Dear Friends ~

The month of November is framed by All Saints Day on the first of the month, Thanksgiving Day toward the end, and finally on the 29th, the beginning of the Advent Season. The first is a liturgical holy day, the second a much-loved secular holiday, and the third, the beginning of the season of anticipation that leads us toward Christmas.

In the midst of all this, of course, insert November 3rd ─ Election Day, and November 11 ─ Veterans Day. Each of which have particular significance, perhaps more than ever this year.

I’ve already invited you by email to share the names of those you would like to remember on All Saints Day, November 1st, and many of you have already shared with me. Because we’re doing our best to observe safe COVID-19 practices during worship we will not come forward to light can-dles; rather, I will speak the names of everyone you have asked me to name in worship and in prayer.. We remember these whom we have loved, and who have loved us ─ folk who brought us up or were our partners in life, or those with whom we shared dreams, hopes and burdens, or were neighbors and friends who exemplified Holy Love. We remember those who loved us, taught us, or helped us to see life in special ways. It’s a Sunday to remember and give thanks for these who have joined what the Apostle Paul called ‘that great cloud of witnesses’ who have gone before us into the heavenly places.

We will celebrate communion together on that first Sunday in November! To do so safely, please bring a piece of bread for yourself and your family. We will consecrate the bread which we share, even though we won’t be able to share the cup together.

Most of us, I suspect, are expecting to celebrate Thanksgiving Day without family, much to our sorrow. May we keep each other especially in our prayers, reaching out to those who may also be grieving the isolation and experiencing the loneliness.

And then: the First Sunday in Advent ─ November 29, preparing to celebrate the One who brings Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love ─ in the Christ Child.

The last seven months have been times of trial. COVID-19 fatigue is not surprising. It tries our patience, wearies our souls, sometimes strains relationships. Our worry for the world ─ its vio-lence and terror, the conspiracies and lies we hear about ─ stand in such stark contrast to the life and work we hope to nurture here in our communities and homes. The purveyors of news, the pundits tell us of all that’s wrong. But, we are a people of hope, grounded in a love that will not let us go. It is when I’m most weary that I’m in danger of forgetting Who it is who holds my life.

That is why I encourage you to take time for needed rest, for re-creation, and a time of Sabbath. We are indeed richly blessed to be a people who serve. But we have to be open for the nurture and sustenance offered by the Holy One who holds us beloved. May we together continue to experience moments of God’s presence in everything we do, wherever we may be. May you be lead forth in joy as you follow the Way of the Risen Christ.

In Christ’s Peace,