It is October, and we are a hive of activity!
- Preparing the parsonage to be listed for sale.
- Preparing for FAFF – that’s the Fall Arts and Food Fest. It’s our newest iteration of the PPUMC Bazaar and Art Fair, still the first Saturday in November.
- Preparing for our annual Stewardship Campaign to roll out, which also means we are working hard on the budget for the coming year.
- Preparing to welcome the Dignity Congregation back into the sanctuary to worship on the 4th Sunday afternoon of each month. (You are always invited. 5:00.) And we’re working with other small groups who are coming back into the church building. AA, for example, is meeting again on Saturday mornings.
- Continuing to zero in on the capacity to easily facilitate worship that combines those in the sanctuary and those at home. We want to see and hear each other clearly! Do you know that in September about one third of our congregation came to worship in the sanctuary, while two thirds Zoomed in from elsewhere? This extends our reach powerfully. Wonderful!
- We are doing all of these things amidst our religious daily and weekly (from religare: re [again] + ligare [connect]) tasks. The things that regularly re-connect us, everything from committee meetings to phone calls to greeting cards to worship. Our prayers.
- We are also remembering members of our community as we honor and release beloved friends into the great cloud of witnesses.
Everything listed above involves you – or could. I encourage you to jump in! You will be welcomed! There is room for extra hands and minds everywhere. There is need for prayer to fill in all the holes and hold the energy of all these projects, initiatives, hopes and plans. Our rallying month of September made it clear that no matter how each of us may wander on a given day, collectively we share great enthusiasm, wisdom and intention.
There is a photo of the ofrenda that graced our sanctuary last year on All Saints Sunday on the cover of this issue. We were all distanced at that time, and had accumulated uncountable losses over the course of the year. In the sanctuary our ofrenda was a tribute to public losses, losses we shared. We remembered Ruth Bader Ginsberg and George Floyd. As we gathered through Zoom, I lit candles in a box that reflected the flames into infinity, a remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of souls lost to us to the COVID epidemic and moving through the thin places in the past year. This year we carry even more souls forward in our memories.
There will be time in the last week of October to bring objects to the church to be placed on the ofrenda. And there will be time during the service when we view objects in one another’s Zoom windows. There will be more details immediately prior, but please be encouraged to make a small array of mementos, re-membrances, of loved ones. Anything goes! Ofrendas are lures of sensory delight, often captured in photographs, flowers and food. We will read out the names of those people who have passed from us this past year, lighting candles and ringing chimes. You can send me a name any time this month and I will include it on that day, as well as keep it in my prayers throughout the month. There will be ways to provide that name on the day itself, as well.
We will celebrate All Saints Sunday on October 31 with an ofren-da of both personal and shared memories. The purpose of this All Saints service is remembrance. It is an invitation to our dearly departed to infuse us with their presence – to remind us that we are yet among the living and capable of life! We can sing and speak and remember. And we can work and plan and prepare. Praise be to the One Who Makes Us!