May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Last weekend I went to Halifax for a couple of days. (Side note - I can't believe how much the leaves unfolded in the 2 days I was gone!) I had a meeting on Friday (Pine Hill Divinity Hall board of directors - this is the United Church part of AST, the Atlantic School of Theology), and stayed for the AST gala fundraiser on Friday evening and convocation on Saturday morning.
It was a wonderful weekend to celebrate - re-connecting with friends and mentors, and celebrating 40 graduates from various diploma and degree programs. The gala fundraiser, when I was a student at AST, was a fairly formal and stuffy affair. It isn't something that I would choose to attend for fun. But after a 3-year pause due to the pandemic, the organizers decided to re-brand it as "Joy-Fest" in a more relaxed setting with an engaging speaker and live music. It really did live up to its name.
One of the organizers, Jody Clarke (a former professor of mine) talked about the origins of this re-shaped gala, and he said that we need to celebrate more in the church. Joy is one of the things that should define us as the church. He shared a story (one that I've heard him tell before) about doing a workshop with a congregation and telling them about a tradition of the congregation dancing in and out of the church building. He could sense one workshop participant getting more and more anxious and upset, and finally she burst out with, "But we DON'T dance in church!" Jody, ever the peacemaker, agreed with her: "OK, OK, we don't dance in church." But this incident stayed with him, and a couple of months later, back at his own church on Easter morning in the middle of the sunrise service, it came back to him. And he broke away from his prepared script (sometimes a dangerous thing when you're preaching!) to tell the story. But then he concluded with, "But what better place is there to dance than in church?" We are resurrection people - we have so much to celebrate - and I echo his thoughts, what better place is there in the world to dance and to sing and to celebrate than in church?
And so I invite you to ponder - where are you finding joy these days? What are you celebrating? Where are we, as the church, finding joy and celebrating? And how can we (literally or figuratively) dance in church?
In terms of announcements, here are some of the things going on in and around our churches this week:
Worship on Sunday will be at Summerville at 9:15 and at Long Reach at 11:15. We are going to be reading the story of Jesus's Ascension (Acts 1:6-14) - we've taken a leap forward in time from the past couple of weeks when we've been reading from Jesus's Farewell Discourse just before his arrest and crucifixion. Now in the story we are 40 days after Easter and 10 days before Pentecost (the actual feast of the Ascension is tomorrow, May 18 this year). 40 days after his resurrection, Jesus ascends into heaven and tells his disciples to wait in Jerusalem. He tells them that they are going to carry the good news to every corner of the world, but only once they have received the Holy Spirit. (This is starting to sound a bit like last Sunday and Jesus's promise before his death of an Advocate or Helper.)
Thank you to the UCW for hosting a fabulous concert last Sunday night with Jon McLurg, Allison Inch, and Bob Johnston. Those of us in attendance were treated to two hours of musical entertainment.
"Rock Around the Clock" tickets are selling quickly, and there is a ticket giveaway happening on the Two Rivers Facebook page! All you have to do is comment on the post and share it, and your name will be entered into a draw that will happen on Sunday morning during the announcements at Westfield. (We did have a problem with a scammer who impersonated our page the first day of the contest, but that has been taken care of now.) Already have your tickets? If you win the draw, you will have a pair of tickets to give to some of your friends! And if you don't win the draw (or if you don't want to put your trust in chance) you can purchase tickets on Eventbrite by clicking here. (Tickets must be purchased in advance and will not be available at the door.)
Ida's Walk - this fundraising walk is happening on May 27 at Sea Dog Cove Nature Preserve (33 Summerville Rd). Carpooling from Summerville United is encouraged due to limited parking onsite. Income tax receipts will be issued for all donations received that day (and Dave M. invites you to bring your clippers to do some trail maintenance during the walk!). Click here for the full poster and map.
(Very) Brief Congregational Meeting at Westfield immediately following worship on Sunday. This is a single issue meeting to receive and vote the nomination of Donnie Michaelsen as congregational treasurer.
"What the Heck are Pronouns?!" Workshop: Monday May 29th at 7 pm Tori Mullin (they them) will be our guest speaker on educational topic - “What the heck are pronouns!!” Quispamsis United Church 372 Hampton road Quispamsis downstairs in MacDonald Hall 7 - 9 pm. Refreshments provided. Bring friends!
For a closing thought, I've been listening to one of my Leonard Cohen CDs in my car driving around this week, and I want to share one of the songs, "Come Healing." The lines towards the beginning always both comfort me and give me courage:
Behold the gates of mercy in arbitrary space and none of us deserving the cruelty or the grace
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."