May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be always with you!
I had a good vacation last week - visiting family in Ontario with a baby shower for one of my cousins and a 75th birthday party for my father thrown in - but it is also good to get home. Both of my cats heard my car in the driveway and were waiting at the back door for me (though apparently they made friends with my neighbour who was feeding them, and were asking for belly rubs from her by the end of the week).
And now it's September. My Facebook feed has been full of back-to-school pictures from across the country. September always feels like a time for new beginnings, a time for a fresh start. New beginnings, fresh starts, new life - these are all at the heart of our calling as followers of Jesus. The promise of Easter is that new beginnings aren't only possible - they are always here! No matter what is in your past, resurrection is always coming.
Did you catch the blessing for the new school year that I shared on Facebook on Monday? It is a beautiful blessing for students, teachers, and families at the start of this third school year in the season of Covid-tide. In case you missed it, you can read the blessing by clicking here.
This upcoming Sunday is our church picnic - the event that has become the kick-off to the new church year. Last year, it was a slightly subdued affair, but this year we are planning for a joyful celebration by the river! Here is what you need to know:
We will be starting at 11 am - there will not be services in any of our buildings or on Facebook Live this week.
Location: 100 Admiral Lane in Long Reach. (If you are coming from Westfield, it is about 20 or 25 minutes from Brundage Point, depending on how long you wait for a ferry - you will want to give yourself a bit of extra time to park and get your chairs set up.) As you come from Westfield, Admiral Lane is on the left, a bit past the new Yip Cidery (the big red building). There will be balloons at the top, and down the lane to show you the way.
The service will be followed by a potluck lunch this year! We will be setting up the food on tables outside (to avoid crowding in the cottage), and everyone will be hand-sanitized before touching the serving utensils.
This will be a communion service - rather than dipping pieces of bread in a common cup as we have done at previous picnics, we will have individual communion cups, and our servers will be masked.
To bring: a lawn chair, plate and utensils, your beverage of choice, and something to contribute to the potluck!
In addition to the potluck, here are some other upcoming things around the pastoral charge:
Bible Study will be resuming next Wednesday, September 15, from 10-11:30am in the Westfield Parlour. We still have a couple of chapters left in the gospel of Mark - no previous bible study experience is necessary, and each week is "stand-alone" rather than building from week to week. Everyone is welcome!
Our September Broadview discussion will be on Monday September 13 from 10-11:30 in the Westfield Parlour. If you aren't a subscriber, you can still read many of the articles in this months issue by clicking here.
A reminder to Session and Official Board that our September meetings are coming up on Wedensday September 15 - 6:30pm for Session and 7:30pm for the Official Board at Long Reach. Watch for agendas and minutes to come from the chairs soon!
Sunday School - even though we don't have a Youth and Young Family Ministry Coordinator in place, the church has purchased a Sunday School Curriculum, and we are hoping to resume Sunday School on September 19. This year's curriculum is produced by the Go Project - a children's ministry of the United Church of Canada - and is video-based. Each week there is a video that the teachers can share with the students - it includes a bible story and a discussion, then has an activity that ties into it that the teacher can do with the students. The only thing that we are missing in order to begin Sunday School is TEACHERS! If you are interested in teaching Sunday School, please get in touch with me. Ideally, we will have enough volunteers that you can take turns so that you can still be in worship on the weeks when you aren't teaching.
And tied to the previous announcement - we are still looking for our next Youth and Young Families Ministry Coordinator. If you know of anyone who might be a good fit for this position, please pass the job description on to them - you can find that job description by clicking here.
Our Church in the World committee would like to invite you to join them on Saturday September 18 to attend the St. Mary's Pow Wow. This is a fabulous opportunity to learn, to celebrate, and to participate in a reconciliation activity close to home. The Grand Parade starts at 12 noon, with the Pow Wow running from 1-5pm. If you would like to carpool, meet in the Westfield United Church parking lot ready to depart by 11am.
And I think that's it for today. There are lots of announcements this week as so many things are kicking off for the fall. We all know that Covid is still around, and I thank you all of you who have been able to get your vaccinations for doing so - you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting the more vulnerable people around you (including all children) who haven't been able to be vaccinated or who have health complications that limit their immune response. Caring for and protecting our neighbours is part of loving our neighbours! For now, the church is planning as if the Covid situation is going to stay stable, but flexibility has been one of the lessons of this pandemic, so we aren't holding on to any plans too tightly are are always prepared to adapt as needed if the situation changes.
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."