Listen to Rev. Joan read this message.
As we return to our shared life of spiritual community to begin this 2020-2021 church year, our lives are marked by uncertainty and this coming year will be like any other this community has shared. There is no getting around this. But, there is getting through it.
We are all part of a long line of ancestors who have gotten through and made meaning with one another in this basic human endeavor of living through the joys and sorrows of our days – sometimes through very difficult days.
As we get through these days of turmoil and uncertainty, we bind together yet again in a community of shared commitments and values. We reach out for connection and deepening of relationship. We encourage one another in the practices that keep us grounded and centered and that can anchor us when most everything feels adrift.
A few days ago, I was sent a recording of our congregation singing together “Blue Boat Home” at last year’s Ingathering Sunday service. I brought my laptop up to the sanctuary and sat in its emptiness listening to your voice, our voices filling the space. I grieve the loss of sharing in worship together in our sanctuary. And, I find solace knowing that we are drifting together as kindred and companions guided by our shared mission as a spiritual community and the light we cast out to find our way.
This year, the Governing Board has identified three major priorities for us as a congregation: 1) Holding our UCM community together, 2) Widening our circle of concern, and 3) Deepening our service. The ministries and programs of our church for this year will all be connected to these broad goals.
While this church year will be unlike any other in any of our recent memories, I believe that it also holds the same invitation of other years. Each of you is invited to be part of something bigger than yourself. Each of you is invited to reflect on what truly matters. Each of you is invited to be loved and cared for and to offer love and care in turn. Each of you is invited to live your values with commitment. These things we do together.
Know that however, wherever, and whenever you can engage in the life of this community is okay. Some of you may need to really focus inwards and stay off virtual platforms to get through. Some of you may need to turn your attention outwards and to a broader scope of activism and engagement. Some of you may be ready to dive headlong into church life and join some new committees. All of you, in whatever ways you are choosing to show up in this community now, is welcomed.
Despite it all and because of it all, I am so grateful to be serving as your minister, and I hope to be a resource to you as we journey together this year. I will be resuming my daily phone messages, “Words for the Day” on Monday, September 14th. Call (802) 552-8544, Monday through Friday, to listen to a brief recording of poems, prayers, and words of meditation for spiritual sustenance.
Please don’t hesitate to be in touch to share with me your ups and downs and your ideas as we navigate these uncharted waters together.
With love and gratitude,