Torch Article: Reverendly Yours

06 September 2016

Another church year dawns. The excitement never wanes, even after decades of serving as your minister. A new church year arrives like a present all wrapped up in lovely decorative paper. But what’s inside? You hope it pans out as lovely as the promise.

Confession: I get butterflies each time a new church year begins. It’s as much a tradition for me as our In-Gathering Sunday after Labor Day. Normal church resumes, not that the other Sundays are abnormal. It’s just different; maybe it’s the music. But I love that first Sunday back when our children and youth parade down the aisle: smiling, confused, pouty; whatever their demeanor, we love it. The congregation swells with different generations, various expectations, but a common denominator of belonging. That is, belonging to a community that cares about them as individuals and families, cares about the freedoms and rights of all people, and cares about making a difference in the world.

Already we have sixty people signed up for our latest social justice project. In partnership with Volunteers of America, we will provide meals for homeless teens. We will have groups serving breakfast, lunch or dinner (your choice) several times a month. For more information please email me or find me at church. Sign-ups are available each Sunday morning.

The first couple of months of this new church year might well be fraught with political anxiety. This presidential election seems like no other in history. It may well define who we really are as a nation; a referendum on racial justice. I predict our coffee hours will be humming like never before, especially after the first debate on September 26th. We may want to consider how fortunate we are to be able to share opinions, sentiments, and crazy ideas in a church community that honors a tradition of progressive thought. Regardless of polls and trends, which are guaranteed to send shivers down our spine before this is all through, at least we don’t have to despair by ourselves. It’s so good being in a community that shares common values and assures us that we are not crazy for pursuing progressive principles.

Anticipation runs high regarding the whole church year. New adult education programs will inspire you; new music will lift your spirits; new opportunities to serve the community will offer motivation. And all the while, our children and youth will be learning what it means to belong to a church that adheres to its mission: “To nurture and challenge the spiritual and intellectual journeys for all generations, and to actively engage in building a progressive and just world.”

That ought to keep us plenty busy…at least for this year.