May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
A couple of months before Covid arrived in New Brunswick, I started singing with the Saint John Chorale (thank you, Joan and Beth!). Less than two months later, our practices came to an abrupt halt, along with just about everything else. And now, two years later, we have started practicing together again every Monday evening.
Right now, we are getting together just for fun. We don't have any concerts planned until December. We are gathering once a week purely for the joy of singing together.
And it is joyful. Choral singing is different than singing a solo - it doesn't depend on a single voice, but the music emerges from what each voice brings to the group. Sometimes all of the voices are singing the same notes, but at other times we are harmonizing, with the first and second sopranos, first and second altos, tenors, and basses each bringing a different note to the chord, or adding a few extra notes of counterpoint.
And isn't it the same way with the church?
Sometimes we gather together where we are all doing the same thing - for example, Sunday worship, when we join our voices together in the prayers and the songs, and we all listen to the same story from the bible. And yet doing this together brings a richness to the practice that we wouldn't get from singing a hymn alone, because we are doing it together.
Other times in the church, we are doing different things, but all of them together contribute to the overall work of the church. Our choirs and our musicians might be practicing for Sunday, at the same time as our UCW are making sandwiches for a funeral luncheon, at the same time as Church in the World is planning their next outreach activity, at the same time as bible study is gathering to dive deeply into the stories in the bible, at the same time as people are making phone calls and sending cards to check up on their neighbours. And despite the diversity in all of these things that we do, they all fit together and this is the church.
I have a couple of announcements to pass along this week:
Sunday Worship - will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. We are continuing to read stories from the book of Acts - this week we will be reading about a dream that Peter had, telling him that it is OK for him to eat all animals, and not just the ones considered to be ritually clean (Acts 11:1-18). Peter's understanding of God's expansive and inclusive love grew that day - how is our love being stretched?
Study Leave - I am going to be on Study Leave next week from May 16-23, attending (virtually) the Festival of Homiletics, a big annual preaching conference. The past two years, it has been held virtually, but this year it will be hybrid - 1200 people will be in-person in Denver, with several thousand more of us joining virtually. Session has arranged for pulpit supply on the 22nd, and a colleague is available in case of any pastoral emergencies. In case of any pastoral emergencies, you can call Margaret Stackhouse (721-4307) and she will get you in touch with the minister who is covering. (There also won't be a mid-week e-mail message next week.)
Session and Official Board - a reminder of our meeting next Wednesday, May 18, at Summerville. Session will meet at 6:30 followed by the Official Board at 7:30.
Broadview Magazine Discussion - for subscribers, the June issue should have arrived in your mailbox last week, and if you aren't subscribed, you can read many of the articles by clicking here. We will gather on Monday June 6 at 10am in the Westfield Parlour to discuss the June issue.
Bible Study - as we meander our way through the Old Testament, this morning we finished the book of Genesis. With my Study Leave coming up next week (along with some vacation time in June), we have decided to pause here until September. We've left the descendants of Abraham and Sarah in Egypt, brought there by Joseph's ability to interpret dreams (and maybe his ability to both read and manipulate people?) that led him to a position of power in the court of the Pharaoh. When we begin Exodus in September, we'll see what happened when there was a new Pharaoh in Egypt - one who didn't know Joseph.
Westfield Yard and Bake Sale - our UCW is planning a spring yard and bake sale on Saturday May 28 from 9-12. This will be held in the parking lot (here's hoping for good weather that day). Donations for the yard sale can be left in the church basement; and mark your calendars to swing by the parking lot that morning to see what treasures you might happen upon.
Long Reach Cemetery Clean-Up - thank you to everyone who showed up last Friday afternoon to help tidy up the cemetery. The lawns are raked, all of the gravel is (hopefully) moved back onto the driveway, the garbage is picked up - all done before the blackflies emerged for the year!
Sandwiches for Romero House - a huge thank you to everyone who made sandwiches last week. In case you missed the announcement on Sunday, between our churches, we made 735 sandwiches (up from 587 last fall). I'm told that Bette barely had room in her car for herself when she delivered them to town (but despite that, I've also heard a rumour that she might set a goal of 1000 sandwiches from us for next time... she might need to borrow a larger vehicle if that's the case!)! Every Friday, the staff at Romero house make 1500 sandwiches to feed people over the weekend, so each sandwich we make for them is one less sandwich that they have to make.
And I think that is it for announcements this week.
As a closing thought, reading about the dream that Peter has in the book of Acts has me thinking about a different (unrelated) Peter's Dream. You can click here to listen to the song by Lennie Gallant - not because it has anything to do with what we're going to be talking about on Sunday, but because it is an awesome song.
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."