I am writing this Moderator’s Memo on the cusp of the Autumnal Equinox, one of the two days of the year when the hours of light and dark are almost equal (I’ll explain use of the word “almost” in a bit). As you read this, we will have made the passage from astronomical summer to fall.
For those of us who particularly love summer, this passage to shorter days, longer nights, and colder temperatures brings with it its own set of challenges. At the same time, I find it helpful to be reminded that where there are challenges, there also are opportunities – opportunities for reflection, reordering, growth – and balancing those things in our lives that might have gotten a little (or a lot) out of sync.
It was this concept of balancing that was a focus of Pastor Ellen’s Autumn Equinox Retreat on Saturday the 21st. For those of us who were able to participate, the afternoon provided an opportunity to consider how and where our lives might have gotten out of balance and what things we might want to let go to enable us to better achieve that balance – much as the trees let go of their leaves as fall progresses.
At the beginning of the afternoon, Pastor Ellen encouraged us to set our intentions for this fall season – specifically “intentions for a fall grounded in compassion for others and ourselves.” (emphasis added) This approach particularly resonated with me. Whether you were able to join the retreat on Saturday or not, I think setting our intentions in this way provides us with both a challenge and an opportunity.
Now getting back to my “tease” about the hours of light and dark being “almost” equal – because our atmosphere bends light rays, we actually have light in the sky just before and just after sunrise and sunset. So, even on the days of the year when light and dark appear to be equal, we have a little more light than darkness. That thought brightens my day.
Peace and Joy,
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Bible Study, 9/29—This monthly group will meet after Coffee Hour in the parlor to continue its study of the book of Acts, looking at chapters 15-28. All are welcome. Questions? Contact David Grimsted, email@example.com.
Blessing of the Animals Service, 10/6—We’ll celebrate our annual Blessing of the Animals during the morning worship service. This is a beloved, intergenerational (and interspecies!) tradition, and all animals on leashes or in crates are welcome. You may also bring a photo or stuffed animal to be blessed.
Visitor Information Session, 10/6—Both new and regular visitors are invited to join Pastor Ellen after worship for a conversation about our congregation’s history, mission, programs, and goals. RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
2nd Century Campaign Tour & Discussion, 10/13—Wear your hard hat (just kidding!) and join us after worship for a tour of the church building and grounds, followed by lunch and a discussion about specific building proposals. Childcare provided.
2nd Century Campaign Tour & Discussion, 10/24—If you’re unable to participate on 10/13, join us at 7 pm on 10/24 for a repeat of the building and grounds tour, followed by dessert and a discussion about building proposals.
Poetry Hour, 10/20—Join us from 4-5 pm and bring one or two poems on any theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? email@example.com.
Dinner and a Movie, 10/25—In the summer of 1959 in rural Oregon, four 12 year-old boys find adventure—and a body—in the woods. Along the way, they learn about themselves, the meaning of friendship and the need to stand up for what is right. Stand By Me (1986) stars Wil Wheaton and River Phoenix. We’ll talk about friendship, values, and empathy. A light dinner at 6:30 PM and movie at 7:00. Please write firstname.lastname@example.org by 10/23 to reserve dinner.
Pumpkin Fest, 10/26—Join us at 4:30 pm for some mystical music and merriment! All ages are invited to play, sing, read or bring a jack-o-lantern. There will be Halloween organ music, Poe’s The Raven, selections from Phantom of the Opera, and games/treats for kids. We’ll also collect canned goods for St. Paul’s Food Pantry.
Pilot Project/Mission & Social Action Discussion, 11/3—Join us after worship for a conversation about options for the mission and social action component of our Second Century Campaign. Questions? Email Lisa Jenkins at email@example.com.
Friendship Walks, 11/9—Join our team for the Walk to End Homelessness at 10 am on the National Mall. Go to Friendship Walks 2019 and click “Join a Team.” We are “Cleveland Park Church.” You can donate whether or not you walk! For more information: Bruce Grimes at firstname.lastname@example.org.