May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
I am back at work this week after my vacation... though I'm working from home this week and next for my post-travel quarantine. I had a fabulous vacation - I got to see my father and step-mother, as well as both of my sisters and their families (all in southeastern Ontario). My soul was fed and filled by the time that I was able to spend with them. Thank you to all of you at Two Rivers Pastoral charge for allowing me to take this vacation, knowing that I would have to quarantine for 14 days after arriving home. (And thank you to everyone who has offered to help me through my quarantine period!)
This week marks back-to-school for our primary, middle, and secondary school students (though I know that our teachers have probably been back at work longer, preparing their classrooms for the new year). I've been hearing from parents that the new school year has been a mix of excitement and anxiety, with some relief at being able to get back into a routine, even though the routine will look different than it did last year.
This Sunday (Sept. 13), during worship, we will be doing a "Blessing of the Backpacks" during our Story for All Ages. When we gather to worship online, I invite you to have something with you that represents your school or your work - this might be your backpack/briefcase, it might be your laptop, it might be your water bottle or coffee mug. We will have a repeat-after-me blessing as we bless our school and work things, as well as the people who carry them!
Our scripture reading this Sunday is a challenging one, all about forgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35). We will be exploring the idea of forgiveness - what it means, why it is important, and why it is just so hard. I will be sending out the bulletin on Friday or Saturday.
Elaine asked me to pass along her apologies for last Sunday's bulletin that didn't seem to go out by e-mail (though I think that the apology should come from her computer or from Sympatico, rather than from Elaine). She did send the bulletin out (twice), but it then disappeared somewhere in the e-mail outbox without sending. We have been having issues with the church office e-mail/computer for a few years, and we will be having another look at it now.
Finally, I wanted to remind you that the following Sunday (Sept. 20) will be our annual church picnic, though it will be a bit different this year due to Covid-19. We will still be gathering at the Sherwood's cottage (100 Admiral Lane, Long Reach) at 11am, though there will be flags marking the beach showing physical distancing. You and your "bubble" will be invited to find a flag to set up your lawn chairs by one of those flags, so that we can stay safely distanced from our neighbours. The other big difference is that we can't have a potluck lunch this year, due to concerns around sharing utensils and dishes, as well as crowding in the cottage - this will be a bring-your-own picnic day. We won't be able to go in to the cottage, but the outhouse will be accessible to people who need it (and Ross has promised to clean it for us ahead of time!). Most years, we would encourage people to carpool to this service; but this year I have to say carpool only with those in your bubble. I was also asked to remind you that it is about a 20 minute drive from the Brundage River Center to the cottage (depending on the ferry, of course!), and you probably want to give yourself some extra time to get your car parked and walk down to the beach.
And I think that is just about all for today! We are continuing with our Facebook check-ins (Mon-Thurs at 1pm), as well as our Parking Lot Coffee Hours (Tues. 11am at Summerville; Tues. 3pm at Westfield; Thurs. 11am at Long Reach, for as long as the weather holds). And finally, a reminder that Monday is election day in New Brunswick - if you haven't voted yet (in the advance polls, at the returning office, or by mail-in ballot), make sure that you get out there to cast your ballot on Monday! Our political voice is one of the ways that we have available to us to live our faith in the world.
Blessings to you and yours, today and always.