May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
And happy new year to you all! And Happy 10th Day of Christmas! (No, I'm not attaching "ten lords a'leaping" to this e-mail!) It has been a couple of weeks since my last mid-week message, and I hope that you are all having a peaceful and joy-filled celebration of the birth of Jesus.
I had a very good Christmas - all of our various worship services here at Two Rivers were full of hope and joy, and then I had a good week's vacation to rest and visit my family in Ontario. I also want to say a huge thank-you to our worship leaders at both Summerville and Westfield who stepped up to lead the service on Sunday. From the feedback I've heard, both services went very well. We are so blessed to have such good leadership in all three of our congregations.
We are nearing the end of the season of Christmas - Friday will be the 12th day of Christmas, and Saturday (January 6) is the feast of Epiphany, the day when we remember the magi who followed a star to Bethlehem and offered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus.
This story intrigues me every year, especially with regards to the star. If it really was as big as it is depicted in Christmas cards, then surely everyone would have been flocking to Bethlehem to see what it was all about. But only the magi noticed it. I don't know about you, but if a new star were to appear in the sky tonight, I probably wouldn't notice it either, but the magi studied the stars so carefully that when a new one appeared, they took note. And they trusted the star, so they followed it.
The magi did the preparation work, and when God spoke to them through a star, they answered. God speaks to us in so many ways - since I haven't studied the stars, a new star in the night sky probably isn't the best way for God to speak to me, but God has other ways of speaking to me instead.
One of our traditions here at Two Rivers is to distribute "star words" each year on the Sunday that we celebrate Epiphany, so I will have my basket of stars with me on Sunday at both services. Each star has a word printed on it (and I encourage you to pull your star out of the basket without looking!). This is a word for you to reflect on, to meditate on, to ask what God might be telling you through your word, or to ask where God might be leading you through your word.
And so I wish you a joyful remaining days of Christmas, and an introspective or reflective celebration of Epiphany on the weekend.
In terms of announcements this week:
Worship on Sunday will be our Epiphany worship. We'll read the story of the star and the magi (Matthew 2:1-12) and distribute our annual star words. Our services will be 9:15 at Long Reach and 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live.
Bible Study resumed today after our Christmas break. We are meandering our way through the Old Testament and are currently in Judges. Everyone is always welcome to join us on Wednesdays at 10am in the parlour at Westfield - no previous bible study experience is necessary. If your new year's resolutions include digging deeper into the stories of the bible, or you just want to hang out and have meaningful (and interesting) conversations once a week, you are very welcome to join us!
Broadview Magazine Discussion - our next gathering will be on Monday January 8 at 10am in the Westfield Parlour. We'll be discussing the January/February issue this time - even if you aren't a subscriber, you can still read some of the articles on their website by clicking here.
Westfield Board of Stewards - it has been a while since our last meeting, so this is a reminder that we will be meeting on Tuesday January 9 at 7pm for a 2024 budgeting meeting!
Annual Report - Yes, it's that time of year again! This is a reminder to all committee chairs, and anyone else responsible for preparing part of the annual report that you need to have it to Elaine no later than January 15 (firm deadline). You can e-mail it to her in the office at firstname.lastname@example.org (.docx files preferred over .pdf so that she can edit all of the individual reports into one big report), or drop off a printed report at the church office.
Coffee House - our next Coffee House is coming up next week, Tuesday January 9, at 7pm in the sanctuary at Westfield United Church. Coffee and Tea will be made, along with goodies. This is an open-mic opportunity for all ages! (A basket will be out for a free-will offering - we suggest $5 to help us cover our costs for this event.)
Musician Needed - after many years of sharing his musical talents with us, Peter Boyce (Bayswater-Summerville United Church) is moving to Fredericton. Thank you, Peter, for all of the ways that you have enriched our worship services over the years! If anyone (especially, but not limited to Peninsula people) knows of any musicians who might be interested in playing for a worship service every second week, can you please invite them to get in touch with me, or with any of the congregation members at Bayswater-Summerville?
And I think that's it for announcements this week! (A somewhat shorter list than it was back in December.)
For a closing thought, because New Year's Eve was just a couple of days ago, and because Auld Lang Syne is a song traditionally associated with that day, you can hear my favourite version of that song 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)
"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."