May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Yesterday, despite the messy weather, we had a fun PIE Day celebration in front of Westfield United Church! (PIE Day piggybacks on Pi Day, 3.14, a math pun - this is a time for us to be Public, Intentional, and Explicit in affirming that God's love is for everyone.)
Thank you to everyone who donated tarts for the event - having added up the anticipated number of tarts, I was expecting about 200; instead we had 350 tarts dropped off at the church! Yesterday afternoon, we bundled those into paper bags and closed them with stickers that had a rainbow flag and the words "God loves you!" on them. And then at 4:30, just as the wind picked up and the rain started to fall, a dozen of us headed outside in front of the church with signs that said "Free Pie" and cars started pulling over so we could pass them through the windows. We even had a school bus and an ambulance stop for pie! There was lots of laughter and lots of smiles... and we got to tell our community that God's love is for everybody, including you!
By 5:30, the rain had changed to snow and the snow was starting to get heavier, so we decided that it was probably time to head inside - the roads were starting to get slippery and we didn't want to cause any traffic problems (plus we wanted to get home while we still could). Brenda Brooks offered to drop the remaining tarts off at Romero House today - I'm sure that they will enjoy the treats there too!
If you haven't seen pictures from PIE Day yet, they are up on our Facebook Page (you should be able to see them even if you don't have a Facebook account) - you can see the post by clicking here. And if you want to see what other churches have been up to for PIE Day this year, check out Affirming Connections on Facebook - they have been sharing PIE Day events from across the country (including ours).
It is so important for churches to affirm that God's love includes people who are LGBTQ+ because for too long (and still today in too many places) people who are queer have been told by the church that they are "sinful" or "less than." Or a welcome has been extended "despite" of who you are rather than "because" of who you are. Or the welcome has not included ALL of your you-ness.
I think that today, PIE day is more necessary than ever with the recent law in Tennessee banning drag performances, and protests of drag storytimes happening even closer to home in Moncton on the weekend. (I got to attend a drag performance on Monday night in Fredericton, and it was FABULOUS!) It is more important than ever for churches like ours to use our voice to say "No. God's love is expansive and inclusive. It includes all people. It includes all of who you are. All people are beautifully created in the image of God, who, like a prism, includes the rainbow diversity of all people."
So thank you to everyone who helped with and supported PIE Day in any way!
(Our other event - our pie socials after worship last Sunday - were also successful. I'm hoping to be able to share how much we raised for Chroma NB and the Healing Fund next week!)
I also have a couple of announcements to pass along to you this week:
Worship on Sunday will be at Long Reach at 9:15 and Westfield and on Facebook Live at 11:15. We are continuing to read stories of people who encountered Jesus with the story of Lazarus who was raised from the dead by Jesus - John 11:1-45 if you wanted to read ahead! (For the Lent Social Time after church at Westfield, this week the "eats and sweets" will be brought by people with a last name Q-Z.)
On Sunday, the United Church choirs in the west and north areas of Saint John (including Westfield and Long Reach) are getting together for a music afternoon at St. Mark's United Church. Each choir will be offering a song, there is one anthem that all of the choirs are learning that they will sing together, and there will be hymn singing as well. If you would like to be there to listen and to sing, it begins at 3pm at St. Mark's United Church (50 Dexter Drive). You can see the full poster by clicking here.
A reminder that we are organizing a field trip to cheer on Bertis, Peter, and Kelly in 9 to 5 at the Saint John Theatre Company. We will be going on Wednesday May 24 at 7:30pm - tickets are $55 for adults / $45.50 for seniors / $25 for students. Please let me know no later than Sunday if you would like tickets. (And please also let me know if they are for an adult, senior, or student - I don't want to assume!)
A reminder to people involved in committees that we have a couple of meetings coming up next week - Session will meet on Tuesday March 21 at 7pm at Summerville; and the Westfield Stewards will meet on Wednesday March 22 at 6pm at Westfield. Agendas should be coming out from the committee chairs soon!
Our Wednesday evening gatherings for a quiet time of music, meditation, and prayer continue this evening at 7pm in the parlour at Westfield United Church - everyone is welcome.
We are in to Week 3 of Lent Madness - this week you have a chance to vote in the Round of 16! The winners of the previous round have now been paired up, and you have a chance to vote for your favourite stories of people who encountered Jesus. To see the results of the previous round, to see the stories paired up in this round, and to vote, you can go to the church website by clicking here.
Our Church in the World committee has arranged for us to make sandwiches for Romero House on March 24. Every weekend, they give out 1500 sandwiches, so every sandwich that we can make for them saves them from needing to make one. The details: each sandwich goes in a baggie; put the bagged sandwiches back in the bread bag; mark the bag with what kind of sandwich it is; no onions in the egg sandwiches; no mustard or mayo on the meat sandwiches. In order to offer a variety of sandwiches, this time around we will divide them up as: Bayswater-Summerville will make bologna and cheese; Long Reach will make ham and cheese; Westfield will make egg salad. They can be dropped off at Summerville church by 9:30 on March 24; at Anne Titus's by 9:30 on March 24; or at Westfield at 10:30 at the church. Thank you!
And I think that's it for announcements this week - we still have lots going on!
For a closing thought today, at bible study this morning we remembered that today, as well as being the day after Pi(e) Day, is also the Ides of March. So let me share a couple of my favourite Ides of March jokes with you.
And with that, I should probably see myself to the door!
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."