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Mid-Week Message - August 2

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!

This morning I was reading the weekly newsletter that I receive from Nadia Bolz-Weber (if you haven't heard of her, she is a Lutheran pastor who tends to live her life "against the grain", and she posed an interesting question. The issue is titled "Ziggy Stardust and the Future of the Church" and she references the song from David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust album, "Five Years." The song tells the story of an alien coming to earth and telling humanity that we've got 5 years. That's it. Nothing that we do can change that fact.

Bolz-Weber then twists the story around and asks: what if an alien came to the church and told us that the church has got 5 years? That's it. Nothing that we do or don't do can change that fact. How would we, as the church, live those last 5 years as the church?

She writes that, from her experience of the church, all committee meetings would be cancelled. We would stop trying to maintain or repair aging buildings, and instead focus our time and our energy on having lunch together on a Tuesday and celebrating communion at every meal. We would sing together more, laugh together more, cry together more. We would sell everything that we have and give it all to the poor. (Even as I write this, I find tears prickling in the backs of my eyes at the love and the joy pouring out of the vision she is writing about.)

She writes of the freedom that the church might experience if we were freed from everything holding us back. And she writes that, ironically, a church living as though it had nothing left to lose would likely be a place that was strongly attractive to people outside of the church.

What about you? If you knew that the church (not just our churches, but Christ's universal church) only had 5 years left, how would you want to spend those 5 years? And what is keeping us, as the church (with hopefully a lot more than 5 years of life left in us) from living that way right now? (I would truly love to hear your thoughts on these questions!)

I also encourage you to read Bolz-Weber's full piece. The beauty of her vision brought tears to my eyes when I first read it this morning over breakfast, and again as I re-read in order to write this. You can find it by clicking here - there is also a link that you can click to subscribe and receive her writings directly to your inbox.

In terms of announcements this week:

  • Worship on Sunday will be at Long Reach a 9:15 and Westfield and Facebook Live at 11:15. Continuing our exploration of stories of women in the bible, this week we will be reading the story of Hagar, slave of Sarah and Abraham and mother of Ishmael. She was horribly abused by them, but she is also the first person in the bible to name God. If you want to read her story ahead of time, you can find it in Genesis 16 and Genesis 21 (We'll just be reading chapter 16 on Sunday.)

  • Our Tuesday night movies are continuing each week through to the end of August - next week (August 8) we will be watching "Tick, Tick... Boom!" This is a 2021 musical biography of Jonathan Larson, the composer of the musical "Rent," and his struggle to make it as an artist in New York City. You can read more about it here. 7pm in the parlour at Westfield United Church - everyone is welcome, and the popcorn will be popped!

  • Over the summer, Ken (Youth and Young Families Ministry Coordinator) and I have been brainstorming ideas for inter-generational events and activities in the church - things that might bring together people of all ages (and if you have more ideas, please send them our way!). Our first idea is Dungeons and Dragons. If you aren't familiar with D&D, it is a fantasy role-playing game that involves collective storytelling. Each player creates a character that they play as, and together the group moves through a "campaign" that is guided by the "Dungeon Master" (or DM). Ken has played D&D since he was in middle school and is now a DM; and he would like to start a campaign (or two, if there is enough interest) within the church. If you have always wanted to try D&D, or if any of the words in this paragraph sound interesting to you, this is the campaign for you to try! It is going to be a beginners/learners group, so Ken will guide us through on the assumption that none of us know anything about how to play, and the campaign will be appropriate for anyone age middle school and up. If you would like to join this campaign, or would like more information, you can reach out to ken at

  • I know that this falls under the category of long-term planning, but Elaine likes to take some time in the summer when things are quieter around the church to get ready for Advent and Christmas, and one of her current projects is updating the mailing lists so that we can send out the Christmas letter in late November! If you have moved in the past year (or if you think that the church might have the wrong mailing address or phone number for you), can you please send it along to her at so that she can keep the list updated? Thank you!

  • We have two weddings on Saturday afternoon in the pastoral charge - one at Westfield and one at Summerville - so if you see extra cars (or hear the bells at Westfield), that is what is going on. And if you would like to hold Andrew and Doug (Westfield) and Lindsay and John (Summerville) in your prayers, I'm sure that it would be much appreciated!

  • I keep forgetting to announce it on Sundays, but the Reader/Greeter lists for July-December have been available at the back of each church for several weeks now. If you haven't already picked up your copy, please do next time you are at the church so that you aren't surprised when it's your turn. (Also a reminder - if you aren't able to read/greet on your scheduled week, please try to find a replacement or trade weeks with someone else. If you are stuck, you can get in touch with the church office, but please do so before the Thursday before because neither Elaine nor I are in the office on Fridays.)

  • And finally, a thank you to everyone who helped in any way with Wilf Dean's funeral last Thursday afternoon (Westfield), and with Faye Holder's funeral on Sunday afternoon (Long Reach).

And I think that's it for announcements this week. Next week, I will include more details for anyone who wants to walk with Two Rivers Pastoral Charge and the other Affirming churches in our area, but for now, just keep it on your calendar - Saturday August 12 at 1pm, parade mustering beginning at 12pm!

For a closing thought this week... A couple of weeks ago in my mid-week message I wrote about artificial intelligence and an AI Jesus Bot I had stumbled across. One of the things that I noted was that Artificial Intelligence programs, when they don't know the answer to something (or an answer doesn't exist), they will just make something up. I've seen a post floating around Facebook this week where someone used this feature of AI as a force for goodness and love when they asked Chat CPT to write a bible passage about Jesus accepting trans people. We can be pretty certain that Jesus did not say this (the concept of being transgender wasn't part of the worldview of the time, place, and culture where he lived), yet Chat GPT has taken the ideas that Jesus teaches in the bible and has applied them to a new situation. If you want to read the beautiful, (intentionally) fake bible passage, you can click here (though a trigger warning for some transphobia in the comments section, so you might want to avoid the comments).

Blessings to you and yours, today and always!


Rev. Kate Jones Two Rivers Pastoral Charge (506) 757-2201 (office) (506) 343-1307 (mobile) 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."

(Matthew 22:36-39)

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