August Greetings ~
I’m grateful to have had two wonderful weeks visiting family and friends in Vermont, Maine, and New York. I’m also thankful to have taken a break from recent “news,” though it was hard to avoid. My heart bleeds, yet again, for the lives lost to gun violence, and I pray we’ll use both our voices and our votes to challenge and change this escalating cycle of mass murder in our country.
For those who may not know, each summer I take off the month of July in order to get a proper break (in the past, when I’d leave for just a week, I ended up thinking about and prepping for my next sermon the entire time…). Thus, the Worship Committee and I created the July Preaching Fellow Program, both to fill in my absence and provide an opportunity for a young and/or new pastor to preach a series of sermons to an established congregation. We strive to choose a Fellow quite different from me, and so far, we’ve succeeded. My only sadness: I don’t get to hear them preach!
Truthfully, this July didn’t go quite as planned, due in part to a July church assessment related to the UCC Pilot Project. I also participated in the first pilot project conference call on July 16 and rescheduled our church staff planning retreat for July 28 to accommodate a last-minute family reunion. All is well— but I really do want to enjoy an uninterrupted July next year! This may be why, when I heard the following poem/prayer at a Jewish-Muslim led interfaith retreat this month, it called to me:
Come, come, whoever you are,
wander, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Even if you have broken your vow
a hundred times.
Come, yet again come.
-Rumi, 12th ct. Sufi poet/mystic
“Even if you have broken your vow a hundred (some versions say, a thousand) times. Come, yet again, come!” In my case: even if I still find it hard to get away, stop working, let the news of the world unfold as it will… I can turn back and try again. I can try yet again and finally take a break, sit in a chair with my coffee and journal in the sun, walk four miles to a secluded cove, unwind, resuscitate, rest. Thus, I feel blessed.
And, so can you (find some way to rest). So, must we all, if we intend to keep going, keep challenging, keep changing all that really does need to be changed. Together, we can make it happen. Together, we can act, then rest, confront, then regroup. Together, we can be the change we pray to see.
Peace and Blessings,
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Midyear Congregational “Unmeeting” and Lunch, 8/25—Join us for an informal check-in of progress on our strategic plan. We’ll also share results from the July assessment of our church by an external consultant. And, we’ll answer any questions about the recently launched Second Century Campaign: Restoring Our Foundations.
Dog Parks & Coffee Shops, 8/28—The final film in the Summer Documentary & Discussion Series looks at diversity-seeking, community, and consumption in three DC neighborhoods undergoing urban revitalization: U Street, Columbia Heights, and Petworth. Film at 7 pm. A panel discussion, including the filmmaker, will follow the film. Join us and invite friends and neighbors as we wrap up this summer’s series.
Choir Practice, 9/4—Regular Wednesday choir rehearsal resumes at 7:30 pm. Interested in joining us? Contact music director Dorothy Mora at email@example.com.
Sunday School Volunteer Orientation, 9/7—Each Sunday during the school year, one adult volunteer assists Lead Teacher, Kimberly, with PreK thru 3rd Grade. She does the planning; you show up and help! If you can volunteer (even a few Sundays), please attend this orientation, beginning at 11 am. RSVP: Mirabelle, firstname.lastname@example.org
“Everyone Can Sing!” 9/8—All are invited to experience a Sunday with the choir. We’ll gather at 9 am for coffee and treats, followed by a 9:30 rehearsal and 10:30 worship service. If you can talk, you can sing, and we’d love to hear your joyful noise!
Welcome Back Sunday & Harvest Lunch, 9/8—We’ll gather for a celebratory Sunday after a summer here and away. During Coffee Hour, the Deacons will treat us to a Harvest Lunch, so plan to stay and enjoy.
Capital Campaign Fall Expense Vote, 9/8—We’ll meet very briefly after worship to vote on an urgent infrastructure expense. Please stay in the sanctuary to vote, followed by the Harvest Lunch in the parlor.