Rev. Mark Harris

Happy New Year.  I hope everyone had enjoyable and relaxing holidays.  New Year’s is always symbolized by a new baby, and the outgoing year is often represented by Father Time, an old geezer with a scythe.  The New Year often challenges us to think about how things will be different in the coming 12 months.  What will we change about ourselves?  What resolutions will we make?  On the other hand, the new year encourages us to let go of all those things we regret doing or saying.  We hope we can start over in some meaningful way. Finally, the end of the year also makes us thankful for all the good things that have transpired.  We all feel gratitude, regrets, and ultimately hope that the new year will bring meaningful moments together.

First and foremost I am thankful for the opportunity to have served you for another year as your minister.  I hope these final six months ahead will give us a chance to express meaningful farewells. I know the six months will go by quickly.  If you wish to get together with me for coffee, a lunch, a dinner, or a walk along the Charles, please let me know. The death of your former minister, Marc Salkin, is a stark reminder of the passage of time.  As much as I enjoy preparing worship services, supporting committees to create a thriving community,  and offering my encouragement for you to live meaningful lives, I am also getting a little tired.  I think it is helpful to express gratitude for all we have enjoyed, and also admit that aging leaves us a little worn down from years of labor. It is okay to admit that we cannot do all that we were once able to do.

One of the final things I hope to do for you is show my love for the history of our church through the publication of all my historical sermons, lectures and papers.  I am looking for someone to help me with formatting these Word documents into a book, and getting it published.  If you have experience with publishing, or know someone, please let me know.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have discovered so much about the history of Watertown, and this community.

A special thanks to all those who sent holiday cards or gave us gifts.  It is always gratifying to know that we are cared for.  That is truly what a church community is all about.  The loss of a minister who has served for twenty-five years means that you will have to pick up some of the slack of looking out for who is present and who is not.  I have been chiding the Membership Committee that they need to follow up with people, and notice who is ready to be part of the community (and join), and who has dropped away. It is important that this caring applies to all people, and not just those who you deem your “friends.”  Someone once said that every member of the church is a member of the membership committee.  Over the coming months I will be fading out some, and it will be up to you to step up to the plate and claim your membership role.

It will be a good going away gift for me to see you deepening relationships, as well as organizing events.