May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit Elsipogtog (along with Ida and Dave MacPherson, and a couple of friends) to go on the Mi'kmaq Heritage Path Tour. (Side note - I highly recommend this, if you have the opportunity. They are still open until the middle of October, and will hopefully be offering these tours again next summer.) We had an opportunity to walk along a short trail and learn about all of the medicines found in the forest, as well as the culture, the way of life past and present, of our Mi'kmaq neighbours. Our cultural guides were both very knowledgeable and open to all of our questions, and they were both fabulous storytellers, making history and culture come alive for us.
The night before, at our Official Board Meeting, we had discussed how we as a church want to handle September 30, National Truth and Reconciliation Day. After much discussion around the circle, the Board decided that we didn't want to name it as a statutory holiday within our pastoral charge, because we didn't want to imply that it is a day off for our church - instead we want it to be a day when all of us can work towards reconciliation. To that end, we have a couple of things planned for that day.
Our Two Rivers Pastoral Charge Facebook Page will be posting all day long, sharing Indigenous voices - artists, writers, musicians. Each hour, there will be another voice shared, so be sure to check back frequently throughout the day.
Easter Circle in Saint John is planning an event at Saint John City Hall from 11:30-3, reading and reflecting on the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We encourage everyone to attend this event who is able to do so, and if you would like to carpool into town, we will leave from the Westfield United Church parking lot at 11am. You can read more about this event by clicking here. (And know that since the Covid situation continues to change, the event plans may need to change between now and then.)
And finally, we are continuing to post the Calls to Action on our Facebook page - the 94th and final call is scheduled to post on October 2.
And, on the theme of the Covid situation continuing to change, you will notice a couple of changes at church on Sunday:
You will be asked for proof of vaccination when you arrive at church, and masks will be required at all times.
While it was lovely to have the choir with us at Westfield last Sunday, the new masking rules mean that choir is on hold again for now. As we did through the summer, we will have two choir members with lots of space around them to lead the singing. For now (unless or until something changes), we will be singing as a congregation wearing our masks, since the studies on singing show that masks are effective at preventing the spread of the aerosols that singing produces.
And finally, for those of you who choose to attend worship virtually, you will also notice that we are no longer leaving the videos up for two weeks. We will continue to livestream the service at 11:15 on Sunday mornings, but if you miss the service, it will be like missing in-person worship. The reasoning behind this comes from the essence of what worship is (and isn't). Worship isn't entertainment that we passively consume like a TV show or movie. Instead, worship is an act that we engage in as a community. Worship is an event in time. We come together, virtually or in-person, to worship God. And so we do encourage you to join our community, either virtually on Facebook or in-person, so that we can support and encourage one another in our faith and raise our voices together as we worship God.
I also have a couple of "Mark your Calendar" announcements this week:
Westfield Stewards - a reminder of our meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 7pm in the Parlour.
Church in the World - a reminder of our meeting on Monday at 6:30 at Ruthie's house.
And we will be having a Blessing of the Animals Service again this year! Saturday September 2, at 10am, in the Westfield Prayer Garden. All pets (and their humans) are welcome at this event; and if your pet can't attend for whatever reason (e.g. my cats really don't like to travel), you are welcome to bring something of theirs for blessing - maybe a food dish, or a favourite toy, or their leash, or a picture of them. As always, for the safety of the other animals, please keep your pets under control with a leash or crate.
And I think that's it for today! I look forward to seeing you again soon, in-person or online. And never forget that God loves you, more than you can ever know.
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."