Celebration, Lament, Action – From Sandra’s Study
Recently I heard a colleague describe the congregational work of the coming year as threefold: celebration, lament, action. For many of us, the arrival of summer and Pennsylvania’s reopening mean we have more freedom to gather with friends and family and to participate in activities we love. This time feels celebratory in so many ways. I know that I am grateful to be gathering with friends, family and church members as well as attending more in-person activities.
Yet I recognize that these opportunities and feelings of celebration are not universal for a variety of reasons, and that each of us has been impacted by the traumatic events of the past few years. Those traumas are not behind us but also live in us and our world, and we know there are those who have been and continue to be disproportionately traumatized. This necessitates that we make space in ourselves and our church community for lament. We need places and rituals to give expression to our individual and collective grieving, losses and traumas. We need embodied spiritual practices to heal and build resilience in ourselves and our community.
The third piece of that unfolding work is continued engagement in actions of witness and justice. These actions give expression to our joy and our grief and our commitment to collective liberation. As UUs we are called to cultivate compassion for the suffering in our own lives and in the world and then to transform it into action that changes people’s lived experiences.
Like so many of you, I am eager for us to be able to gather in worship in our building to celebrate, lament and take action. I can’t wait for our ingathering water ceremony in September. This summer we are continuing to develop the multi-platform options that will make that experience as inclusive as possible, ensuring that everyone can participate either virtually or in person. Meanwhile, we have planned some terrific summer worship opportunities, including worship with other congregations.
Yours in faith and love,
Rev. Dr. Sandra Fees
One of my favorite foods to eat is popcorn. Popcorn from the microwave, popcorn from a stovetop, one of these days I’ll have popcorn from the movie theater again.
Have you ever made popcorn on the stove before? Have you noticed how in the process of making popcorn – the steam needs a place to go? My stovetop popper has a few holes in the top of it’s lid that direct the steam out so the popcorn can keep popping and the pressure doesn’t build up.
Those holes are often called vents and they can be oh so useful. Not just for popcorn. A few weeks back I was introduced to Vent Diagrams. It’s a collective art project started by educator E.M./Elana Eisen-Markowitz and Rachel Schragis. You can find out more about it on www.ventdiagrams.com
Here’s the kernel that I’d like to share with you: What would your Vent Diagram(s) look like?
A “Vent Diagram” has two overlapping circles with two statements that appear to be true and appear to be contradictory. The middle is purposefully un-labeled. This is a practice that can keep us imagining and acting from the overlaps of those two circles. What right now needs to be vented?
nadine j. smet-weiss
in this time
as we emerge
to come together
as if for
the first time
what old skins
will you have shed
what new being
will you bear