May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Two Sundays ago, our Minute for Mission was about PIE Day (you can click here to read it if you missed it that week or want a refresher) - for math geeks like myself, March 14 (3/14) is pi day; the world has adopted March 14 as pie day (an excuse to eat baked goods); and for Affirming churches, we have borrowed that day to celebrate PIE Day - a day when we can be Public, Intentional, and Explicit about our welcome and affirmation of all people, including people of all genders, gender identities, and sexual orientations. (You can click here to go to the national PIE Day website for more resources.)
Here at Two Rivers, we have celebrated PIE day for the past 2 years - in 2021 we did a Facebook livestream where different people from the pastoral charge shared why it is important to them that our churches are Affirming, then last year we encouraged social media posts from members of our churches, sharing again why it is important to be Affirming.
We believe that all people are fully and beautifully created in the image of God (and when we say "fully" created, this includes our gender identity and our sexual orientation as part of our full selves). We believe that marriage (no matter the gender of the two people being married) is a celebration of love, and that all love is a reflection of God. We believe that the diversity of humans reveals to us the expansiveness and beauty of God. There is so much that I can learn about God from people who are different than me - from people who speak a different language, from people who pray differently, from people of a different gender, from people who love differently, from people of differing abilities, from people of different ages.
And it is so important that we are public, intentional, and explicit (PIE) about this, because in the global church, this viewpoint continues to be a minority. We need to offer a different story than the "loudest voice in the room" story, because so many people have been and continue to be harmed by churches that don't celebrate diversity in gender identity and sexual orientation.
Which brings us back to PIE Day on March 14. That is still a little less than 2 months away, and I would love to hear your creative ideas about how we can celebrate PIE Day as Two Rivers Pastoral Charge this year. We could stay online as we have the past 2 years, or we could do something in-person. If it involves actual pies, even better! Send me your ideas - the crazier the better - by e-mail, by a phone call, by text, through messenger, or catch me some time when you see me. I'll pass them all along to our Affirming Team to see what they think might work this year.
I don't have too many announcements to pass along this week:
Worship on Sunday will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and at 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live at 11:15. We are going to be looking at Matthew 4:12-23 which is the beginning of Jesus's ministry. We will be exploring that loaded word, "repent" - what does it really mean? What is Jesus calling us to do? Sunday School will be offered during both services!
Bible Study continues on Wednesday mornings, 10am, at Westfield United. Our meanderings through the Old Testament brought us to Leviticus this morning, as always, accompanied by fantastic conversations about what we were reading. Everyone is welcome to join us!
THANK YOU to everyone who submitted their annual reports to Elaine. She started working this week to compile them into the Annual Report. It will be circulated by e-mail once it is ready to go, and some paper copies will be placed in each church for anyone who prefers a paper copy or who doesn't have e-mail.
They are still a month away, but I will give you some dates for our annual meetings so that you can mark them on your calendar: TRPC Annual Meeting - Wed. Feb. 15, 7:30pm (at Westfield) Long Reach UC - Sunday February 19, 9am Westfield UC - Sunday February 19, 11:15am Bayswater-Summerville UC - Sunday February 26, 9am
Broadview Discussion - there is no February issue to discuss, but the group decided to meet anyways. One idea is to watch a short documentary as a group and have a discussion about it afterwards. This will be on Monday February 6 at 10am at Westfield.
And a reminder that we don't keep our worship videos on the Facebook page after Sunday morning, but you can always re-visit the sermon (or read them if you missed worship that week) on my blog - you can visit it by clicking here.
And that is it for announcements today.
As a closing thought, from the "What is Rev. Kate watching these days?" files and in keeping with the theme of my opening reflection, one of the YouTubers that I enjoy watching is jammidodger. He is a young trans man in England whose videos (usually about 10 minutes long) either poke fun at transphobic and homophobic memes, or lift up loving and affirming memes and stories as he encounters them. In one of his recent videos, he had asked people to submit their funny/awkward stories about being transgender - you can watch it by clicking here; or you can browse his library of videos by clicking here. (I especially enjoy his LGBallT videos as they explore the culture and experiences of the wider range of gender identities and sexual orientations - you can watch the first in that series by clicking here.)
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."