New Life is On the Horizon

Newsletter – Spring 2021 – Rev. Takouhi’s Reflection… Dear Grace United Church Family & Friends, Exactly a year ago today, March 8, 2020, was the last time that I led worship celebrations – like we knew it – at the communities of faith that I served. Without any fear we were shaking hands, hugging each other, sitting side by side, singing fearlessly, praying, passing the Peace of Christ, the offering plates, dancing, clapping, having coffee, cookies, celebrating birthdays, and breaking bread together as the Sacrament of Communion or dinners/lunches for mission fundraisings and otherwise. Today, when I look back, I … Read more

Do NOT be Afraid to Let Go!

Dear E.O.O.R.C. Family, Is it too late to send you blessings of Peace and Joy for this new year, 2021? It might be for some, but I believe that every single day is the beginning of a new year. I have been wanting to write to you since October 21, 2020, but as we all know, after health, time is a precious commodity that we all desire to have more of. It is a year now that COVID-19 threw a curveball to the world and changed the way of life. The United Church folks thought that new way of doing … Read more

Ministry & Personnel Committee Bid Farewell To Rev. Takouhi – October 7, 2020

I am so grateful to have had this ministry with The Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge. (September 1, 2009 – August 1, 2010 – Student Minister & February 1, 2013 – October 31, 2020 – Ordained Minister) These pictures are a glorious reminder that even a pandemic cannot stop God from calling us into new beginnings. Thanks be to God. Thank YOU M & P Committee for the gift of  Your Time and Support. ********************************************************************************************** On Wednesday evening (October 7, 2020), the M & P Committee met with Rev. Takouhi to have a conversation about her years with us in the Elgin-Portland … Read more

My Farewell Announcement – August 9, 2020

August 9, 2020 Dear Elgin-Portland Pastoral Charge, The year 2020 has, in many ways, been unprecedented so far, and I am not sure how we are able to carry on our lives in such a different way. On January 16, 2013, when my family and I moved to Rideau Lakes Township to serve these beautiful communities, I always said, “I did my internship here in 2009-2010, and I will retire from here as well.” People used to joke and say, “… but you will never beat the 30 plus years that Rev. Seeley has in this pastoral charge.” and I … Read more

Hope for Beirut – 2020

Lebanon’s Love is as Ancient as the Love of God, her resilience parallel to the Cedars of Lebanon, which live over thousands of years, and are also referred as the Cedars of God. There will be beauty rising out of these ashes, resurrection will take place for all who died, and the oil of gladness will once again anoint everyone. Weddings will take place, Baptisms will be celebrated, and loved ones will bid goodbye to the ones who will die — in their own righteous, natural time. After all, after a good rebuilding and restoring, we will once again sing by the shores of the Mediterranean, and drink fresh, spring waters of Sannin. There will … Read more

Mothering God – Mother’s Day 2020

Dearly Beloved, This Mother’s Day,  the first four lines of this poem echoed in my heart and invited me to arrange this banquet of words together.  Today, I offer you this gift from my heart to yours. May you encounter the Spirit in between these lines and find God’s Comfort and Care no matter where you are. Because of Grace, Rev. T. Mothering God Mothering God, You are beyond gender, physical shape, and full of wonder. You shaped us with Love out of water and earth, Loving us through Grace, to Your breath, we surrender. Nursing our needs in the … Read more

The Women at the Zoom Tomb (Resurrection Morning April 12, 2020) – April 19, 2020

In the beginning of 2020, when I offered a promotional pen to the congregants of the Elgin and Portland United Churches with these words printed on it: “2020-Let’s Write the Future Together by God’s Grace”, I did not have any inkling on how this year will unfold – we can all agree we are living moments of historical proportions – facing a worldwide pandemic, COVID-19. In January we had to cancel worship gatherings for three weeks in a row (12, 19, & 26), because of inclement weather, and many people were not happy about this, including me, but we had … Read more

An Easter Prayer – God Bless the Space Between Us – April 12, 2020

Holy God, You are Holy Mystery that is Wholly Love. We come to you today as unwholly as we are. We join the women of the First Easter Morning and all the saints of the past, the present and the future and seek out your BLESSING – The Blessing that fills in the gaps of the empty spaces. May Your BLESSING become evident to us, Like water for the parched soul. A word of courage for the exhausted mind A salving oil for the cracked heels. Help us, O God, to dance with the winds of change, and may the … Read more

COVID-19, God Feeds us in the Wilderness of Life – March 25, 2020

When was the last time I took a walk on the Cataraqui Trail, which is a few steps away from our home –  maybe 2018? However, since the COVID-19 restrictions, for the last eleven days, I have been out to the grocery store and pharmacy pickups twice for us and others in the neighbourhood, but I also made time to go for walks when so I can get my blood circulating and get some clarity.

Living through this COVID-19 pandemic seems to teach us lessons that we never thought we needed to learn. I have been doing virtual church with prayers and sermons from my kitchen and posting them on our pastoral charge’s YouTube channel. It feels like I have started a new job and I have not met the congregants yet. We are navigating through uncharted waters.

The other day, I shared with a colleague that this Lenten Season feels like a real experiment of sorts—how to survive the wilderness of life… So, today; I am sharing some of my experiences and lessons I have learned with you, as we journey through this Lenten Season.

The Season of Lent begins with the forty days of Jesus in the wilderness. And, I am not sure how you feel but with this Corona Virus, the whole wide world feels like the wilderness. I am not sure about you, but every night when I watch the news, my heart breaks as tears flow down and my prayer continues to be, “God, may your Protective and Peace filled wings be evident to all—Lord have Mercy”.

We are fortunate where we live as we still have food in our grocery stores, meat at the butcher, and medication at the pharmacies. As I was walking today on the Cataraqui Trail, which used to be railway tracks, I arrived at a creek where living water was running and not only it was soothing the stones but also my soul at the same time… Here is the little video I recorded of that living water…

After recording the water rushing away, I started walking back home. The rugged, uncomfortable terrain of the trail full of pebbles and stones  made me stop and look at the ground closer –  and the words from the Temptation of Jesus in the wilderness, from  The Gospel of Matthew came to mind, “Tell these stones to become bread”(4:3 New International Version).  We know what Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

For a split second, these stones on the ground, that I was examining like a geologist or an archeologist, became bread for my soul by the Grace of God. The path became an invitation to a feast amid this time of solitude. These words in Gospel of Matthew is a reminder from Deuteronomy 8:3, “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (ESV). I questioned with gratitude, Can this be? During this, pandemic is my soul being fed in the wilderness of life.

I looked up to the blue sky, and I thanked God for this beautiful natural space where the stones have become food for my soul. I was already on my way back home and I arrived at the spot on the trail where the trees on both sides end and an open-air space with fields lead me home…

As I got to the open field, I realized it got silent, so I took a few steps back where the trees are and stopped, as I heard a symphony of praise, in the middle of my wilderness… There were busy birds, gathering, chattering, and flying from one branch to the other. I did not understand what they said, and I did not see all of them, as the physical presence of the birds was scarce, but it sounded like an army of birds gathering for an evening prayer. It felt like all the birds of the earth had gathered in this little corner and were singing evening chants for the Almighty. (Enjoy this amateur video, it truly does not do justice to the experience of being there with the birds, but I hope it gives you a glimpse of that amazing moment.)

Beloved, this COVID-19 pandemic is truly hitting us hard. The entire world is in turmoil, with the feeling of no way out. Sometimes I wonder if this Sci-Fi movie will end and we will get back to “normal”; whatever that normal was. But I sense that the Universe is forcing our hand to become united more than ever before. I am not sure what the next step is after this storm passes, but I hope and pray that we pay close attention to the blessings we are surrounded by; and when we come out the other side of this isolation, we come out more connected with the Creator and each other more than ever before–remembering that life is not a competition on who is the richest or fittest of all, but how we can pay attention to each other’s needs, feed each other as we are fed and work together to make this world a better place.

Take time to Love God with all your heart, your mind and your soul and Love your neighbour as yourself.

Beloved, Be well, Be patient, Be filled with Peace and remember always – You are NOT alone…

Thanks be to God.


One Little Turn can Make a HUGE Difference – January 22, 2020

It is one of those days, where your mind rushes everywhere but your heart is calm and there is Peace beyond measure. Many reports to be written – the life of a minister in January and February of every year. This year it is not just Annual General Meetings’ reports but also student supervision reports for the beautiful student minister I have been accompanying since March 8, 2019. Since my amazing experience with my supervising minister back in 2009, I have wanted to become a supervising minister myself and in 2016, I had the privilege to be able to take … Read more