Letter from the Minister, Fall Newsletter 2023

Reverend Joan

Dear UCM community,

It has been thirteen long weeks since flood waters turned our lives upside down and forced us to close our building. During these weeks, dozens of volunteers, contractors, and our staff have worked hard to get us to this point. Now we are doing the final preparations to welcome our community back to 130 Main Street this weekend. Worship and spiritual exploration will resume in our church building at 10am this Sunday!

For nearly 160 years, our congregation has made its spiritual home in the center of Montpelier alongside the North Branch River and just a few blocks from the golden dome of the State House. As we return, we can imagine all the people who have entered our doors seeking comfort, peace, connection, support, intellectual stimulation, prophetic challenge, and hope. We join this long line of spiritual ancestors in returning once again.

Our return coincides with the seasonal shift towards late autumn as we head past the peak of the season’s vibrancy and brilliance and the days get noticeably shorter. This is a season for deepening our connection with ourselves and with one another in community. It is a season for deep and honest reflection and sharing. It is a season for rest and nurturing the inner spirit. It is a season of letting go and shedding in preparation for the stillness and quiet that winter invites into our lives.

For many in our community, the long-term recovery after the flood continues in this season. If you are needing pastoral or financial support in this time, please reach out and let me know. We will also be hosting a trauma response session led by the UU Trauma Response Ministry on Sunday, October 22 at 11:30am for your emotional and spiritual support. More details can be found in the fall newsletter.

There will also be opportunities in the coming weeks to engage more deeply in your spiritual journey as our spiritual exploration programs for children and youth continue, Chalice Circles begin for the fall/winter session, Circle Suppers and New UU classes are offered, and events like the Fall Rummage Sale and the December Holiday Fair provide ways to serve and connect with the broader community. I hope you make the effort to participate in the life of our congregation and in enriching your own spiritual life through our church’s ministries.

Lastly, I will share that I am preparing for two pilgrimages in the coming months that will deepen my own spiritual journey. From November 8-12, I will be traveling with about 40 other people, including two UCM members, on the Alabama Living Legacy Pilgrimage to visit historic sites of the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement and meet living heroes of the freedom struggle. Then, from December 10-January 12, I will be traveling to the Philippines for a five-week sabbatical which will include visiting family and places of ancestral significance and also visiting congregations and ministers of the UU Church of the Philippines. I will be sharing more information in the coming weeks about what you can expect for worship and other ministry areas while I am away.

It is good to be together in this season of transitions, fall harvest, and return. May we lean on one another for spiritual sustenance and community care in the days ahead.


Rev. Joan