May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
I was just commenting to someone yesterday about how quickly the summer has slipped away. Today is the last day of August, this weekend is Labour Day, and school begins next week for most students (though I know that teachers are back this week getting ready for the upcoming year).
But I think that September and early October might be my favourite months of the year - I think of days with clear darker blue skies once the summer humidity breaks, leaves changing to brilliant crimson and orange, cooler nights that make it easier to sleep.
I've been busy the past couple of weeks, gearing up for the new church year (because it really does feel like the new year begins after Labour Day rather than Advent which is the actual start of the new year, or January 1). I've been reaching out to groups and committees that have been less active over the summer (and some that have been less active throughout Covid). Ken and I have been consulting about which Sunday School curriculum we want to use this year. Bertis and I have met to plan out worship through to the end of November.
The Holy Spirit never stops working in our church - she has been dancing with us all summer as we have continued to live our lives of faith - but at the same time the summer has felt like sabbath time. Time to rest. Time to simply BE with God.
And now it is time to discern where she might be leading us in the season ahead. What dreams to you have for our church (either your congregation or for Two Rivers as a whole)? How might we be able to live God's love in new ways and with new people? How might we be able to participate in God's work of transforming hope into reality?
As it is the end of August, the number of announcements is likely to increase over the next few weeks. Here are some of the things that are up-and-coming around our churches:
This Sunday, September 4, is the last in our summer series exploring the theology of our favourite hymns - this week will be "Creator God, You Gave Us Life" (More Voices 27). My challenge to myself this week is to explore this hymn without picking it to pieces and ruining the poetry of it! What does this hymn tell us about God and about our relationship with God? Worship will be at 9:15 at Long Reach (outside, weather permitting) and at 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live.
Tonight (Wednesday) is the last of our summer movies. We'll be watching Encanto, the newest Disney animated musical (the music was written by Lin Manuel Miranda, the composer behind the musical Hamilton, and it is fabulous!). The movie starts at 7pm in the Westfield parlour.
Sunday September 11 will be our annual church picnic at the Sherwood's cottage (100 Admiral Lane, Long Reach). If you want a poster to share with your friends or on social media, you can click here to download one. Our worship by the river will include a baptism this year, as well as communion; there will be a fun fair with games and activities for the children; and as always, the service will be followed by "the best potluck of the year"! (Though as we did last year, the potluck will be set up outside so that we all don't have to crowd into the cottage at the same time to serve ourselves; and everyone's hands will be squirted with hand sanitizer before you touch the serving utensils.)
Our Broadview discussions will resume on Monday September 12 at 10am in the Westfield parlour. We will be discussing the September issue this time (if you are a subscriber, hold on to your July/August issue as we will be discussing it one of the months without its own issue). Even if you aren't a subscriber to Broadview Magazine, you can read many of the articles in this issue by clicking here - this issue has an Indigenous focus. Everyone is welcome at these discussion groups!
Weekly Bible Study is going to resume in September as well, beginning on Wednesday September 14 at 10am in the Westfield Parlour. Last January we started meandering our way through the Old Testament, getting a sense of the overall story arc as well as wrestling with some of the challenging stories we encountered along the way. In the spring, we finished Genesis, with the ancient Israelite people in Egypt because Joseph found favour with the Pharaoh in a time of famine. We will pick up the story there in Egypt with Exodus. (Each week is relatively self-contained and doesn't depend on what we talked about the previous week. No prior bible study experience is necessary; and everyone is welcome!)
Bowling Fundraiser - the Sunrise Playpark (Church of the Resurrection in Grand Bay) is doing a bowling fundraiser on September 24 and I agreed to put together a Two Rivers team in support of them. We had our team of 6, but unfortunately one of our members has had to drop out due to circumstances beyond their control. So... I am looking for one more bowler! No experience or expertise is required - last time they did this fundraiser (3 years ago), our team almost won the lowest score prize! Each team member agrees to raise $100 (or more) for the playpark (tax receipts are issued for these donations), and then chips in $20 to cover the cost of the bowling and food. If you would like to be our 6th bowler, please let me know ASAP - we are going to have a blast!
And that's it for announcements this week. As a closing thought this week, I know that I've shared Kate Bowler's writings here before, and this blessing really resonated with me this week - "A Blessing for Everyday Empathy (because, hey, sensitivity isn't a bad thing)." (You can read the blessing by clicking on the title.)
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." (Matthew 22:36-39)