May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Many of you have likely already seen my Facebook post - I tested positive for Covid this morning. So far my symptoms are very mild - I woke up with the sniffles and thought that I should probably test myself before going to bible study. I was honestly surprised when the second line showed up! So I am going to be working from home for the next couple of days, getting lots of rest and fluids, with my cats as nurses.
I have contacted everyone I have been unmasked around this week. I don't think that I was contagious on Sunday, plus we were all wearing our masks in worship; but if you attended in-person worship on Sunday, you probably want to monitor yourself for symptoms. My biggest fear about catching Covid is that I would give it to one of you. I love you all, and don't want to make any of you sick!
Speaking of Sunday... wasn't that a fabulous service! I was buzzing on a Holy Spirit high for the rest of the day. Thank you to Ross for sharing such a heart-felt, Spirit-filled reflection, and for sharing in worship leadership. Thank you to Joel and Bertis and Joan and the choir for the music. Thank you to Session for organizing communion.
If you missed it, Ross has given me permission to share his reflection. You can read it by clicking here.
It is so important to celebrate that God's love is for everyone; and also to remind ourselves that being Affirming is a journey and not something that we did back in 2017. If you want to read more about what it means to be Affirming, you can check out the Affirm United website by clicking here.
I also want to mention that our Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Affirming Team is looking for more members! This is a committee with representation from all 3 of our churches, and they are responsible for leading the rest of us as we live out our call to be Affirming. This is the group that plans our PIE Day (Public, Intentional, Explicit) activities on March 14 each year. They helped to generate enthusiasm around our participation in the Saint John Pride Parade this summer. They helped to plan last Sunday's worship service. If this sort of work might be of interest to you, or if you have questions about it, please reach out to me!
The other committee that is looking for new members is our Church in the World committee. This is another group with representatives from all 3 congregations, and they coordinate our outreach work, facilitating ways for our church to spread God's love outside of the walls of our buildings. Some of their previous (and ongoing) projects have included our White Gift Sunday donations, making sandwiches for Romero house, congregational book studies, advocating to our governments around carrying out the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and most recently, the plan to put Little Free Pantries in front of our churches. This committee was dealt a big blow this summer with the unexpected death of our chair, Ida MacPherson; but I know that Ida would want us to regroup quickly and continue the work. Again - if this sort of work interests you, or if you have any questions, please reach out to me!
(Both of these committees don't meet regularly - they tend to do a lot of their work by phone or by e-mail, gathering only as needed.)
I also have a couple of announcements to pass along for this week:
Worship on Sunday will be at Summerville (9:15) and at Westfield and on Facebook Live at 11:15. Since this is Thanksgiving weekend, that will be the focus of the service. The scripture will be Philippians 4:4-9 - Paul writes this very powerful letter of praise and thanksgiving as he is imprisoned - what keeps us from being thankful in our lives? (I don't know if I will be there on Sunday or not. If my symptoms stay mild and disappear quickly, public health guidelines say that I will be able to be there - rest assured that I will wear a N95 mask through the whole service if I am there. And if I'm not able to be there, Session has had a plan in place for the past 2 years to cover what to do if I can't be there!)
If I am able to be present in worship on Sunday, we are going to be having a baptism during the Summerville service! Luke MacDonald, child of Sara and Ryan (and great-grandchild of Sandra Lattimore) is going to be baptized.
Our Youth Connection leadership met to do some planning on Sunday evening - the first gathering of Youth Connection will be on Sunday October 16 at 7pm at Westfield and will continue to meet every 2nd week. YC is open to all middle- and high-school aged students from any of our churches or from the wider community. The first night is going to be a games night - if you have a favourite board game, feel free to bring it along. (I also discovered on Sunday that Ken is familiar with one of my favourite games, Dominion!) If you have any questions about Youth Connection, I encourage you to reach out to Ken at email@example.com.
Ken is also back to producing weekly Sunday School videos, geared especially towards our younger folks who aren't able to make it to in-person Sunday School. If you aren't receiving those videos and you would like to, please send Ken a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Westfield Remembrance Day Turkey Dinner continues to be at risk of not happening this year. If nobody steps forward in the next week to volunteer to organize it, we will officially have to cancel it. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Judy and Dave Sheaves at 647-1849.
That being said, there IS going to be a Community Roast Beef Dinner on October 30 hosted by the Peninsula United and Roman Catholic Churches (Bayswater-Summerville United, Long Reach United, and St. Bridget's Catholic churches). It is going to be held in the St. Bridget's Hall (1784 NB-845), and tickets are $18 a plate ($9 a plate if you are under 12). There will be two seatings - 4pm at 5:30pm; and tickets can be reserved by calling Christine at 763-2155. Thank you to Judy Gamble for stepping in to organize this, and to coordinate our three churches to work together! (Long Reach and Bayswater-Summerville folks - there is a sign-up sheet in each church where you can sign up to donate food items towards the dinner, or to help out that weekend.)
And I think that is the end of my announcements for today.
As a closing thought, I am a big podcast listener, and one of my favourite podcasts is Revisionist History hosted by Malcolm Gladwell. He grew up very close to my aunt and uncle in Elmira, ON; and in one of his recent episodes he went home to visit his mother and talk to her and her friends from different local churches about the time that they came together to sponsor three refugees from Vietnam. Listening to it, the podcast episode felt like a sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) combined with the time when Jesus said to his followers, "In as much as you do it to one of these, my brothers and sisters, you have done it to me" (Matthew 25:31-46). In fact, he cites both of these scriptures during the episode. If you would like to listen to this episode, you can visit the show's website by clicking here, or by looking for the episode of Revisionist History entitled "I Was a Stranger And You Welcomed Me" in your favourite podcatcher.
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."