This Season, which begins at the end of Christmas and concludes at the beginning of Lent, is all about God’s manifestation of Light in the World. It starts with three Magi kneeling before the Baby Jesus under Bethlehem’s Star and ends with a Transfiguration so bright and blinding the disciples who observe it must drop to the ground.
But what does it mean for us, in a world where a continent is on fire, an island has been brought, yet again, to its knees, and countries are primed to violently engage? What does it mean for us, in the midst of our own blazes, and inner quakes, and personal aggressions?
I keep returning to one word: compassion. Which, for me, is a combination of kindness, humility, awareness, and outreach. And, we best offer it to others if we are able, first, to care for ourselves. This, then, is our task, both as individuals and as a community of souls trying to do G-d’s work in the world. In this Season of Epiphany, let us work to create a kinder, humbler, more mindful, more generous world, beginning with our own small selves and reaching out to those with whom we share this good earth.
If you would like to help those (human and other beings) affected by the fires in Australia or the earthquakes in Puerto Rico, please consider donating as follows:
- Australia’s Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund helps support evacuation centers and recovery programs for the affected communities.
- NSW Rural Fire Service has a donation page to support the firefighting efforts in New South Wales.
- The RSPCA Bushfire Appeal is used to protect the pets, livestock and wildlife affected by bushfires, helping evacuate animals from disaster zones.
- The World Wildlife Fund accepts donations to help support conservation activities, particularly related to koalas. Money can help provide emergency care during bushfires.
- The animal emergency relief organization SAVEM– South Australian Veterinarian Emergency Management – is also taking donations, with massive losses predicted for wildlife and livestock on the island.
The recent earthquakes have wreaked more havoc on this already beleaguered island. As you may know, eight of our teens and four adults participated in construction projects last summer to help rebuild after Hurricane Maria. Please see this UCC Report for information on how you can help with earthquake recovery and reconstruction efforts.
I look forward to seeing everyone this Sunday for a service about Star Gifts (come and find out!) followed by a Coffee Hour Conversation with our Board of Trustees about the 2nd Century Campaign building projects on which we’ll be voting at our Annual Meeting on January 26.
May the Peace of God be with you and yours,
P.S. In preparation for this Sunday’s 2nd Century Campaign Conversation, the Trustees have prepared a short survey to get your input on options for an accessible entrance ramp and restroom. Please take 10 minutes to fill it out here. Many thanks!
2nd Century Campaign, 1/12—Please join the Board of Trustees this Sunday after worship for an update on fundraising along with an overview of proposed building projects. We’re all encouraged to attend in preparation for our congregation’s annual meeting and vote on January 26.
FaithLife, 1/12—We’ll gather this Sunday from 5:30-7 pm in the parlor. This winter the group is reading Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others by Barbara Brown Taylor. We’ll discuss portions from Chapters 1-4 at this session, but feel free to join us even if you haven’t done the reading. Questions? Email email@example.com.
ASAP Coffee & Conversation, 1/19— We look forward to hosting our quarterly coffee hour with the Asylum Seeker Assistance Project and its DC clients applying for refugee status. ASAP works with asylum seekers so they can rebuild lives of dignity and purpose in the U.S. after experiencing violence and repression in their countries of origin. This month, we’ll enjoy lunch and a discussion about Civil Rights and the MLK Holiday. Please join us!
Poetry Hour, 1/19—Please join us from 4-5 pm and bring one or two poems on any theme (with 8 copies to share). Friends are welcome! Questions? firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual Meeting, 1/26—We’ll gather after worship for our congregation’s annual meeting to confirm the slate of 2020 Lay Leaders and proposed 2020 Budget. This year we will also vote on the building components of our 2nd Century Campaign. Every voice has a vote— and we need yours!