May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
I don't know about you, but I've been watching the daily Covid report from the government really closely these days. As a province we are racing towards 75% double-vaccination, at which point the state of emergency that has been in place for 16 months will end (as long as case numbers and hospitalizations stay low) and the mandatory restrictions will be lifted.
How do you feel about this? I know that some people can't wait to go out and start hugging everyone they meet, while others are anxious about the lifting of restrictions. We are going to be mailing out a letter this week with information about how the church is going to be handling the move to "green" (short answer: while physical distancing and masks won't be required, you are still welcome to wear your mask if it makes you more comfortable, and there will be a section of each of our churches designated as "Physical Distancing Zones" for as long as they are needed) - you can watch for this letter in your mailboxes some time next week.
What I encourage you to do in these days leading up to "green" is to consider what your personal comfort level is with physical space and physical touch. And then consider how that is going to relate to other people's comfort level. If you are not comfortable being close to people yet, you may need to communicate that to others. And if you can't wait to start hugging, make sure that the person you are about to hug is OK with that physical contact before you reach out.
For me personally, I am going to be comfortable with hugs and handshakes, but you will probably still see me wearing my mask at times, especially when I am around large groups (e.g. greeting everyone after the service) - this is because I know that my mask will make some people more comfortable being around me.
Before Covid, I used to ask the younger members of the congregation if they wanted a hug, handshake, high-five, or wave (because knowing your own boundaries with your body and being able to express them is a good thing); and you are probably going to hear me asking people of all ages this question once we move to green. Any answer to that question is the right answer, if it is the answer that you are comfortable with.
For the past 16 months, loving our neighbours has involved all of us keeping physically distanced from one another and wearing our masks. Once we move to "green," loving our neighbours is going to include being aware of and respecting each other's comfort level with physical space and touch.
I only have a couple of announcements to pass along this week:
This weeks Church Family Movie is going to be Disney/Pixar's "Soul" - we will be in the Westfield parlour at 7pm this evening (Wednesday) to watch this together.
This upcoming Sunday is the Bayswater-Summerville Flower Service at 11pm in the cemetery, rain or shine (please join me in praying that the current 44% risk of precipitation turns out to be no rain rather than rain in the morning!). The Westfield Service (with livestreaming) will be at 11:15 as per usual, with Kathy Roy leading the service.
A huge thank-you to everyone who helped with the Strawberry Non-Social last Thursday - to our organizers (Judy, Dave, Linda, Paula, Claude, Roxanne, Julius), to all of our volunteers, and to everyone who bought a ticket. The fundraiser was a success in every way; and after expenses, the UCW raised $2976 in support of our church.
There is going to be a Ukulele Church Camp happening next week on Zoom - this is being organized and led by Catherine Stuart (the Minister for Children, Youth, and Young Adults in our United Church eastern Regions) and Linnea Good (whose name you might recognize from several hymns in Voices United and More Voices, or from a concert at Westfield United a couple of summers ago). I asked Catherine what age group she was targeting, and her response was "all ages with a focus on kid energy, but there are some teens and adults joining us too." There is no cost for this, no ukulele experience is necessary, and you can view the poster by clicking here, or register by clicking here.
And I think that may be all for today! I hope that this summer is bringing you some Sabbath time - time to be with your family, time to be in creation, time to be with God, time to simply be.
And may God continue to bless you and everyone you love, 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."