A Message From Our Interim Pastor
Greetings, beloved ones!
New week, new mini-survey! Link is HERE. And the last one for the foreseeable future. Read on for more on all of that.
This past week has held a lot! And many of you are holding a lot. Pain, sorrow, longing, hope, healing, hunger. Maybe all of the above. Church is for building community that can safely hold each other. Church is for holding those who don’t know about (our) church, but desperately need to be held – because maybe they never are. The season of Lent, which began Wednesday, is for taking the time and space to recognize and more deeply appreciate that which brings life, love, and solidarity – the things that last. Lent is for better realizing all that which we can’t take with us. For those who do it, “giving something up” for Lent isn’t about ascetic self-flagellation or finding an excuse for a lifestyle dietary fad, but a way of removing some thing/s that obscure our view/s of what truly matters, liberates, and brings life. This is why, on Ash Wednesday, we are reminded of that which is most essential: our own bodily matter. We aren’t meant to freak out at the phrase “from dust you were made, and to dust you shall return,” but rather to better appreciate how both elemental and timeless our nature is. As I often say in the lead-up to communion, you are the stuff of stars, and of the earth. You are stardust. You are, each of you, holding a unique part as a blessed combination of particles that make up a person, in the billions-year-long cosmic story of re/forming stardust. WOW! And we get to hold each other in that truth. Much more on Lent in the weeks ahead. But first! Speaking of wow…
I’m still dancing with delight over the fun, food, and fellowship so many of us had on “Fat Tuesday” with our Jambalaya Cook-off and more (and no, not because my recipe “won” : ) ). So many thanks to our Congregational Life Committee for putting on such a wonderful event for our community. To me, and I hope many of you, it was a wonderful opportunity for that growth many of you seek this year: building thriving relationships and increased participation in church life. And wow again! Almost $2000 was given by our community for investment in our Hospitality Program. We’ll see where the numbers are when February is over, but I do believe that after only two months we are already halfway there in terms of the funds needed to meet our commitment in 2020 to those living in our care here at Rincon. That is truly wonderful. I can’t wait to see who brings home the Golden Spoon next year! I am already preparing for defense of my crown.
IMPORTANT: As announced this past week, starting this Sunday, March 1, we will begin holding informal conversations between services throughout the six Sundays of Lent. These conversations will take place in the Fellowship Hall from (roughly) 9:15-9:55am. All of you are invited! The goal of these relational conversations is to talk through the 3 big questions that the Local Church Profile of the UCC asks: Who Are We, Who Is Our Neighbor, and Who Is God Calling Us To Become.
The only thing you’re asked to bring is yourselves. Your articulation of faith and your “why” for Rincon. There is no agenda except to have notes taken on what meaningful takeaways your conversations generate. The first two Sundays will center on the first question, the next two on the second, and the last two on the third. There will be guiding prompts from myself and your Church Council leadership for getting started. Our collective hope and plan is that these conversations build off the mini-survey process and open up a path forward for creation of a team that will lead the church in filling out the Local Church Profile. Our current hope is that the team will be formed by the end of April/beginning of May. (And remember, the Local Church Profile, whenever it’s completed, is the resource posted online for prospective settled pastors to find and apply for to see if we see a mutually good “match.”)
I want to express deep thanks to you all for the time, energy, and honesty you’ve poured into the mini-surveys these first two months of 2020. The answers and data you’ve provided are invaluable for this process, and the entire Interim Ministry season we are in together. There is one more mini-survey, linked in the electronic version of this newsletter. Please take the time to sit with it, answer it honestly, and help us pivot well to this big new part of the story you are telling as Rincon Congregational UCC.
Here in Tucson…we’re in the desert. These next 40 days of Lent, we are EXTRA in the desert, contemplating our call, relinquishing what is unnecessary for survival, resisting the temptation of false and temporal comforts, and praying about what comes next on our ministry road. Fear not. We are with Jesus in the desert. Jesus is with us, always.
Peace and grace –
P.S. Please do fill out this week’s (final) mini-survey. Read each question carefully. Sit with it. See what comes up, honestly, from your experience. Answer accordingly. Thank you so much!
Read the Thursday E-letter for March 12, 2020 here.