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First clematis bloom - photo courtesy of Jerry Filipski  

Reflections from Don and Pat Nicoll

Greetings to our church family, some of whom we have not seen since we gathered for the last church service March 15th, and we are missing them very much. We have been privileged to meet with some of you on Wednesdays, or at small work bees at the church from time to time, or others by phone or email, but it is not the same.    

Tentatively we will be allowed to meet starting mid-August, providing we meet all the reopening protocol requirements. There is a team working diligently to make sure we meet all those requirements, so everyone can feel safe, if they choose to return to St. Mary’s, once it opens.  

While we have been away there have been small groups, and individuals, working very hard to keep our church and grounds looking beautiful with planting, pruning, weeding and mowing, as well as seeing that everything is running smoothly and in good repair.  

We pray for an end to this virus, as we are sure everyone does, which means finding a vaccine so everyone can be assured immunity. We pray for our church family that you stay safe and secure in knowing that someday we will return to some kind of normal again.                

Before we end, I (Don) would like to share something I received, via email, that really resonated with me and made me think. The original author has been lost through the email being forwarded so many times, he was/is a fisherman in Oregon, but the message is very heart warming.  Bless you all.

I heard a story about barnacles tonight that is worth sharing, and then, of course, I will put my own spin on it. Hopefully, my spin will prompt you to examine your own barnacles! Barnacles are little sea creatures that attach themselves to all sorts of things like anchors, boat hulls - even the tails of a whale. Once attached, they begin to form a very hard shell around themselves for protection. This very hard shell is extremely difficult to scrape off whatever it is attached to. When the hull of a ship is covered in barnacles, it creates drag and slows down the ship's progress through the water. Portland, Oregon is quite a haul from the Pacific Ocean. It doesn't sit right there on the coast like San Francisco, which provides easy access for sea going vessels. Captains of ships have to go an extra-long way to go up the Columbia and Wilamette Rivers to reach this fresh water port. It's really out of the way, yet hundreds of ship captains choose to go there to be in the fresh water because the barnacles can't live in fresh water, so they just fall off or are easily scraped off. If the ship were to stay in salt water, the barnacles would thrive and at some point, the ship would need to be put into dry dock, where a very lengthy, difficult, expensive process is undertaken to scrape off all of the barnacles.

I am sure there are many metaphors for this interesting story; I want to share the one that came to my mind. If we were to think of ourselves as the ship sailing through life, and the barnacles as bits of things that people have said or done to us, this story can provide some wise direction for us. When someone says or does something that doesn't feel very good - perhaps, it's hurtful or unkind or even untrue, it can stick to us.  Sometimes we let these things, that are stuck to us, harden. They can become nearly impossible to remove or scrape off. It requires a great deal of effort to remove these feelings from ourselves. Having barnacles attached to us slows us down. We don't glide through life as easily when we have old junk or barnacles stuck to us.  It creates a real drag!

We can't avoid coming into contact with these little creatures (words or actions that are unpleasant), but we certainly don't need to let those things stick and harden so that they need to be painstakingly scraped off. We need to scrape or flick them off of us before they get a chance to harden! Sometimes we are the ship's hull with barnacles attached, and sometimes we are the ones that are creating the barnacles on someone else. In either case, this story would say to me that we need to take care of things sooner rather than later. It also suggests that we sometimes need to take the time and effort to get to fresh water where they can no longer survive and get a clean hull - ready to sail smoothly.

PQ - What barnacles are attached to you that are creating drag and need to be scraped off?

PQ - What barnacles have you attached to someone else's ship and you need to go and help them scrape it off?

PQ - What would fresh water be for you? Where can you go (metaphorically) that the barnacles can no longer live?

A closing prayer from Pat: Dear God, you have created this fragile planet and have given it into the hands of your children. Help us to make good decisions concerning the land, the bodies of water, the air we breathe and all your children.

We are so thankful that you have given us wise, caring and compassionate people to make decisions concerning our safety from COVID 19, and also all those who care for patients who do contact the virus.

Please care for all those who are on our hearts, those who are ill and those who need to feel your hope.

We ask all these things in the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ.  Amen


We will be needing additional givings counters as we move forward with the opening of St. Mary’s. We will follow the new COVID safety protocols and provide training and fellowship with this rewarding volunteer position.  If you feel moved to explore this, please contact Barb W.  

We also need volunteers to stain the MEMORIAL GARDEN arbor – please contact Fred H if you can assist in any way.