May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
I met with a group of colleagues this afternoon, and one topic of conversation that came up was hope. Shout-out to Rev. Elizabeth if she is reading this e-mail - she asked our group "What does hope look like in the church today?" (The theme of the upcoming Annual Meeting of our Region - the body that replaced Maritime Conference when the United Church restructured in 2019 - is "Looking Forward With Hope." Rev. Elizabeth will be installed as our Region's president at the closing worship of the annual meeting of May 28, and she wanted to get a sense from her local colleagues about what hope means to us.)
Our conversation circled around, but one interesting theme that came out of our discussion had to do with death - we are an Easter people, after all, and we can't get to resurrection and hope without moving through death first. Sometimes hope looks like death at first - sometimes we have to let go of some things in order to let something even better resurrect in its place. (Or, as Rev. John Pentland from Calgary phrases it, "Don't fight the resurrection!") And sometimes hope looks like throwing all of our resources at something - all of our spiritual, mental, emotional, physical resources - knowing that it may not succeed (in which case we might be called to walk the way of death), but if it does succeed, then something beyond imagining might emerge.
These conversations tied in to conversations I am having with another group of colleagues (the Under-50 Clergy in the Maritimes). We are reading a discussing a book together - Imaginable by Jane McGonigal. In this book, she encourages the reader to stretch their imagination to imagine a future 10 years in the future. (The point of 10 years is that it is far enough in the future that the world is likely to be very different by then, yet it isn't so far away that we can't picture what 2033 might be like. 10 years also removes the pressure of time - we don't have the pressure that a 6-month or 3-year timeline might give us.) She presents different scenarios for this 10-years-from-now future and encourages the reader to imagine that world, then go through a series of exercises to imagine how we would react. For when we can imagine something, it becomes not-impossible. And then we can take steps in the right-now to bring the imaginable future that we want into being.
We have been through so many "unprecedented" and "unimaginable" situations as a society in the past 3 1/2 years; but what if the future is imaginable?
And so I invite you to imagine Two Rivers Pastoral Charge 10 years from now. What sort of church do we want to be? The world and the church are likely going to be very different, but what sort of future church do we want to be? And what steps can we take now to bring this imaginable future-church into being?
I know that I talk about hope a lot in these e-mails - this is where this week's ponderings about hope have taken me!
In terms of announcements:
Worship on Sunday will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. This will be a communion service at both churches - if you are joining us on FB live, I encourage you to have your communion elements prepared ahead of time so that you can join the feast from wherever you find yourself. Our scripture reading this week picks up where last week ended up - we are still in Jesus's Farewell Discourse for his disciples, but now he introduces the Holy Spirit - this is how we will be able to abide in God. (John 14:15-21)
Bible Study - I'm not available next Wednesday, so we will resume on Wednesday May 24, and this will be our last gathering before our summer break. Everyone is welcome to join us in the parlour at Westfield United, and then for lunch at Pizza Delight afterwards!
"What the Heck are Pronouns?!" - Quispamsis United Church is hosting a workshop on Monday May 29 from 7-9pm about pronouns, and they are inviting other churches to join them. As we grow in our understanding of what it means to be transgender or non-binary or gender fluid, an understanding about how to respect people by talking about them using their correct pronouns is becoming more important. This workshop will both explain how pronouns work and give us opportunities to practice using people's correct pronouns.
Meeting Reminders - we have a handful of meetings coming up next week: Tuesday May 16 - Westfield Board of Stewards - 7pm at Westfield Wednesday May 17 - TRPC Session - 6:30pm at Summerville Wednesday May 17 - TRPC Offical Board - 7:30 at Summerville
Ida's Memorial Trail Walk - Saturday May 27 at 10am at Sea Dog Cove Nature Preserve (33 Summerville Road). This is a fundraiser for Bayswater-Summerville United Church in memory of Ida MacPherson - donations will be collected the day of the walk, and tax receipts will be issued for any donations of $20 or more. Dave MacPherson also encourages you to bring your clippers to help do a bit of trail maintenance along the way! Both the Saint John Naturalists and her church were important to Ida, and this is one way that the church is honouring her memory. For more information, you can click here.
Jon McLurg Concert, with special guests Bob Johnston and Allison Inch - this is coming up this Sunday, May 14, at 7pm at Westfield United Church, hosted by the UCW. Admission by freewill offering.
Rock Around the Clock - tickets are selling fast for the Westfield United Church Choir Concert on June 11, and we expect to be sold out ahead of the concert. Tickets can be purchased through Eventbrite by clicking here; and you can see the poster by clicking here.
Westfield United Church (brief) Congregational Meeting - as I announced last Sunday, there will be a very brief congregational meeting immediately following worship on Sunday May 21 to receive and vote on the nomination of Donnie Michaelsen as our new treasurer. Donnie has already taken over the books from Margaret, and we also extend a huge thank you to Margaret Stackhouse for jumping into the deep end last November as our interim treasurer.
And I think that's it for announcements this week.
As a closing thought, let me share the books that I'm reading at the moment:
Imaginable (Jane McGonigal)
Care Of (Ivan Coyote)
Farewell to the East End (Jennifer Worth)
Run Towards the Danger (Sarah Polley)
(And I've just realized that all 4 books I'm reading at the moment are non-fiction. This is unusual for me!) What about you? Are you reading any interesting books these days?
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."