Musings, January 2nd 2019: Morning of a New Year

Happy New Year!  As we enter this New Year I want to say thank you for your kindness in sharing cards and gifts with Jennifer and I and our family. The gift from the Ministry and Personnel Committee was used to purchase our turkey from Dixon Meats.  The remainder was put toward what has become an annual tradition, a centerpiece with ornaments for each of the children. Thank you!

On the brink of this New Year I was drawn again to the words of Mary Oliver.  I was introduced to the poetry and Mary Oliver by Parker Palmer at a Courage to Lead event in Wisconsin back in 2014 – and I keep coming back again and again, especially at pivotal times in life

Mornings At Blackwater

For years, every morning, I drank
from Blackwater Pond.
It was flavored with oak leaves and also, no doubt,
the feet of ducks.

And always it assuaged me
from the dry bowl of the very far past.

What I want to say is
that the past is the past,
and the present is what your life is,
and you are capable
of choosing what that will be,
darling citizen.

So come to the pond,
or the river of your imagination,
or the harbor of your longing,

and put your lips to the world.
And live
your life.

As I pondered these words, reflecting on my own life and the opportunities and challenges that this year may present, I also found myself contemplating our life in community as Upper Sackville and Sackville United Churches.  What is past that we need to leave in the past?  What is the ‘present’ of our life?  What choices do we need to make together so that we might reach all that we are capable of?  Or, asked another way according to the poem, what lies in the pond, within the river of our collective imagination or the heart of our longing?

I am becoming ever more aware that we are changed and changing communities of faith.  In the last six months almost a dozen new people have joined our congregations and we continue to see new faces each Sunday. We must be ever more intentional in building community in sharing information and inviting folk to participate.  For example, folk who are new to the congregations need to know who the decision makers are, how decisions are made, how their contributions are valued and used.  Even more importantly, we need to share our personal stories of meaningful sprit-filled transformation and community – such story-telling invites deeper participation by others.

In the spirit of this learning, over the next eight Sundays (the season of Epiphany) there will be an opportunity in the midst of our Sunday Gathering to Speak of the Light, “arise shine, your light has come.” to share how you have been encouraged or inspirited and/or to identify an opportunity, idea or event that you believe may be inspiring or encouraging to others.



Looking Ahead

Monday was spent at the hospital and the Drew Nursing Home followed by some time in the office. Tuesday was a day off and today I’ve been working from home on the website.  Thursday I’ll be doing some pastoral visits and taking part in a Conference Call.

Friday and Saturday will be days off.

Sunday will see us gather at Upper Sackville United Church at 9AM and Sackville United Church at 11AM. We are also responsible for leading the service at the Drew at 3PM – plan now to come and take part and extend the circle of care to the residents there.


  1. A “Guid New Year tae ye Lloyd and mony mae ye hae”!!!!

    I trust you don’t need that translated??

    Don’t know if it was your “ Mornings at Blackwater “ that prompted the Scot in me?! For many years Charlie’s family spent their summer holidays at a small place called “Blackwater Foot” on the island of Arran which was only an hour by boat from our first pastoral charge at Largs in Ayrshire, Scotland!

    I appreciate your January musings on the internet – should probably mention that more often.

    I confess that last Sunday I felt rather ‘weepy’ at our service at Upper Sackville! Maybe it was because there were so few of us there that it had me realising that these folk are the “salt of the earth”. I seemed to realise anew that at least six of these good folk were my most valued volunteers during my many years as activity director at the Drew! I always termed them “the silent few” and they were worth their weight in gold!

    When we were in a charge, we often declared that the minister i.e. Charlie was often “the last one to hear of something going on in the congregation!! So…. not sure if anyone mentioned to you that two or three of “us gals” have been thinking of getting together for a regular Gals Bible Study. Jane Robertson and I used to be part of a rip-roarin! study group when our kids were young….. get a Presbyterian together with a Quaker and the sparks fly!!!

    As a comparative newcomer to our church I have not suggested this before now! I think that the last couple of Sundays you may have seen a few heads “getting together” after the service and chatting about something??!!! From past experience however I know that the minister is often the LAST one to hear of what is going on in HIS congregation!!!!

    Over the last few years I have met with another three gals from the Presbyterian church for weekly study during the winter so we are three weeks into our study of Corinthians and find the guide we are using excellent.

    This has led me to suggest that we tackle this same study with the gals in our kirk. I gave Jane my copy to look at last week and she likes it and is now passing it onto Bernice for her opinion.

    I will keep you posted re our decision. If it is a “go” I will send for copies – but – in the meantime will photocopy the introduction and pass round some of the gals. We’d really like to have a good session of study before everyone get spring fever!!!!

    Trust this venture will have your blessing!

    Yours aye, Jean


    • Hi Jean, I am glad to hear of the proposed study group and wish you well on it. If there is anything I can do to offer some support of this worthwhile venture please do ask! Happy New Year to you and Charlie – it always warms my heart to see both of you on Sunday!


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