Welcome to September! We have traditionally started our new church year with a water communion, the Sunday after Labor Day. And we will this year as we return to our “regular” worship schedule September 13th at 10 am. But we need to do our water communion differently since we cannot gather in person in our sanctuary. We held our first “mini” water communion this past Sunday outside at the labyrinth, with six people joining me. Jim Curley placed a beautiful ceramic birdbath to serve as the common bowl in the middle of the labyrinth. We stood at the edge and took turns pouring in water. I took pictures and some of us had signs to go with our water. I will offer another mini water communion next Sunday September 6th at 1:30 pm. If you and your family wish to come and pour water into our common bowl, PLEASE LET ME KNOW BY 11 AM SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 5 so Dolores and I can plan the logistics. If you do come in person, you must wear a mask, keep socially distanced from anyone else attending and follow the guidance of Dolores and myself. For those of you who wish to participate from home, please feel free to send a picture to me by Tuesday, September 8th to be included in the slide show. Please use landscape as opposed to portrait mode for your pictures. It is easier for the slide show.

And if you wish to come by during the week on your own to pour water into the bowl in the labyrinth, please feel free to do so. Again, whether you want to take a picture to share in the slide show is up to you.

The Worship Committee, Dolores and I decided to re-subscribe to Soul Matters, a UU theme-based monthly journal for worship, small group discussion, and faith formation, as a helpful tool for fostering connections in our congregation between worship and spiritual exploration for all ages. In addition, Soul Matters, adapting to the times, has added specific resources and discussion materials to address racial injustice and anti-racism work related to their monthly themes and provides permission resources for live stream and recorded worship services.

The theme for September will be Renewal. And as our water communion is a time for renewing our commitment and connection to our First Parish and Unitarian Universalist covenants, I offer this prompt for you to consider as you pour your water into the bowl: “Renewing...” Because we can only provide pictures for the service, feel free to make a poster with the word or phrase that describes what renewal you are giving, receiving, seeking...whatever comes to mind. Bring it to the mini water communion or include it in the photo you send from home. A reminder to parents that our regular church services are live streamed and then recorded and archived on our website. I will not include identifying information about our children and youth under the age of 18. However, if you do send us pictures for the water communion slide show that include them, you are giving us permission to share them publicly via live stream and our website.

I do not know what this new church year will bring, only that it will be different than what we have known before. Between the pandemic, the reckoning with the need for racial justice, and the upcoming election, we face many unknowns causing lots of anxiety and fear, grief and loss. But along with these come moments for creativity, unexpected possibilities, and even transformation. As we negotiate this new terrain, I have three goals: to keep us as safe as possible; to keep us connected and accessible, and to keep us grounded in our Unitarian Universalist covenants and faith.

I look forward to “seeing” you on September 13th.

In faith,
Rev. Ellen

Previous Reflections