Calling on Small Communities!

Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually. Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered…” (Psalm 105:4-5)

Hello, all! Greetings in the name of Christ, and blessings to you and yours.

            It seems that we have finally dried out a bit from the rain and near-constant gloominess of the past little while. The sunny days have proven wonderful for Jean-Luc and I to get to explore the communities a bit more and start making some more connections. We have been told by nearly everyone we meet that we are coming to the communities at a time that should have been extremely hectic. From the Fall Fair in Brussels to the theatre festival and Threshers weekend in Blyth, it is a shame to miss the highlights of these events (though we can always pray for better years ahead). Though we have found ways to safely celebrate the spirit behind these events. Jean-Luc and I thoroughly enjoyed the tractor parade in Blyth last weekend, and took in a few of the yard sales. I bought some more books, which I probably shouldn’t have, but it was great fun. And I look forward to partaking in the Brussels Fair parade this upcoming Sunday.

We were also blessed to have a great turnout and a faithful refueling at our first outdoor hymn sing, held this past Sunday in Blyth. We had a least a couple of dozen there, who were able to safely share in the fellowship and music many have been craving these past months. And we were able to collect some more donations for our school supply drive in partnership with True North Aid. We will have a second hymn sing on September 27th in Brussels, with both communities invited to attend and donate. Check out our website for more information!

These are just some of the ways our villages and our faith communities are supporting one another and adapting to the times, while still striving to make sure all are connected. One of the themes that emerge from our lectionary readings this week is care for the community. In providing manna in the wilderness for the Israelites (Exodus 16), God emphasizes that community care and connection is possible even in the most dire circumstances. And in the Parable of the Vineyard in Matthew 20, one of Jesus’ teachings is to enjoy the opportunity to work for and receive from God, no matter the numbers or timing of other workers present. We can take to heart that we can still be communities of faith, even while we continue discerning when and how best to re-enter our sanctuaries, particularly as cases rise once more and children go back to school.

We can still have and see our community and be in communion with God in the meantime. It just means that we at times have to take the initiative to safely meet with our siblings in the Spirit. If you are watching the Youtube services (which I hope you are finding spiritually filling), perhaps explore how you might be able to safely watch the service with a few others, and carve out that Sabbath time of rest and discernment, where two or three are gathered. We have printed copies of the services, sermons, and these community letters available at both churches. Perhaps you might be called to grab one and bring it to someone who might enjoy it, and offer to watch the service or read the materials with them. This is God’s work, that can be done with all of us. This is assuring a pastoral presence still at work in our congregations.

We can also begin to explore how best to encourage faith formation in smaller groups in safe ways. In terms of youth ministry, I am eager to hear from students and adults where our churches might be able to help best support them and “fill in the gaps” so to speak in this new school year. In terms of adult ministry, curious to know people’s desires or responses to either bible study, or “spiritual practice” studies (going through some of the individual or small group devotional practices that can help sustain us when gathering in large groups isn’t possible). Or perhaps you have heard about or feel called to suggest other forms of spiritual sustenance during this time.

I really want to encourage you to come to me or others in the church with ideas. I am starting to get to know and visit folks (and again please, please contact me if you have a specific need or desire for a visit), but I am still learning what focuses and needs our communities have. I know that quite often a call for ideas or opinions in letters like this get cricket sounds in return. But I and the boards of the congregations really want to make sure that what we do this fall will be sensible, safe, and spiritually fulfilling for people. And you know best your personal relationship to God and to God’s peoples, and how best we can grow upon that in this time. Email, call, send a message on our website. But please, collaborate with us in how best to be a congregation in this time. God hears our call for support and sustenance, but we need our voices in the mix.

Let us continue to live and serve as a community, caring for each other, caring for our neighbours, and allowing the Lord to take care of us. Your support and discernment are the heart of our communities of faith. Blessings, and have a wonderful weekend!

Yours in Christ,

Alex Jebson

Student Minister – Blyth and Brussels United Churches


Blyth Office Number: 519-523-4224

Brussels Office Number: 519-887-6259

Emergency Pastoral Number: call/text 705-344-3385


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