September – From the Minister

Gathered here in the mystery of the hour, gathered here in one strong body

Gathered here in the struggle and the power—Spirit, draw near.

This has been a summer of great struggle, in our country, in our world, from the massacre at the Pulse night club in June to the killing of Philando Castile in July, and so many beautiful others, in Dallas, in Milwaukee and elsewhere, to the human catastrophes in Syria and Palestine to the seemingly more distant catastrophe of climate change—a summer of sorrows and struggle.

We come to church to hold all this, which is hard when the summer theme is “JOY” and September’s theme is “HOPE”— themes either wildly out of sync with grim reality, or… precisely powerful enough, radical enough, to gather weary spirits and restore discouraged souls. I think of the young members of our congregation who, with candles in their hands and tremors in their voices, spoke in vigils here this summer, with fierce and angry passion, their insistence that black lives matter, and that those lost in Orlando—mostly gay, lesbian, trans, queer, mostly Latinx and mostly young—will be remembered for their dancing, their resistance, and their joy. I think of church-wide task groups organized this summer, on gun violence, immigrant rights, racial justice, and closer to home, on pastoral care, bringing meals, music, prayers, and simple presence to other members in real need. I think with gratitude, through tears, of those who died this summer—Randy Castle and John Weaver—and the loving hands that hold their families. I look with wonder at babies dedicated, children growing like milkweed in the sun, weddings consecrated, kids off to college and the world … and I remember history begins right now.

We come to church to conjure joy and spin threads of durable hope out of nothing but love and lived faith. Gathered here every Sunday in the mystery of the hour, gathered in the struggle and the power, we sing, “Spirit, draw near,” and it does. Welcome back. Welcome home. We begin again on Sunday, September 11 at 9 & 11am—gathered here in one, strong body.

Sunday, September 11 at 9 & 11 am
Bring a small amount of water from your summer travels or your kitchen faucet as we celebrate the sacred sources of our lives. Music from the choir; Luke and Victoria speaking.

Sunday, October 2 at 4:30pm
All animals are welcome!
On this Sunday close to the Feast of St. Francis, creatures great and small are welcome as we celebrate the lives we share with non-human companions. Watch the Weekly News and Facebook for details. If you’d like to take part as a reader or wrangler, and help set up/clean up the potluck supper, contact Victoria Safford (; 651.426.2369 x101)

Sundays, Oct. 23-Dec. 11; 1-2:30pm
The most universal human experience we share is the death of a loved one. We will explore the often bewildering process of grief with readings, poetry, and sharing the personal experience of loss. Our hope is that ‘a grief shared will be a grief diminished.’ Even if you’ve been part of this group in the past, we welcome you to come again, as your journey of healing continues. Facilitators: Jo Ford, MSE and Sheryl Niebuhr, PhD. To register or for more information, contact Victoria Safford (; 651.426.2369 x 101).