Retreat & Return

Retreat & Return

For the past couple days, I’ve been at a small and rustic conference center near Hyannis, Massachusetts (Cape Cod), with 16 other Unitarian Universalist ministers. We are a study group that gathers twice each year to explore together a book or topic that isn’t necessarily directly related to ministry – though, of course, we know that everything is related to ministry – but which promises to evoke thought and reflection and insight.

What a gift to share precious time with colleagues whom I see infrequently but who love this vocation and this faith as much as I do, and who each embodies that vocation in their own unique way.

What a gift to be led in worship – three times in two days – by these thoughtful colleagues, including one who plays the guitar in a mesmerizing way and another who took the time to find and use words that each of the others of us had recently preached or written in our own ministerial contexts.

What a gift to be introduced to new-to-me poetry (Lucille Clifton’s “Wishes for Sons”) and music (Leon Bridges’ “River”) and hymns (“Golden Breaks the Dawn”, #353 in Singing the Living Tradition).

What a gift to discuss, for a few precious hours, something that each of us and all of us have read in anticipation of our gathering. This time we read the novel Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which is accurately described as “a powerful, tender story of race and identity”, and which also is much more than that. I loved this book, and commend it to you if you haven’t read it already. (And if you like listening to books, I recommend the audio version, narrated by Adjoa Andoh.)

And what a gift to look forward to returning home – to my family, to Columbia, to you, whom I love so dearly.

I look forward to seeing you soon.

With love,



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