Message from the Senior Pastor
What a glorious Easter weekend we had at Rincon! Between the Night of the Beloved Community dinner, Tenebrae, Ted Goodridge’s Celebration of Life, and Easter sunrise, 8:45 and 10:45 services, almost three hundred and eighty members and friends attended worship and special services! Although our Easter lilies were at half mast for Sunday services, the church was decked out in our new Easter finery of brightly colored art installations - paraments and five rainbow doors announcing, “God’s Doors are Open to All.” Spring has brought full purple blooms to the wisteria vines in the Children’s Play Place and the campus trees and shrubs are following suit. Our year-old labyrinth no longer looks new; what were originally young volunteer plants and trees are now in their adolescence. Rincon members and neighbors come to pray with their feet and bask in the surrounding beauty. My favorite visitors so far are a young father who brings his three year-old son, who spend an hour or more walking the labyrinth together and making music in the Children’s Play Place.
I love the Easter season! While this year was a bit more demanding than most, I still revel in the many ways we come together to remember Jesus’ journey to the cross and beyond. All these activities take a ton of coordination and volunteer energy, yet it is done with such generosity of spirit, whether it be music, song, digital and social networking, cooking, serving, and sharing food, campus clean-up, art installations, small groups, service, service, service. Behind the scenes, our Church Administrator, Nancy Congdon is making and checking her lists, coordinating activities, and sharing her particular gift of hospitality to everyone who enters our doors. It is so important to stop and take stock every once in a while to linger in the gratitude of the ministries we accomplish.
Don’t forget to attend the the Southwest Conference Annual meeting that will be held at Rincon on Friday and Saturday, April 20th and 21st. This is a great opportunity to see the United Church of Christ beyond our local church and to get to know others from churches in New Mexico and Arizona! You can visit with the vendors, enjoy food truck lunches and a banquet dinner, attend workshops and innovative worship services and make new friends! Please wear your name tags, introduce yourself, and welcome our guests and let them know why Rincon is known for its hospitality.
As we begin to scatter for our summer, I know we will be resting and playing, perhaps visiting family and friends, reading a good book, being in nature, and slowing or changing our pace to let God and goodness in. We have worked hard to get here. As our “Be the Church” banners proclaim: “Enjoy This Life!” Or in our creation story, “On the seventh day, God rested.” To slow the pace a bit, beginning June 1 our church office will be closed on Friday afternoons. We will move to one 10:00 am Sunday service for June and July, with worship in the sanctuary during June and Fellowship Hall in July. You will receive electronic newsletters every other week, and Horizons newsletters covering April-May and June-July. This will allow time for staff to clean files and plan for our next program year, as well as to take much needed vacations to refresh and re-create. I hope you are able to do the same.
And still the need for attention to the pressing issues of our times, the financial sustainability of our church, and the faith development of our children, youth and adults call us to respond with justice, mercy, kindness, and joy. The Rev.’s Rich Smith, Karen MacDonald, Justin Sabia-Tannis, Inge Detweiler, and David Buss will be leading worship over the next months as I attend graduation and visit my family in Florida. You will be in good hands! Meanwhile, I will see you in worship, during office hours, and, if you wish, come to visit with you in your homes. And remember Brené Brown’s advice in her latest book, Braving the Wilderness, for getting through these turbulent times: “Strong Back. Soft Front. Wild Heart.”
Peace on your way,
Read the Thursday E-letter for May 18, 2018 here.