September 2022: W is for Welcome Back!
We’ve borrowed the title for our newsletter note, Alphabets of Grace, from the writer and minister Frederick Buechner (pronounced “Beekner”), who died on August 22. Here’s a story Buechner told about his own calling, with a characteristic mix of humor and passion:
“I hear you are entering the ministry,” the woman said down the long table, meaning no real harm. “Was it your own idea or were you poorly advised?” And the answer that she could not have heard even if I had given it was that it was not an idea at all, neither my own nor anyone else’s. It was a lump in the throat. It was an itching in the feet. It was a stirring in the blood at the sound of rain. It was a sickening of the heart at the sight of misery. It was a clamoring of ghosts.
Buechner suggests that when we gather in a place like church, it’s not necessarily that we’ve figured out everything we believe. Rather, we come together because we want to feel something. In our singing, in our praying, in our listening and our preaching, in our laughing and our crying, a feeling arises that connects us to the Holy like nothing else.
Over the last month, we’ve continued to meet members and friends of First Parish. It’s inspiring how powerfully FPL cultivates this feeling of connection, in different ways for different people. First Parish has done a lot of self-reflection over the last few years. You’ve looked inward, examined systems and assumptions, all while holding on and moving forward during a pandemic. And while the challenges of Covid are not behind us, and while the call to self-reflection is not over, this fall is also a time to say, “Hallelujah! We’ve made it this far together. Let’s be present in the here and now, while keeping in mind all that God or Spirit desires us to become.”
And so, if we can say “welcome back” while being so new ourselves…welcome back! We can’t wait to jump into this busy month together. Please check out the latest guidelines from the Re-Opening Task Force, which allow us to participate more fully in church while remaining prudent. And we hope you’ll join us, in-person or virtually, for Sunday worship and for our diverse array of programming.
Nate & Kit
Our Weekly Schedules and Getting to Know You
As Co-Ministers, Kit and Nate each work half-time, sharing one full-time role. Beginning this month, Kit will be off on Fridays, and Nate will be off on Mondays and Thursdays. During these days away from FPL work, we will be taking care of other responsibilities, including writing and teaching for Nate.
We want to make it a priority over our first few months to visit with as many of you as possible! We’d love to set up a conversation with you and one of us over coffee, in our newly renovated church offices, or at your home. We’re often in the offices, so sometimes it works to drop by, but the best way to set up a time for a visit is to email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. You may hear from one of us as well!