May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
I suspect that many of you, like me, were watching the US inauguration today - I managed to catch most of it as I ate my lunch, before going on Facebook Live for our daily check-in just before 1pm. My prayer today for our neighbours to the south is that peace might prevail, and that all of the hopes that so many people are carrying (hopes for peace, hopes for fairness, hopes for healing, hopes for the welcoming of diversity) will come to pass and be realized.
Closer to home, the Saint John Zone moved to the "red" phase of Covid at midnight. While there are some changes around the community with restaurants, gyms, and salons, there aren't too many changes around Two Rivers Pastoral Charge.
Worship will still be online only (11:15 Sunday morning on the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook Page).
All meetings and Bible Study will still be virtual only (Webex).
I will not be keeping my office hours until we can move back to orange or yellow - I will be working from my home office instead. I am always available by phone call, text message, e-mail, Messenger etc. so please don't hesitate to reach out.
The church office is not open, but Elaine will continue to monitor the church mailbox, e-mail, and voicemail.
It is unlikely that we will be back to "yellow" by our scheduled Congregational Annual Meeting dates (Feb. 7 and 14) - we will keep you informed about how and when these meetings will take place once those decisions have been made.
I do encourage you to continue to monitor your own well-being as this season of Covid-tide drags on. Remember to move your body every day. Remember to drink your water. Remember to limit your media consumption if you need to limit your media consumption. Remember that fresh air (even the cold winter air that is with us this week) is good. Remember to reach out to your friends and neighbours since connection and community is what sustains us.
In terms of things going on in our pastoral charge, this week we have:
Worship on Sunday will be livestreamed from Westfield - we will be reading another story about Jesus calling his disciples, but this week from the gospel of Mark (Mark 1:14-20). Jesus calls his disciples to leave their nets behind to fish for people instead. Do you like fishing? Personally I'm not much of a fan (even though I have a couple of good fishing stories I could share). Do you think that this story would be heard differently by someone who fishes as compared with someone who doesn't?
Sunday's service will also be a communion service - I invite you to have your own elements prepared at home (bread or cracker; juice or water or tea), so that we can eat and drink together.
Daily check-ins are continuing, Monday-Thursday at 1pm on Facebook Live. We've had some great conversations in the past couple of weeks as we've been reading our way through Luke.
Bible Study is happening on Webex each Wednesday morning at 10am - it is easy to connect, either on your computer/tablet/cell phone or by regular telephone. If you would like to join us, let me know and I can pass along the connection details.
And a couple of other announcements related to our Pastoral Charge:
Don't forget that you can continue to make your offerings so that the work of our churches can continue by contacting our treasurers - Sandra Lattimore (Bayswater-Summerville), Beth Quigley (Long Reach), and Phil Jones (Westfield). Because we are not in the office regularly in the red phase, if you are going to be leaving anything in the black mailbox, please let Elaine or me know, so that we can make sure that it is collected promptly.
Our Nominations Committee has been hard at work filling the slate of nominations for the year ahead. Some of the committees that are looking for members include Church in the World, Westfield Stewards (especially if anyone has an interest or skills in accounting and/or bookkeeping), and an additional Long Reach Session member. If you have any interest in any of these committees, or would like more information, please get in touch with me, or with the chair of the appropriate committee.
Following the success of the Advent Boxes, Gaby is planning to shift our Sunday School from YouTube to monthly boxes with Sunday School Activities. She has a list of families who received the Advent boxes, but if you would like a Sunday School Box (for your children, grandchildren, or other children in your life), please contact Gaby at firstname.lastname@example.org
And I think that's all for today. Let me end with some of the words that poet Amanda Gorman recited at the inauguration today:
"When day comes we step out of the shade,
aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we're brave enough to free it.
If only we're brave enough to be it."
The light of Christ is always with us - let us be brave enough to reflect this light into all of the places of shadows in the world!
Blessings to you and yours, today and always.
Rev. Kate Jones Two Rivers Pastoral Charge (506) 757-2201 (office) (506) 343-1307 (mobile) www.tworiverspastoralcharge.com Pronouns: she/her/hers "Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus replied, "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: "You must love your neighbour as you love yourself."