Creating Sanctuary

Creating Sanctuary

Dearest UUCC,

I miss you. I miss hugging you. I miss the spontaneous conversations that can happen when we’re just together at OBIC … or when we’re all out and about in town and more likely to run into one another. I miss singing with you. (And yes—especially for those of you who have been in worship the past two Sundays—I’ve learned my lesson, and we’ll be doing hymn-singing differently this week!)

AND I’m so impressed and touched by how you and we are finding new and different ways to connect with one another. If ever there was a moment to remember that a congregation is its people, not its physical plant, this is it.

I love hearing reports from the Staying In Touch Team about one-to-one conversations you’re having; and seeing that young adults and reflection groups and religious education classes and meditation groups and others are gathering virtually (and often informally); and visiting with you myself in our virtual social hours; and anticipating Friday’s ZoomFest (which may already have happened by the time you read this message!).

I love the kind words and funny memes and encouraging messages you’re posting on social media.

I love that you’re encouraging each other, and us on staff, to pace ourselves. (I commend Rev. Cecilia Kingman’s piece, Pacing Ourselves in a Pandemic.)

I love that you’re reinforcing the message that we’re in this together, and that we’re figuring out what that means, together.

I’ve heard some of you express that you’re missing not only being in-person with one another, but also that you’re missing our sanctuary itself. Some have said how meaningful it is to see us livestreaming from there on Sundays. So, I’m sad to share that we’ll be leading worship entirely from our homes this Sunday, March 29. I’ll set up our UUCC chalice and bell and joys & sorrows bowls so you can see them on screen, but we won’t be in the sanctuary.

So, as we figure out how to live in this new reality together, I encourage you to think about how to create sanctuary in your own space. Sanctuary means different things to each of us (and I could write an entirely different post about that), but for the purposes of this message, I encourage you to set your own altar / chancel table:

  • Get or make a flaming chalice. (Remember the broken-and-boring-things message that Valerie shared in worship on March 15?)
  • Fill a bowl with water and gather some pebbles or marbles or beads for our joys & sorrows ritual.

Have your home altar on screen while we worship together. Take a picture to share, and perhaps we’ll collect them in a UUCC virtual space. Use the items for family rituals throughout the week.

A congregation most definitely is its people. And we are creating sanctuary, anew.

With love,
Paige

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