Dear Brothers and Sisters

Week 25… and like many of you I was quite taken aback that the calendar is now saying September! How did this happen? Where did summer go? Without the regular gatherings, travel, planned weddings (that were postponed, paused or pared down), soccer and baseball seasons, fall fairs to prepare for, etc… it has been (like most of life since March 17th) odd, strange, weird almost surreal.

Praise God this time of “pause” has invited us to consider what we’ve been doing by rote for as long as we can remember, and to “let go” of some of the items, events, patterns and programs that were over-crowding our lives. Praise God many senses and our awareness have been heightened, new ways of communicating have been adopted, new attention has been given to reaching out and remaining connected with family, neighbours, elderly relatives, isolated seniors… Praise God we have been open to seek out a “new way” (several ways, actually!) to be Church, to support our local church, to continue the ministry and mission of Jesus so “new life” arises and bears forth a witness of love that is a true blessing beyond measure!

Last Saturday Kilbride UC hosted a glorious wedding (the first in years!)! A couple with no affiliation to the faith community sought out the Church because they wanted to be married! They had planned a bigger event, but COVID put it on “pause”. They “let go” of their original expectations and sought out a “new way” to make their commitment to one another. They learned of the congregation’s new Safety Plan for using the church facility in these COVID days. They presented their plan to detail how they would keep their guests, the church community, and themselves safe (Love your neighbour as yourself). They worked beautifully with Maureen who presented their request and plan to the Logistics/Re-Opening Team for approval. And together, in love, “new life” arose! And as pots and pans banged, and the Kilbride village honked their approval the newlyweds begin the next leg of their life journey together, with the blessing and connection to the Kilbride faith community!

THIS is ministry! THIS is how we built relationships with strangers, who become neighbours, who become friends, who become our brothers and sisters… the possibilities are endless! THIS Is how we work in partnership, within the limitations of COVID and offer the welcome of Jesus! THIS is how we shine Christ’s light and hope into the world!

The possibilities are endless because our God IS still moving, working, shaping, stretching, blessing, seeking to redeem the world! Our God is NOT on “pause”. God has not “let go” of the dream for equity and right relations… for harmony and peace for all. God IS inviting us to imagine “new ways” to be church, to reach out, to change, drop, adapt, adopt, new ways of communicating, making connections, being present with one another, serving one another… so old ways, old habits, old programs, old events we have done since “Shep was a pup” can be revived… renewed… refreshed… or can die (having beautifully served their original purpose) so “new life” and new ways of being can emerge!

It’s rather exciting if we allow ourselves to dream big (because this is what God is doing!)! Yet we cannot lose sight of the need for us to be with… be present… walk with… support and care for the many who are struggling with change, still isolated from COVID, are grieving losses, are facing health challenges, are fearing or feel great anxious about school returning, job stability, the wave 2 the health and science professionals are forecasting, the upcoming US election, and more!
If there was ever a time for us to truly be kind, be just, be caring, be welcoming, be loving… the time is NOW!

We are called to BE the Church!

May we become more fully present and relevant in the communities we serve by seeking the Spirit’s movement in and amongst us… dreaming big… being observant and responsive to the needs of others… partner with grace and love… bring forth new life with God, with our neighbours, with our communities, within ourselves!

Have a beautiful week!

In Christ’s Love & Service,
Sue

Links

Links from The United Church of Canada:

United Church of Canada Essentials – note the Youth Project!!!

Anti-Racism Page – The United Church of Canada

From the National Church
https://www.united-church.ca/covid-19 or

From our Horseshoe Falls Regional Council (HFRC)
https://hfrcucc.ca/
https://hfrcucc.ca/rcevents/news/

Latest Newsletter from HFRC

Worship Offerings and Opportunities

THIS SUNDAY we celebrate “communion”. You are invited to bring a candle, a bread and wine element of your choosing to use when you worship! Sunday’s worship bulletin, message, full service, puzzles are attached for your engagement, or link in directly through the Kilbride or Carlisle UC websites!

The weekly link to on-line worship experiences from across Canada (431)!

AND NEXT SUNDAY PLEASE JOIN US!!!

September 13th we will be enjoying a JOINT PARKING LOT WORSHIP at NOON!
You are invited to bring your backpacks, book bags, briefcases, knitting bags, choir bags, music and meeting bags, craft bags, etc. so we can bless them as a reminder of the ministry that is ours… that continues whether worship is paused or not! And we will participate in Sean McBryde’s confirmation; welcoming him as a full member of Carlisle UC through re-affirmation of his baptismal vows!

Please know a regular worship service will be provided for folks who cannot attend! It will contain many of the elements (music, readings, prayers) as our Confirmation Service! We trust the Holy Spirit, that moves in all times and spaces will connect us and uphold us as we mark this special day in Sean’s life and the life of our pastoral charge!

This week’s prayer for the journey –

In this continued time of COVID-19, we pray:
When we aren’t sure, God,
help us be calm;
when information comes
from all sides, correct and not,
help us to discern;
when fear makes it hard to breathe,
and anxiety seems to be the order of the day,
slow us down, God;
help us to reach out with our hearts,
when we can’t touch with our hands;
help us to be socially connected,
when we have to be socially distant;
help us to love as perfectly as we can,
knowing that “perfect love casts out all fear.”

For the doctors, we pray,
for the nurses, we pray,
for the technicians and the janitors and the
aides and the caregivers, we pray,
for the researchers and theorists,
the epidemiologists and investigators,
for those who are sick,
and those who are grieving, we pray,
for all who are affected,
all around the world…
we pray
for safety,
for health,
for wholeness.

May we feed the hungry,
give drink to the thirsty,
clothe the naked and house those without homes;
may we walk with those who feel they are alone,
and may we do all that we can to heal
the sick—
in spite of the epidemic,
in spite of the fear.

Help us, O God,
that we might help each other.

In the love of the Creator,
in the name of the Healer,
in the life of the Holy Spirit that is in all and with all,
we pray.

May it be so.

—A prayer during times of COVID-19 by the Right Rev. Richard Bott

In whatever you are facing, know you are NOT alone!
May this version of “You Raise Me Up” inspire you and every possibility within you!

Peace,
Sue

Sue Cowan
Supply Minister,
Carlisle-Kilbride United Churches