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 weekend, whatever your celebrations looked like this year (or if you had to postpone your celebrations, I wish you a good Thanksgiving celebration)!
My weekend certainly didn't end up looking like I had anticipated - fortunately I ended up with a very mild case of Covid, the version that feels like a head cold more than anything else.
But I am so very thankful this Thanksgiving.
* I am thankful for the beautiful colours on the trees right now.
* I am thankful for our local south-western New Brunswick farmers who grew/raised everything that I needed for my solo quarantine Thanksgiving dinner.
* I am thankful for all of the offers of help that I received in the past week, and for all of the people checking in on me to see how I was doing.
* I am thankful for our fabulous Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Session who made a plan 2 years ago for what we would do on Sunday if/when I caught Covid.
* I am thankful that our Session was then able to step in and lead worship on Sunday as planned (and I am especially thankful for Bette Ashley at Bayswater-Summerville and Marilyn Parish at Westfield for stepping into the pulpit, and for Elaine in the office who made sure that the sermon and prayers and bulletins got where they needed to go).
* And I am thankful for all of you, the people of Two Rivers Pastoral Charge, for your faithfulness in following the way of Jesus, loving God and loving your neighbours with your whole selves.
Because I couldn't be here on Sunday, I modified my reflection into a Thanksgiving letter from me to all of you that our worship leaders read. If you missed it, and would like to read it, you can find it by clicking here.
I am feeling well now (other than my voice still gets a bit tired if I talk too much) - I left quarantine yesterday (though I am still wearing a N95 mask everywhere I go), and even though I am an introvert, it has been good to see people again!
I have a couple of announcements to pass along this week:
I have a couple of previously scheduled vacation days coming up, and I will be off October 13-17 inclusive. Session has arranged for pulpit supply at both churches on Sunday, and a local minister is available in case of pastoral emergencies. If you need to reach the minister, you can call Margaret S. at 721-4307 and she will connect you.
Worship on Sunday will be at Long Reach at 9:15 and at Westfield and on Facebook Live at 11:15. Even though I'm not leading or preparing worship this week, I've had a sneak peak at the bulletin so I know that the reading is going to be the story of the judge and the persistent widow who never gave up in her quest for justice (Luke 18:1-8).
Youth Connection begins this Sunday as well, and will continue every second week. This is open to anyone in Middle School or High School, and runs from 7-8:30 at Westfield United Church. This week is going to be a board game night - if you have a favourite game from home, you are welcome to bring it with you; otherwise our leaders will have some games with them. (I'm sorry that I'm going to miss this gathering, as I've just learned that Ken is familiar with my favourite game - Dominion.) If you have any questions about Youth Connection, please get in touch with Ken at kennethfury [at] gmail [dot] com or 654-6992. And you can also mark your calendars with the upcoming date - October 30 (Hallowe'en Party), November 13, and November 27.
And don't forget the Community Roast Beef Dinner at the St. Bridget's Church Hall in Summerville on October 30, jointly hosted by the United and Roman Catholic churches on the peninsula! There are two sittings - 4:00 and 5:30 - and the cost is $18 for Adults and $9 for children under 12. There are no tickets, but you can reserve your seat by calling Christine at 763-2155.
Grand Bay-Westfield people - one of our church members is not able to drive at the moment, and would like to be able to keep living in our community but needs help getting to medical appointments etc. If you are willing to have your name and phone number on a list of drivers that this person can call on, can you please get in touch with me and I will pass your name along to them?
25th Anniversary - a reminder of last week's announcement that I am looking for 1 or 2 people from each church to come together to plan and coordinate our celebrations in 2023. Two Rivers Pastoral Charge is such an amazing pastoral charge - 25 years is worth celebrating!
I also want to include some medical information since I've had a number of people asking me questions in the past week:
I know that a number of people in our church family have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week and a half. Just a reminder that if you tested positive on a rapid test, please report your positive test to the government so that they can monitor the case numbers across the province. It is very easy to do - it just takes a couple of minutes - and you can do it on the government website by clicking here.
If you do test positive, and are an older adult, or have one or more chronic health conditions, or are immuno-compromised, then you may be eligible for Paxlovid, the drug that reduces the severity of Covid. You can access this by contacting your doctor or your pharmacy for screening, but the medication must be started within 5 days of developing symptoms. The medication is free, and I heard them referred to as "magic little pills" this week!
I would also like to remind you to keep your Covid vaccine boosters up-to-date. I think that my case was much less severe than it might have been because my last booster was less than 3 months ago. According to the government website, you are eligible for a booster 5 months after your last dose OR 5 months after a Covid infection, whichever is more recent.
And finally, 'flu shots are now available at the pharmacies! As they have done in previous years, the Medicine Shoppe in Grand Bay is offering a number of clinics. These clinics will be: Browns Flat (The Hub) - Sunday October 16, 2-4pm Welsford (Fire Station) - Monday October 17, 7-9pm Grand Bay-Westfield (Church of the Resurrection) - Saturday October 22, 9am-12pm
Finally, as a closing thought today, I want to share a prayer/reflection that came across my Facebook feed yesterday. October 11 is National Coming Out Day (check out our Two Rivers Pastoral Charge page for my reflection on this), and Rev. Katy Stenta, a Presbyterian pastor in the US, wrote a powerful, poetic, prophetic, beautifully queer coming-out reading of the bible. You can find it by clicking here.
And with that, blessings to you and to everyone you love, 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."