May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Have you picked out your Hallowe'en costume yet? Hopefully this warm weather we've been having will last at least until Monday so that the kids can have a good evening for going door to door.
I was listening to a podcast the other day about the origins of Hallowe'en (you can click here if you want to listen to it - and as I've said before, I don't do scary and I have a very low threshold for what I consider to be scary, so this is a relatively tame Hallowe'en themed podcast). It was an interesting mix of Celtic mythology and spirituality right through to contemporary advertising and media.
There is a connection between Hallowe'en and the church - in western Christianity, November 1 is often celebrated as All Saints' Day (you can check out tomorrow's #TheologyThursday post on the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook page for more on All Saints' Day). If saints are Holy or Hallowed people, then All Saints' Day is All Hallow's Day, which makes the night before All Hallow's Evening or Hallowe'en. In many cultures, this time of year is thought to be a thin time - a time when the veil that separates the world that we can see from the world beyond what we can see is a bit thinner. And so with All Saints' Day, this becomes a good time to remember all of the people of faith who went before us.
Next Tuesday, on November 1, I invite you to take a moment to think of the saints who you knew who have crossed through this veil into the arms of Mystery. You could even light a candle for them, and offer a prayer thanking God for their lives, and for their faith, and for the love that they shared.
In addition to All Saints' Day, we have a bunch of things coming up this week.
Worship on Sunday will be at 9:15 at Long Reach and at 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. We are continuing our exploration of hope this week, reading Habakkuk 1:1-4, 2:1-4. (I think that Habakkuk might be like Joel - another "Table of Contents Book" - one that you need to look up in the table of contents of your bible in order to find!) We will be looking at the lament in chapter 1, contrasted with God's promises in chapter 2.
There is going to be a wedding at Westfield United Church on Saturday at 4pm - Madelaine Harris and Dianna Fallon. (Some of you from St. Giles may remember the Harris family.) Madelaine and Dianna first contacted me in the summer of 2019 for an October 2020 wedding - this is a celebration that has been a long time in the making! - and they have been involved with Two Rivers online as well as in-person when they have been in town. (You may remember that their baby was baptized on Easter Sunday.) They asked me to let you all know that if anyone would like to come to their wedding at the church, you are very welcome.
Youth Connection - Tatum and Ken have been putting their planning hats on to throw a spook-tacular Hallowe'en party on Sunday evening - 7-8:30pm at Westfield United Church - all middle- and high-school youth are invited to attend!
Bible Study will resume next Wednesday - 10-11:30am in the parlour at Westfield United - everyone is welcome to join us at any time!
Looking a bit further ahead:
Our next Broadview Magazine discussion will be on Monday November 7 from 10-11:30 in the Westfield United Church parlour. As there is no November issue, we will be going back to discuss the July/August issue.
Our next Session and Official Board meetings will be on Wednesday November 16 at Westfield United Church (Session at 6:30, OB at 7:30).
I'm still looking for a couple of people to join me on a committee to plan our our 25th Anniversary celebrations next year!
Looking ahead to Advent - we are going to be talking about family trees this Advent (and specifically Jesus's family tree). Do you have an ancestor whom you admire or who fascinates you? Would you be willing to be (briefly) interviewed during the Story for All Ages at your church about your ancestor one Sunday during Advent? If so, please let me know!
And one last announcement: I know that we have had a lot of funerals around the church in the past couple of years. After a funeral, I often hear comments along the lines of "I'd like to have [hymn name] sung at my funeral," or, "I'd like [poem name] read at my funeral." My usual response is: "Write it down!" and I usually also mention that we have a file folder at the church containing funeral plans for various members of the congregation. And so with all of these conversations, we are going to have a Fun Funeral Planning Workshop on Sunday November 20 from 7-9 at Westfield United Church. We will talk through some things to consider when planning a funeral, and then have a chance to put some of your requests down in writing all in a comfortable, relaxed, low-stress setting. My suggestion is that, at the end of the evening, you leave one copy of your funeral plans at the church in our file folder, and take the other copy with you, just in case you move or are involved with another church when the time comes. (And don't worry - these plans are never fixed in stone, and if you decide next year or 10 years from now that you have a new favourite hymn, it is easy to change your plan.)
And that's it for announcements this week! As a closing thought, here is a link to a song that makes me think of this time of year (though it isn't explicitly a Hallowe'en song) by an Indigenous singer from Thunder Bay, Shy-Anne Hovorka. You can listen to it 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."