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Good Grief!

Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.

Charlie Brown As the pandemic began a few months ago, Lynn and I tossed out the worship schedule—an elaborate spreadsheet with all of the key details about upcoming services. Over these past three months as we’ve considered sermon topics, we’ve felt we needed to take it week by week rather than relying on the longer-range plans we had put in place nearly a year ago. Many of us, of course, are living this way these days, as our best-laid plans must be cancelled, postponed, or completely reimagined to fit with our present reality. There is only so much any of us can control right now. (This hard fact is easier for some of us than others to accept.)

Even so, by the end of May, Lynn and I thought we’d try. We felt for the first time in months, we could brave charting out sermon topics for the coming weeks. And then the world was rightly shaken by the horrific murder of George Floyd. The response over these past weeks has been heartening. It feels, at last, there is reason for a cautious hope that this will be the long-overdue moment of reckoning with deeply entrenched racial injustices on both sides of the border. This moment is calling us not only to a heightened awareness, but to action and advocacy that affirms that the lives of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people truly matter.

My sermon for Sunday was originally titled “Good Grief”. I had been planning to speak to how the stages of grief are playing out for so many in the pandemic. I’ve now added an exclamation mark, though one hardly seems sufficient, and opted to take the sermon in a different direction, looking at what this larger moment is asking of us all. So, please join us for “Good Grief!” on Sunday. Karen Dunk-Green will be providing an update on our approach to managing the congregation through the pandemic. Juensung Kim will offer a poignant testimony. And music will be led by Dallas, Adam, and Gabrielle Byrnes.

Part of this call to action is an invitation for the congregation to endorse a new, non-partisan effort called a Just Recovery for All, a Canada-wide initiative seeking to use this time of national and global crisis to truly build a better world. Dr. Leslie Solomonian and I invite you to join us for a Congregational Conversation about this effort this Sunday, the 14th, at 12:30pm. The links and phone access information for this meeting will appear on our homepage on Sunday prior to the meeting.

See you on Sunday.

In faith and love,
Shawn

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