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Minister’s Musings: A Pastoral Letter from Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

By this time, you may already have noticed some of the annual signs of seasonal shift: cooler nights, tinted leaves, and children heading to/from school. Change is in the air!

Unitarian Universalists celebrate this month as a time of “ingathering”, of renewed attention given to community and to the covenants and creative collaborations that make them meaningful. For many congregations, this month marks the beginning of the new church year, inviting new ideas and efforts on behalf of our shared principles and mission.

The Water Communion (celebrated this year on September 11th) has become a poignant ritual of renewal, reminding us all of the Spirit that flows through us, connects, and nourishes us in so many different ways, in all seasons.

As we enter this season of renewal, opening our hearts to this new beginning, it seems particularly important to be attentive to how different it feels from last year. This year we are able to, once again, worship and sing together in person. This is clearly cause for gratitude and joy! But also, potentially, for sadness and unease. Why? Because coming together draws attention to those who, for one reason or another, are no longer with us. (There are so many…)

This year, as you embrace the joys of renewal and gather at Central Park for the Ingathering Picnic (09/11 at noon), I encourage you to notice who is there, and, who isn’t. Allow yourself to be moved by the poignancy of the moment. Share words of welcome, remembrance, and appreciation with one another. Reach out to those you may not already know.

Do so in the knowledge that “every drop/every person” is precious, and that no opportunity should be lost to convey faith in that truth.

Along those lines, Tanya Webster, UUSM’s LifeSpan Religious Education Director, will be at the picnic to say farewell. Tanya has recently given notice of resignation. Please take the time to thank her for having brought so much wisdom and heart to this community, particularly during these very difficult last couple of years. Her creative advocacy on behalf of multi-generational engagement and enrichment will be remembered and greatly missed. Please do share your appreciations and well-wishes with her.

In this season of renewal may we, in all possible ways, make visible, audible, tangible and useful the Spirit that flows eternally through us.

In Awe & Gratitude,

Rev. Stefanie


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