As I think of “Widening the Circle” as our theme for the month, I find it is just about perfect for me right now.  I love hearing that pandemic numbers are going down, enabling us to begin our return to hybrid worship.  Last night, we had a hybrid Vespers that was lovely.  I could write this column just about how slowing down and sitting with stillness widens our internal horizons.  The best thing is that we can begin to see beyond the confines of the pandemic to reach into the world to really Widen our Circles.

Personally, I can imagine going to concerts again.  I would like to experience some performances that we have not really explored—that would include musicals, operas, plays, art museums.  I like to include something new that is beautiful everyday.  Today it will be a walk outside because the weather is warmer and the sun is out.  I wonder how you would answer the question:  what will you do to widen YOUR circle?  I start the day with that question and at night, reflect on what it was that made it happen.  It need not be huge—it might just be a moment.  In that moment, I feel gratitude that I am alive.

During the pandemic, Guy worked with recordings from our choir, mixed voices, sometimes video and images to make hymns and anthems a vibrant part of worship.  We kept those hymns, which we have been using the last six weeks during the return to virtual worship this year.  Since we will be going back to hybrid worship with choir singers in the sanctuary, I am excited to break out into hymns that we have not done for a long while.  This will start on February 20th.  I am again looking for new anthems and guest musicians. 

How will we further Widen the Circle at First Parish?  Besides lots of ways to gather and connect in new and meaningful ways, we have the annual Talent Show with more band, choir, and individual offerings.  While I do not know the specifics of all this, as I look into myself, I find the assurance that our collective creative powers are alive and ready to surface.  We have all the resources we need to meet this moment because of all of you. 

On a personal note, I am optimistic about our future as Guy and I lower our carbon footprint with solar panels that are being installed today!  This is a dream come true.  To think that the sun will power our home is making me deeply happy. 

Happenings at First Parish:
February 20th:  The First Parish choir will be singing the anthem, No One is Alone, from the Stephen Sondheim musical, Into the Woods.
February 27th:  The choir might be ready to sing another anthem, (not sure yet!), called Draw the Circle Wide.

Charlyn Bethell
Music Director | + posts

Charlyn’s professional training has followed two paths: as a professional oboist and as a music teacher and conductor. As Music Director at First Parish, she joins these two paths of her musical life, conducting the choir, coordinating guest musicians, and performing on oboe.