May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
After a few days away over the weekend, it is good to be back home! I was able to travel to Thunder Bay for the first time since moving here, to reconnect with friends that I hadn't seen in far too long. (Getting on an airplane for the first time since January 2020 felt simultaneously really weird and really normal.)
My visit made me realize anew the importance of community - I lived in Thunder Bay for most of my adult life, and so going back there is like going back to the place that my heart still calls "home." I squeezed as many visits (and as many hugs) as I could into a few short days - the introvert in me was exhausted by the end of it, but my heart was full to overflowing as I traveled home on Monday afternoon.
We aren't created to be alone - community is important. It is important to have people in our lives who know us and who love us unconditionally and who support us when we face challenges and who walk alongside us when we are grieving and who celebrate with us when good things happen. And I do think that community is one of the gifts that the church can offer to the world in a time and place where individualism and isolation are becoming so much more common.
If we believe that we are created in God's image, then we also have to remember that God is Trinity - God is community within God-self. We are created in the image of a communal God, and we need each other in order to be our best selves - in order to be fully human.
I invite you to ponder community. How do our churches offer community? Is there something more that we could be doing, or something that we could be doing differently in order to be God's beloved community? Are there other organizations or groups out there that do community well - what might we be able to learn from them?
I have a couple of announcements for this week:
Thank you to Mary Kennedy-Fulton and to Margaret Stackhouse for covering worship and pastoral care while I was away!
Worship on Sunday will be 9:15 at Summerville and 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. This week we will be beginning a 4-week deep-dive into hope - not the wishful-thinking sort of hope, but the "hope is only possible when everything is hopeless" sort of hope. We'll be reading a passage from the Old Testament that we hear more often on Pentecost - Joel 2:23-32 - and it will be interesting to hear what it might be saying to us in a different context.
Youth Connection - the gathering last Sunday was postponed and re-scheduled for this Sunday, October 23, from 7-8:30 at Westfield United Church. All Middle- and High-School aged youth are welcome to attend! This will be a board game night - you are invited to bring your favourite game from home or play one that someone else brings.
Bible Study next week (October 26) is cancelled as I will be leading worship at the Snow Centre - we will resume our weekly gatherings the following week (November 2).
Broadview Magazine - there is no November issue, so at our next gathering we will be going back to discuss the summer issue (July/August 2022). We will meet on Monday November 7 in the parlour at Westfield United at 10am - everyone is welcome to join us (and even if you aren't a subscriber, you can still read many of the articles by clicking here.)
Affirm Webinar - the Affirm Committee of Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters Region is offering a Zoom Webinar tomorrow (Thursday) evening on neurodiversity - what is neurodiveristy, and how can we as the church be more accessible/welcoming/Affirming? This is free, and is available to anyone in the Region to attend. For more information, including how to register, you can click here.
I also wanted to mention that there are a couple of e-mails that come from our Region of the United Church of Canada (Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters Region which includes NB, PEI, and the Gaspé). There is a weekly announcement e-mail that you can subscribe to by clicking here, and there is a monthly-ish newsletter called Spark that you can subscribe to by clicking here. Our very own Ross Sherwood was featured in the October issue of Spark, where they re-printed his sermon from October 2 when we celebrated our Affirming journey.
And that is it for announcements this week! As a closing thought, this week I want to share a link to a song that I shared on our Facebook page this week. In Bible Study, we have been reading about Moses liberating the Israelite people from slavery in Egypt - how Moses encountered God in the burning bush and received his call, how he went to Pharaoh and demanded that Pharaoh let his people go, about the various plagues or disasters that visited the land of Egypt, and this morning we read the story of the Passover. A well-known song about Moses - out of the African-American spiritual tradition - is "Go Down Moses" and I came across this version of it sung by Big Mama Thornton that gave me goosebumps.
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."