January – From the Minister

I am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twentysix and thirtysix
…but i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love
and i leave to forgive me
- Lucille Clifton

sys-dividerI am writing on a snow-drifted morning, on the very threshold between one year and the next.

Looking back, even just a week behind, I am filled with gratitude for the dozens and dozens, literally hundreds, of members and friends who helped in so many ways to make beautiful holidays here: the Choir and the Youth Choir, Harmonia and solo musicians; friends who donated trees and wreaths, and others who wrangled them into place (and out again) ; readers, speakers, ushers, greeters; those who made coffee and baked and swept, and welcomed returning young adults home for Christmas Eve; snow shovelers, fire tenders, young drummers at the Solstice fire; folks folding orders of service and assembling, then disassembling, little candles; and everyone who wrote a heartfelt wish on a cut-out paper star.

I’m grateful to those from our church who went down to Minneapolis to stand for racial justice while all this was going on, and those from our pastoral care team who sat with others close to home.

This is a cherished community.

Looking forward, more gratitude, as the circle of community expands yet more. We are very close to launching the Special Campaign you approved by congregational vote in October.

Five committees, your Board, and many volunteers are already at work: the Special Campaign Committee, chaired by Dale Anderson; the Annual Pledge Committee, chaired by Jeff Nelson and Chris Nelson; the HVAC advisory group, which has been working for 3 years on a sustainable, affordable design; the HVAC Building Committee, which will oversee bidding and construction; the Financial Oversight Committee, chaired by Jack Juvette with Jane Harper as Treasurer; and the Board, with President Steve Kahn leading the way. Already, two dozen volunteers are in the process now of approaching more than 100 households for lead gifts in advance of the Campaign’s official launch – and the early pledges are deeply inspiring. When the Campaign opens officially in March, we will be more than ready to meet our goal to replace the old furnaces, pay down the mortgage, and fund a prudent increase to the annual operating budget.

On a snowy morning, I am filled with gratitude—for lovely old traditions, exciting innovations, solid longtime members who step up again and again and newer faces, newer hands, to carry forward so much good work. Hundreds of people, young and old, year in, year out, and all together make this church a holy place. As the Great Wheel turns our world once more, may the new year bring more light, more love, more joy and hope.