September 2023 SSUC Newsletter
Reflection by Fran
The Spark of God
This summer, wildfires are making news headlines, from coast to coast to coast. We hear of numerous communities that have been evacuated. We hear of families who have lost everything after fire roared through their homes and property. According to the current National Wildland Fire Situation Report*, over 15 million hectares of land have burned, with 226 fires still uncontrolled, 92 being held and 189 controlled. The numbers are staggering. People, families, whole communities are reeling with shock, grief, sadness, and even anger. As we acknowledge their loss and pain, we look to scripture for possible comfort and hope.
Jeremiah, a Hebrew prophet, uses the image of fire as the presence of God burning within him. At first, he rejected this spark of love. “…there is in my heart as it were, a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9
Gradually, he came to accept God’s love for him, letting this tiny little spark grow and blaze within him. He used this flame to speak for truth and justice within his community. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica**, his spiritual leadership helped his people to survive disasters, including the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BCE and the exile of many Judaeans to Babylonia.
Fire starts as a tiny spark. When we begin to hear God’s voice and love inside us, we may want to keep the flames tiny, consoling, warm and glowing like a summer’s campfire. But then, like Jeremiah, with the right conditions often unknown to us, the fire of God’s love is fanned into a huge fiery force. It challenges us; it changes us; it requires us to move out of our comfort zones into the unknowns and insecurities of change and possibility.
Towards the end of his life, Jeremiah, still with the fire of God in his heart, brought hope to his people. He purchased some land and gave it all away saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Houses and fields and vineyards shall again be bought in this land.” Jeremiah 32:15. This was one of many ways he expressed hope for a bright future for all.
Professor Lori Daniels, Dept. of Forest Ecology at University of BC ***, writes that fields of fireweed are now beginning to blossom in the burnt-out areas. She says that seeing fireweed is the first sign that an ecosystem is recovering. The fireweed plants numerous tiny seeds spread quickly and easily in the wind. The seeds take advantage of the open spaces and increased access to sunlight, and use nutrients in the fire’s ash to germinate. Like the prophet Jeremiah centuries ago, Lori Daniels’ research offers hope for change and renewal to people and communities affected by this year’s wildfires.
In my humble opinion, only God knows the “big picture” of the rampant summer wildfires, the “Why”. But may we take to heart Jeremiah’s interpretations of fire, as God’s voice speaking to us, to be open to change, to be open to challenges, and to be open to renewal.
Picture from Pixabay
*** CBC: How fireweed offers hope amid BC’s worst wildfire summer, Aug 6, 2023
10, 24 – Rev. Karen 17 – Rev. Beth Brehaut
Sept. 10th – All Ages Service with Corn Boil & Hot Dogs outside following the service.
Oct. 3rd – Celebrating World Communion Sunday
September Meetings (in Fellowship Room)
Tues., 12th, 7:00pm – Spiritual Nurture
Tues., 19th, 2:00pm – Anne Unit
Wed., 20th, 7:00pm – Unified Board Meeting. Please email your committee reports to Cindy
Harman at ccharman16@gmail by Friday Sept. 15th
Tues., 26th, 2:00pm – Study and Support Group
SSUC Study and Support Group – Come as you are, meets twice a month starting Tues., Sept. 26th at 2pm in the Fellowship Room. This year we will be using Joyce Rupp's Book, May I Have This Dance, which offers seasonal spiritual reflections, supplemented by online meditations/ted talks/etc. No preparation is required for this group, simply come as you are and participate as you feel able. The purpose of this group is to offer support to one another as we explore the spiritual issues of our day to day lives.
All Ages Story-Based Services – begin again this fall on Sunday September 10th with community time and food afterward. These services will be offered once a month and are simplified so all ages can enjoy being together in worship.
Sunday Counters, A Note from Bev Noonan – I am having surgery on my foot in September and will not be available for counting until the new year. Please call me if you are unable to count so I can find a replacement for you, my numbers are 658-2040 or 439-2352. Thanks for your help on Sundays.
Michelle Holmes (902-314-4048) and Barb Clement (902-393-3816) will be visiting in September. If you or someone you know would like a visit, please call.
At our upcoming meeting Sept. 12th, we will be planning services and events for the Fall, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany seasons.
Community & Regional Events
Author Celebration Open House – You are invited to celebrate with Rev. Karen the completion of her fifth novel. Join her at home 1561 Route 225 North Wiltshire for cake and punch Sunday September 10th 2:30-4:30pm. Books will be available for sale/signing $22 each.
Camp Abby – The Annual Camp Abegweit Fundraising Dinner will be held on Saturday, September 16 at 6:00. There will be the very popular cake auction hosted by Jim Blanchard and a silent auction with a variety of items up for bid. The meal this year will be soup and biscuit, roast beef dinner with all the trimmings & strawberry shortcake for dessert.
100 sit-down meals sold and 50 take-out meals. The cost is $40.00 for adults and $20.00 for children under 12. To get your ticket contact Sharon Howatt at 902-432-9193 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tickets can be paid for at the door or by sending the money to: email@example.com
Tatamagouche Centre – Oct. 19, Licensed Lay Worship Leaders Gathering. Additional training, increase skills, review policies & updates and provide a sense of shared community. For more info go to tatamagouchecentre.ca and click on the program & events icon.
“Someday this will all be yours,” I tell my cat, waving my arms wildly at a few Amazon boxes by the front door.” – @cloudypianos
South Shore United Church P.O. Box 4, Crapaud, PE C0A 1J0
Office: 902-658-2863 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Karen email@example.com