An unexpected joy that I’ve discovered in serving Westside on a part-time basis is that each week I spend in Seattle feels like a joyful reunion. Even after only a week or two away, I arrive with curiosity about how this community has been doing, and enthusiasm about the time we will spend together. What a gift to experience this quality of presence so often, and to be received with the same curiosity and enthusiasm.
This week in particular, I want to thank you for all the ways this community has shared in the joy of my ordination. Becoming an ordained UU minister is a life goal I have been building towards for over a decade now, and it was a deep joy to be able to travel to my home church in North Carolina to mark this milestone. It was a ceremony that honored my roots, but also my wings. What a gift that our Board president, Tracy Burrows, was able to attend my ordination in-person to share blessings from Westside!
In the Unitarian Universalist tradition, we believe that congregations have the right and responsibility to ordain clergy from among themselves. My ministry was one that was born from the Community Church of Chapel Hill, but continues to grow and be shaped in this congregation today. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of my formation process, and letting me be a part of yours.
I am grateful at this time for these past few months of relationship building, and that we have time to make grand plans for the coming church year. With the budget process and annual meeting behind us, much is beginning to take shape. Our leadership is thinking deeply about worship themes, spiritual formation opportunities, time for social connection, and the continuation and deepening of our right relations processes. There is much to be hopeful about, and many places into which to pour our creative energy.
And yet, as we look ahead to the coming church year together, it is my hope that we don’t get too caught up in all the work to be done, and instead focus on spiritually grounding ourselves to be present to what emerges. Whatever summer means in your life, I hope you take time for rest and reconnection with yourself and loved ones, and for enjoying the delights of the natural world that this season offers. For my part, I’ll be traveling to France with my partner to spend some time with his family, who we haven’t been able to see since before the pandemic.
Next week, you will have a chance to kick off the summer at our congregational picnic. And, with the solstice right around the corner, I hope you will find opportunities to set your intentions for this season. There is much to be done (even summer fun involves logistical planning), yes, but I hope we can all find joy in being as much as in doing.
In closing, I invite you to enjoy this song, one of my favorites, with which the choir closed out my ordination service. It is “We Shall be Known” by MaMuse, performed by the Thrive Choir.