The end of May means we are on the cusp of summer. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, on this body of land called Turtle Island by our Indigenous siblings, the days are getting noticeably warmer and longer. And, as June unfolds there are many milestones to mark.
Pentecost marks the beginning of the great growing seasons in our area – this year we mark Pentecost next Sunday, on June 5th! We look forward to Sunday School Gathering in-person with us for both the service and the BBQ which will follow.
If you’ve not already done so, call the Church Office or email me and let us know what you’d life off of the BBQ: beef burger, Italian sausage or a veggie burger or sausage. There be salad and lemonade and cake – and we hope you’ll be there too! Pentecost is also celebrated as the Birthday of the Church! As June 3rd is Jennie’s birthday we’ll use this opportunity to celebrate her birthday too!
June also marks the beginning of PRIDE month for many communities – and while Sackville celebrates PRIDE in September (in order to engage with the Mount Allison community) on Sunday June 3rd, 2018, the congregation of Sackville United Church declared itself an Affirming Ministry of the United Church of Canada. In September of that same after being recognized as an Affirming Ministry a celebration was held in conjunction with PRIDE activities.
June 12th is named Trinity Sunday in the Calendar of the Church year – and the readings of the Revised Common Lectionary offer an opportunity to ponder our images for God. While I have long struggled with trinitarian language, I am grateful, despite its imperfections, that the images of Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, invite us to speak of our experience of Holy Mystery in relational terms, not conceptual terms.
Saturday June 18th is the date for the Cumberland Pride Celebration. A sign-up list is on the Circle of Service Board if you’d like to get involved in putting an entry into the parade. June 19th will be marked by some as Father’s Day.
June 21st is Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year, the first day of summer and in Canada we mark this day as National Indigenous Peoples Day. The Rev. Murray Purden, Executive Minister, Indigenous Ministries and Justice of the United Church of Canada offered these words of the Church in a communique to the Church last week:
As we come to June, we are in Indigenous History Month, with celebrations of National Indigenous Peoples Day and ceremony to mark the Summer Solstice. It is a time to celebrate the many Indigenous Peoples and Nations of this land.
We also remember the time beginning May 2021 that brought “Truth” to the forefront in the path of reconciliation. Let us remember the children and loved ones lost to Residential Institutions. The children of the unmarked graves across Canada, the children who went through that system, the ongoing impact on all our generations to date. Let us remember our loss as a people of many Nations and beliefs.
But let us also sing songs of honor for our lost loved ones, our lost identities and languages that we are so desperately trying to hold onto. With our songs and prayers and dances, our spirits will rise once again.
For we can carry on in our many ways as many Nations on this land gifted from our Creator. We can share in a good way our stories of our rich heritage, culture, survival and way of life. And with our vision, our stories, our past and present, the good and the bad, we can be proud to be human, to be loving people, in our own ways.
We can then welcome others to live together once again, with hope for generations to come, as people of the land. We are real, we are proud, we are who Creator made us to be.
During the month of June, I will be using several resources from the Indigenous Church to assist us in marking Indigenous History Month and preparing us for the blessing that is summer – including strawberries!
I remember hearing former Moderator, the Very Reverend Stan McKay tell the story of the first fruit – the strawberry – saying “it is a special fruit from the Creator…because it's the first one that appears in the beginning of the new year… The berries hang just above the ground, much like our newborns clinging to the mothers…”
Perhaps this year you will have an opportunity take part in one of the many Powwows taking place across New Brunswick. If you’d like an enjoyable summer read on the theme of Indigenous spirituality, I cannot recommend Richard Wagamese’s book, One Drum enough!
On Sunday June 26th Sackville United Church will shift to our Summer Sunday Gathering time of 10AM. This Sunday will be the last one I offer leadership at until Sunday September 11th when we return to 11AM.
While I will be taking July as vacation and August as 1/3 of my Sabbatical, I will be officiating at three weddings and will remain available to respond to pastoral emergencies. Thank you again to the Worship and Sanctuary Committee for their work in recruiting individuals to offer leadership for our Sunday Gatherings over the summer and to all of those who have stepped forward to offer leadership!
Looking to the Week Ahead
I am in the office this morning responding to phone calls and emails. This afternoon I will be to the hospital and have one visit booked.
On Tuesday morning I will gather with the Preacher’s Help Group for our regular Lectionary Study as we consider the text for the coming Sunday: Genesis 11:1-9, Psalm 104:24-34, 35b, Acts 2:1-21 and John 14:8-17, (25-27). Ideas for sermons are always welcome!!
Tuesday afternoon will be spent preparing for the Grounding Meeting on Wednesday with the Executive and on Tuesday evening I will take part in the Webinar offered by the Regional Council in preparation for the upcoming regional meeting.
Wednesday morning, I will be in the office bright and early for a meeting after which I will take part in the Seniors Sharing the Table – remember all are welcome to come and share in coffee and conversation at 10AM each Wednesday morning! On Wednesday evening I will be meeting with the Executive for their last Grounding meeting before they pause for the summer. We’ll be exploring governance and the spiritual practice of discernment.
Thursday will be a work from home day as I finalize the liturgy and reflection for Sunday.
Friday will be a day off and I am looking forward to a special meal (lobster) with some special people that evening!
On Saturday morning I will be officiating at the funeral of Marion Murray, a former resident of Dorchester, after which I will travel to Rexton with her family where Marion will be interred at the St. Andrew’s United Church Cemetery.
And on Sunday we will gather to mark the celebration of Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit among us, the birthday of the Church, with a BBQ and cake! I hope that we will have good weather and you present with us!
The image above is the 2022 Commemorative Image for National Indigenous History Month: Among the various visual elements illustrating Indigenous cultures, the sun (the summer solstice) is at the centre which is at the heart of the festivities. The First Nations, Inuit and Métis, as well as the four elements of nature (earth, water, fire and air), are represented in the image. The whole visual is supported by a multicoloured smoke*, reminding us of Indigenous spirituality but also of the colours of the rainbow - a symbol of inclusion and the diversity of all First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and their members. The eagle represents First Nations. The narwhal represents Inuit and the violin represents Métis