May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
These are the sorts of fall days that I love! Clear sunny days, cool nights, and changing leaves. As I sit here in my office, I can see the leaves dancing outside the window, even though I know that a month from now, the same trees will be bare. But the seasons continue to change and no season lasts forever - even as the days are currently getting shorter and the leaves are starting to fall, we know that 6 months from now the days will be lengthening and the trees will be beginning to think about budding.
As the hymn says, "In the cold and snow of winter, lies a spring that waits to be; unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see" (In the Bulb - Voices United 703).
I suspect that yesterday's government announcement was challenging for many of you - single household bubbles through all of Thanksgiving weekend (6pm Friday until 11:59pm Monday). I'm sure that many of you had made plans with family or with friends to gather to share a meal, but now for the safety of our province, we need to hunker down at home instead.
As our Premier said on CBC radio this morning, the primary place where Covid is spreading these days is through informal gatherings, especially of unvaccinated people; but there isn't a way to monitor only the gatherings of unvaccinated people, so they had to make the tough decision to stop all gatherings this weekend.
That being said, formal gatherings where proof of vaccination is required are allowed; and so after discussion with Chris Patstone, our chair of Session, we have decided to go ahead with this weekend's worship services - at 9:15 at Summerville and at 11:15 at Westfield (with livestreaming). We will continue to be asking for proof of vaccination at the door, and masks are required at all times, so we know that these are relatively safe gatherings even in a time of uncertainty. (Though we also understand that more of you than usual may choose to worship with us virtually rather than in-person this weekend. Please do what you need to do in order to feel safe.)
And to tie it back to where we began, to the turning of the seasons, we need to remember that in the big picture, this season of Covidtide is just that - a season - and no season lasts forever. Even when we have to take a step backwards like we have this week, even when it seems as though things are never going to get better, we have to trust that the season of post-pandemic (that is still "unrevealed until its season") is not only coming but is drawing closer each day.
After all, if we can trust that God raised Jesus from the dead (which is the story at the heart of who we are as the church), then we have to trust that new life is not only possible but is certain!
And, to give you a hint of what this Sunday's service is going to be all about, if you focus on being grateful for what you have, then it doesn't leave as much space for worrying about what might come. (If you want another hint about Sunday, we are going to be reading Matthew 6:25-33.)
I have just a couple more announcements to pass along to you today:
Our next Broadview discussion gathering will be on Monday November 1 at 10am. Because there is no November issue, we will be going back and discussing the July/August issue which we skipped over since we didn't gather in the summer. Even if you aren't a subscriber, you can still read most of this issue by clicking here; and everyone is welcome to this conversation!
Youth Connection - Ross, Mary, and I met last week, and we have a plan in place for reconvening YC! I'm going to be sending out an e-mail to your Youth Connection families with details, but for now, mark October 24 (7-8:30) on your calendar. (And if you have youth between grade 6 and grade 12 in your life and would like to be included in this e-mail, please let me know.)
Finally, when we concluded our Facebook Live Daily Check-ins back in June, the door was left open to re-evaluate the need for some sort of virtual gathering in the fall. I have created a very short survey - if you have an interest in some sort of online gathering, I invite you to fill it out by clicking here. This revamped virtual gathering will likely look different than what we were doing before (e.g. a daily gathering isn't sustainable, now that I have resumed so many things that I couldn't do a year ago), so this survey is trying to get a sense of what people valued about gathering together online to help shape any new gathering that emerges.
And I think that is it for this week. As a closing thought this week, I just want to remind you that no matter who you meet, you will never look into the eyes of someone whom God doesn't love... not even when you are looking in the mirror.
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."