August – From the Minister

I’ve been watching the images from Pluto this month, and thinking about distance and proximity, the spaces between planets, and coherence. What holds things in their orbits? What makes a group of planets (and their sun and moons, and moods, their quirks and quarks) a solar system, not just a random bunch of big orbs in the sky?

What holds us in our orbits, binding us across our differences, our strangeness, loneliness, distractions, into a community, a congregation, and not just a random bunch of people passing through?

We’re held by covenant: the promises we make to one another, but mostly to ourselves, about the kind of people that we mean to be, the kinds of persons, one by one, within intentional community. We’re bound, by choice, to the history of our congregation, and to the liberal religious experiment within which it dwells, and we are bound to its future, mindful that we shape it with our own hands as we go.

We’re held as well by more practical connections, and summer is the time when staff and lay leaders plan and ponder all the tangible links that help us to cohere: the newsletter and weekly email blasts, social media and sermon podcasts, bulletin boards and tables in the social hall, even posters on the wall. How can we connect 1000 children, youth, young adults and elders, and everyone in between, to one another and to our larger purpose? How can we stay clear and focused, sharing enough information, but not so much that the news from church just adds to the streaming cacophony of everybody’s over-crowded inbox?

Beginning in September, our monthly newsletter will take new form: it will be shorter, with deeper and more thoughtful articles linked to our monthly Sunday themes; there will be more pictures, and more live links to information on our website. The weekly insert in the Order of Service (currently, “The Purple Pages”) will expand and be more organized, full of current news. These publications will be available both online and in print. A new online monthly journal called Show Your Soul will feature the writing and artwork of this congregation’s wondrously creative members and friends, and it, too, will follow the cycle of monthly themes around the year. (I hope you’ll contribute! Click here to learn more.)

How can we connect more meaningfully, making space in busy lives to deepen friendships, be of service, and to grow our souls? What does it mean to be a member of a church community, one small planet in relation to the others?

This year Wednesday nights will shift their shape to make the mid-week dinner more inviting to families with young children, to people coming straight from work, and elders, and the rest of us. We’ll be eating in the Atrium, a more spacious, gracious, light-filled space, surrounded by gallery art, and every Wednesday after dinner there will be a 50-minute forum in the Social Hall, led by members or ministers on a variety of topics, with concurrent programs for children. The Choir will still practice, and committees will meet from 7:30 – 9:00. You’ll see this schedule printed soon. To me it feels more deliberate, more exciting, more accessible, and ultimately simpler—a welcome island just where we need it, in the middle of our week.

Like stars and planets, we are held together by relationships. Gravity keeps our feet on the floor, but we’re connected also by bonds of grace and deep intention. You’ll hear more soon about communications and fall programs, ways to connect with one another, with generous service, and with your heart’s own longing for the sacred. For now, may your summer days be filled with light.

With gratitude,

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