May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
How many of you are gardeners? I'm sure that those of you who like to have your hands in the dirt are happily covered in scratches and blackfly bites, with dirt under your fingernails these days! Despite the frost advisory in the province for tonight, the world seems to be turning more and more green by the day. (I started my cucumber seeds inside, and now I'm hardening them off getting them ready to be planted in the garden - I'm glad that I will be able to bring them inside tonight!)
There is a line in A New Creed of the United Church of Canada that says "We believe in God who has created and is creating." God didn't just create the universe in the beginning and then sat back to watch creation unfold (like a watchmaker would wind up a watch and then sit back and watch it tick away). No - instead God is involved in the ongoing unfolding of creation, creating and re-creating. When I look at a seed - I still have some of our sunflower seeds from Lent on my desk in front of me - when I look at that dish of sunflower seeds, I know that there is nothing that I can do that can transform those seeds into sunflowers. But I can be a co-creator with God - I can place those seeds in some dirt (like we did on Palm Sunday), make sure that they have water, and then watch in awe as those seeds split open and a tender stem unfurls and lengthens. (And for anyone who is wondering, today Joanne Yorke took those seedlings that we planted just before Easter and she transplanted them into the gardens at Westfield United.)
The very opening of the bible (depending on which translation you are reading from - I have the Common English Bible translation in front of me) reads: "When God began to create the heavens and the earth..." (Genesis 1:1). Creation is not a closed book, and at this time of year, we are invited to wonder at the mystery of it all.
I do have a bunch of announcements this week, so I will try not to be too wordy!
Worship on Sunday - 9:15 at Summerville and 11:15 at Westfield (and on Facebook Live). We are going to have a party this week! It is Pentecost, when we celebrate the power of the Holy Spirit. We will be celebrating communion at both services. At Westfield, we will be welcoming three new members to our congregation; and the UCW will be providing cupcakes after the service! (I'm hoping for good weather on Sunday so that we can have our cupcakes outside and visit with one another; but the back-up plan is St. Giles hall in the basement.) If you are joining us on the livestream and don't live too far away from the church, you are very welcome to hop in your car after the service to join us for cupcakes!
Anniversary Party for Treva and Mike Fudge. The party on Sunday continues! On Sunday Treva and Mike (Long Reach United Church) will be celebrating their 40th anniversary, and they asked me to let you know that you are all welcome to stop by to offer them your best wishes on Sunday afternoon between 2 and 4 pm (3434 NB-845).
Church in the World Book Discussion - Sunday continues to be a busy day, with our discussion of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Barbara Kingsolver) at 7pm in the River Room at Long Reach United Church.
Broadview Discussion - we will gather on Monday at 10am in the Parlour at Westfield United Church to discuss the June issue of Broadview Magazine. Even if you don't subscribe, you can still read many of the articles by clicking here.
Saint John Theatre Company - those of us who were able to see Annie last week (either with our church group or on your own) know that it was a fabulous production - bravo to Bertis and the rest of the cast! In June, the SJTC will be doing a production of a play called The Normal Heart, and the cast includes two more of our Two Rivers Pastoral Charge actors - Peter Boyce (Bayswater-Summerville) and Ben Guerts (Westfield). Unfortunately I am going to be out of town that week, otherwise I would be organizing another church field trip (I'm really disappointed that I'm not going to be able to see it), but Mary Kennedy-Fulton has said that if anyone would like to see the show (it is running June 22-25), give her a call at 639-3654 and you can coordinate tickets. You can read more about the play by clicking here.
Prayer Garden - we had a small group begin tidying up the Prayer Garden at Westfield United this morning. If you are interested in doing a bit of gardening at the church this summer (it doesn't have to be a big commitment, especially if we get lots of volunteers), get in touch with Joanne at 757-8080 and she will put together a roster of gardeners for the summer to keep it looking tidy.
Strawberry Non-Social - Westfield United Church is having their second Strawberry Non-Social (ie a drive-through cold plate dinner including fresh local strawberries) on July 4. Tickets are available at the Grand Bay Home Hardware store, and are $15 for a full portion and $7.50 for a half-portion.
Favourite Hymns - thank you to everyone who has passed along their favourite hymns to me! You have until Sunday to let me know your top 3 so that I can start planning our summer sermon series exploring the theology of the hymns we sing. You can get your choices to me by e-mail, on the pinned Facebook post on our page, or by filling in the insert in Sunday's bulletin and leaving it in the basket at the back of the church. I can't promise to get to all of them (there aren't enough Sundays in July and August!), but at least this way we'll be exploring your favourite hymns and not just my favourite hymns!
And I think that might be it for this week. I did warn you that I had a lot of announcements this week - we are a busy church these days!
For a closing thought, I'm bringing you another episode in "What's on Rev. Kate's Playlist?" I've been listening to U2 in my car driving around this week, and I love their song "Window in the Skies" - oh, can't you see what love has done, what it's doing to me? You can listen to it by clicking here (and if you click on the video description, you will find the powerful lyrics they are singing).
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."