Dear People’s people,

This is a season of surviving and reimagining. So many of us are learning new ways to cope with the challenges of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. We are creating new ways to be together – physically distanced and virtual. We are discovering new sources of joy – or returning to old practices that we had set aside. We are discovering a resilience that we did not know we had (some of the time). We are finding ways to vent our frustrations and fury that this pandemic continues in our country while other places have responded much more effectively. We are mourning the small and large losses of these days. We are living with tremendous uncertainty about what life will be a few months or a year. It is an exhausting and challenging time to be human.

I have spent much of my study leave time this month reading and writing and planning, working to prepare Sunday services and other church programs that might speak to us in these days, while keeping all plans flexible enough to adjust as necessary. (The most powerful book I’ve read have been The Plague by Albert Camus, Breaking and Blessing by Sean Parker Dennison, and Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. My favorite project has been to start designing our first service back in the building.)

Through it all, I’ve been asking myself a few questions – How do we do the work of love and justice while managing risk? What is the meaning of our rituals? How do we create the same meaning when we can’t do the same thing we’ve done before? How do we create a sense of connection and embodiment when we only see each other from the shoulders and up on a screen? What are the gifts and opportunities of meeting largely over Zoom?

One of the gifts of Zoom services is the increased sense of intimacy. Seeing our youth speak from their ‘natural habitat’ last spring was so powerful. As I prepare for fall services, I want to have more moments of sharing like that. To that end, I want to extend several invitations. Would any of you like to record yourselves lighting a chalice (with or without words)?

Would any of you like to share short personal reflections (2-3 minutes) on the following topics?

  • how are you preparing for winter this year?
  • the AIDS epidemic (especially before protease inhibitor drugs became available in the mid 1990s)
  • how animals have blessed your life
  • depression (mental illness, not economics)

This could be is shared live or is pre-recorded. We’d work together to craft something that you’d be proud of and that would be meaningful for our community. (And if you’re interested in sharing, but these topics don’t speak to you, watch future newsletters for more opportunities.)

I am so grateful to be with all of you (from a distance) as we weather these days. I’m grateful for your creativity, compassion, flexibility, and deep care for one another and our wider community.

Take good care,
Rev. Rachel

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