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Mid-Week Message - May 8

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!

It is good to be back! It was very good to be off – to have a couple of months to rest and to reflect – but it is also very good to be back, and I look forward to seeing all of you in the next week or so.

There is one verse that seemed to follow me around through my Sabbatical: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This verse kept popping up in different places and in different contexts, which meant that it also stayed in my heart in the in-between times. It became the springboard for some of my reflecting, and I hope that this verse will continue to follow me moving forward. We are all beloved children of God, and God offers us a space to lay down whatever burdens we might be carrying and to rest.

I’m sure that I will be sharing more of my Sabbatical reflections in the weeks ahead; but if you want to read more, I did post occasional reflections on my blog throughout the past couple of months – you can find them by clicking here.

The primary focus of my sabbatical was rest (physical, mental, and emotional rest), so my sabbatical plan didn’t include a lot of “doing” things on it; but alongside the rest, things did happen!

  • I had to say goodbye to my elderly cat Paka in March. (Those of you who remember our Facebook daily check-ins might remember her – or more specifically her tail! She was the cat who liked to stand on my lap when I was “live” with her tail straight up in the air beside my head.) She was one month shy of her 17th birthday when she told me that it was time, and the vet helped her to fall asleep one final time while she was tucked into her favourite spot right under my chin.

  • My car also reached the tipping point of no longer being financially viable to maintain (and as you all know, I need a reliable car for the driving that I do), so in February I had to go car shopping. You can watch for my new plug-in hybrid Ford Escape, as I travel between our churches using mainly electricity rather than gas! (Side Note – I’m still looking for a name for my new car, and am open to suggestions. I had been considering Houdini – it’s an Escape, after all! – but that name hasn’t stuck yet. My previous car, my Subaru Impreza, was named Prezley, a name suggested by a member of my home church back in Thunder Bay.)

  • I traveled a little bit – I spent a week with my father and stepmother at the end of February making maple syrup with them and recording some of my family’s history; I went skiing on March Break with my youngest sister and her family; and I spent 11 days in England at the end of April, visiting friends, doing the tourist thing, and taking a Rural Ministry course.

  • I was able to do the research for and write the first draft of a paper that I will be presenting at a conference in June.

  • I had the time and space to do things that are fun and that nourish my soul – attending concerts and the theatre, making music, and reading, so much reading! At one point, about a month ago, I realized that I was reading 4 books at the same time, something that I haven’t had the time or mental space to do since I was in high school!

I have missed all of you; but at the same time I want to thank you for honouring my sabbatical boundaries by not trying to reach out to me and by allowing me this time to rest and revitalize. I can tell, looking through my email inbox and Facebook, that things around Two Rivers have continued to be busy – just as I said in my last sermon in January, the church kept on churching!

(One note regarding Facebook – I realized that being off Facebook for 3 months was a very healthy decision for me; and moving forward I am planning to be less active on Facebook than I was before. One implication of this, for those of you who are my “Facebook Friends,” is that I may not see the things that you post there. And since mind reading isn’t a skill that I learned at AST nor is it a skill I developed while on Sabbatical, if there is something that is going on in your life that you think that I should be aware of, please let me know! I always say that I would rather hear something twice than to not hear at all.)

I don’t have many announcements for this week (though I’m sure that I will in the weeks ahead), but this is what I do have for you:

  • Worship on Sunday – this week we will just be having a single service at 10am at Westfield United Church – it will include communion, and it will be followed by a potluck lunch. Thank you to Session for organizing this! It is always a good time when all three of our congregations have an opportunity to worship together and to celebrate together, and I look forward to seeing your smiling faces filling the pews!

  • Bible Study continues every Wednesday at 10am in the parlour at Westfield United Church. After a 3-month diversion to look at a couple of less familiar books in the Old Testament, we have resumed our project of exploring the overall story-arc of the Old Testament, looking for common themes and wrestling with some of the more challenging stories that we find there. Everyone is welcome – no previous bible study experience is necessary!

  • A reminder to Session and Official Board members that our next meeting will be next Wednesday, May 15, at Summerville United Church, with Session meeting at 6:30 and the Official Board meeting at 7:30. I’m sure that our chairs/secretaries will be soliciting reports and distributing agendas and minutes soon!

  • And finally a sad note for the Westfield congregation. I'm sure that many of you have heard that Kevin Thorne died peacefully at home on Sunday morning after a long illness. You can read his full obituary by clicking here. Visitation will be on Friday at Brenan's Funeral Home from 2-4 and 6-8 with his funeral at Westfield United Church on Saturday at 2pm. Please hold Kevin's family and loved ones in your prayers in the days and weeks ahead.

And that is all that I have for this week.

For a closing thought, there is so much that I could share with you this week from what I have read, listened to, and watched in the past couple of months; but here is a song that my sister introduced me to on PIE Day – "Same Love" by Macklemore. We listened to it as we ate our pie on March 14, at the same time as you were handing out Affirming Pie in front of the church.

"When I was at church they taught me something else

If you preach hate at the service, those words aren't anointed

That Holy Water that you soak in has been poisoned."

You can listen to the full song by clicking here.

Blessings to you and yours, today and always!


Rev. Kate Jones

Two Rivers Pastoral Charge

(506) 757-2201 (office)

(506) 343-1307 (mobile)

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."

(Matthew 22:36-39)

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