Ways to Mark Time

It doesn’t really feel like August, does it? August usually means back to school shopping, finding out where you sit and how your classroom will be set up.  Or if you’re not connected to school, August often means preparing for fall trips or projects. But this year…what does August mean?

One of the most disorienting parts of corona time is the loss of “the usual.” Habits and rituals and routines that ground us in our daily lives and to time in a broader sense have fallen away.

Humans need rituals. Rituals offer us a purposeful acknowledgment of transition and change. Rituals help our brains process the shifts in our own lives and in life itself.  Rituals orient us in time. And rituals connect us to each other, and to our deeper values – the bigger story our lives are a part of.

This is why we felt so strongly that we needed to set aside time for some important goodbyes this week. So that we could acknowledge more fully the big transitions we are experiencing as a community, and make space in our hearts for both the gratitude and grief of these changes.

The first was Thursday, as the family ministry team held a lunch time goodbye and thank you to Betsy Naas, our Family Ministry Assistant who is headed to Smith College for graduate school this fall. If you missed it, you can send notes to Betsy via Eleanor.

We also had a drive-by goodbye for Rev. Kristen on Friday evening.

In the midst of these goodbyes, we are also making space for some new beginnings.

Our new Assistant Minister Rev. Elaine Aron-Tenbrink began her work with us this week, and has started to meet with some of our caring network and lay leaders to set the foundation for the work ahead.

Our new Director of Finance and Operations, Katie Watkins, has officially begun full time in the last two weeks, and our new Marketing Manager Tanner Linden is the long timer as he enters his third week on the team!

To help mark these new beginnings, we are looking to hold a couple of set-aside times for you to drop in and get to know these amazing new staff members. Look for more information in the coming weeks.

One of my favorite ways to think about Sunday services, actually, is a way to mark time. The routine of returning again to community, to commitment, to a collective vision for an hour each week helps ground us in time’s passing and helps connect us to our place in it all.

This Sunday my friend and colleague the Rev. Kelly Dignan (some of you may know her from her meditation sessions) will be leading worship with me as she offers her UU Good News with a message on why bad things happen. I look forward to marking time with you this Sunday at 9 & 11 am MT.

With love,
Rev. Gretchen