Greetings in the Spirit of Advent!
The Spirit of Advent is symbolized by the color purple.
This past Sunday, everyone who joined us in the Livestream worship service saw the color purple everywhere—the cloth draping over the cross, cloth draping over our little altar table, the color of many small candle holders and three of the large Advent candles themselves.
In the context of Advent, this symbolizes to me a spirit of somber, enduring hope.
To me, this is a way to survive and transcend the demanding difficulties of our times.
Despite a raging pandemic, sickness and death—coupled with raging suffering and injustices, both locally and globally—
Flocks of migrating birds still spread across the skies, signaling oncoming winter, a time for the earth to rest in our part of the planet.
Babies are still being born.
People still hang lights, decorate trees, set up manger scenes and lit stars!
Animals race about preparing for the cold, storing food, creating winter habitats for themselves and their four legged families.
In the Month of the Freezing Moon, the pale disc still rises with quiet beauty.
The swinging lanterns of the stars emerge each evening, signaling the immense weight of glory of a creative universe.
We are surviving and transcending multiple planetary and local catastrophes in our own Westport way: Reaching people through creative worship! Music! Preaching! Praying! Artful ritual!
Shower ministry! Clothes washing! Food for people without homes, people who live constantly with food insecurity and lack of adequate clothing. The Shower Ministry and Lunch Ministry teams are heaven sent!
Our mission of creating art and creating community through the arts continues to grow and deepen. Who knew there could be a “Dancing Word” or a “Kids Spread Out for Art” before this time?
In the midst of threats to democracy and decency –and through long, desperate nights of grief and fear over killings of people such as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and locally, Cameron Lamb and Ryan Stokes–we never remained silent. From pulpit and piano, from music stand and prayer bench, and in the street and the public square, we never became complicit by being silent. Instead, we became—and we have become—a “Congregation of Committed Conscience”.
Some of us joined in and spoke at marches and protests and rallies. We put on our pink, wool caps and went to the airport to stand up for refugees and Muslim travelers. When people with guns appeared at peaceful protests at the Plaza, we proclaimed “Love Bats Last.” We kept walking with—and we continue to walk with—Jesus Christ— troubling the waters, trusting that we will be led out of Egypt by the light of “a pillar of fire by night” and protected by “a pillar of cloud by day”.
What more can we do? We cannot do it ourselves. We look to God to move the mountains and open the heavens.
We continue to pray for those among us who are suffering with hope and courage: Julie Thomas and the family of Steven Thomas; the family of Maxine Lindsey (our beloved member who died of Covid-19); the Wardlow family; Steve Zeoli’s mother (Marilyn Bruder); Linda Smith’s family member Levi who has twice been in induced comas to fight off a serious case of pancreatitis; Glenn Stewart coping with the aftermath of a careless driver smashing into her car while she was driving; Brooke and Chris Sweeney’s parents recovering from serious procedures and surgeries; and our families who are coping with online learning. We saw on Facebook that Stacy and Justin Roth have a new baby and that Holden is a happy older brother. We praise God! Donna Kay Campbell, Fred Culver, the Paul Mesler family, Nancy Brockman’s family, Barbara McCloskey, Beverly Ryan, Nancy Gay, Carly Simon and her brother and sister-in-law and Debbie Anderson’s brother-in-law, Tom Bruns.
We are forming an Earth Care Congregation team to strengthen our work in conserving the Earth and combatting climate change. A ZOOM meeting with Diane Waddell, an earth-keeping leader in Heartland Presbytery, will be held this month. We will alert you as to the time and date. Jim Turner, Westport elder, has sparked the creation of this team.
Please consider deepening your understanding at a ZOOM discussion of the 2021 Building Efficiency code on December 7, 7:00-8:30 p.m., co-sponsored by the Sustainable Sanctuaries Coalition. Community activists and building experts will lead the discussion. More info
Finally, we are near the conclusion of our 2021 Pledge Drive. So far, we have received $80,000 in pledges. It would be great if we could reach $100,000. We operate with a deficit every year, and that is difficult. Plus, we are going to want and need to do new things in 2021. Thanks to all who have pledged so far. If you haven’t, we hope to hear from you before Tuesday, Dec. 8 when Sessions sets the budget. We will have a congregational meeting to elect officers and review the budget on Sunday, December 13 at 12:15 p.m. after the livestream worship service.
And our nominating committee, led by Bob Russell and Stan Morgan, has been at work. We are foregoing nominating related to the Deacons until we resume in-person life at the church. For elders, we have Brooke Sweeney and Karen Elmer (second three-year terms), Joe Raach (first three-year term), and Bobbie Testa and Drew Irwin (filling out one-year terms). Thankfully, these will give us a full slate of nine elders. Other elders whom we are grateful to for continued service are Steve Zeoli, Paul White, Stan Morgan, Jim Turner and, after six straight years of service, Bob Russell (thank you, Bob!)
Thank you for your commitment to God’s work!
Keep the faith!
Share the love!