I write this note to you now with icicles dripping off the roof of the church outside my window. The little Church Squirrel who has been trying to raise her young ones on the sunflower seeds that have grown in our yard bounced past the door in the early afternoon, but I expect that she and her children are getting ready to bed down for the winter. Fall seems to have late and decided to leave early. Growing up in Colorado, I know that traditionally November is the second heaviest month for snow. If late October is any guide, that will hold true again.
And yet, unlike Church Squirrel, we don’t meet the season with a sudden rush of activity followed by a long nap period. Our work goes the whole year round. Though it too looks different depending on the season. We have some exciting things that are coming up. Early this month, we will celebrate our All Souls/Day of the Dead Service. It will be good to acknowledge the role that our departed continue to play in our lives as we practice our role as the living - a somber day that is filled with bittersweet joy in shared community.
Starting off the month of November with Day of the Dead, I hope prepares us for our theme. In the immediate weeks, our monthly theme is compassion which is a topic related to both the themes of peace and empathy we just passed through. Often we get compassion mixed up with the important ideas of charity and mercy. All those ideas are related, but true compassion is not exactly any of them. Compassion literally means “to suffer alongside.” When we have compassion for someone, we are so much offering someone something out of pity, but being with them out of concern, finding a way to walk or sit with them in a time of need, both theirs and ours. Everything we’ve talked about in both the months of empathy and peace will play a role in our exploration of compassion (on Sundays and during other events during the week).
People often think of November as a time for giving thanks for the bounty in our lives, which will be an interesting facet to explore in our month of compassion. As the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley, I have recently had several things that I am thankful for on behalf of the church.
I was so happy that several of our affinity groups gathered this past month, the pagans for the Samhain celebration and the choir members for their retreat. We have two really great Build Your Own Theology classes that are in the midst of wrestling with some great questions of meaning making. The Buddist group is wrapping up this coming month with a lunch and the Fermenting Theology group has found a home at the taphouse down the street. If the weather cooperates, we’ll have a theological walk later in November. Our church is humming with life.
And yet there is still space for more. How can we help create more space for you to come alive? What ideas do you have that you want to bring to this church and where are your passions? Perhaps you have an itch to become more involved in social justice or helping grow the church. I’d love to get you connected to those ministries. Maybe you have an itch to have more influence on our worship services. Maybe you have some ideas you can’t quite put your finger on. I want to talk to you all about it. There is more room at all the tables.
Yours in Faith and Fellowship,