at Luke 4:2, where after his baptism by John in the Jordan River, Jesus is “led by the Spirit into the desert, where for 40 days he was tempted by the devil”.
Our lent comes from the ancient practice within the Christian church of following Jesus’ life throughout the year. From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday there are 40 weekdays, not counting Sundays. The reason Sundays were left out is that Christians have always identified the Day of Resurrection as a taste of the fullness of the kingdom, when even in the midst of deep grief, or a season of repentance, the glory of God’s goodness breaks through.
Following in the footsteps of Jesus, lent for us can be a deeper engagement in our discipleship. As Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted or tested by the devil, we embrace practices during lent that help us become more sensitive to what God is doing in our own lives, and in the world around. Interesting to note that it is the Holy Spirit which leads Jesus into confrontation with the evil one, and that Jesus “ate nothing during those days”.
Prayer involves listening to the voice of the Lord. To engage in prayer, we make ourselves available to scripture, we clear the busyness of our minds, and we consciously put ourselves in the presence of God. Then we pay attention, we notice, we listen, we discern. What do we “hear” in the portion of scripture we have read? Where do we identify the presence or movement of the Holy Spirit in the struggles of our own lives? What longing persists in our hearts for a particular purpose of the Kingdom Jesus brings? How are we tempted today? Who is a messenger of God to us today?
Fasting means emptying yourself to create space for something more. Just as hospitality is creating a welcoming space for another (in your home or your heart), fasting could be a restricting of self in order to receive more of God. The fact that Jesus didn’t eat for 40 days suggests that spiritual strength may concentrate in us when we “seek first the reign and rule of God”, to the exclusion of all else, even food.
This year I am more motivated about an appropriate observance of Lent than I have been for decades. The idea of bringing more focus upon the Kingdom Jesus embodied, instead of the clutter and noise of my everyday self, is bracing. As someone said to a friend, “what if you died today to the over-commitment of your life? If you really died, the world would carry on. Why not die today to some of the extra busyness in your life, and make a space for the rest of you to reconnect with God and live?
The days lengthen. We open ourselves to the disciplines of the Holy Spirit in order to make ourselves more available to God.
But please note: in the struggle between God and the Devil, we are neither pawns, nor powerful in ourselves. We apprentice ourselves to learn with Jesus, on a journey of life and death. Jesus “sets his face” toward Jerusalem, but invites all who will to join him....
Bless you on your journey through Lent
Christian Seasons Calendar
Because the Christian year has already begun, we've reduced the price. Now on sale at $12.95.
The 2015-16 edition of Salt of the Earth: A Christian Seasons Calendar holds an unusual depiction of the seasons. We keep time from Advent to Christmas to Epiphany to Lent to Easter to the end of the Christian year.
The art is contributed by artists from Christians in the Visial Arts. This year they are from the United States and Great Britain. The CIVA artists have supported this ministry for many years, and we thank them for this new contribution.
The calendar is for sale at $12.95, with discounts for orders of 10 and 25 items. The calendar makes a nice gift at Advent or Christmas. Please join us in celebration of this wonderful gift of God's presence among us!
United Church Campus Ministry at UBC
This ministry is a partnership between the congregation and BC Conference of the United Church of Canada. Our campus minister is Karen Hollis. Learn more at the Food and Faith Community, the United Church campus club, which meets over dinner every Monday at 5:30 pm for food and conversation about living the Christian faith.
During the next year, Karen will spend one-quarter of her time as congregational intern, in preparation for her ordination next May.
Where we are
The Chapel of the Epiphany is located at 6030 Chancellor Boulevard on the campus of the Vancouver School of Theology at the University of British Columbia. Here are directions to the chapel.
Reach us by phone.
Eric Stephanson is at 604 822-9374; Karen Hollis is at 604-827-4301 and Marjorie Morrison Ross, our church secretary, is at 604-822-0638.
Videos of the Worship Service
Recent videos are available:
* Sunday, November 29 - Rev. Dr. Jason Byassee preaching.
* Sunday, November 22 - Eric Stephanson preaching.
* Sunday, October 25 - Karen Hollis preaching.
* Sunday, October 18 - Eric Stephanson preaching.
* Sunday, October 11 - Eric Stephanson preaching.
FAQs - answers to frequently asked questions
Rites of Passage
We welcome inquiries about baptisms, marriages and funerals . . . more.
Art for the banners on these pages is from the artists of the Christian Seasons Calendar for 2015-2016.
Thanks to William Butler, ULalo Garcia, Kerri Jones, Laura Kestley, Andrea Kraybill, Aletheia Schmidt, Cornelia Schmitter, Gill Sakakini and Virginia Wieringa.