Recently, I bought some rocks.
Silly thing to do, you might say, but these rocks called to me… particularly the middle one, which has a full natural circle on its surface. It reminds me of the enso symbol, the “circle of togetherness’, a calligraphy symbol in the Zen Buddhist tradition that is drawn with one breath. After making cairns of my own with my daughter on boulders in a nearby river, this lopsided yet seemingly balanced (pinned together) one is coming home with me… to remind me about the benefits of cairn meditation. Comically, my rocks were wrapped in bubble-wrap (oh dear!) to make the trip.
This week, my son began his first job as a Counselor in Training in the Adirondack mountains in NY, helping to lead young children on day hikes, so I’m beginning the month of August out here. It is such a treat to be able to be in such a beautiful place after my stay-at-home COVID sabbatical this spring. I haven’t yet chosen my rock or water for our water communion service in September, but I will.
Even as summer continues to unfold, your leadership is planning for the next church year. The Board held a retreat at Ferry Beach on July 31st to set their goals, and the Parish Council will follow up with a retreat on August 28th.
I’d like to thank everyone who is staying involved in congregational life over the summer months- especially our worship leaders and summer services coordinator, Helen Cymbala. Helen recently wrote me about one morning’s tech “surprises”, and I just laughed out loud reading the comedy of tech problems that made the morning a challenge. What else can one do?
Well, thanks to the NP 2.0 team and the Board of Trustees, the decision has been made to add a 2nd tech person- just 3 hours a week- to help support our hybrid services. This will allow for two tech folks to cover for each other and key volunteers (like Steve Vail, who has been running the cameras since the spring and will be in Canada in Sept.) The cost of the position is within the limit of the Board’s additional spending authorization.
In other Personnel news, I’m so delighted to share that work by the Personnel Committee, Director of Faith Formation for Children & Youth Kerry Anne Kilkelly, and multiple representatives of our children’s and youth programming have led to the Board’s recent hire of our new Youth Coordinator, Jaime Rivera. Jaime comes to us with a wealth of experience and will be working at North Parish for 14 hours a week, 42 weeks a year. Keep your eyes posted for a chance to get to know more about her in the weeks to come.
P.S. Here’s what Wikipedia, of all places, says about enso circles: “Ensō exemplifies the various dimensions of the Japanese wabi-sabi perspective and aesthetic (the beauty of imperfection): fukinsei (asymmetry, irregularity), kanso (simplicity), koko (basic; weathered), shizen (without pretense; natural), yugen (subtly profound grace), datsuzoku (freedom), and seijaku (tranquility).” Seems like that gives me enough to contemplate for the rest of my life!