Easter Season, Earth Day Season

“…May we always have enough room for those many who want to come in. May those who cherish this church be so glad they cannot stop speaking, stop asking, and may that crowding itself be a gladness… May we notice each one who is new and invite her to stay.”

– Nancy Shaffer

On Easter Sunday, I felt like North Parish had our own little resurrection going on what with the Choir back in their places, a sanctuary that felt “full”, and a backyard FULL of kids and grown-ups (including many visitors) having a fabulous time!  In the pews we were treated to a visit by our eldest member, Elinore Washburn, who is 98 magnificent years old- as well as a new family with a baby who looked to be under one, as well as North Parish alumnae Nicola Elardo and the Rev. Margaret Weis. Masks certainly make it more challenging to see and recognize faces but there were so many visitors in the Meeting House it felt like the vibrant “old days.” Thank you for bearing with those masks to help protect everyone, including our one and our 98 year olds!

People inside the sanctuary during sunday worship

The COVID pandemic has been crushing for many congregations in addition to all the families who have suffered deep and unexpected losses. I feel very fortunate to serve a congregation that is healthy, strong, persistent and loyal… and is heading towards a chapter of new life. The pandemic shook up the way we do things around here and now we are trying to remember old habits- and why they were important in the first place: “How DO we make the coffee?” “Should we be calling new families to welcome them?” “What’s this- a collection plate being passed at the service?!”

Remembering old habits: important, but not all that this chapter can hold. The congregation faces some discernment questions this spring about our core values. After 186 years of an inaccessible pulpit, shall we make it accessible to us all- or not?  377 years after our founding alongside the enslavement of Native and African Americans (which had lasted for 159 years in our Commonwealth) shall we engage more deeply with this idea that “reparations means repair”- or not?  After two years of no Religious Education Team, do we want to support the next generation of new UU families- or not? Shall we go for a “net zero” Meeting House- or not?  Shall we be more visible and loud in the public square in a nation where the powerful are systematically, intentionally violating the rights of trans youth, the tiniest disenfranchised minority- or not?

The end of the Christian Easter story is all about evangelism—sharing some good news. In fact, in Christian churches it is just the beginning of the 50-day-long Easter season for basking in the glory of Jesus’ Resurrection. What glories shall we bask in for the next 50 days of spring? As we observe Earth Day and the war continues, good news about life may seem scarce indeed… but life, as well as death, is all around us.

When it comes to religious community, folks or families who are not 100% Christian or one of the other major world religions don’t have many choices. I invite you to consider how you might be part of our North Parish “resurrection”.  There is too much to celebrate, too much to protect, too much of our mission and loving kindness to share!

See you at the Meeting House or on the Zoom screen,

Rev. Lee