These past Sundays I have, for the first time since my arrival, experienced our sanctuary filled with people (it’s amazing what a difference 25 or so has made). The space has, not unsurprisingly, come to life–colors from the stained-glass windows landing on shoes and hands, no longer on empty chairs; the ceiling height has felt lower, and the room has tightened into a warm, close hug; the sounds of bodies moving and shifting, laughing and clearing throats, has been akin to music. I imagine that those sanctuary walls have also heaved a sigh of relief, for they have felt the emptiness and silence for too long. It’s a room made for people.
Intermingled with this joyful reunion, also sat spaces between and around the chairs, reminding us that not everyone was there. These spaces served to remind us that many can’t be there, and many aren’t ready to be there. Further, I am certain that some who were there gathered with others for the first time since March 2020, and this might have felt overwhelming. We have been through a time of collective trauma Dearest Ones, and we are still in it. What this means is that this time of re-gathering is one that must be tended to gently and with great care. We will need to move slowly. We will need to listen to our bodies. And we will need to extend grace to one another, and ourselves. I trust that we will heal together, slowly but surely, we will.
The upcoming season offers us a myriad of ways to move through this uncertain time. I hope that we can find ways over the coming months to honor the tenderness that is in the air. And I hope that, if you are able, you will try out some of our in-person services. We continue to have plenty of seats open for worship. Our newest offering, Evening Vespers, which begins on November 9th, is also now open for sign up. I hope you will read more about it in this month’s Arbella and consider joining us.
Coming back to church is something we are all re-adjusting to. I hope you will reach out and share any reservations you might be having. Let us stay close to one another as we traverse this unchartered course.
In the meantime, I pray you are well. I pray you and yours have all that you need. And I pray you feel connected to this community in some way. Please reach out if you aren’t well, if you don’t have what you need, or if you are feeling disconnected–who you are, and how you are, matters here.
In faith and with deep love,