May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
We are into November now, and because my brain is always planning ahead, my brain is shifting into Advent and Christmas mode! I won't let myself start listening to Christmas music or put up any decorations until we reach Advent (November 28 this year); but when I was off on Study Leave a couple of weeks ago, I planned out our Advent church services, and later this afternoon I will be sitting down to write this year's Christmas Letter.
Advent is my favourite season of the church year - that time of waiting and anticipation and preparing - a season when we can feel the tension of the "now" (Jesus was already born, more than 2000 years ago) and the "not yet" (Jesus won't be born until December 25; but also God's perfect vision for the world has been announced but it is not yet here).
Sometimes I wonder if we are living through an Advent-like season in the world right now, especially when I think of the pandemic. We are seeing signs of hope - the vaccine is reaching more and more people around the world; globally and in Canada case numbers are dropping; travel is becoming more possible - but at the same time we aren't yet there. We are currently living through the "now" and the "not yet."
And Advent challenges us to hope - not wishful-thinking type hope, but hope that is the confidence that the good is coming. Hope means trusting that, even in the middle of the night, that dawn is coming. Hope means knowing that even though it isn't here yet, the ending is worth waiting for.
Like I said, I love Advent as a season; and in November I always feel as though I am waiting for and anticipating and preparing for the season of waiting and anticipation and preparation!
Even though Advent isn't quite here yet, in order to have 6 Sundays for our White Gift Sundays, we are beginning this Sunday and next (November 7 and 14) with our gifts to Hestia House. Hestia House is a shelter for women and children who are trying to re-build their lives following domestic violence and abuse. This year, they are asking for: Gift Cards (Wal-Mart, Sobeys, Superstore, Subway, McDonalds, Tim Hortons); New (ie not used) items of clothing for all ages from adult women to babies (PJs, slippers, hats, winter boots, mittens). If you want to see the full schedule of our White Gift Sundays, you can download it by clicking here.
If you aren't able to drop your White Gift donations off at one of the churches, please be in touch with our Church in the World Committee, and they will arrange to have your donations picked up for you.
Westfield: Lois Sherwood (757-2206) or Verna Livingston (738-2464)
Long Reach: Anne Titus (763-2470)
Bayswater-Summerville: Ida MacPherson (763-2412) or Bette Ashley (333-4138)
I have a couple of other announcements for things coming up:
The Westfield Thanksgiving Dinner on November 11 is sold out! Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket, who offered to cook, or who offered to help the day of.
Elaine is going to be putting in an order for 2022 Church Calendars - these are beautiful wall calendars that feature a different United Church each month, and the cost is $10. If you would like to order one, please get in touch with the church office by Friday November 12 - email@example.com or 757-2201.
Christmas Ornaments - if you haven't ordered your ornament to decorate the tree in our churches, you have another week to do so!
Broadview Magazine - if you would like to subscribe to this magazine (and I highly recommend it - each issue is full of thought-provoking and interesting articles) or renew your subscription, it is $25 for the year - cheques payable to Broadview, and placed in an envelope addressed to Joanne York and placed in the Offering Plate or given to her directly. For people who read the magazine - we gather on the first Monday of each month to discuss that month's issue, and always have great conversations.
This Sunday, November 7, will include our Remembrance Observances at both Summerville (9:15) and Westfield (11:15) - the Branch 62 Legion will be participating in the service at Summerville. It will also be a communion service at both churches, and our reading will be Mark 12:38-44 - the story of the widow who gave all of her money to the temple. Does Jesus really want us to give all that we have to live on to the church???
If you are planning to join worship via livestream, you will find it at https://www.facebook.com/tworiverspastoralcharge beginning around 11:10am on Sunday. You are invited to have your communion elements (bread/cracker and juice/water) handy so that we can share the communion meal together.
And no matter where you choose to worship this Sunday, don't forget that this weekend is the time change! Set your clocks back an hour on Saturday before you go to bed (or make sure that they will do it automatically for you) and enjoy the extra hour on Sunday morning.
And I think those are my announcements for this week.
As a closing thought today: one of the YouTubers I follow, Khadija Mbowe, ends each of her videos by saying, "Feed your pets, water your plants, and remember that you can always change your mind!"
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."