Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.
It’s so good to be back!
I want to express my deep thanks to the congregation for the gift of my recent sabbatical, which was rejuvenating for me on many levels. Though regular sabbaticals for ministers are standard practice in Unitarian Universalist congregations, I am mindful they involve an extra burden for those called upon to cover various gaps during a minister’s absence. So, I am especially grateful to Rev. Lynn, Angela, and the Executive Committee (Karen and Mary Anne) for all they did to hold the congregation together with such care while I was away.
Between the Freedom Convoys, the war in Ukraine, and the onset of our sixth wave of the pandemic, it’s been a very strange time to be on leave. I’ve certainly had thoughts I’ve wanted to share about each of these things and so much more along the way, so I’ve been very much looking forward to returning to the pulpit this coming Sunday.
Frustratingly, though, I will be joining you for Sunday’s service from my home rather than from our physical sanctuary. In fact, other members of the worship team will be doing the same, as a few of us are navigating the complications of possible Covid symptoms and/or potential exposures through our close contacts in recent days.
Given this, those inclined to attend in person may wish to join the service online instead, as most of the words that will be shared on Sunday will be coming from those of us leading worship through screens from our homes. That said, the musicians and members of the Green Team will be in person in the sanctuary and glad to greet you.
I know many of you are contending with these same sorts of challenges during this particular wave of the pandemic, as well. May we all move through this time with the grace, patience, and seemingly endless degree of flexibility being asked of us. We will get through this!
For the service on Sunday, I’ll be reflecting on where we’re at in this complex moment in time, using Walter Brueggemann’s helpful formula of Reality, Grief, and Love. My sermon title, with a nod to Neil Young, is “Mother Nature on the Run.” To mark Earth Day Sunday, Michel, Gaby, and Leslie will be providing us with wonderful music, and the Green Team will be inviting us to deepen our commitments to sustainable living. With the blessings of technology, it will be a good Sunday to be together.
In the meantime, I’m wishing you all well, in every way.
In faith and love,