March 29th 2020
On March 27th the Executive received a memo from the Regional Executive Minister. Based on this letter we wish to advise the communities of Upper Sackville United Church and Sackville United Church of the following steps that are being taken to ensure that our ministries continue:
A Sunday Gathering Online will continue to be provided via Facebook Live through to the end of April. Lloyd and Jennie are making every effort to be creative in involving individuals in the service while respecting the need for social distancing. We will continue to partner with Carolyn Rushton, Minister of the Port Elgin, Baie Verte, Tidnish Bridge Pastoral Charge and remain open to the possibility of partnering with the Bayfield/Little Shemogue Pastoral Charge and their Minister Catherine Smith. Our schedule will be as follows:
Sunday April 5th, Palm Sunday @ 10AM
Friday April 10th, Good Friday @ 10AM
Sunday April 12th, Easter Sunday @ 10AM
Sunday April 19th, 2nd Sunday of Easter @ 10AM
Sunday April 25th, 3rd Sunday of Easter @ 10AM
Jennie and Lloyd will primarily be working from home. Jennie will be in the office on Monday morning from 9AM to 12PM. Jennie can process donations by credit card over the phone during this time. If you choose to come to the Church to drop off your offering envelope, or donation to the Food Bank, please enter one person at a time and do not enter either of the offices, or plan to use the washrooms. Offerings may be left in the offering plate on the pew and donations to the Food Bank may be left in the bin on the pew.
Lloyd will continue to provide leadership to some groups and activities via telephone, Zoom, email and social media. Lloyd will also continue to provide pastoral care using these same means and drive-by porch and balcony visits. As above, the Pastoral Charge has purchased a monthly Zoom subscription. If your group or committee wishes to access this tool please speak to Lloyd and he will assist.
All meetings, groups and events scheduled to take place at the Church are postponed indefinitely. Jennie will have the Annual Report booklet ready for distribution by mid-week next week. Annual meetings for each congregation will take place during the final 15 minutes of the first Sunday we are able to be together in person again, and the annual meeting for the Sackville Pastoral Charge will take place at or about noon at the town church on that same Sunday.
As one person commented the other day, “This has been the lentiest Lent ever.” Many of us are struggling with the demands of self-isolation and social distancing, together with the burden of uncertainty and anxiety over the economic toll on our own families and the country as a whole – not unlike the experience of those first followers of Jesus.
Those disciples, those first followers in the Way of Jesus, they navigated the days following the crucifixion of Jesus in isolation. They gathered in an upper room – likely eating what was available to them, too afraid to venture into the village for fear that they’d be seen as ‘one of them’.
Over centuries, we’ve turned the Easter story into a narrative of triumphalism – it was anything but. A small band of people, loosely bound together around this character Jesus, who loved them and helped them hold hope for each other – so much so that they’d come to love each other in ways they’d before never have imagined. They were going to change the world. Feed the hungry, heal the sick, welcome the outcast…
And then, Empire killed him – and seemed to win…
But over time, some women who had spoken with one they assumed to be the gardener and some men who’d walked and talked with a stranger, they each returned feeling encouraged and strengthened. They shared their stories and somehow in the sharing of stories and the breaking of bread in community they came to claim the work that was now theirs: feeding the hungry, healing the sick and welcoming the outcast.
Friends, let us walk these last few weeks of Lent and live into the promise of Easter – the promise of transforming love lived in community. The promise of a people transformed and transforming in hope. Let us, in these last few Lenten days, discern what is truly important – and let us live into that desire as Easter dawns among us and within us.
Minister, Sackville Pastoral Charge & Executive Members, Sackville Pastoral Charge