This summer was full of experiences I will remember for a very long time. Every day of our Partner Church trip to Transylvania taught us a lot, offered us a lot, and asked a lot of us. We learned so much about Unitarianism’s history there, as well as its present. The commitment and creativity in the many forms that Unitarianism takes there got me thinking about what more we can make of our faith here – having eaten at a wonderful Unitarian restaurant there, got me thinking what if started such a thing here in the US – maybe even in Providence with its fantastic food scene. Why not!
Then Tim and I had some very needed restorative time together celebrating our 10th anniversary. The summer finished for me with some time with family and friends on Cape Cod, and pastoral time with those in our church family who were dealing with a number of unexpected and heartbreaking losses within our congregation. And in the midst of that, a wonderful wedding for a couple who’ve just been coming to First U for a couple of years.
Ultimately It was a summer when love and relationships and commitment took many forms in many places. So I don’t know why I’m surprised that those three, love and relationships and commitment, are again at the forefront of my experience now that we’re beginning our new church year together. Maybe I should’ve expected it. But because I wasn’t, I think I appreciate it even more. The thoughtfulness and beauty that have defined these last few weeks have been extraordinary. Small demonstrations of appreciation and affection for our amazing church staff that have meant so much. The care and attention that our new office volunteers have been bringing to their work at the church office. The great responsibility and intention the Prudential Committee are bringing to their work implementing some of the recommendations we have received for how to grow and strengthen our church’s resources, capacities and organization. The small group training Thandeka led which gave the trained group of facilitators such a rich weekend of learning. The preparation and guidance that is getting our Spiritual Pathways program ready to give our very best to the children and youth of our church. I could go on and on and on – every day included some gift of unfolding or fulfillment.
As any serious churchy-person knows, it’s very possible to spend lots of time working hard and trying hard without any guarantee of success in what we turn our hand to. So to begin this year with so many gifts to be grateful for – from the remarkable accomplishments of our Commitment Drive that set us up so well for this year to the launching of new small group ministry programs to the ongoing development of new capacities and insights for our Sanctuary work and our food ministry and our worship experiences and the upcoming music program with David Smith – it all feels pretty darn wonderful – and very darn faithful. I am so grateful to be back with our First U family – this beloved, beloved community.
See you in church!