May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
At our 1pm check-in over the last week, we have been reading the book of Ruth - a story that reads almost like a novella in 4 chapters from the Old Testament. And one of the things that we noticed as we read this story is how much kindness and love there is between Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi, and between Boaz and the two widows. The whole book made me think of Micah 6:8 - "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
I don't know about you, but I have been noticing increased anxiety in our world and in our communities over the past few weeks. So many people seem to be on edge - which is understandable given that our Covid-world has been shifting once again with schools re-opening and increasing case numbers in provinces to the west of us. I would encourage you to take heart from the story of Ruth, and from the verse from Micah, and remember to practice kindness - kindness towards others who are struggling with anxieties, as well as kindness towards yourself if you are struggling. Nothing could have prepared us for how to live through a pandemic, and so being kind to yourself and being kind to others around you is the only way that we will be able to get through this together.
On the topic of the world shifting, this is the week when we are going to be shifting our worship services from online only to a hybrid in-person / online format. And so beginning this week, there will be 3 ways that you can worship with us:
9:15 am, in-person at Summerville or Long Reach (this week will be at Summerville)
11:15 am, in-person at Westfield
11:15 am, livestreamed on the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge page
If you are planning to be a part of one of our in-person congregations, please remember:
Bring you mask with you and wear it throughout the service
If at all possible, please try to arrive at the church at the same time as your "bubble" to make it easier for our greeters to seat you together (maybe arrange to meet in the parking lot if you are arriving in separate vehicles)
There will be no singing, except by a physically distanced small group at Westfield - you are, however, welcome to hum quietly with your mask on. Maybe we should change the wording in our bulletin from "Opening Hymn" to "Opening Hum"...
Our greeters will be asking for your name and a phone number/email address in case Public Health needs to do contact tracing - this list will be kept in a locked drawer for 3 weeks and then shredded.
All of that being said, I am very much looking forward to seeing some of your faces on Sunday! It is so much more inspiring to preach to embodied people than it is preaching to a camera lens.
I have a couple of other announcements to pass along this week:
Blessing of the Animals Service - Saturday October 3 at 10am at Westfield United Church. This will be an outdoor service, so dress for the weather! All animals (human or otherwise) are welcome.
Next Tuesday will be our Session (6:30pm) and Official Board (7:30pm) meetings at Long Reach United Church. Please bring a mask if you are attending these meetings.
Bible Study will be resuming next Wednesday (Sept. 30) at 10am at Westfield United (space to be determined by the number of people who show up). BYOB (Bring Your Own Bible), and we will learn from each other as we meander our way through Mark's gospel.
And I think that's it for today.
Blessings to you and yours, today and always!