“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
Greetings, all! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
These are frustrating times that we are in. Just when it seemed that progress had been made, we are back into another round of tighter regulations and reduced gatherings. It may be the wrong time of year to talk about waters and firestorms (it would be more fitting to talk about ice storms), but it does feel like we’re traveling through another bout of bleakness.
But there are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, God travels with us. We are accompanied and guided by One who cares for us, who endures with us, and who promises better things to come. The One who can calm storms at times is also the one that goes out in the storm to seek the person in need. Secondly, we need to continue to care for the most vulnerable in our communities, and keep our eyes open for others bracing in the storm. And finally, we need to trust in the Spirit and ourselves to pivot as Covid requires; we’ve been getting better and better at it all throughout the pandemic. With this in mind, here are a few updates:
WORSHIP – Worship will be going back to pre-recorded services. These services will be available on Youtube, our website, and our Facebook page on Sunday mornings. Please spread the word! Limited numbers of print materials will be available. If you can think of people who might want them, let me know!
FELLOWSHIP – Since in-person social gatherings are restricted, we are re-starting our Wednesday morning fellowship times. Join me each week on Zoom for a short devotional, followed by a time of fellowship. If you’re looking for some good conversation and a chance to see people’s faces, join us! Zoom link will be sent via email.
OUTREACH – Our joint mission for the next few months is a Global Covid Vaccine Project. Knowing that this pandemic will not be over until it is over for all, our congregations will be collecting monetary donations to aid the United Church of Canada’s Covid emergency response. Money will be going towards getting vaccines to the Global South, and also food, shelter, and other medical care needed as a result of disruptions from Covid. Collection will take place from now until Easter; send your donations to the treasurer of either congregation.
PASTORAL CARE – For the next few weeks, I will be refraining from doing any in-person visiting, aside from pastoral emergency and funeral situations. I will be reaching out instead by phone. If you know of anyone who could benefit from a phone call or video call, be sure to let me know. I’d rather hear twice than not at all!
FAITH FORMATION – Plans are on hold right now for Confirmation classes and group studies. However, we are hoping that Lent will offer more opportunities for in-person studies and activities. If you know of any teens/adults who would like to take part in Confirmation, or topics that you would want to explore in a bible study setting, be sure to let me know.
- Many thanks to our Lay Pastoral teams who are checking in with congregants and friends, and making sure that they are connected to the happenings of our congregations. If you know of someone who might enjoy a call, or who may need pastoral care from Alex, be sure to reach out!
- Thank you to those who have been asking about meat pie orders for both our congregations. While the latest variant has made us pause our pie-making for the time being, we will let you know when we can take orders.
- We will be postponing our Confirmation classes until likely spring or summer. We will be exploring online, in-person, or hybrid options for sessions, and potentially be collaborating with other congregations as well. These classes are geared towards teenagers, but any adults are also welcome to join into these sessions. If you know of others who are interested, please let Alex know!!
- Our annual congregational meetings, originally scheduled for late January and February, have been cancelled for the time being. We will let you know when new dates have been selected, ideally when it is safe for us to gather in-person again. Budgets for 2022 have already been passed by the Official Boards.
- That being said, please get all reports for the Annual Report into either Nancy Denham (Blyth) or Margaret Bakker (Brussels) as soon as possible.
January thru Easter – Global Covid Vaccine Project. Monetary donations for support getting vaccines to areas of the world that need it most. Donations can be sent to the church treasurers.
Thursday January 6th – Day of Epiphany Word and Song service available on Youtube.
Sunday January 9th – Baptism of Jesus/First after Epiphany service available on Youtube.
Wednesday January 12th – Zoom Devotion and Fellowship Time (10:30-11:30 a.m.); check email for Zoom link.
Sunday January 16th – Second after Epiphany service available on Youtube.
Blessings and Christ’s Peace be with you all!
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
Feature Photo by Zac Durant on Unsplash