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Please call Wayne Ward @ 519-637-6962 or Bruce Hodgson @ 519-633-9381 or
Ruth Newson @ 519-633-4496
Central United Church
135 Wellington Street
St. Thomas, ON
'Central United Church Story' - June 21st by Dave Mathers
The Men’s Club took over Sunday’s second service at Central United Church for the celebration of
Fathers Day. Scott Doupe, took great pride in calling forth his two nieces, Arden and McKenna
Doupe, to light the Christ Candle. The Senior Choir then performed the richly powerful anthem,
The Lord’s Prayer. The Children’s story, delivered by Dave Mathers, dealt with the Ten
Commandments. Nine of the commandments were read and then the fifth one was read at the
end. The children were then asked if they knew what that one, ‘Honour thy father and thy
mother’, actually meant. The consensus was that they were to obey their parents, to do their
chores and to always help their parents, siblings and even their teachers.
The Bible lesson from Isaiah 64:8-10, read by Terry Lanning, reminded us that God is our
Father, that we are the clay and He is the potter. Also it was asked that God not be too angry with
us, that He shouldn’t keep a permanent account of our wrongdoings and to remember that we are
His people, all of us.
The message ‘Our Father’, delivered by Dave Mathers, actually began with an apology to the
Senior Choir. It was felt that The Lord’s Prayer would be a great anthem for Father’s Day but the
version used was extremely difficult to say the least. But the good news was that the choir nailed
it!! So the message began with the question, what is Father’s Day? Mother’s Day was first
celebrated in 1908 as a way of thanking all mothers for their hard work and dedication. Two
years late Father’s Day was created with the same goals in mind. Sadly those social days have
become highly commercialized similar to Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. But what does the
Bible tell us about fathers? The Bible begins with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the
story of the forbidden fruit. Thus began the biblical version of evolution. Since the Adam and Eve
days there have been many influential fathers noted and recorded in the Bible - Joseph, Jacob,
Moses, King David and King Saul to mention a few. Moving ahead to the time of Jesus Christians
became familiar and comfortable with the Holy Trinity - the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The
Lord’s prayer, taught by Jesus, starts of by referring to ‘Our Father, who art in heaven’. That
was back in the time where twelve believers were spreading the Holy Word throughout the land.
Here we are two thousand years later and there are now two billion Christians on the planet.
Attention was then focused to how the ‘father’ thing is working out today. Statistics show that in
1910 over 90 % of families had married parents. This number had dropped to about 80 % in
1950, down to 65 % in 1980 and as low as 45 % in 2010. A shocking statistic showed that 71 % of
children in Chicago have no father present in their lives whatsoever. It would seem that the
sacrament of marriage has suffered and suffered badly over the years. A story in the latest
edition of the United Church Observer relates the ordeals faced by a female United Church
minister who has been going through a divorce from her United Church minister husband. It was
felt that there would be some very interesting conversations in their respective congregations.
Several features in the sanctuary were highlighted as examples of families making a difference in
the life of the church. The Flint family donated the beautiful stained glass window behind the
altar, the G.P.Smith family donated the chimes for the organ that were wonderfully played after
the service, the Joliffe family funded the restoration of the huge railroad stained glass window on
the Moore St. side of the sanctuary and the Crossley and Hunter families were also well
represented around the church with both a plaque and a cornerstone. As a caring and practising
Christian congregation we were advised to do as Jesus did when He told us to lead by example as
John Lounsbury then closed out the service starting with the Prayers of the People.