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Spirit of Christmas Community Christmas Kids' Event

This past Saturday we had St Paul's annual community kids' Christmas event that focuses on celebrating Christ's birth and having a lot of fun doing it! After an opening devotion with Pastor Thompson, kids spent the morning creating shadow theatre and re-imagining the Wise men's journey with just a box and a storyteller, rolling and baking special Christmas pretzels and cookies, building and drilling Christmas keepsakes, and learning to sew a Christmas quilt for a special family in need. And, of course, the taco bar lunch with all the kids, families and volunteers was just awesome. Thank you to all of our workshop leaders for dedicating so much of your time and talents and our 30+ volunteers who made this event possible. We pray the magic of Christ's birth became a little more real for all the families and kids who participated.



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uOttawa

On Friday, October 6th, Illumine Talks hosted their first international guest speaker for their event “My X-Rated Life:  A Sociological and Theological Look at the Rise of an Individual-Centered Approach to Sex and Sexuality” at the University of Ottawa. Students from University of Ottawa, Carleton University, and Algonquin College (alongside members of the public) were invited to enjoy free Bridgehead catering, and bring their unique backgrounds to participate in a discussion about the topic of pornography.
 
Our guest speaker, Kent Reeder (M.Div), is an international speaker and Lutheran Pastor in South Carolina. He currently works with groups to educate individuals, and to counsel spiritual leaders on how to approach the subjects of sex and pornography.
 
This semester’s talk focused on the prevalence of the topic of sex, once taboo, in today’s society.  This was examined through the study of this history and promulgation of pornography throughout history, and what contributes to its creation. Kent introduced the talk as an anti-pornography talk, and began by encouraging students to discuss different definitions of pornography as a way to better understand the topic, and the distinction (sometimes difficult to discern) between porn and art.
 
The study began with a discussion of Adam and Eve’s original sin in the Garden of Eden. It then looked at historical and cultural movements throughout history, and demonstrated how pornography has reached the magnitude of its current multi-billion-dollar industry. Common themes were drawn out, such as a desire for power and success among producers of pornography, alongside monetary gain. Kent was able and willing to also discuss myths and common misconceptions surrounding pornography, and ultimately led the discussion towards how pornography is harmful to healthy, loving relationships.
 
Illumine is a group based in Ottawa that hosts talks at both the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. The talks focus on current pop-culture phenomena and recurrent topics in student life, and how they relate to theology. Illumine also meets once a week to host relevant series discussions, such as their current series “True and Reasonable”, and also hosts parties and Film and Theology nights to catalyse discussion with students about the world around them, and how it relates to the Bible and their faith.



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Intentional Mentoring

What happens when a single drop hits a still body of water? Movement that spreads far beyond the reaches of the original drop of water to the very edges of the surface and the entire body of water is changed. On September 8 and 9 over fifty women from the Ottawa Valley WELS churches, Cross of Life in Mississauga, and the US gathered to learn how their lives as Christian women can have a ripple effect on others. Through workshops and Bible studies the women learned how to intentionally mentor, letting God use them to shape their character and transform the thinking of everyone with whom they come into contact. 



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A Special Education Sunday

This Education Sunday, St. Paul had the immense privilege of welcoming many new families originally immigrating from the South Sudan into the St. Paul family. This culminates a relationship that began last December when the Ottawa Nuer community first approached Pastor Goetzinger about hosting a Christmas service in the Nuer language. You can read more about that spectacular Christmas event at the WELS home missions blog:  https://wels.net/a-sudanese-christmas-in-ottawa/



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Sunday School Renovations Underway

Throughout the month of August, the St. Paul family has been planning for the biggest Sunday School classes we've had in years. This includes adding a second Kindergarten class. To prepare for our growing class sizes, we've been purchasing more tables and chairs, rearranging existing furniture, and giving the walls a new coat of paint. These past two weeks, volunteers have come together to brighten up the rooms with new, lively colours. In particular, Laith put in extra late-evening hours painting, Mainz and Dennis worked overtime ordering and assembling desks, and Marion watched our painters' kids! All to say thank you to our wonderful Sunday School teachers before the 2017 school year begins. Thanks everyone!



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St. Paul Summer in the City Art Camp

Thanks to the expertise and dedication of in-residence mixed-media artist, Karen Goetzinger, and our eager volunteers, this July St Paul was able to offer its first ever Fine Arts Summer Day Camp. Children ages 5-10 spent three days exploring the elements of art through the works of abstract painter Wassily Kandinsky, and meditating on how we paint our world as redeemed children of God. By the end of the week, children and parent’s alike could stroll through the almost 100 art works on display in St. Paul’s fellowship hall, as we celebrated the kids’ very own “art opening” with a family luncheon.



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2017 Book Sale for Missions a Great Success!

Running throughout the month of June, the LWMS-sponsored book sale was “the best one yet”. Shoppers were enthusiastic about the sheer number of books as well as the fantastic variety and selection. Buyers also took home a great selection of CDs, DVDs and even some vintage LPs to add to their collections. An awesome total of $982.35 was raised, including a $300 grant courtesy of Faith Life Financial. All proceeds will go to support projects at our 5 WELS Canada Mission Churches; Saviour of the Nations, Vancouver, B.C.; Hope, Markham, Ontario; Cross of Life, Mississauga, Ontario; Mighty Fortress, Red Deer, Alberta and St. John’s Wetaskiwin, Alberta.



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Congrats to our 2017 Youth Confirmands!

This June, St. Paul celebrates with their teen confirmands. After two years of taking classes, asking and wrestling with faith’s tough questions, and studying hard, St. Paul’s grade 8 confirmands are graduate-ready. “We've been tremendously blessed to have these wonderful individuals as our students these past two years. Each one has proven to be faithful, dedicated, and excited about their Saviour.  And we're so excited to see what God has in store for them as they continue to grow in his Word and their faith," says Pastor Thompson, one other their teachers.



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2017 Annual Crockpot Challenge Food Bank Drive

February 12, a snowstorm had started outside - but inside things were just warming up! The 2017 St. Paul’s Crockpot Challenge was underway!  Volunteer chefs arrived laden with crockpots, found their assigned spots and set up their sample stations.  An amazing variety of dishes arrived!



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