It is hard to believe, but the end of this two-year Interim Period is fast approaching, and it is almost time to say “good-bye.” This coming Sunday, June 6th, we will be holding our second virtual flower communion. Sunday, June 13th will be the annual Youth Group worship service. And Sunday, June 20th will be the final service of the formal church year, and my final Sunday leading worship at First Parish of Watertown.
How to say goodbye at the end of 15-months of socially distant worship and meetings and before church has formally opened again to large-group events? That is the question that every minister – both settled and interim – is asking if they are transitioning out of ministry with a congregation this year.
And the answer is, necessarily, “imperfectly.” Still, I know there is a longing amongst some of you to say “goodbye” in person, if possible.
As of Saturday, June 5th, I will be 2 weeks out from my 2nd dose of the Pfizer vaccine and therefore “fully vaccinated.” And so, I would like to offer a series of opportunities for informal in-person, drop-in “good-byes” for those who are comfortable and available to do that. My intention is, weather-permitting, to be available to meet with you outdoors in the Memorial Garden at the following times in the coming week:
Tuesday, June 8th – 3:00pm-4:00pm
Tuesday, June 8th – 7:00pm-8:00pm
Thursday, June 10th – 10:00am-11:00am
Saturday, June 12th – 10:00am-11:30am
Saturday, June 12th – 3:00pm-4:30pm
During these meetings, I will be wearing a mask in accordance with current church policy and in deference to those among us who may not yet be fully vaccinated or who may be otherwise safer amongst mask-wearing persons. I would ask that you plan to wear a mask as well, regardless of your vaccination status.
Although these drop-in opportunities will be informal and unstructured, I do want to provide an opportunity for a low-key ritual of letting go for anyone who would like to participate. This ritual is inspired by an image I shared in a sermon earlier in the year…the image of a hole in the ground in which we could bury our grief from the many losses we’ve experienced in the past year. I suggested that through the ritual of burying it, our grief could be held by the earth and transformed into new hope for the future.
We are not going to dig a hole in the grounds at First Parish! Instead, I will have available a compost bucket, some soil and water, and some water-soluble paper onto which you can write whatever it is of which you want to let go of, whether related to the interim time ending, or to the accumulated losses and grief of the pandemic, or to something else entirely.
When my time with you formally ends on July 31, I will leave this composted and transformed grief behind so that you can use it to nourish the seeds and plantings of your future dreams and hopes for First Parish in whatever manner feels most appropriate to you
I hope that you’ll have a chance to drop by. I’d love to have a chance to see you and say good-bye in person, if possible. I’ve so appreciated the opportunity to serve as your Interim Minister over the last 2 years. You have been generous and gracious throughout. And I am excited about what you’ll do next in partnership with Rev. Sophia! You will be in good hands – as will she – and together your future is bright!
In faith and hope and the spirit of love,
Wednesday, June 16, 7:00-8:30: Listening Deeply to Poetry – The Final Session
Join us as we gather once again on Zoom to read and reflect on poems using an adaptation of the Christian tradition of Lectio Divina. The basic idea of Lectio Divina is to deeply listen to a text by reading it multiple times with different questions in mind each time.
This month, participants are invited to bring a poem of their choosing, and depending on the number of poems we have, we will adapt our process to stay within our time limits. If you’d like to share a poem, you can either send it to Rev. Wendy ahead of time OR you can type it up and be prepared to share it from your own screen.
Everyone is welcome! You need not have attended before. Just bring yourself, perhaps a love of poetry or a longing for deeper spiritual engagement, and an openness to listening in community.