My first sabbatical project was a paper for the Greenfield Group on The Uses of Poetry in Parish Ministry. It’s done. I’ll present it to the group on April 30. You’ll hear portions of it.
Greenfield is a Unitarian Universalist ministers’ study group with 30 members. A new member is invited when someone leaves. I’ve been a member for 28 of the groups’ 65 year history.
This is the fourth paper I’ve prepared during my tenure. I appreciated the opportunity my sabbatical provided to edit, re-write, and edit again. It takes a lot of time. Thanks for providing that time.
I’m working on a book-length version of Natural Selections, the poetry collection. My task is to say why poetry is spiritual-why it’s an adequate substitute for the traditional religions, and why I included those particular poems.
We printed 700 copies of Natural Selections and sold about 600 so far, realizing a $4,500 profit. Profits from the book will go toward the Transylvania fund to refurbish the dormitory in Kolosvar. We pledged $10,000 toward that project. Some folks have contributed already, and we’ll have a special Partner Church fund-raising event later in the Spring to complete our pledge.
The building that is being refurbished will house students studying for the Unitarian ministry as well as students attending a Unitarian High School. The building fell into disrepair while in the hands of the Communist Party. It was recently turned back to its owners, the Unitarian Church of Transylvania. The dire refurbishing has already begun.
I’ve agreed to do some poetry readings. The first will take place on Superbowl Sunday, February 3, at 4 p.m. as part of the Tallmadge Hill Community Church Religion and Arts series. Do you know the church? It’ a wonderfully quaint chapel in Darien. You can be home in time for the game, which doesn’t start until 6:30. On April 7 at 2 p.m. I’ll do a presentation at the Westport Library. For the third consecutive year I’ll do some poetry as part of the Make a Joyful Noise Interfaith concert on April 28 at 4 p.m. at Temple Israel.
I’m working on a sermon titled “Liberal Religion, Now More Than Ever,” which I’ll deliver on January 27. The tragedy of September 11 demands a long-term response that goes beyond the need to fight a war against these particular terrorists. Fanatical, fundamentalist religion will outlive them all. It is, of course, one of the root causes of the 911 attack, as well as the root cause of so much of the blood shed in the name of God.
I’m looking forward to seeing you on the 27th. Let me also take this opportunity to thank you for the holiday cards and notes. I appreciate your personal touch.
I hope you are well. Be good to yourself.