Dear Friends,

As twilight comes earlier and the trees glow with red and gold against these rainy days, my thoughts turn to All Saints and All Souls and this time of the year when the ancient Celts believed that the veil between the spiritual and the physical world grew very thin. John O’Donahue talks about growing up on the west coast of Ireland and the barren limestone landscape of the Burren. It was a magical, enchanted place he said, and he had a sense of the sacred as always intertwined with his physical everyday life. The holy was not something far away but immanent. Touchable. Real.

I love this time of year even though I know the days are growing shorter. It encourages me to learn from Scandinavian traditions which elevate the “cozy” (Meredith and Margit will be giving a workshop on this, stay tuned!), to light candles in the kitchen, and pick up my crochet hook or needle for cozy craft projects that are good indoors on a chilly night, and gather together with friends and family.

At church, we honor our ancestors at this time of year, All Saints and All Souls and remember that in our Universalist tradition, every soul was cherished by a God who was neither punitive nor judging but the embodiment of Love beyond love.

This fall, I’ve enjoyed digging into your “roots.” We’ve explored your earliest origins as well as the UCC and UUA traditions out of which this congregation was born in 1942. Soon, we’ll move on to conversations about your spiritual identity (individual and collective), core values and where you want to go next. There will be a “spiritual identity survey” you can take (on paper or online).

Next spring, when you elect a search committee, they will take all this good work you are doing and show it to ministerial candidates who will be delighted, let me assure you, to see how intentional and reflective you have been about articulating your identity, mission and purpose. In order for them to consider moving here and settling down, they really want to dig in to who you are, what you care about, what you hold most dear, what troubles you, what gets your energy stirring. They will be attracted to a congregation with vitality, one that is not sitting around “waiting for a new minister” but active and engaged in the world, and inviting others to join them in this revitalizing, world-building work.

As always, I hope you’ll drop me a line to let me know what’s on your mind. Invite me to your place or come and see me here at the office!

In faith,

Jenny Rankin

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