Well, here we are: hoping that we could have put 2021 behind us in the rear-view mirror. Hoping that 2022 was the year of no pandemic. Not yet! The Omicron variant is raging through our land and across the globe. We are not yet through this storm.
With that in mind, and with the health and well-being of all of us in mind, I must share that our Re-Open Committee decided to move to livestream worship services up through February 6. It is doable; our tech team is ready. We will also suspend all in-person meetings on our campus through January. Our robust Faith Formation offerings for children, youth, and adults will move onto ZOOM. We ask that only those with roles in the worship services, and staff and contractors, come into the building at this time. We expect that by taking this pause, we can ride out this last big wave of this pandemic.
So what, you might ask, do we have to look forward to in this New Year? Quite a bit actually! First of all, there is the fruit of our collective strength in having survived so much. At our staff meeting yesterday I was reminding our team of how much easier it was moving to this on-line platform: we know what we are doing and we slid right into it. And we know that this won’t last and that in a matter of weeks we will be back on track. We have new processes set up to help our friends in need – the Caring Network – and we are in regular contact through videos and messages such as this one.
And we have a bunch of exciting activities already planned for January and February that will hold our attention, engage us in new ways, and help us learn and grow. We are co-hosting a Vigil tonight that has over 400 people joining us, including Connecticut’s two sitting US Senators. The Triangle Community Center is presenting part 2 of “LGBTQIA+ 101″ this Sunday. There are three new adult faith formation programs launching the week of January 16. Also on the 16th we will be presenting the second part of the Racism and Residential Segregation program immediately after our worship service. All these events will be virtual, on ZOOM.
This past Sunday our Intern Minister Kim Warman ran a terrific service and Climate Cafe via ZOOM. This past Monday night Dr. Heather led a great podcast discussion on YoYo Ma and the power of music. The Business Office reports that our end-of-year donations and gifts were generous and will support our work in the coming months. Stewardship is already planning a Black, White & Gold gala for us all in March. Our Capital Campaign construction has been going smoothly and progress is on schedule. We are energized! Happy New Year indeed!
And – there is something else that we have to look forward to: the power of change in our lives.
This year I have not made any of the usual resolutions. I found this piece from my colleague Rev. Cameron Trimble to be just what I needed to start a new year beyond the pandemic:
“Change is rare. Yet often, that invitation is the Sacred Threshold to the grand adventure of your life, the beginning of your spiritual maturity and growing into the fullness of your Soul, seeded in you from the very beginning. It’s the Holy ‘Yes’ to new life.
“All of our great spiritual traditions speak to the unfortunate reality that change is necessary for growth. Against your wishes and in deep conflict with your ego, change requires a total surrender that becomes an opening to a pathway of transformational becoming.
“Rarely do you find something that you were missing or become someone you were not. Instead, it’s that Someone finds you. You are grabbed, held, and loved by Someone. As Teresa of Avila once wrote, ‘you find God in yourself and yourself in God.’ In that embrace, you become new.
“This year, instead of resolutions, I offer you the blessing that a dear friend of mine wrote. Her words speak to the shape of this journey, to living in such a way that we surrender, grow and heal.
‘May we each continue those endeavors that bring us meaning and joy.
May we do what we can to respect and heal our bodies, minds and spirits.
May we accept with grace those things we cannot change.
May we continue to deeply connect to the natural world and gain sustenance from it.
May we continue to bathe ourselves in gratitude,
including our walking together on this journey of life,
whether it be smooth sailing or traversing rocky terrain.’”
(Piloting Faith: 1/4/22)
Yours Always, Rev. John