Dear Ones- Can you believe it- it’s September already! How the Summer has flown by! I hope yours was wonderful!
Every year I find myself wondering, “Where has the Summer gone?” I admit to being a “summer person”. I love the warm days (alright, here on Delmarva “hot and muggy” might be a better description), all the fresh produce, the fireflies, the amazing array of summer flowers, and that unmistakable smell of rain hitting hot pavement.
And as September approaches, I’m reminded of the excitement I felt as a child before school started. As the lazy days of Summer drew to a close there was the “getting ready for school” period of anticipation- getting school supplies, maybe a new outfit, anticipating seeing my friends again after what seemed like a very long time.
But there was also a bit of anxiety, because for all the familiar, there was also a good deal of unfamiliar. There would be a new teacher, new students whom I didn’t know, new ways of doing things, the feeling that I might not quite know what was going on.
And, to be truthful, there was also a bit of sadness. As a child, it was that the summer was over. It was, on reflection, a kind of grieving. My “old” class would no longer be the same, even with some of the same children, and another summer would be gone.
Our church year is a bit like that, too, don’t you think?
There is much to be excited about. We celebrate our return to the familiar and comfortable, we see folks we haven’t seen in a while, our UUtopia returns, and we return to our program of monthly themes.
Speaking of which, our theme for September is “Welcome”. Each Sunday morning we hope to explore some aspect of this theme. Look to this newsletter for additional information!
Additionally, of course, we’ll also be doing some experimenting. We’ll be trying some new things, try some new approaches and start some new projects to see how and if we can make our community life more exciting, more involving and more fulfilling.
One worship element I’m excited about is that, each Sunday, there will be a song, a reading, or a bit of poetry representing a “neighboring faith”. You’ll hear a little something representing our Pagan, Humanist, Polynesian, Buddhist and Jewish friends in September. And as the year progresses, we’ll hear little pieces representing Hinduism, Sikhism, Muslim, Christian, and so much more!
So, yes, there is much to be excited about. But I also recognize that there may be some anxiety. There might be changes that challenge our comfort levels. We wonder, “Will I still feel like there is a place for me?” We know life is constantly changing. We simply cannot stop it from doing so. And sometimes things change in ways that make us uncomfortable.
But this is and always has been true: This congregation is your spiritual home. There will always be a place for you. It is my hope that we can also make it a home for others, as well. No doubt there will be tensions. That’s just the truth of Unitarian Universalism- we are a people with widely diverse world-views, and trying to make our tent large enough to shelter all who would join us is a formidable and sometimes uncomfortable task. We must be patient and understanding with one another, as we “muddle through”. There will be anxiety and misunderstandings. But there is also love and respect, kindness and beauty. These last are the things we must focus on if we are to be able to make room for as many as possible.
And of course there is grief. This past year we have seen health scares and some significant losses of dearly loved members and friends. We know this year will see others. Things will change- they always do. What will our congregational life look like as we weather those losses?
No doubt there will be excitement, anxiety and grief as we move into this new “church year”. These are all important considerations. But in conversations with members of our Board of Trustees, I am re-assured that all will be well. They are an amazing, hard-working, thoughtful, caring group of leaders who love our congregation, who understand the saving message of our faith, and who care deeply about making our world a better, more compassionate, more just place. They have committed to helping our Fellowship thrive and grow, and to make all our members feel that they have a voice.
In a previous article I wrote: “Times change. Ours is a dynamic, evolving faith. While we may hold onto the best of the past, we must also be willing to embrace the future.” This is as true today as it has always been. “Embrace the future together”- can you imagine a more exciting goal? It is my most fervent hope that you are as excited about doing this as I am.
“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the other gold”.
Welcome back, Friends- both silver and gold- to a new year at UUFS!
Wishing you peace and blessings,