Tech Resources

The “Rural Routes Through the Holy” conference is coming to Prince Edward Island in June. Read how low cost technology can provide options for anyone needing a laptop to do a presentation.

Need to upgrade your computers at your church?

Did you know that you don’t have to spend a fortune on computer hardware and software, to have a highly functioning office and worship projection system. Here is an excerpt from a piece written by the Rev. Martin Dawson, explaining how he uses freely available and also free(!) software and inexpensive used hardware to keep the digital footprint current for rural communities of faith, and be conscientious about the cost of doing so on scarce church budgets, and have a smaller impact on the earth at the same time.

Are you looking to start podcasting. Here’s an article that will walk you through the steps.

Trauma, Grief and Recovery

October 13, 2022

UCRMN offered a fall workshop on Trauma, Grief and Recovery, called Ministry in the Midst, and offered by Rev. Michele Rowe of Maple Creek, Sask.  Michele is Certified as a Community and Workplace Traumatologist and happens to hold a Social Work degree  as well as being a minister to a community of faith. As all of our church communities have suffered trauma from the COVID Pandemic and all it brought to us, it was a great relief for the 14 participants to talk together in this time, shaped by helpful information on trauma.  We have experienced grief and loss and anger, dislocation, confusion and fear.  
    COVID broke apart our community as we knew it, and accelerated many losses the church is already experiencing.  We named collective traumas our communities have or are presently experiencing, like, the cost of living, grief from deaths, especially loved family members or friends dying alone, the overwhelming of the medical system, and the backup of elective and emergency surgeries, children who spent a year or more on online schooling, the angers of community around masks and shots.  
     Michele invited us to consider developing rituals in our communities of faith which will lift up what we must let go, and what can be welcomed back. She reminded us that trauma continues to strike us, like Hurricane Fiona in Eastern Canada, or the deaths in James Smith Cree Nation of Saskatchewan.
(One of the really important bits of information Michele gave us is that Trauma is passed down through generations, which we know, but that people actually experience genetic change by trauma)
     Michele expressed her appreciation that we organized a 2-hour time period for this workshop, which gave us time to lean into the heart issues of our times.  75% of the participants of the workshop came from Michele’s Regional Council of Living Skies, most who had previous discussion on COVID trauma.  

Submitted by Catherine Christie and Michele Rowe.

The Grand Change: Windows to Linux or Both

A few weeks ago, I decided to purchase another laptop computer. Now, I did not go to a
“Big Box” electronics store, nor did I visit their websites online to make a purchase. Instead, I went to my local computer store that sells used laptops. This store had a selection of fairly new (5 to 7 years old) computers available from different manufacturers, but I immediately gravitated towards the Lenovo ThinkPads. In the past, I have had great success using this brand to convert to a Linux operating system. Moreover, they are generally more robust and reliable, as they are designed for business use. Of course, I am not saying that other manufacturers cannot be transformed into Linux machines; however, I have been using them since my first used 2005 ThinkPad.
My intention for this new purchase, was to offer a “dual boot” computer being available to
presenters attending the 2023 “Rural Routes Through The Holy” event coming this June on PEI. The newer machine would offer more choice over my usual laptop that is a 2014
computer which has Linux only. It is a “given” that most people are more familiar with
Windows 10, so it would still be available on the newer laptop. This characteristic is called
“dual boot” whereby the opening screen on the computer gives you a choice of operating
systems. You just select the one you desire and press “enter” and away you go.
I have been asked many times how to set up a laptop to do this function, and so I shall
attempt to describe it as briefly as possible in this article, but I trust that you will view the
attached links to “see” it done.
Firstly, I must digress and explain “Linux” to you. It is an operating system that has been
around for decades. There are many types or “distributions” of Linux systems today (probably over 400). It is also called “Open Source”, which allows anyone to use it free of charge.
Developers add their own “envelope” (Graphic User Interface) upon it and choose “Open
Source” programs that best suit their specific needs. Therefore, “Ubuntu” will look a certain way on your desktop screen, while “Linux Mint” will look completely different. However, they both have the basic common system behind the scene. You should also be aware that your smartphone (Android) is based on Linux, as is Google Chrome and the Google operating system found on Chromebooks at your child’s school. I find that Linux Mint looks very similar to Windows; therefore, the switchover is much easier for most new users.
Secondly, Linux is very secure, as it usually does not need antivirus software, and it is
easily upgraded to newer versions as they become available with a press of a button. Each
version generally is supported for 5 years, and then you upgrade to be good for another 5
years, etc. Yes, and it is at no cost unless you wish to donate to them. Moreover, other
distributions enable the use of extremely old or under-powered laptops to function. Presently, Windows 10 by Microsoft will no longer be supported after October 2025, making many laptops obsolete due to lack of security updates or outdated hardware for Windows 11. Linux allows you to use these laptops well into the future. You will be doing the planet a favour!
Now to the installation:
1 You will need to download a version of Linux to your present computer. Here are 2 choices, but there are others. Use the newest LTS version (Long Term Support).
https://linuxmint.com/download.php
or
https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop

2 Prepare a bootable memory device, namely a DVD or a bootable USB.
You can burn the download “iso” image to the DVD and use it. If your computer does not have a DVD player, you will need to make a bootable USB. Here is a video to help explain the steps, as well as the installation. In this video they are not making it a dual boot computer. He will mention that a screen will come up in the installation process that will allow you to dual boot if you want.

When you restart the computer, depending on your choice to have Linux alone or to dual
boot, the laptop will default to Linux Mint. For dual boot machines, there will be a choice on the opening screen.
In Linux Mint you will have an office program called Libreoffice that is similar to Microsoft
Office. It is capable of saving documents in Microsoft format and you can also get Microsoft fonts.
The Linux Mint software manager has a large selection of free programs for you to use. (e.g. Audacity, OBS, Simplescreenrecorder, etc.) Of course, Zoom will work on Linux as well. The web browser is Firefox, but you can use Chromium (an Open Source version of Chrome), or you can go to the Google Chrome website and download a version of it that will work for Linux.
Enjoy the new world of Linux!

Rev. Martin Dawson (retired and computing in Cornwall PEI)

Trauma, Grief and Recovery

Report on Trauma Workshop
October 13, 2022
UCRMN offered a fall workshop on Trauma, Grief and Recovery, called Ministry in the Midst, and offered by Rev. Michele Rowe of Maple Creek, Sask. Michele is Certified as a Community and Workplace Traumatologist and happens to hold a Social Work degree as well as being a minister to a community of faith. As all of our church communities have suffered trauma from the COVID Pandemic and all it brought to us, it was a great relief for the 14 participants to talk together in this time, shaped by helpful information on trauma. We have experienced grief and loss and anger, dislocation, confusion and fear.
COVID broke apart our community as we knew it, and accelerated many losses the church is already experiencing. We named collective traumas our communities have or are presently experiencing, like, the cost of living, grief from deaths, especially loved family members or friends dying alone, the overwhelming of the medical system, and the backup of elective and emergency surgeries, children who spent a year or more on online schooling, the angers of community around masks and shots.
Michele invited us to consider developing rituals in our communities of faith which will lift up what we must let go, and what can be welcomed back. She reminded us that trauma continues to strike us, like Hurricane Fiona in Eastern Canada, or the deaths in James Smith Cree Nation of Saskatchewan.
(One of the really important bits of information Michele gave us is that Trauma is passed down through generations, which we know, but that people actually experience genetic change by trauma)
Michele expressed her appreciation that we organized a 2-hour time period for this workshop, which gave us time to lean into the heart issues of our times. 75% of the participants of the workshop came from Michele’s Regional Council of Living Skies, most who had previous discussion on COVID trauma.

Submitted by Catherine Christie and Michele Rowe.

WORSHIP FOR RURAL LIFE SUNDAY

Submitted by Catherine Christie

(service found in Mandate, 2010, prepared by Miles Russell)

Greeting and Announcements

Call to Worship:

After the dormancy of winter,   

new growth springs to life.  

The birds return from their southern home.  

Buds emerge on the trees as they discover again the warmth of the earth.  

Crocuses and other early spring flowers begin to carpet the land as it throws off its wintry coating.

The creation awakens to the possibilities of spring.

Life shows itself in every corner of the earth.

God is our Creator, who continues to create in the rhythm of life we call the seasons.

Come let us worship. Come let us enter into the Spirit of God’s creative moments. Come let us sow the seeds of new life.

Hymn:    For Beauty of Prairies   VU 303     

Opening Prayer (unison)

Gracious God, open our eyes that we may see the abundance of your creative love in all that surrounds and sustains us. Enable us to become people of hope and life, who plant the seeds of your earthly garden for the benefit of all. Help us to be gardeners and caregivers for the earth that is home for all life. Fill us with your gentle love, that we may walk tenderly on the earth, cooperating with your intention of abundant love and life. Amen.

Story Time

Blessing of the Soil:  (a bowl of soil is brought forward)

Farmer:  O Lord, all the earth is yours.  We bring before you this rich and living soil that you may bless it and our lands with abundant fertility

All:  In the name of the Creator of heaven and earth, bless this living soil, that it may produce for those who respect and love it, food in abundance for birds, beasts and all people.

Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad.

Let the field be joyful and all that is in it.

Blessing of the Farm Machinery:

This tractor, whose discer turns the soil, we bring before you, O Lord, that you may look with favour on all we do to cultivate the soil.

God most High, bless this tractor and all who work the soil.  May the Lord open the heavens for us, his rich treasure house to give rain upon our land at the proper time, and bless every thing to which we turn our hand 

     (by Brendan O’Malley, from Celtic Blessings and Prayers)

Hymn:  God Whose Farm is All Creation  VU 300

Scripture Readings:

Genesis 1:11–12 (creation of plants and seeds), Genesis 2: 7, 15 

Psalm of Spring’s Coming

Each day I take delight, Creator God, as did my great grandparents, the earth creatures, Adam and Eve, enjoying the garden of Eden called earth, which each spring graciously grants an encore of your first act, creation.   I stand and applaud with all earth’s audience and cry out with gratitude, “Again, again, please do it again”. 

And you smile and return to centre stage to repeat the song you sang so long ago.

And blades of grass shoot up through crusted soil, as seductive flowers sway in the breeze and young, green leaves dance on the tips of twigs, while soft, gray clouds pour down liquid life to make all the earth come alive.

Like the primal parents of paradise, part of me longs to stand naked once again, stripped of the symbols of society which so easily separate me from my flesh, which is dust, and from my bone, which is stone, to once again walk in the cool of the garden in innocence with you, my God.

     (By Edward Hays, from Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim)

Matthew 13:31–32 (parable of the mustard seed)   

John 12:24 (a grain falls into the ground and dies)

Blessing Prayer for a Garden

Lord of Creation, who planted Your own garden called Eden, come and bless this soil which is to be our garden. 

All that dies becomes earth, and so it lives again.  May this garden soil be both womb and tomb, a home for death and life, so that seeds of living things – of plants, of foods and flowers – may die and resurrect here in our garden.

Ancient earth, our mystical mother, teach us, your children that all things die to nourish life.

Gentle earth, be blessed with our love as we work in you.  Make us mindful that one day you will be our final bed of love and ecstasy.  Amen

     (by Edward Hays, from Prayers for the Domestic Church)

Meditation: 

Blessing Prayer for Seeds:

Seeds, pregnant with life, teach us the Easter secret of life, as we ask God to bless you.

Lord of all Life, who did hide Your Seed in all that lives, be present here as we greet these tiny seeds with their gifts of life.

Seeds of life – so small, and yet, in the mystery of death and burial, you will produce life tenfold and more.

We sprinkle you with water, sacred sign of life, asking that you may be embraced by our mother the earth, fed by rain and kissed gently by the sun.

In caring for you we shall experience the most ancient profession of the human family, the primal vocation of being workers in the garden.  Soon you will be our pride and joy.  Soon you will be our food as you give up your life that we may live.

     (by Edward Hays, from Prayers for the Domestic Church)

Hymn:  We Plough the Fields   VU 520

Seeding Our Prayers

Receive these seeds, signs of the power you have to join with God as stewards of the earth, as people who plant in the soil of the earth and in the soil of our words and deeds.

 Action in response:

Seeds are planted in small containers of earth (one for each person).  As each seed is planted, the following responses are made one at a time:

1. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the promise of hope.

2. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the promise of abundant life for all.

3. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the gift of life for all.

4. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the possibility of compassion for all.

5. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, trusting in the assurance of faith that the dream of God is possible, for a creation that is blessed and named good.

6. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, praying for all who care for the land, for all who produce the food that feeds the earth.

7. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, praying for a just sharing of the abundance that is part of God’s creation.

 8. We sow this seed in God’s good earth, praying that we would learn to walk gently on the earth and so preserve it for future generations.

After all seeds are planted, as offering dedication, conclude with the following:   We offer the seeds of the earth and the seeds of our lives, that they might bring blessing to all the world. We pray in the name of Christ, who sowed the seeds of transforming love. Amen

Creed,  VU  p. 918

Lord’s Prayer

HymnEach Blade of Grass   MV 37

Benediction:

May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

be upon you and upon all who work upon the land, that all creation may glorify God’s name.  Amen

Saying What’s In Your Heart

By Joyce Sasse
Submitted by Catherine Christie

Editors note: this is an Easter memory from Joyce Sasse, reproduced from her ebook, Gleanings from a Prairie Pastor (available for downloading from Centre for Rural Community Leadership and Ministry, www.circle-m.ca)

(Apologies are never easy.  t takes time to unload the baggage. That’s what I learned when I was helping our community to neighbour with folks from the Piikani Nation. The story happened at the turn of the New Century.) It was the way our local Chief spat out the term “missionary” when he addressed our Annual NAPI Friendship Association meeting that upset me. I sought advice from Elisa, my friend and advisor.  After carefully questioning me, and agreeing that both Natives and non-natives needed to “clean up” their attitude and their language, she suggested I go to the Chief, ask for a meeting and then tell him “I have it in my heart (to say what needs to be said)”. I stopped by his office …  and then later tried to phone to get an appointment …  I received no contact … but by this time I had practised several versions of what I might say. One day I saw the Chief walk through the door of the local Co-op where I was having coffee … So I boldly walked up to ask for an appointment.  “Tell me what you want now!” was his reply.  I gulped air because I didn’t feel “ready” … but tentatively started to explain how I felt about him discrediting the very Ministerial Association from the community that had worked with the Piikani people to found the NAPI Friendship Association 10 years previous.  “I felt embarrassed lest any White church people heard you speak.  We Whites have certainly had to learn how to edit what we say.” The Chief listened … and told his story about all the colonial wrongs he could name … Then with a dismissal-handshake we continued on our own ways. Two months later when we were holding the annual Pow Wow in the Town Arena and the Natives were doing an Honour Dance for Eliza in her wheel-chair (from the car accident she survived last year).  She saw me in the stands and beckoned for me to join-in at the end of the dance-line. The Chief, in his white buckskin, and the flag-bearers quietly danced around the circumference of the arena.  But when they stopped, the Chief immediately walked down the line to where I stood, shook my hand and greeted me with “OKI”.  With tears in my eyes I said my “Thank You” … (and I never again heard him speak with anything but respect when he talked about missionaries.) This past week when the Pope so graciously spoke with the Aboriginal / Inuit / Metis visitors in the Vatican of his sorrow, I couldn’t help but think that Her Majesty must have been signaling “Thumbs up” for him saying what was in his heart.

Proposal GCE 06 Summary: Thoughts from Zoom Workshop

Re: GS 128 and GCE 06 Thursday April 28, 2022 @ 4 pm EDT

25 participants from Victoria Island in British Columbia to Newfoundland. Opened and closed with “One More Step Along the World, I Go”.

Clarification:

  • GS 128 was the original document and has been withdrawn and replaced by GCE 06.
  • The General Council Executive after Canada Wide consultation with Designated Lay Leaders (DLM), Congregational Designated Ministry (CDM) and Licensed Lay Worship Leaders (LLWL) has introduced GCE 06 as a Resource Document for General Council 44 Commissioners.
  • It seems to have split and arranged the issues as per topic:
    • Better Supporting Rural and Smaller Communities of Faith
    • Lay-led Communities of Faith
    • Licensed Lay Worship Leaders
    • Congregational Designated Ministry
    • Pastoral Charge Supervisors
    • Technology
    • Designated Lay Ministry
    • For Current Designated Ministers
    • For Future Designated Ministers

  • Discussion:
  • Why not leave it as it is?
  • DLM Candidates are concerned about the future of the DLM Program, especially as this is the last year for the Training Program at St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon.
  • Many DLMs entered into the Lay Pastoral Ministry Program (LPM) before 2000. (The requirements: you were over 40 and had suitable life experiences.)
  • DLMs may not have been aware that chances were made in 2000 (at GC 37), especially changes related to only home-church availability. This has not been the practice (in reality) in Presbyteries and Conferences and now Regions.
  • Until 2010 or so, In-Community Ordination Programs were only available in test places (and underserviced) areas of Canada.
  • Felt the sense (Call) to take the next step – where does that leave us now as DLM Students?
  • CDM Leadership of a Lay-led Congregation – good opinion with at least LLWL training.
  • We feel Called to Lay Ministry, not Ordained Ministry.
  • Justice, Equality and Dignity concerns – especially when retired.
  • The present systems works – especially when the Church needs ministers.
  • Definitions can be confusing CDM, DLM and LLWL and their meaning and educational requirements.
  • Access to the DLM program has been so successful, that most congregations do not see any difference between a DLM Minister and an Ordained Minister.
  • I signed up for a LPM (pre DLM), as I felt I had gifts in Pastoral Ministry.
  • Educational requirements are reasonably lengthy.
  • Salary differences is about $2,000 per year less for a DLM (only minimum salary)
  • Salary is not an issue with most DLM (in different professions, more experienced or with more education get paid more).
  • Congregations (Pastoral Charges) decides the terms based on the Minimum Salary Schedule
  • In some Regions (Conferences) CDMs work with the rules of LLWLs – only so many Sundays per period, etc.
  • For smaller rural churches; ministry happens with whomever you have or can get – many times it seems the Church Bureaucracy gets in the way of their ministry.
  • Most DLMs do not necessary want to be Ordained – as we feel our gifts are lay centered.
  • Many DLM’s (CDMs and LLWLs) bring skills, secular and training which may or may not be Ministry related; such as nursing, teacher, music, Chaplaincy, etc.
  • –  Some feel that GCE 06 (and this overall proposal) is an attack on our Lay-call to Ministry versus an attempt to support lay-led ministry.
  • Called to Lay Ministry – not Ordained or Commissioned Ministry
  • Canadian Revenue Agency determining that those doing the same consistent ministry – they need to be on payroll.
  • Many LLWLs have had 6 classes of 30 hours each class, plus local courses from the community or local hospital (such as pastoral care).
  • Many DLMs learn as they do (experimental learning)
  • Technology to support small membership churches. Many rural communities have sparse Internet coverage – even when they have good Internet, they may not have tech-minded operators.
  • Clusters of 5 congregations – started with two ministers. Five years later – only one minister. Two in-person services per week – using Zooms at both services – Hybrid services. Minister not getting much downtime.
  • Is this DLM proposal similar to how the General Council is addressing Rural Churches and Rural Ministry?
  • What needs to happen (what shift/ pivot) to be the church in Ministry versus trying to “fix” how we are already being the Church. Seems like “Thumbs in the dyke” when the typhoon has already arrived.
  • More hours, less Ministers – systematic of a bigger problem.
  • We are working to be the “Church of the Privileged”.
  • Justice issues ???? Much bigger than just this proposal.
  • Edge” has a toolkit to start round table conversations in your own experiences in your own community. Or “Rural Café” (see UCRMN.ca under workshops).
  • The WWW is looking at web 3 – decentralized from each other – working outside our own box. Who is my community neighbour? Are they United, Anglican or Catholic?