September 2019

“Grandma, do you remember me? I’m in Italian! Daddy’s in Italian, and Mamma and my sisters and me! Can I see my blue train?”

I was on Facetime with my grandson Kaleb. He wanted to see his little wooden engine, the first toy he goes to find when he comes to visit us. I didn’t have it close at hand. I went outside to show him the zinnia he had planted in May, less than an inch tall at the time, now nearly his height, branching and flowering with abandon.

Our son Daniel, Kaleb’s father, finished army basic training the week I came to Northampton for candidating week, in May 2009. He has just moved his family to northern Italy for a three-year stint at a NATO base. I hope the entire family remains infected with four-year-old Kaleb’s enthusiasm for being “in Italian.” And I hope, as I always do, that Dan will be safe, if or when he gets deployed to some trouble spot. For now, it’s an exciting new beginning for them.

This time of the year marks a new beginning for many of us, and for the congregation as a whole. And it is a continuation – living into who and what we are as the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence. A continuation of worshipping, working, learning, bearing witness and remaining faithful to our commitments and values, fighting against climate change, supporting Irida and her family in sanctuary, caring for one another.

Our theme for September is covenant. Covenant is about our commitments, and about the promises we make to ourselves and to one another, spoken and unspoken. Promises we make to love and cherish and stay connected to our children and grandchildren and the rest of our families. Commitments we make to stay engaged and keep trying even when facing seemingly impossible odds – in our private lives, in work and community relationships, in contemplating the state of the nation, or the health of our planet. Covenant is about mutuality and relationship, about give and take, about being willing to embrace new beginnings.

I am, as always, deeply grateful to be in covenant with you, and honored to serve as your minister.Janets signature