Indian Summer Greetings to you today, Dear Hearts,
Can you believe the weather today? My outdoor thermometer says it’s 78 degrees! It’s so warm, I had to dig out some summer clothes, and I didn’t have to make a fire in the woodstove this morning, either. I just threw open the windows and all the doors. What a fun, wonderful surprise! 🙂
I have a handful of things to share with you today.
A number of months ago, I had asked you about your interest in sharing communion together some Sunday. At the time, we were all still struggling to figure out how to live in a pandemic, and the idea of dealing with the logistics of serving communion felt overwhelming. Now that we have a rhythm down however, I’m wondering how you might feel about celebrating communion during our on-line service. If I presided, would you be willing to gather a little bread and juice (or whatever substitutes you might find at your home) and celebrate with me through the nebulous ether? If communion is important to you, will you drop me a line and let me know?
On another note, Session will be meeting tonight to discuss our plan regarding in-person worship. A big thank you to all of you who have responded with your thoughts, concerns, and opinions! It will make our job much easier tonight. I will make sure to send out an email in the next few days to fill you in on the details.
Dr. William Lake, who teaches at Crane and has played piano and organ for us from time to time, has continued throughout the pandemic with a tradition he started for his students last year called “Wassail Wednesdays.” On Wednesdays at lunch, he and his students gather over zoom to sing and make merry. Last year, William provided his students with the other key ingredient for making the event merry– the actual wassail itself. Because they are now coming together remotely, the students haven’t had wassail to sip between songs– that is, until Renee Stauffer offered for our church to supply it! She will be setting up a station in the Snell Circle for students to drop by and pour themselves a cuppa of this flavorful drink before they head off to sing. There are so many fun, creative ways for us to “be the church” in our community right now. I invite you to put your thinking caps on for other imaginative ways that we can be present to our neighbors during this stressful time.
In other good news… the organ has found relief! Last week we had an electrician come take a look at the motor, and he figured out that the problem was coming in from the power lines. This week National Grid came to work on the problem. It turns out, the 3-phase electrical lines simply weren’t delivering adequate voltage to run the motor– likely a problem related to the fuse-outage across the street that resulted from the construction project. But lickety split, National Grid fixed the voltage problem, and we are back in business once again! Hallelujah! Now all we have left to do is have the organ tuned, and it will be ready to make lovely music once more!
Ivette Haryman-Rodriguez, one of our professors from Crane who has played piano and organ for us some, has been in Texas weathering the pandemic with her family there and teaching her classes remotely. Since she doesn’t see herself returning to the North Country at any point soon, and while she also continues to pay rent for the apartment she has here in Hannawa Falls, she wondered if any of us might know someone who would be interested in subletting it– even if it’s not for the full amount of rent. If you have someone in mind, please send her an email at email@example.com.
Friends, on the national front, the pandemic seems to have taken a serious turn for the worse this week. I don’t know about you, but alarm bells started going off for me again. This is the beginning of the next severe wave and things are going to get much worse before they get better. So even as we find ourselves experiencing “pandemic fatigue,” I ask you to remain loyal to your health. Keep wearing those masks! Stay as close to home as you can! Avoid spending time in large groups– including with your own extended family! When we begin to grow weary of the separation, we need to take our minds back to the root of why we are practicing social distancing in the first place. We take these measures seriously because we love one another. And we love ourselves. The motive behind our collective focus on public health and safety is really, when we boil it down, a matter of love. When you are sitting on the fence about making Thanksgiving plans, and you make the decision to not spend Thanksgiving with your family, you are siding with love and care. Remember that, ok? It goes completely against our instincts, I know. And it is painful. But the most basic decisions we make in the next 2 months may have serious repercussions. So I ask you to keep in the front of your mind the love and care you feel for your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your community. Let your love lead you.
And let us end with a poem by John Updike. Please read it out loud to yourself, for the full effect. 🙂
Wind has shaken autumn down,John Updike
left it sprawling on the ground,
shawling all in gold below,
waiting for the hush of snow.
May God bless us and keep us,
p.s. If you haven’t ever tried wassail, it’s made from apple cider, cranberry juice, orange juice, cinnamon, and mulled spices. If you ‘d like to try some, hit William up for the recipe. 🙂