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On Nurturing Community in the Midst of a Pandemic: Musings, January 11th 2021

Good Monday Morning,

I continue to be captivated by the events of Epiphany 2021 in which some seem to have ‘seen the light’ in respect to the dangerously divisive rhetoric of the soon to be be former 45th President of the United States.

Yesterday I reflected on the power of words. You can hear my words here. The sermon begins at about the 20 minute mark. I reminded us in part that

Words and actions are interconnected. They always are. Our words matter – at their best, words break silence and offer hope, at their worst they nurture hate and spread poison. Our words matter – at their best, they have the power to remind others of their best selves and call them to humility and faithful service, at their worst they appeal to our lesser angels and foster enmity and division. Our words matter – at their best they have the power to create, to draw forth the waters of new life, tears of compassion and solidarity and at their words, they serve to divide and destroy. Lloyd Bruce, January 10th 2021

This morning I came across an article in the New York Times, We Worked Together on the Internet. Last Week, He Stormed the Capitol, in which the author examines the role of social media in respect to inflammatory rhetoric. It is well worth a read.

You always think that evil is going to come from movie villain evil, and then you’re like — oh no, evil can just start with bad jokes and nihilistic behavior that is fueled by positive reinforcement on various platforms.” Ben Smith, January 10th 2021

It is remarkable that the way Jesus formed a movement was by not actively forming a movement – but by instead reminding individuals of their worth and inviting them to share a common table – a task that has becoming increasingly difficult for us as a Church as we navigate a world-wide pandemic and seek to follow the advice of scientist and medical professionals. But we are trying – trying to unite, trying to bring people together in ways that nurture hope and life and the sense of community.

On Wednesday evening from 5Pm to 6PM we will be kicking off another new venture, A Virtual Community Meal, in partnership with Moyra Boone, a member of the congregation, better known on Facebook as the Singing Cook.

You can participate by either contacting me at (506) 940-1151 or by noon on Tuesday and requesting one of six meals being prepared by The Singing Cook.  The meals will be delivered on Wednesday afternoon in time for you to participate in the Virtual Community meal via Zoom (Meeting ID 846 7127 2894 and Passcode usuc&suc).

Or, you can simply prepare your own meal for 5PM and participate in the Virtual Community Meal via Zoom (Meeting ID 846 7127 2894 and Passcode usuc&suc).

Either way, as we find our way again through the Orange Level of Recovery we hope that you will avail yourself of this, and other ways to connect with a community that affirms your worth and reminds you that you are loved and held in care.

If you have additional ideas for fostering community in the midst of the pandemic that we may be able assist with, please be in touch we me or the Chair of either of the Executives of either of our congregations!



Looking Ahead

This morning I am working from home, answering emails and responding to phone calls and making plans for the rest of the week. This afternoon I am off to Moncton to attend a meeting and offer pastoral visits at the two Moncton hospitals.

Tuesday morning will find me in the office preparing for the gathering of the Preacher’s Help Group at 10:30am followed by pastoral visit by Zoom for the remainder of the day.

On Wednesday morning I will gather via Zoom with other clergy of the region as part of our ongoing efforts to support and encourage each other personally and professionally. In the afternoon I will be delivering meals for the Singing Cook and conducting ‘distanced pastoral visits’ until I gather with others for the first Virtual Community Meal at 5PM. Hope to see you there!

On Thursday I will be putting the final touches on the liturgy for Sunday and trying to craft a sermon around one of the lectionary texts for this Sunday. There are a wealth of opportunities for preaching in all of these texts! It will be hard to choose just one – or the sermon could go on all afternoon on Sunday!

Friday and Saturday will be days off (provided the sermon gets finished on Thursday – not likely) and on Sunday we’ll gather at 10am via Facebook Live for our Sunday Gathering, unless we return to the Yellow Level of Recovery (again, regrettably, not likely).

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