On Sunday morning I found myself back in the Upper Sackville United Church for the first time since January 3rd. It was familiar and comfortable, soothing even, to be in the wood stove warmth of that sanctuary of space. It was a joy to greet people and be greeted by them. And yes, there were moments of sadness and concern over those who were not present as a result of illness, injury and the ongoing risks related to the pandemic – but it was so very good to be together.
The Executive of the Upper Sackville United Church, for a variety of reasons, have made the decision to meet only once per month for the next few months – after which they will reevaluate and make a decision in respect to May and June before moving into their summer pause. We will next gather on March 28th (Palm Sunday) and April 4th (Easter Sunday) at 9AM on each occasion.
This pandemic has reminded us how important gathering in community is to us as people of faith. It is rare that I talk to a person who does not miss the sharing of news and stories across the backs of pews and greeting those they’ve not seen since the Sunday before. And yes, whether one can carry a tune in a bucket or not, we all miss the experience of raising our voice in song. So yes, while we could say that this familiar space (and other such places of sanctuary) remind us of what we’ve lost, maybe it would be more helpful for us to instead remember what it has given us: the experience of community that has enabled us to arrive at this point in time as strong and as healthy as we are.
Today I am working from home doing some planning and engaging in pastoral visits by phone until 3PM when I will head to Upper Sackville to be present for their Annual Congregational Meeting(s) and a Special Meeting to elect new Trustees.
The first thing on my agenda for Tuesday morning is an interview with Broadview about the installation of the harm reduction machine, followed by the Preacher’s Help Group. After lunch I’ll be in Moncton for a meeting and then at 7PM I’ll host the first of our Journey in Lent sessions (see below).
I’ll be in the office for the whole day on Wednesday. The morning will be devoted to working on the liturgy and in the afternoon I have a couple of visits scheduled followed by a Spiritual Journey Group and the Virtual Community Supper at 5PM (see below). At 6:30PM I will gather with the Sackville United Church Executive for their monthly business meeting.
Thursday will be a work from home day focused on crafting a reflection for Sunday. I’ll interrupt that work for a few hours in the afternoon to take part in a Zoom presentation on the Isolation of Seniors and then at 7PM I’ll host Beer & (no) Hymns at 7PM (see below).
Friday and Saturday will be days off and on Sunday we will gather at 10AM for our second Sunday Gathering in the Season of Lent followed by our second Wondering in the Wandering session. See below for links.
Weekly Lenten Events and Gatherings:
- Tuesday @ 10:30AM Preacher’s Help Group (Zoom): a group that meets regularly to consider the text for the coming Sunday and offering its collective wisdom to the preacher.
- Tuesday @ 7PM Small Group Study: Journey in Lent (Zoom): a 30 minute pause to ponder our spiritual pathway.
- Wednesday @ 5PM Virtual Community Supper (Zoom): a virtual table where you are invited to bring your meal and share in creation of community.
- Thursday @ 7PM Beer & (no) Hymns (Zoom): an opportunity for you to enjoy a beverage of your choice and share in conversation with others about the joys and challenges of the week thus far.
- Sunday @ 10AM Sunday Gathering (Facebook Live) *
- Sunday @ 10:45AM Conversation & Community (Zoom)
- Sunday @ 4PM Wondering in the Wandering (Zoom) A time of wondering and sharing for children and adults of all ages.