Be present to the good and the joy.

Dear Friends,

Thank you for a fabulous Pledge Campaign: your generous participation in our activities, your faithful pledges, and your good-natured participation in a Barbie-themed campaign! You can read more below about our results. Stay tuned as the Vestry crafts the 2024 budget . . . 

We turn our attention next, of course, to the best day in our church calendar: All Saints’ Day! We will celebrate on Sunday, November 5 with a brass band, a litany of the saints, lots of joy, and the great cloud of witnesses represented by the names of our beloved departed flying in the colorful flags overhead. This is OUR feast day, our name day, and a wonderful reminder that our lives after death are changed, not ended, and that those we love but see no longer are still with us. 

All Saints’ Day blends joy and sorrow as we remember and grieve, rejoice and celebrate. In that way, I think it crystallizes the complexity of being human, holding sorrow and joy in one hand. That’s certainly where we are living these days as we mourn and rage against violence in Gaza and Israel, as we mourn and rage against yet one more mass shooting, as we celebrate and cheer on our young ones who are over the moon about Halloween costumes, as we rejoice and celebrate the joys of our lives: births and baptisms, birthdays and anniversaries, time together. 

One of you recently shared this poem from Mary Oliver with me, and it has bolstered my desire to be present to the good, to the joy, even while lamenting and pushing back against injustice and loss. I hope it encourages you, too.

Don’t Hesitate

If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.

Faithfully, Suzanne+