Listening for the Stories

“Don’t give up on belonging. Solitude has its place but remember Audre Lord: ‘Without community there is no liberation.’”

– Cole Arthur Riley

A big reason why many folks come to a congregation like North Parish is because there are so many interesting people here! But it can be hard to get to know folks in the sanctuary during service; it’s easier to do so in small groups or while working side by side on projects. Then there are the times when folks share their personal stories in the Enews, in worship or at events like next Friday’s Storytelling night. 

Two Sundays ago during our annual Water Communion service, we participated in a ritual of unity that symbolizes our varied experiences of wonder but also the power of community. We collected the words that folks wrote down as they came forward to contribute water, stones, shells and one acorn to a common bowl. Those words give us one snapshot of the congregation and hint of so many stories. I wanted to share them with you.   

Photo of bright red flowers among lush, green leaves and plantsOur offerings represented…
Wonder and connection
Growth and sustenance
Change and transition
New Beginnings

Our offerings included…
Water from our fountain filled with rain.
Water from my vegetable garden.
North Andover’s drinking water.
Water from the River Thames in London.
Rainwater from the August 8th storm.  : (
Water from running through the sprinkler with grandkids!
Water from Julie and Rick’s pond near Ithaca, NY to celebrate our friendship.
Water from the Cape Cod National Seashore. “The water is cold, but I will dive in!”
An acorn- seed of new re-organizing and re-prioritizing after a summer of eventful vacations.

Our contributions held these memories…
A tiny child finds a tiny shell.
Playing ultimate at Seabrook beach.
A day at the beach with my family celebrating our love for each other.
First times and travels with my daughter; the first time dipping toes in the Pacific together.
Sharing the beauty of a storm close to the ocean edge with a seal following my son and I (at Race Point Beach, Provincetown).
The gift of a joyous life shared together.
Time well spent with loved ones.Family time at the beach.

Our water represented…
My ancestral home.
The bounty of the garden.
Great traditions (and a happy 25th to Rev. Lee).
Feeding my soul and cleansing my soul- a happy soul.
The unity of all life’s blood and the waters of the world.
Breathtaking beauty (a rock from the limestone barrens of Newfoundland.)
Our home, where we’ve spent so much time this summer growing as a family.
Trust that the deep peaceful water within me and around me will hold and support me.

And finally, we were reminded that…
Water is life.

Do you have a story to share this year- in a small group, during the Hike for Hope, at the Sept. 29th Storytelling, or in a Sunday service such as Oct. 22nd? The folks here are a friendly audience… and we will be all ears.

Hoping to get to know you better, in these Days of Awe,
Rev. Lee