May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
I hope that you all had a good Thanksgiving - that you all found some time to pause and be grateful for all that you have, even when circumstances are difficult. I hope that you were able to have a special meal - either alone or shared with family and/or friends - to mark this harvest season. I hope that you were able to take a moment (despite the tropical storm that blew through) to appreciate the glorious fall colours in this part of the world at this time of the year. (Have you noticed how vibrant the Burning Bushes are this year?)
As I said on Sunday, there are two parts to "thanksgiving" - there is the thankful part of it, where we appreciate all that we have, and then there is the giving part, where the gratitude flows out of us in tangible ways. This might be in words that express thanks to the people around us or to God. This might be in sharing out of our abundance with those who have less. (A huge thank you to everyone who is letting their gratitude flow in the form of a donation to our Mission & Service telathon this week!)
I am going to be in Ottawa next week for a continuing education program that ties together Thanksgiving with another day coming up - World Food Day (October 16). This program, called "Hunger on the Hill," is offered by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, an organization that partners with 15 different denominations (including the United Church of Canada) to work toward a world with no hunger. This is done through offering emergency food assistance, working towards long-term food security, and by engaging with Canadians and with governments.
"Hunger on the Hill" is part of this third branch of their work. Those of us participating come from all of the different denominations that together form the Canadian Foodgrains Bank from across the country, and we are going to be learning about food security (not just in Canada but around the world), we are going to be learning about political advocacy, and then we are going to be practicing political advocacy by meeting with MPs in Ottawa the last day we are there.
Part of the "giving" half of Thanksgiving can include giving of our time and energy to advocate for those who have less than we do. I am grateful that I have enough good food to eat (and especially at this time of year, I am grateful to all of our farmers who work so hard); and so as a response to my gratitude, I will do what I am able to do to make sure that the whole world is well fed.
In terms of announcements this week:
Worship on Sunday will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and at 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. Even though I won't be here, I do know that the service is going to be tied to World Food Day. Everyone, as always, is welcome!
Time and Talent Auction - This is coming up soon, on Friday October 20 at 7pm. This Sunday will be your last chance to sign up for the time and/or talents that you would like to offer to be auctioned off - the more auction items we have, the more fun it will be! And auctions don't work unless we have people attending them, so tell your family, tell your friends, tell your neighbours! Let them know that there are going to be yummy UCW deserts to be had (not for purchase, but just for attending), as well as a chance to see what sort of time and talents we have in this church! For a shareable poster, click here.
Remembrance Day Turkey Dinner - tickets are now available at the Grand Bay Home Hardware for $20 each! There are going to be two seatings - 4:00 at 5:30 - as well as a take-out option. This is our first time with a sit-down option since before the pandemic - tickets used to sell out well in advance of the dinner, so you will want to buy yours soon to make sure that there is a seat for you at the table! (I overheard some people at last night's coffee house talking about how they were looking forward to being able to eat at the church again, instead of just the drive-through option.)
Session Meeting - Wednesday October 18, 7pm, Westfield United Church. (I'm sure that Chris will be sending out the agenda early next week, but this is your advance reminder!)
Bible Study - we won't be gathering next week as I will be traveling home from Ottawa on Wednesday morning, so our next gathering will be Wednesday October 25.
Crochet Classes - some of you know that Brittany Johnson-Ross, a teacher at Inglewood, offers crochet classes in the parlour at Westfield from time to time. She is offering another couple of dates this month - October 14 and 21. You can click here to read her full announcement.
Looking Ahead Dates: Board Game Night - Friday October 29, 7pm, Westfield United Coffee House - Tuesday November 14, 7pm, Westfield United Official Board Meeting - Wednesday November 15, 7:30, Westfield United (with Session at 6:30)
And that is it for this week. There won't be a mid-week message next week as I will be on Study Leave, but I'll be back in two weeks' time!
Now on to this week's closing thought. I've shared Kate Bowler's writing here before (and have definitely quoted her in sermons too) - this time I have a short clip from a recent conversation that she had with New Testament scholar, N. T. Wright. This part of the conversation addresses "Where is God in times of suffering and uncertainty?" (There are also links below the video if you want to hear the whole conversation.) You can watch/listen 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) 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."