As we bid farewell to the warm embrace of summer and welcome the blessed rains of autumn once again, my heart swells with gratitude for the journey we have experienced so far, and the journey that lies ahead in this new church year.
On September 10, we marked a significant milestone for Evergreen by celebrating our first Ingathering in our new home, nestled in the heart of Everett at the Carl Gipson Center. The transition to our new physical space has been an exciting venture, one that required significant labor, vision, and collective faith. As I've shared with you repeatedly, now is the time to bring our genuine gratefulness practices to the forefront for the team of leaders who made it all possible. I do hope you'll make your appreciation known the next time you're with us.
Clearly, after the huge task of relocating Evergreen physically, many of you are coming into new relationship with the wonderful leaders and staff at Carl Gipson Center. This year promises fresh opportunities for each and every one of us to make friends with all whom we meet in the hallways and sidewalks and common areas. Alongside you all, I'm also excited to explore innovations within and among us which might enlighten some Sunday services, or our umbrella of ministries/programs, or our small group endeavors or special events -- infusing them with the community warmth and spirit our new co-living home gifts to us each day. During my sermon on Ingathering Sunday, I shared some of my visions and faith for how we might support one another's joys and challenges as we navigate the logistics our new, albeit temporary, co-living arrangement with other non-profits at Carl Gipson Center now places at our fingertips.
One central metaphor that continues to occupy my mind and heart this fall is how each of us are no longer stewards of a historic church building in Marysville. We've handed that off now to the next church organization who will tend to it with loving care. As a result, I find my mind and heart continually pondering how our spiritual energies can now focus on how we wish to be stewards of Evergreen's mission and vision. After all, our mission and vision as a UU faith community is what truly endures, no matter where we gather. Serving as stewards of them seems to me to be the essence of our river of life and consciousness as a beloved community. Living as spiritual stewards of this sacred community we have chosen to join can help shape the "how" as we aspire to inspire spiritual reflection, truth, and fellowship for all who join us. For all who embrace new dreams and directions.
I continue to savor the in-person fellowship and heartwarming conversations we're all sharing online and in person each Sunday. I hear many of you breathing with excitement as we are now transplanting our cherished rituals while nurturing new ideas, new relationships, new interdependencies to carry out our stewardship of Unitarian Universalism. Ingathering was a fitting celebration not only for September's liturgical theme of "Welcome" but also for October 's theme of "Heritage." Throughout October and November, we'll explore diverse perspectives on the role heritage plays as we strive to revive our social justice ministries, adapt our overall umbrella of ministries/programs to better serve and sustain our soul energies, steward Evergreen's unique liberal Religious Exploration education for all ages in Everett, and help liberate hearts and minds with the promise of liberal religious values, principles, and sources. I sincerely hope you and your loved ones will join us in this season of spiritual exploration.
Welcome to our autumn journey, beloveds, where the beauty of our heritage and the welcome of new people and beginnings can once again intertwine. Together, may we listen to one another's ideas and thoughts deeply and compassionately, honor others' free and independent search for truth and meaning, and steward the call to widen our circles to center those souls and voices who may find themselves on the sidelines within our own membership, and within our Everett community at large.
With open hearts, wholesome humility, and mutual faith, may we embrace the continuing journey of Evergreen's loving kindness.
With autumnal love and colorful blessings,