Happy New Year! I am so thankful for everyone who participated in our events in the month of December and all of the community events, faith development activities, collections we sponsored, and other life of this church from the water communion up through the fall. Looking forward, I am so excited about the possibilities, opportunities and plans we have in store. I was happy to see so many faces lit up by candlelight at our Christmas Eve Holiday service. I hope that the new year renews your amazing spirits that I see on SUnday and during the week and brings the many new blessings - both expected and unexpected - throughout the coming year.
Winter is now full upon us. I don’t need to remind myself when I come into the church to look at the old Germanic rune for winter sewn on our banner in the entry; nor wait to see if the snow piled up around rosebush out front that still hasn’t melted away; nor miss seeing the sun who went down long before I got in my car to drive back home. I feel winter in my very being.
Some folks tell me that it is a depressing time of year, but I really don’t find it that way. It reminds me of the darkness of the womb. I am thankful for those who have come before me and all the work we have done in the preceding months to be safe and warm. (Thanks to the congregation for getting the roof secured and to the board for getting the furnace fixed!) And I wait in expectancy for the things that come next. The things that are planned - like the Women’s March and the MLK parade, like the screening of "Herstory: The Visionary Life of Lydia Ruyle and the Banners of the Divine Feminine" with Lydia’s banners decorating our sanctuary this month - and those unplanned or just beginning to be planned -like a special speaker in February and blessings of spring that surely will arise as we use this winter wisely.
Our theme this month is Choice, which is a challenging theme to start the year out with. It recognizes that we are all endowed with freedom of will. Not that we may or may not be entirely without destiny - I know many Unitarian Universalists with varying opinions on that topic - but that part of what makes us special in religious terms is that we have input on what the outcome of our lives and world will be. The future is not written. The future is something of a decision to be made. Depending on how solid we feel in our meaning making enterprise, this can be an empowering notion, a daunting notion, or a scary notion. Choices that we previously made have begun to lay out our reaction to our current circumstance. And yet, freedom of will means that we are not wholly wedded to those past choices either. At a time when people choose to reward or condemn themselves based on past new years resolutions, and to go back to making new new year’s resolutions, we are going to celebrate this month the opportunities we have to make resolutions, evaluate them, discard them and recommit to them.
One of the acts of choice is the affirmation of covenant. In the month of January, the board and I decided that we wanted to publicly affirm and deepen through a public covenant the relationship between the ministry and congregational leadership in a short ceremony during a service this month and that is an event this Winter season I am certainly looking forward to. I hope you will be there.
I am looking forward to this month of January with an open heart and to the months that follow! I hope you are as well!
Yours in Faith and Fellowship,