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UUSM at Woodlake; A "Delight"ful Message From Rev. Stefanie Etzbach-Dale

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

UUSM AT WOODLAKE – Sunday, June 4th, 2023

Fifteen UUSMers gathered at the Woodlake Clubhouse this past Sunday (see photo, minus Pat Nicholson) for an afternoon of song, poetry, personal sharing, and refreshments. A big thank you to the Pastoral Care Team and everyone who helped coordinate: getting the word out, bringing food and flowers, arranging carpooling, bringing song sheets and setting up the space so hospitably. Special thanks to our Sacred Song Circle members and to Kathy Kinner for those delightful gifts personalized for our monthly theme of “Delight”!

Poems: The two poems shared in support of that theme were from a book called “Dancing with Joy”, edited by Roger Housden: “Mindful”, by Mary Oliver, and “Mind Wanting More”, by Holly Hughes.

Songs: The songs we learned and sang together were: Loosen Loosen, Return Again, Trees of the Wild and The Turtle Remembers.

For our check-in we were invited to share memories of “Delight” from when we were young. They included: camping under the stars and hearing parents’ harmonies as they sang, the peace of finding one’s way to a stream in summer, the cooling relief of a creek, the freedom of stepping into the cool current of fast-moving river in Pennsylvania, eating fudgsicles at a mudhole/swimming hole in New Jersey, trips to Iowa and listening for the sound of trains, the freedom of riding a red bicycle in Western Massachusetts, fireflies in the Midwest, catching fireflies in New Jersey and bringing them to California, shooting stars, sledding in the cold weather snow, climbing trees in Oakland with friends, enjoying the quiet of a rustic cabin in New Jersey, traveling from city to city and hearing mom singing, claiming the fun of bike riding even when adults didn’t acknowledge that experience, a cabin in Big Bear with a stream and jumping from a hanging swing…

Common themes from our sharing: water (recommendation to read “Covenant of Water”, relief from summer heat, freedom, bike riding, nature, solitude, special sounds, the delight of sharing with others these experiences and the desire to be “lured into”/invited into such experiences.

We were also invited to consider the things that delight us today, those that we delight in sharing with others: baking, a sense of humor, not having to be funny, being quiet, writing reflections, making a “box of delight”, adventurousness, going to museums and lunch, sending cards to people, listening to Mozart, playing Canasta, creating/sharing beauty, hiking sharing nature with others, providing translation services, thrift shopping at Turnstyle (to get a deal, meet/connect with people, and to provide a service to others), generosity, thoughtfulness, feeding people, cooking, giving presents, making crafts…

Rev. Stefanie’s Message: Connecting with memories of delight and sharing them with one another has a calming effect on the nervous system, connecting us with gratitude and the ability to notice the delights that are present within the ordinary right now. It reminds us of our authentic nature and weaves connections, breaking isolation and allowing us to get to know one another on a deeper level - so that we can become a greater source of delight for one another!

Thank you for your heart-centered presence and participation. I hope you enjoyed connecting in this way and will reach out to one another with invitations to share delightful experiences (ex. Cooking, thrifting, playing Canasta, enjoying nature walks or museum trips, etc.).

The Pastoral Care Team will be looking at other opportunities to gather in this way – so stay tuned!

Meanwhile, if you find yourself needing a little extra support, please do reach out to

Wishing you a delightful summer!

Rev. Stefanie



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