May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
If you have been following our Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook page this week (or other corners of social media), you may be aware that today, across the country, there are rallies taking place by anti-LGBTQ+ groups, specifically targeting transgender children and youth. In response, in many cities, there have been counter-protests organized. (In Saint John, the anti-trans rally was being held in front of city hall, and in response, Chroma NB, an organization that supports LGBTQ+ children and families, is hosting a safe space in their building, for the purpose of community building and mutual support.)
When Two Rivers Pastoral Charge became an Affirming community of faith in 2017, we committed to being Public, Intentional, and Explicit (PIE) about not just welcoming but affirming the beloved-ness of all people, and especially people of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Being “welcoming” isn’t enough any more – we need to be active and intentional in our support.
"Queer Theology" is a branch of thinking that explores the intersection between theology (ie how we think about and talk about God and our faith) and the lived queer experience. Some of the teachings of queer theology include:
All people, including all queer people, are created in God’s image. This means that God’s image is queer.
All love, including queer love, is a reflection of God, for God is love.
God became human in the person of Jesus ("incarnation"), therefore all of our human bodily experiences have been made holy through this contact with God – this includes our gender, how we live out our gender, and our sexuality.
This year, and especially this week, it is more important than ever for us to be Public, Intentional, and Explicit about what we believe, and how we live out our faith as a church. We can be public through our words, through our actions, and even through how we exist on social media (even though I know that this can be a scary thing to do). We have to be intentional about this, because it isn’t going to happen on its own! And we can be explicit – saying that “everybody” is welcome isn’t enough; our message needs to explicitly say that “everybody” actually means “everybody, including people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
“Church” is more than just what happens when we gather in our buildings, and what goes on the official Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook page. The church is all of us – how we live our lives in the physical world as well as in virtual spaces. You represent the church, whether you intend to or not.
And so I invite you to consider, how are you going to live out PIE - not just on Pi(e) Day, March 14 (3.14), but every day?
(Check out the Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook page for more Queer Theology this week!)
In terms of announcements… it’s been a busy couple of weeks as all of our fall gatherings and activities are starting up again! Here are some things to mark on your calendar:
Worship on Sunday will be at 9:15 at Summerville and 11:15 at Westfield and on Facebook Live. I mentioned last Sunday that Jesus talks a lot about money in the lectionary readings this fall, and this Sunday we’ve got another parable that talks about money – Matthew 20:1-16 - one of my favourite stories that Jesus tells!
At Westfield, the choir will be back this Sunday to share in the music leadership in worship!
Sunday School started up last week, and is offered at both Westfield and at Long Reach during worship. All children are invited to be a part of this – we are using an exciting new curriculum this year put together by the Go Project, a branch of the United Church of Canada focused on children’s ministry and Christian Education. (And Ken, our Youth and Young Families Ministry Coordinator, was one of the writers of this curriculum this past summer.)
Board Game night – Friday September 29 at 7pm at Westfield. We’ll have the snacks, and we invite you to bring your favourite board game (or come ready to join with someone else’s game)!
Blessing of the Animals Service – Saturday September 30, 10am, prayer garden at Westfield United Church. I can’t wait to meet all of your pets at this service!
Dungeons and Dragons – we had a great initial information session on Sunday so that those of us who are new to D&D were able to ask our questions. Our next gathering will be on Sunday October 1 at 6:30pm in the parlour at Westfield United – this gathering will be focused on developing our characters. (If you are unfamiliar with D&D, it is a fantasy storytelling game where each player moves through the story as their character – some characters bring physical strength to the quest, other characters bring magical abilities, still others bring specific skills.) It isn’t too late to join us if any of this sounds interesting! This is an intergenerational gathering – anyone from middle-school age and older is welcome to join in – there is no upper limit!
And that’s it for announcements!
For a closing thought this week, I want to share a link to the poem that was on the back of last Sunday's bulletin. (If you took a bulletin, and if you read the poem that was on the back, you can skip this link!) The poet, Jan Richardson, is a writer, an artist, and an Episcopal priest. And a human who has loved deeply and who has grieved deeply. I often share her poems on the backs of our Sunday bulletins, as they so often speak to my heart. This one is all about woundedness and forgiveness, and you can read 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."