September 2018

A recent Thursday morning:  The Jumapili family — seven adults and three children who are newly settled Congolese refugees — are on their break from ESOL classes. I arrive at the Society for an accompaniment volunteer shift, and Irida greets me with a hug. I speak briefly with Carmen Junno, who has covered the shift before mine.

The floor of the toddler room is covered with blocks and a gluing project, which Irida’s girls and five year-old Samir had created. A volunteer now moves it to a table, a second too late to prevent Samira, the toddler, from walking through a puddle of glue. Samir is doing headstands on the couch. A few minutes later Irida’s girls are having a snack, and I ask them about songs they learned at camp. We sing – The Wheels on the Bus, ABC, the Eeensy Weensy Spider, encouraging Samir to join in. Diane Bowman, another volunteer, appears and is ready to take the girls home. Early arrivals for the noon AA meeting begin to trickle in.

Carmen had said to me before she left, “It’s a little crazy down here.” It was. And it was teeming with team-work and generosity of spirit – all generating hope and goodwill. 

It has been a busy summer for many of us – for many of you. Sanctuary teams have met regularly. Summer worship has gone well. The Climate Action Group has continued to gather. Staff and board members have started planning for the year ahead. And members of USNF have joined with people from Village Hill in a circle of care working with the Jumapili family, alongside another circle from First Churches. 

I have had a chance to participate in some of these activities this summer, as well as to read, reflect, and plan.

I have had time to relax and reconnect with family and friends. 

My reading included the UUA Common Read for 2019, an anthology of essays by clergy and laypeople called Justice on Earth. It explores the ways issues of racial, economic, and environmental justice are inextricably bound to one another, and invites its readers into deeper reflection and commitment. It contains, writes editor Manish Mishra-Marzetti, “a prayer for greater unity, collaboration, and mutual support in all the justice work we do.”

The scene in our social room that Thursday morning felt, to me, like a small answer to that prayer – hope-giving and hope-inspiring.

I hope your summer has brought you moments of inspiration, relaxation, and whatever else you may have needed. As I begin my tenth year of ministry here, I am deeply grateful to be part of this community, and honored to serve as your minister. Janets signature