Pastoral Letter from Rev. Nathan Wright
Minister of Worship and Pastoral Care
Dear Members and Friends of Nashwaaksis United Church,
It seems like forever since many of us have seen each other in person. As we all know, we closed our church building in mid-March and have moved our weekly worship services online since then. This has been done to comply with provincial public health measures, as well as to ensure the health and safety of our congregation. During this time, the work of the church has continued, albeit in a different form than many of us are accustomed to. Our Church Council continues to meet regularly via Zoom to take care of the matters that come before it, and the Finance Committee also meets in this way to carefully monitor our financial situation. I wish to express my deep appreciation to the members of both groups for their strong leadership during these unprecedented times. I give thanks to God for such capable people ensuring the continued ministry of our congregation.
One of the questions that I am frequently asked, and which might be on your mind as well, is: “When will we be able to worship in person again?” Unfortunately, I cannot give a simple answer with a specific date right now. Although the Province of New Brunswick has recently relaxed some of the restrictions related to indoor gatherings and church services, our congregational leadership and I feel that it is best to wait a while longer to see how the Covid-19 situation unfolds over the summer. You may see other congregations are offering in-person worship services and wonder, “Why not us?”
When our decision is made to return to in-person church services, it will require a number of protocols be put into place to ensure that we minimize the risk of virus transmission and that those who attend can do so safely. We do not want to rush into a decision to re-open, only to have to close again shortly afterward. We hope that in-person church services will be possible by the end of the summer or early fall and we will communicate the date to the congregation as soon as it is known. In the meantime, we will continue with our online services.
On a personal note, I want to let everyone know that I have been recruited to be a chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces. This will be a very part-time position with the Army Reserves, serving as the Regimental Chaplain for the Royal New Brunswick Regiment, headquartered at the Carlton Street Armoury in downtown Fredericton. I come from a family with a long tradition of military service (my father, both grandfathers, several great uncles on both sides of the family, cousin, etc.), so I did not hesitate to say “yes” when I was asked to consider serving our country in this way. As a result, I will need to complete the same training requirements as any other soldier, with the exception of weapons handling (chaplains are prohibited from bearing arms). I will be heading to Moncton for my Basic Military Qualification (basic training) course this summer. While I am away, Revs. Kay and Lisa will be providing pulpit supply, as well as some choir members leading one of the services. If you require pastoral care while I am away, please contact the church office and you will be put in touch with the local Minister providing coverage for me.
Our beloved Linda, the amazing office administrator and friendly smile that greets you when you come to the church, “officially” retired on June 30th. However, in light of the current Covid-19 situation, she has graciously agreed to continue in her position for a while longer. She will be working significantly reduced hours at the church and from home until the end of September. She will continue to ensure that the mail is looked after and all phone/email messages are picked up. Thank you, Linda!!
Our Church Council is forming a search committee to find Linda’s successor and hopes to have someone in place by September. If you know of anyone who might be a good candidate, please encourage them to apply. Application details will be available soon.
Many of you know that Priscilla Geisterfer, our Faith Formation Coordinator, had surgery earlier this year and returned to work shortly afterward. Unfortunately, her doctor has told her that she needs some more time to heal properly and has placed her on leave until the end of the summer. Please keep Priscilla in your prayers as her body continues to recover from surgery. We look forward to welcoming her back to work once she receives clearance from her doctor to do so safely.
SERVICE AT CAMP WEGESEGUM:
We are planning to have an in-person worship service and congregational outing at Camp Wegesegum on Sunday, August 23rd. The service will begin at 11:30am and we will have use of the camp’s facilities, including the swimming pool. MARK YOUR CALENDARS!! If you are interested in attending this service, there will be a sign-up process announced in a future communication.