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Good evening, James Bay United Church,

Yesterday Marg Lunam and I had the pleasure of offering a presentation at the New Horizon’s “Friday Forum.” The invitation was issued months ago, to come and tell us about the Church and Thrift Shop. We would be one of three community organizations presenting that day. What a great experience for Marg and I to sit down earlier in the week over a cup of tea and wonder what we might have to say about us in just 15 minutes! It came together with remarkable ease. Our starting point was our “Who we are … becoming” statement that hangs in front of us week by week in the sanctuary … and then the stories that flowed from there of how those words have come to life. It was a powerful hour on Friday to hear also from Kay Kennishe of the James Bay Community Project and from Ted Ross of New Horizons … it was a wonderful witness to the amazing opportunities, quality services, and huge volunteer commitment at work in the neighbourhood for the strengthening and care and nourishing of people's lives.

Our own Judy Krzesowski of the Life Long Learning Team has been piecing together some opportunities for us based on the feedback the Team solicited for programs in the new year. Back by popular demand in February will be another series of Yoga sessions with Pascal, the same teacher we so appreciated last Spring. Please indicate your interest ASAP to Judy, who will be back in touch with you to establish the most suitable timing. Also in February, there will be a screening of The Secret Path with a facilitated conversation. Time and date soon to be confirmed. Watch for more initiatives on the way from this team.

It has been a while since I’ve sent out an update on Johan. He is making remarkable progress in his recovery, with likely another month to go on the rehab ward of the General Hospital. With the aid of an occupational therapist he is making some meals; he is transferring from his bed to his wheelchair without assitance; the strength and movement of his hand and arm is coming along. Having recently moved to a diferent room, he has a new phone number -- 250 727 7871 1527. It may happen sooner than we might have dreamed that he will land in among us on a Sunday morning!

Earlier in the week Marianne Love, Frances Jepson’s daughter sent me a note of appreciation, having come upon the reflection on our website from All Saints day. You may recall it was on that day we celebrated Frances’ life. Marianne included a photo of the marker on Frances grave at Royal Oak Burial Park that I am posting with this message.

Last but not least of all for now, a word about the Response Forms that were gathered in last Sunday. These were the forms that went out in a congregational letter in December, asking you to give consideration to your contribution of gifts, skills, time and money to the life and mission of JBUC in 2017. What an encouraging response so far! If you haven’t yet brought yours in, and intend to, we would still love to receive it -- on Sunday, during the week or in the mail. Any feedback you have to pass along about the letters or material that Cheryl and I sent out in December is welcomed.  

This coming week I am off to Long Beach for a retreat week. In past years it has been a most welcome and restorative time. Please know of my gratitude for the time made available to me again this year.

May you know the blessings of the Spirit with you this week.
Grace and Peace,