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Canora in Bloom gets underway with interdenominational service

For the first time since 2019, Canora and area worshippers gathered for an outdoor non-denominational worship service.

CANORA - For the first time since 2019, Canora and area worshippers gathered for an outdoor non-denominational worship service as part of Canora in Bloom. The service was held in bright sunshine outside the Town Hall.

Pastor Brett Watson opened the service.

“Welcome everyone to our first outdoor community service we’ve had for some time,” said Watson. “The pandemic put a stop to that for a while, but we’re so thankful for this beautiful day the Lord has given us.”

Pastor Watson then led in the opening prayer.

“Lord, thank you for the amazing day you have given us. You’ve given us this wonderful outdoor sanctuary in which to worship You. Be with us and help us to focus our minds on You during this morning’s service.”

Scripture readings were shared by: Councillor Brad Gabora (Psalm 31:14-24), Cheryl Senechal (James 2:14-26) and Pastor Greg Bright (Matthew 24:3-14).

Members of the worship band providing music for the service were: Elijah Debnam (drums), Carissa Schomburg (vocals and guitar), Cheryl Senechal (vocals), Dwaine Senechal (bass), and Caleb Senechal (keyboards).

Early in the service, the worship band led the audience in the singing of: Victory in Jesus, What a Beautiful Name It Is, Break Every Chain and Amazing Grace. Pastor Watson later joined the worship band for the song Daystar.

The message, Keeping Love Alive, was presented by Pastor Mavis Watson. 

“I want to talk to us about love this morning …. but most especially, enduring love; the kind of love that operates outside and above the circumstances that we find our lives in today, the kind of love that exercises itself through acts of kindness and faith,” said Watson.

“It’s the kind of love that has learned through struggle after struggle, to stake its claim and place its trust completely in a Loving God; whose main focus has always been His people and His church.

“That same God continues to today to seek for the betterment of our lives despite our circumstances and longs that we on His behalf, seek for the lost that they may be found. God through our faith has equipped us to accomplish this very task and therefore, we have no need to ever be afraid that there’s nothing that can be done for the hurting world that surrounds us.

“We are the answer to Christ’s prayers and often even the answer to our very own. Have you ever considered that when you’ve sat down to ask the Lord for something to be done and not considered that you might be the one who could do that thing?

“Matthew 24 depicts a time of great tribulation that will come upon the earth. We note that in Verse 6 it speaks about wars and rumours of wars. We have those right now. And yet the scripture encourages us not to be troubled over these events because they are meant to happen.

It goes on to say in Verse 7 that there will be all sorts of famines, pestilences and environmental issues taking places around the world.

“Again, we just passed through two years of a worldwide pandemic and we are still experiencing types of it here and there, and still struggling to get back on our feet nationally. And yet when we read in Verse 12, it tells us that following these ongoing tribulations and trials including pending persecution of the believers … we are warned to guard our hearts.

“Verse 12 says, ‘And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many people will grow cold towards one another.’ And isn’t that the truth? We see images nightly on our news or random crimes in various cities, in smaller communities, acts of hate against complete strangers.

These events trouble us deeply and worse than that, we struggle to understand why so often, our court systems seem to given leniency to the criminal and very little justice to the victims. These events cause us to want to crawl into our shell and avoid the world around us as much as possible. We hope that one day things will get back to ‘normal’ and the bad things would just go away.

“But God cautions us by saying these things will happen,” continued Watson. “And knowing that they will, we have an obligation to try and figure out how not to withdraw from society but to find ways to help in our neighbours time of need.

“Our Old Testament reading found in Psalm 31 tells us today in Verse 19; ‘Oh, how great is Your goodness [O God], which You have prepared for those who trust in You that You perform in the presence of men!’

“In this Psalm, God promises to take care of those who will trust Him to do so. In fact, He promises that the goodness He does for us, will be seen by others. It will not be a hidden thing.

Verse 22 says, ‘I am cut off from Your sight O God. Nevertheless, You heard my prayers and the voice of my cries when I cried to You.’

“The Psalmist recognized that he had gotten caught up with all of the swirling, terrifying events surrounding and impacting his life. He realized that he needed to change his focus and put once again, his trust in the God who in times past, had proven that He would not fail him.

“And when he did this, he finds himself once again in that place of peace and confidence as he states in Verse 23; “Oh, love the Lord all you His saints! For the Lord [surely] preserves those who are [faithful to Him].

“And finally if we look at our New Testament reading this morning we see a particular premise offered to the believer that I believe is the remedy to a waxing heart. It is the cure if you will, to what ails our souls when we are in pressing times that seem to never end. Showing acts of loving kindness to those around us is the antidote to a cold heart.

“James challenges us to recognize that we can say that we love God and we love others but when the rubber meets the road, how are we ‘showing’ that we really love others.

“In fact, James does something unusual. He goes on to compare true love of others to acts of faith, acts of benevolence, acts of kindness. And he is bold enough to say that your ‘faith’ or your claim to be loving like Jesus, doesn’t add up to a hill of beans if you can’t get along and help others in less fortunate circumstances than you are right now. James challenges them and in so doing, challenges us as well, by daring to suggest that you cannot in any other regard truly show love unless you exercise your faith by acts of kindness.


“So in conclusion this morning friends, let us ‘love one another, for Love is of God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God,’ (1 John 4:7).

This is the only true way to guard your heart from hardening and to keep the flame of it burning, ….. by giving it away to those who most need it,” concluded Watson.

The worship band closed the service by asking everyone to stand for the singing of Be Still and Know, which includes the following verse:

“Be still and know that I am God;

“My Son has asked me for the nations of the world.

“For all the multitudes of India and Africa to come;

“The Middle East will find its peace through Jesus Christ my Son.

“From London down to Cape Town,

“From L.A. to Beijing,

“My Son shall reign the undisputed King!”