"Then he poured water into a basin
and began to wash
the disciples’ feet
and to wipe them with the towel
that was tied around him.”
- John 13:5
Jesus provides his followers with a model for Christian service when he becomes a servant. The word for service in Greek is “diakonia”. Our English word “ministry” comes from the Latin word for “service”. A critical mark of Christian communal living is a commitment to serving Christ by serving those in need of compassion and care.
Each year our Holy Week services include worship on the evening of Maundy Thursday. We remember Jesus' washing of his disciples' feet and the command that his followers do the same for one another. This humbling act of mutual service reminds us that serving Jesus begins in caring for one another.
We Love One Another
We care for those who are aching, ill, bereaved, alone or troubled. Visits, encouragement, prayer, conversation and supportive friendship are the work of the whole congregation. We build up relationships with one other by gathering in neighbourhood clusters (UBC/UEL; Kitsilano; Dunbar/Kerrisdale; East-side and Metro Vancouver).
We are Scattered to Serve
We carry out ministries of service in households, neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces. We include homemakers, students, teachers, lawyers, business people, sales people, researchers, nurses and more along with those whose ministry is taken up in retirement and outside of employment. A parent teaches a child the ways of Christ's love. An adult seeks to be reconciled with a sibling or a parent. A researcher searches for a cure for disease. A co-worker wonders how to support a colleague who is troubled, while striving to correct an unjust policy at work. Students wrestle with questions of vocation and career. The congregation's life supports such varied ministries as these and more.
We Share in Ministry
An ongoing mission of the congregation is the support of Campus Ministry. We partner with Vancouver-Burrard Presbytery and BC Conference in the United Church Campus Ministry at UBC.
In July we host a festive dinner with the Native Ministries Consortium that meets at the Vancouver School of Theology. Begun in 1998 these annual gatherings are a step on the path of reconciliation with the First Nations.
Each week we bring gifts of food to worship. The children carry the baskets of food forward as an offering to God. The gifts go to the Emergency Food Cupboard at First United Church in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. On the Sunday prior to the last Monday of the month we make sandwiches that are shared at the Mission.
In 2011 we joined with a group of neighbouring congregations in sponsoring a Palestinian family as they moved from a refugee camp in Syria to a new life as Canadian citizens.
Jan Tollefson began a ministry in the Dominican Republic as a ministry of University Hill Congregation. Jan is now in Calgary where we support her servant ministry, Add Your Light.