An Epiphany Pastoral Letter as We Enter Again the Orange Level of Recovery: January 6th 2021

Epiphany Greetings,

After a couple of physically distanced visits this morning, I settled into the office and began to read, as is my tradition each Epiphany, the poem by Jan Richardson, “For Those Who Have Far to Travel” (see below).

On this Epiphany, Jan’s words have new meaning for me, as the road forward has been altered significantly and in fact, seems to change day by day as a result of the pandemic. Yes, while we may be glad to see 2020 in the rear-view mirror, there is much that remains uncertain and we can be thankful “that we see it only by stages as it opens before us”.

As we gather in the light of Epiphany, with its decidedly orange tint in the Province of New Brunswick, there remains much to be thankful for.

Epiphany © Jan L. Richardson

First, I am thankful for each of you and the many ways you have endeavored to sustain community and care for your neighbours near and far in these challenging times. I am also deeply grateful for your continued regular financial support of each of the congregations of the pastoral charge and the Mission and Service Fund. Your commitment and dedication is testament to your faithfulness. Finally, realizing no list could be exhaustive, I am by times, overcome with appreciation for the opportunity to share in ministry with two communities of faith who are, in the words of Jan Richardson, willing “to be faithful to the next step” and “press on beyond distractions, beyond fatigue…”

To close, I am very aware that many of us are carrying significant burdens: illness, relationship challenges, loss of income, death of loved ones, to name but a few, and added to these challenges are the realities of life lived in the midst of a pandemic, isolation, limited social opportunities, masked faces, seemingly ever-changing rules and, the knowledge, that even with vaccines being distributed, that we have “far to travel”.

Please know that you are not travelling alone, that while you may be required to be physically distanced, even isolated, that there is no need for you to be emotionally or spiritual distanced or isolated. Reach out to one another using technology. Find creative ways to stay connected. Avail yourself of the services of those who see to offer support: clergy, counsellors and therapists – there is no shame is asking another to come alongside you for some of the journey. We travel best together!

This coming Sunday, as per the decision of each of the Executives of the congregations of the Pastoral Charge we will revert to gathering via Facebook Live at 10AM for our Sunday Gathering – please plan now to join us as we recall the gift of life that is ours in light and water.

A Blessed Epiphany to you,
Lloyd

For Those Who Have Far to Travel
 An Epiphany Blessing by Jan Richardson

 If you could see
 the journey whole
 you might never
 undertake it;
 might never dare
 the first step
 that propels you
 from the place
 you have known
 toward the place
 you know not.

 Call it
 one of the mercies
 of the road:
 that we see it
 only by stages
 as it opens
 before us,
 as it comes into
 our keeping
 step by
 single step.

 There is nothing
 for it
 but to go
 and by our going
 take the vows
 the pilgrim takes:

 to be faithful to
 the next step;
 to rely on more
 than the map;
 to heed the signposts
 of intuition and dream;
 to follow the star
 that only you
 will recognize;

 to keep an open eye
 for the wonders that
 attend the path;
 to press on
 beyond distractions
 beyond fatigue
 beyond what would
 tempt you
 from the way.

 There are vows
 that only you
 will know;
 the secret promises
 for your particular path
 and the new ones
 you will need to make
 when the road
 is revealed
 by turns
 you could not
 have foreseen.

 Keep them, break them,
 make them again:
 each promise becomes
 part of the path;
 each choice creates
 the road
 that will take you
 to the place
 where at last
 you will kneel

 to offer the gift
 most needed—
 the gift that only you
 can give—
 before turning to go
 home by
 another way.

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