Worship with us on Sundays at 10:30 am.
Dear U Hill friends,
This morning, I’m thinking about Simon the Tanner. “Why,” you may ask, “are you thinking about Simon the Tanner?” Or, alternatively, “Who on earth is Simon the Tanner?” If the second question is yours, you are likely not alone. Simon appears only once in Scripture, in Acts 10. We know precious little about him, except that apparently his home had a nice view. As far as we know, he never performed any miracles, there’s no record of any great preaching or evangelistic efforts attached to his name. In fact, all we can say for certain—besides the fact that he probably made leather—is that he put Peter up for a while. Peter stayed at the house of Simon the Tanner, when he was in Joppa.
So, why are my thoughts occupied with Simon? It’s an answer to prayer, really. In my devotional time this morning, I was quite overwhelmed by the brokenness of the world. I don’t tend to dwell on the negative, but this morning every news story I came across wore me down. The injustices and violence and hatred and general strife and anxiety that seem to have a grip on every corner of the world had me feeling very small and insignificant. What are we to do in the face of systemic racism, or rampant poverty, or environmental degradation? These things feel insurmountable.
And so, I was praying about these things and getting quite agitated, until I suddenly thought of Simon the Tanner. I’m not sure why him—it could likely have been any number of the peripheral saints who dot the story of Scripture. But it was immediately clear to me that Simon was a bit of God’s grace breaking in. Simon is a reminder that the kingdom of God is not always (or even often) brought to life in great feats of heroism, but in the daily acts of folks—most of whose names we don’t and won’t ever know—who have chosen to live in and for the way of Jesus. All Simon did was make his place available for someone to stay. He shared his space. And it’s hard to overstate the affect that had on the Church. (It’s a story worth reading! Acts 10:1-48.) Simon is an example, I think, of Mother Theresa’s claim that we can do no great things, only small things with great love.
My point is not to let us off the hook. God may well be calling us, as individuals or as a community, to something rather more extravagant than simple acts of hospitality. I believe that God is able to do more in us and through us than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), and I’m not prepared to put limits—big or small—on how that’s done. We need to be attentive to God and obedient to the Spirit’s guidance. We need to be ready when called upon. And we need to allow Jesus to shape our day-in, day-out lives, and allow him to use our gifts, whatever they happen to be, as he sees fit—remembering that he seemed to have a thing for the small, the unlikely, the overlooked. And the promise is that when we do that, then we will begin to see the kingdom come in this world and in our lives, as it is in heaven. Thanks be to God!
Our new minister
We are pleased to announce that Aaron and his family have arrived safely in Vancouver.
Here's a note Aaron sent around in early June:
Greetings, U Hill!
It feels like we have been waiting for ages to be out there, and now—all of a sudden—we’re less than a month from flying into Vancouver! The boxes are beginning to pile up around here. I confess that it’s been a strange space, having my head in two different places. I am really looking forward to being among you and discovering what God has got in store for us!
As you may have heard by now, we have found a place to live. Needless to say, this is a great relief. We’ll be living in a house, at Fraser and 28th. We’re very pleased to be in that neighborhood. Kate and the boys are especially excited to explore the area. Also, we’re right across the street from a grocery store, which will be truly novel for us! There are certainly advantages to city-living!
To keep everyone in the loop, we are flying out on June 21, arriving in Vancouver mid-afternoon. (The boys are excited about their first flight!) Our stuff should arrive by the end of the month. Thanks to those who have already offered to lend us some essentials in the meantime. We plan to be worshiping with you on June 26. I’m glad that we will get to be there as you give thanks for, and celebrate Eric’s time with you. And then, I’m really looking forward to preaching on July 3. Thanks to Karen for her offer to guide me through that day!
Thanks also to all of those who have been working out the details for this transition (goodness, there are a lot of details). Administration is not my special spiritual gift, so I am always grateful for those who minister among us in that way. And thanks especially for each of your prayers, individually and as a congregation, as Kate, Levi, Jude and I prepare to make this move. Please know that you are in our prayers, as well.
I am so looking forward to meeting you all.
In the hope, peace, joy, and love of Christ,
Christian Seasons Calendar
We are looking for contributions to next year's calendar from Christian artists. Please see the calendar website for details.
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.
The annual meeting of University Hill Congregation was held after worship on Sunday, May 15. Please have a look at our annual report. It is not planned that we will print copies of the report for distribution at the meeting, in an effort to reduce our paper consumption.
If you would like a printed copy, please email the church office.
Please note that this report and meeting will be concerned with the spiritual life of the congregation; our financial affairs are reviewed in October each year.
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.
Aaron Miller 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.