Dear Friends,

Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune reported that 30 million migrating birds were predicted to fly over Illinois on Thursday night, with some 180,000 passing directly over the city. Local birding organizations encouraged us to shut off our lights to keep from disrupting the birds’ migration and to keep cats indoors. I left my windows open to see if I could hear them. Alas, I slept too soundly.

After I read the article, I couldn’t get Joni Mitchell’s song, “Urge for Going” out of my head with the haunting lines:

See the geese in chevron flight flapping and racing on before the snow
They’ve got the urge for going and they’ve got the wings so they can go

The ones she calls “the warriors of winter” in her song are still a way off. Summertime is not “falling down” and winter is not “closing in, but the arrival of Labor Day weekend each year marks a change in rhythm for most of us who live in the northern United States. Summer vacations – if we were able to take them – have become memories. Schools and colleges are starting again – facing great uncertainty and anxiety.

On September 1, your Co-Warden Rob Lentz, wrote in an email, “The autumn switch has been flipped.” It was an accurate statement since September 1 marks the start of meteorological autumn – distinct from astronomical autumn that begins with the fall equinox.

Even during this crazy year, I sense a shift in energy here at All Saints’. There’s renewed engagement as we prepare for celebrations like the Blessing of the Backpacks on September 20. Already 22 cases of paper have been delivered to the church – we’re halfway to the Ton of Paper we hope to donate to neighboring schools (see article below)! And the Worship Committee is putting the finishing touches on its design of an “in-person” pet blessing for October 4. Details will be shared soon. For now, imagine a massive, chaotic, joyous Pet Parade passing by All Saints’ at the time of the 11 o’clock service that day. You won’t want to miss it!

What about you? How will you re-engage with All Saints’ this fall? Maybe you’ve taking a break this summer. No worries! Come back to church – either online at 9 am, or in-person at 8 or 11. Participate in an Adult Formation class – there’s something going on every Wednesday night at 7:30 pm starting this Wednesday (see article below). Attend a Sparking Sunday on a second Sunday of the month, or a session of Brewed Awakenings – our Adult Forum where we talk about a variety of topics. Both meet at 10:15 am on Sundays. Or schedule a visit with one of the clergy. We’ve been meeting people all summer by phone, on Facetime or Zoom, even in person – we call them “mask to mask” meetings. The courtyard behind the rectory is a lovely spot to talk. We’d love to hear from you.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you’ll include this marvelous parish in your fall plans. As it says on the All Saints’ Covid page, we are “a community transformed by hope” and you are essential to our common life wherever you are in your spiritual journey!

Blessings,
Stephen