Serving WCUC

On January 12th, we heard three members reflect on why they do what they do at WCUC.

From Ellie Garvey:

My father used to tell me I had an affliction, like my mother. He called it “the rising arm syndrome.” It manifests itself when I hear the words, “Would anyone be willing to…?” or “Could someone…? And my volunteer arm rises up. I don’t consider this an affliction. Helping and volunteering are part of who I am, and I like it that way.

West Concord Union Church has no shortage of volunteer opportunities, and I have thrown myself into the community with abandon. In addition to singing and ringing in the senior and bell choirs, I hold an elected position on the Worship and Welcome Ministry. I have served on this ministry for 6 years, and that means my time is up. In accordance with the church’s constitution, I have to step down. While I am a bit sad about that, it does give me the opportunity to tell you about everything that I love about serving on this ministry.

Most of what you see up here in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings is under the auspices of the Worship and Welcome Ministry. We guide the ushers and greeters, we prepare and serve communion, we assist with Joys and Concerns, and we review Sunday worship services to improve on our dedication to making them welcoming and inclusive. In the summer, we coordinate the outdoor services, and we are in charge of hospitality and fellowship, from coffee hour to funeral receptions.  And I love all of that. My favorite parts are serving communion and helping with fellowship events. And the best part of the Ministry is the team of leaders that I have had the privilege of working with.

The first time I set up the communion table was way back when I was on the board of Deacons, the precursor to Worship and Welcome. As I laid out the bread and juice, it occurred to me that I was setting Jesus’ table. And that was a pretty cool thing to be doing!  For those of you who are wondering if you could serve on Worship and Welcome in the future, the answer is yes! Please speak to me after worship today and I will be happy to fill you in on the details of this vital service to the church. 

It has been a privilege to serve WCUC in this capacity for six years, and I thank God for this community of volunteers. I’ll take a year off, and then we’ll see where my rising arm takes me next. 

From John Fossett:

I joined WCUC in 1988, after being introduced by one Maynard Forbes. What I found here was a vibrant church, teeming with vitality and activity, and it has been, and surely will continue to be, a congregation that is a living affirmation of God’s call to service, providing innumerable opportunities for each of us to serve the church in some way. Some such roles require an ongoing commitment throughout the year, while others are those I call one-off or time limited commitments. Over the past several years, I have focused my efforts on the latter, serving as a member and Chair of the Investment Committee, as a greeter, usher, and coffee host, and helping with outside grounds cleanup and periodic setup for special events.  One of my most favorite “roles” has been to provide rides to church for Annie and Fran, not easily able to get themselves here otherwise.

Over the years, service to church has given me pause to contemplate my formative days at the Wellesley Village Church, and how my late mother, Jane Fossett, taught me the power of individuals to help others through a helping hand or other simple acts of kindness. Her work was quite similar to what I see here: A quiet, yet abiding concern for the well-being of others, answering His call.  Jane would be so pleased to know that I had re-established a faith connection with a place that shares her values and that pursues God’s call for us to serve others.

One of the major reasons I pursue volunteer activities at WCUC is the satisfaction I derive from the joy of strengthening personal connections with others, not only while greeting or ushering or hosting coffee hour, but also during the enjoyable rides to church with Annie and Fran. Any of these time-limited roles may be perfect for those of you unable to take on longer term or ongoing commitments, but wanting to serve the church in some way.

From Joanna Swain:

I’ve been participating in our Sunday Fellowship ministry for adults of all abilities since our family moved to Concord – more than 12 years now. In fact, the SF program is one of the key reasons we visited this church, and also why we never visited another! My involvement in Sunday Fellowship has ebbed and flowed through the years as my other commitments have come and gone. Sometimes I just go to a biweekly worship services and help with whatever job needs doing, like collating music sheets, writing down joys and concerns, or passing out name tags. Other times, I have helped to organize a specific event, like a dance complete with DJ and a photo booth.  Recently, I’ve been sitting on the SF Team, along with several others from within our church and some from other faith communities. The SF team meets every couple of months to review past events, plan for new initiatives, and generally serve as a sounding board to Melissa Tustin, who is our paid and incredibly qualified SF Director.

Why is SF so important to me?  To tell the truth, most of us here at WCUC are pretty good at presenting the best of ourselves on a Sunday morning. We are buttoned down and pretty self-contained, am I right?. But SF worship services are different. They are really “come as you are”. You can’t sing on key?  Who cares! Did you have a fight with someone you live with?  Who hasn’t! The services are rambunctious and sweet, with big emotions, and God’s love is palpable. I praise God for our Sunday Fellowship program, and the opportunity to participate and help make it happen.

Epiphany Pageant Photos!

Thanks to everyone who came together to make our 2020 pageant possible!

Christmas Eve Prayers

On Christmas Eve we recorded our hopes, prayers, and longings on strips of paper and placed them in the manger, to make a bed for the baby Jesus. Please join us in our prayers:

  • For peace between all people: understanding, unity, acceptance, togetherness, love, inclusion, equity, bridging of political divisions, healing following colonization and western violence
  • For the healing of our Planet: love for our earth, new advances in renewable energy, conservation, reduced use of materials and energy, honor and respect for ocean life, sustainability
  • For the church: full inclusion of LGBTQI people in all churches
  • For leaders: that they might have peace, respect, wisdom, humility, generosity
  • For our loved ones: their healing, health, safety, comfort, freedom from pain, solace, joy, support, guidance
  • For our own wellbeing: health, happiness, kindness towards others, appreciation of the present moment, forgiveness, peace, joy, new great memories, meeting new people, new adventures, new learning, purpose
  • For all people, all of God’s children: connection, abundant food, all needs met, release from pain, unwavering love and support, God’s welcome, fulfillment of God’s call on their lives, 
  • For new scientific discoveries
  • For a bright and beautiful star

Epiphany Blessing: Home by Another Way

  • January 6, 2020

Epiphany is a good time to ponder where we are in our journey. As we travel into this year, where do you find yourself on the path? Have you been traveling more by intention or by reacting to what’s come your way? What direction do you feel drawn to go in during the coming weeks and months? Is there anything you need to let go of—or to find—in order to take the next step? In the coming months, what gift do you most need to offer, that only you can give? (Paraphrased from Jan Richardson’s Painted Prayerbook)

Blessings and traveling mercies to you from the Walden Walkers on this Epiphany day. We look forward to walking with you in 2020 – in body, in Spirit, and in prayer.

For Those Who Have Far to Travel
An Epiphany Blessing

If you could see
the journey whole
you might never
undertake it;
might never dare
the first step
that propels you
from the place
you have known
toward the place
you know not.

Call it
one of the mercies
of the road:
that we see it
only by stages
as it opens
before us,
as it comes into
our keeping
step by
single step.

There is nothing
for it
but to go
and by our going
take the vows
the pilgrim takes:

to be faithful to
the next step;
to rely on more
than the map;
to heed the signposts
of intuition and dream;
to follow the star
that only you
will recognize;

to keep an open eye
for the wonders that
attend the path;
to press on
beyond distractions
beyond fatigue
beyond what would
tempt you
from the way.

There are vows
that only you
will know;
the secret promises
for your particular path
and the new ones
you will need to make
when the road
is revealed
by turns
you could not
have foreseen.

Keep them, break them,
make them again:
each promise becomes
part of the path;
each choice creates
the road
that will take you
to the place
where at last
you will kneel

to offer the gift
most needed—
the gift that only you
can give—
before turning to go
home by
another way.

*Jan Richardson, Painted Prayerbook

How Shall We Sing?

  • December 29, 2019

A brief reflection from December 29th.

It has become a tradition on this Sunday after Christmas Day to sing carols by request. Those of you who were here on Christmas Eve will have noticed that we sang from the black (New Century) hymnal this year for the first time – at least, the first time since I’ve been here. There are a lot of reasons why we tried this, and why we tried it this year. These beloved carols from our red (Pilgrim) hymnal have, embedded in them, language for both people and God that we avoid during the rest of the year in worship.  We had another option available to us, right in our seats, in our black hymnal, which, though it may seem radical, is already 25 years old.

This was hard for some folks, and begs more conversation. As we struggle with the question of what we feel called to sing in this season, I’d like to lift up for your prayers this interesting conundrum, which I am wrestling with myself.

On one hand, we love to know the words of hymns: to know them by heart; especially on holidays.  There is a lovely sense of homecoming in returning to what we know. It can be disconcerting and distracting to have our memories interrupted by word changes; I experience that myself.

At the same time, I wonder if worship is only about our own comfort, our own preferences, even at Christmas. The more I learn about hymns, the more I learn how much they have changed over time – all in search of a song that better fits the beliefs of those who sing them. Hymns both reflect and form our faith.  What words would be best for our faith today? What version of these hymns do we hope our children and grandchildren will have memorized?

I’m not sure how to resolve this conundrum, and we don’t need to accomplish it today.  I invite you to pray and reflect on it. The Worship & Welcome Ministry and I are happy to hear your feedback, and we’ll talk more in that ministry about what to do in the future. As we sing today, feel free to request hymns from either hymnal. If we sing a hymn from the Black Hymnal that you know in a different version, feel free to sing the version that speaks most to your heart.

Repeat the Sounding Joy

Luke 2:1-20

The story of the birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke is a story full of holy messengers and holy messages.

An angel visits a priest named Zechariah to announce the coming of a child named John, who will turn many people towards God. An angel visits a young woman named Mary to announce the coming of a child named Jesus, whose holiness and power will be greater than any who have come before.  Angels visits shepherds, bringing good news of great joy for all people, announcing the birth of a longed for Messiah, a baby who bears God within.

These holy messages of our Christmas story began spreading over two thousand years ago. Once a year, we gather to heed them again.  

We gather tonight to receive the holy messages of Christmas in scripture, and perhaps even more, in song. Hymns and Carols are such an important part of what it means to celebrate this feast. Perhaps the most famous Christmas Hymn is Joy to the World, this year celebrating its 300th anniversary.

Joy to the World was written by the prolific English hymn writer Isaac Watts. Watts draws on Psalm 98 and several other pieces of scripture to share his exuberant belief that through Jesus, God brings about righteousness and equity in the world.  This is such good news, that he encourages all of creation to break into song. Let heaven and nature sing! Let fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains, repeat the sounding joy!

Set later to a tune that echoes Handel’s Messiah, this hymn returns each year to proclaim: Joy to the world! The Lord is come!

We gather tonight to receive holy messages in scripture and in song. What will we make of them? These messages are very familiar to some of us; but familiar or not, they are quite strange.  How could the birth of one baby, or even two, change the world so very much? How could the presence and person of Jesus somehow liberate us from all that is evil? If these events so long ago were really so momentous, wouldn’t things be different today?

For, of course, though we are all cleaned up for the holiday, there are some here among us tonight who are bearing great loss or pain. There are so many with unmet needs around us. Every nation and culture and community on this earth struggles to live in justice and peace.  Creation itself is groaning due to the destructive acts of humankind. Where is the righteousness and equity in our world today? Where is the joy? Where is our God?

We may long for a quick fix Christmas, for s sudden holy intervention, setting everything aright. But Christmas has never been about a quick fix.  Contrary to what we often pretend, Christmas is not about “be cheerful, no matter what” or “pull up your bootstraps” or “just pretend that everything is fine,” either. Instead, on this holiday, on this night, we gather to ponder the mystery of how holiness can dwell even in humanity; how hope can coexist with oppression and pain; how good can slowly emerge even in the most difficult circumstances. 

When those first holy messages of Christmas arrived, the human recipients didn’t jump for joy.  Zechariah, Mary, and the Shepherds all reacted with uncertainty at first, if not terror.  The invitation to holy hope in the midst of our everyday realities can be scary. It is only with time, with companionship, with prayer, that those the angels visit begin to trust in the holy messages they have received, and then share them with others.

Perhaps it is as if a great, beautiful bell was struck all those years ago, on that night when angels were thick in the air; when a baby was born to Mary by the Holy Spirit; when that baby was wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger.  A great, beautiful bell was struck, to drive out fear, and to offer hope, and to make way for change. The vibrations of this bell hummed in the hearts of those around the manger in Bethlehem. The tremors were so great, the rumbling even reached people in far distant places. 

The echo of that first bell is dim, now, but also pervasive, diversified. So many have received and shared its sound, again and again, over time and through space, that it shimmers around us now in wondrous harmonies.  If we open our hearts to prepare Christ room, we may find that it begins to pulse with sounding joy; with the whisper that Love is real and present among us; with the murmur that a different way of life is possible.

We are here to receive holy messages tonight, and We, too, can be holy messengers; instruments in the great orchestra of God’s creation; part of the praise band; part of the bell choir. Tonight, may the clarion call of God’s wondrous love born into this everyday world reverberate in you, driving out fear and despair, making room for healing and hope. Perhaps, in time, we will each find a way to join in the chorus, to magnify the message, to swell the song that bursts into our broken world again tonight, proclaiming glory and peace. May it be so.

A Visit with the Holy Family

  • December 23, 2019

Psalm 80:1-3

How shall we receive the Holy family as they come into our midst this week? The brief lines of their biblical stories have been layered over by so much art, so many hymns, so much tradition, that we may forget what is actually written there.  The story that we think we know has become so familiar, it may not feel like something that could touch and change our lives today.

But we long now, as folks have longed for generation upon generation, for God to come close to us, and to change our world.  The psalmist cries: “Stir up your might, and come to save us!… Let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Christians are invited to find God’s response to this longing in the events of this week.  Let us make our hearts ready to receive God, shining and saving, arriving in the form of a human child.

Luke 1:26-38

We know very little about Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus: but that hasn’t stopped us from celebrating her.  There are so few women with names in scripture; so few who speak; so few who are portrayed as taking an active role in making way for God’s work on earth.  And so, Mary has become in our traditions almost everything we can imagine a woman to be, and particularly those things that our cultures have desired women to be, even when that contradicts the biblical record.

Mary is almost always portrayed as beautiful, though the scriptures make no reference to her appearance. Mary is, all too frequently, portrayed as white, when we know her skin must have been some shade of beautiful brown.  Mary is cherished as an example of a strict sense of morality; though she would have been, at the time, a great scandal: an unwed teenage mother.  Mary is treasured as an example of female docility, meek and mild; when her brief appearances in scripture point to instead to bravery. Mary talks with an angel; she agrees to take on an overwhelming task of being the mother of God; she survives brutal gossip. According to one gospel, Mary travels while pregnant, and gives birth in a stable, all because of the dictates of colonial bureaucracy. According to another gospel, Mary travels post-partum with an infant, and becomes a refugee in Egypt, in order to escape the brutal violence of a tyrant.  Mary raises a son who leaves his family to become a traveling preacher, risking his life in open defiance of political and religious authorities. She accompanies her son through his execution.

Mary’s story is not glamorous.  I can’t imagine that she could have survived it without deep faith and unbelievable courage.  But perhaps the best proof of Mary’s character we get in scripture is in her longest speech, proclaimed to her cousin, Elizabeth. This outpouring of faith is known as the Magnificat because it begins, I magnify the Lord.  The words of the Magnificat are truly revolutionary; and that is beautifully captured in the version of it made by Rory Cooney; let’s sing together, the Canticle of the Turning.

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph is the neglected member of the holy family. We hardly remember he was there. When we set up our nativity sets, he’s usually somewhere in the back, holding a staff, looking solemn. There’s only one hymn in our hymnal that has much to do with him; that’s the one we’re singing.

But Joseph, like Mary, must have been a remarkable person. He is visited by an angel in a dream, and decides to believe that holy message, and marry an already pregnant woman, despite the scandal.  He has an incredible lineage, including King David and traceable all the way back to Abraham and Sarah.  We can only imagine that he must have been proud of that.  Still, he accepts that his firstborn son will be adopted: that love is more important than genealogy.  Joseph goes on those same journeys as Mary, supporting her, pregnant on the way to Bethlehem; supporting her and the child Jesus on the way to Egypt, and back again.  And in Matthew’s Gospel, Joseph is the one who receives all the angelic visits and instructions: the one charged by God to keep this little family safe.  Like Mary, Joseph does not really fulfill his stereotype as a perfectly “traditional” dad.  He is something better, a partner and parent who is brave, flexible, self-sacrificing.

Let’s sing together, Gentle Joseph, Joseph Dear.

Isaiah 7:10-15

When we try to imagine who Jesus is, we often turn to the Hebrew Scriptures.  This is strange, of course, because we share the Hebrew Scriptures with many who do not understand Jesus as the realizations of Hebrew Scriptures depictions of a coming king, a suffering servant, a sign for the nations, Emmanuel, God-with-us.

But the gospels do not tell us what Jesus was like, especially as a child.  A hymn assures us that “no crying he made” but really, Jesus could have had colic, or been one of those babies that just had to be held and jiggled all day. Did Jesus get diaper rash?  Was he fussy about eating, prone to spitting up? Was he a toddler full of laughter, or maybe, instead, an old soul with a deep seriousness only certain two-year-olds can muster?

We know more about Jesus as an adult, but even then, he’s still a bit of a mystery.  We don’t know much about what he looked like. We don’t know whether he had a romantic partner – plenty of commentary on that one, especially in popular culture, but no real answers. We get only tiny glimpses from the gospel of how Jesus felt, or what he needed. We are witnesses of Jesus’ public face: his wisdom, his stories, his questions, his final public protest and execution.

But Jesus was human, as well as divine. He was, once, a child: born poor in a little village, in somewhat questionable circumstances, in dangerous times.  He was loved and cared for, and grew up brave: ready to bring the best of himself out into a complicated world, and let it shine.  He was God, with flesh on; God among us, knowing human life and death: God with us, our Emmanuel.

Let’s sing Born, in the night, Mary’s Child, giving thanks for God’s gift of Jesus.

Winter Wisdom at Walden

  • December 19, 2019

As temperatures drop and daylight hours become shorter in these cold winter months, the prayer walkers remain determined to keep coming together to share, to walk, to pray, and to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation in the company of one another.

For all who could use a little more warmth and light in their lives right now, this blessing is for you:

Blessing for the Longest Night

All throughout these months
as the shadows
have lengthened,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
preparing for
this night.

It has practiced
walking in the dark,
traveling with
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by memory
by touch
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.

So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
reach you
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.

You will know
the moment of its
arriving
by your release
of the breath
you have held
so long;
a loosening
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
a thinning
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
around you.

This blessing
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
to travel
in the company
of a friend.

So when
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Get up.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.

This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you go,
you will be walking
toward the dawn.

—Jan Richardson
from The Cure for Sorrow

Singing Our Faith, Part 4

An image of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth from the community of Taize.

This year we have been taking one Sunday of each month to explore the music we sing together.  So far it’s been an extremely condensed historical survey, considering the Hebrew psalms, ancient Christian canticles, and the birth of hymnody as we know it during the Protestant Reformation.  In the years that followed the Reformation, more and more folks embraced its musical impetus. Congregations around the world sang in their native languages, with music that fit their cultures, and that was easy to sing all together.  We could spend a lot of time exploring all this music. But today, I invite you to jump another 500 years or so, to the mid-20th century, to another era of great religious, political, and musical change.

As nations faced the consequences of first one, and then two world wars, Christians of many denominations and nationalities became impatient with the divisions among them. There was a desire for unity and common mission in a broken world.  At the same time, many Christians began to feel dissatisfied with their modes of worship. Much of Catholic worship was, for some, too antiquated and formalized, disconnected from modern people and from everyday life. Much of Protestant worship was, for some, too prosaic and intellectual, disconnected from the senses, from ritual, from a sense of holy mystery. The division of the Western Church in the Reformation had led both Catholic and Protestant branches to dismiss those forms of worship that they characterized as belonging to the other. But now, after a break of about 500 years, they were curious about each other’s gifts, and about the gifts of even more ancient Christian worship, their common ancestor.

In the midst of all of this came the second Vatican council, or Vatican II.  This international conference of the Catholic church, held in several sessions during the years 1962-1965, marked a major shift in Catholic practice. For the first time, the mass could be held in the vernacular, not only in Latin.  There was greater openness to lay leadership and ecumenical partnership. A few women were invited to attend the conference – a small gesture, but a significant one.  Most relevant for our discussion today, this Council called on church musicians to adapt Latin hymns into vernacular languages, compose new texts and melodies, and create church music with contemporary musical styles.  This call generated the folk music still used in many Catholic settings, some of which has crossed over into Protestant use as well.

The opening of Catholic tradition to Protestant collaboration led to extraordinary developments.  A shared lectionary was designed, with readings for each Sunday of the church year, for use in Catholic settings as well as many Protestant ones.  New conversations revealed that we don’t disagree as much about the sacraments as we thought we did.  Denominations began to recognize each other’s processes of ordination and baptism. Christians across denomination began to explore the importance of worship space, sacred seasons, and the order of worship.

These innovations happened in local congregations, and at seminaries, and in denominational bodies. There were particular storms of creativity in special Christian communities around the world that don’t fit into any of these categories.  Today we’re sampling musical gifts from three of those special communities: the Iona Community in Scotland, the Taize Community in France, and Holden Village, a retreat center in Washington State.  All three have cultivated the development of innovative forms of music and prayer which reflect a fascinating mix of denominational, historical, and geographical influences.

We started worship today with a hymn from Iona (Who Would Thank That What Was Needed).  This community was founded in 1938 by a pastor in the Scottish Reform tradition.  The Iona Community is famous for its retreat center on Iona Island, but also for its publishing house, Wild Goose Publications, as well as one of its most prominent musicians, John Bell.  Through the generosity of Helen Sayles, we were able to host John Bell here several years ago. We sing music from this community throughout the year, such as: Halle, Halle, Halle; Cloth for the Cradle; and The Summons.  Iona has become a center for musical renewal in the church. Its music includes unexpectedly modern language set to traditional tunes from Scotland and the British Isles, as well as short worship songs gathered from around the world.

The Taize community in France was founded just two years later than Iona, in 1940, by a Catholic man who became known as Brother Roger. This community welcomed refugees during World War II and offered hospitality to orphans after it was over. Taize has become an interdenominational Christian monastic community of men which has a particular calling to nurture spiritual growth in youth and young adults, who often make pilgrimage there. Their worship style includes periods of silence and simple, evocative prayers, as well as repetitive chants, set to music. Much of Taize music was written by one brother, Jacques Berthier.  Both the brothers of Taize, and their worship style, have travelled around the world and blessed many other communities. Let’s sing together a chant from Taize, In the Lord I’ll be Ever Thankful. (Here’s a video for those who weren’t there to experience this!)

The third community I mentioned, Holden Village, is by far the most recent, and least well known of the three. It was founded in the 1960s, and is rooted in the Lutheran tradition.  I mention it not only because I went there last summer, but because it has developed music and worship that is similar, yet distinct, from the other two communities; right here in the United States. The most well-known of its musicians is Marty Haugen, a Lutheran who grew up to join the UCC and who also composes for Catholic congregations.  Marty Haugen writes hymns, call-and-response litanies, and full mass settings, as well as the evening prayer setting that we are using pieces of throughout our worship in Advent. We’ll sing another one of his pieces together, in a moment.

But first, I want to take a moment to reflect on the significance of the shifts in sacred musical development that these three communities and their artists represent.  I find in this music, and the theology of worship that undergirds it, a weaving together of head and heart, of ancient and new, of high and low liturgical styles, with a profound emphasis on accessibility and participation.  This is music whose DNA and whose goal is a unification of Christians with one another, with our common history, with our common faith, and with God herself. I give thanks for this music, and all those who have made and shared it with us, and to the God who inspired it.

Let’s sing, then, a piece from Marty Haugen. This is a version of the O Antiphons, the calling of many names of Jesus, to come among us, in this season of Advent.

Advent in the Light

Over 40 children, parents, and grandparents joined us on Saturday, December 7th for our annual Children’s Ministries Advent in the Light event. Our theme this year was prophets – both ancient and modern – and how they help us wake up to hope and pay attention to God’s message during Advent. Prophets are carriers of the messages about how God longs for our world to be, and they share these messages loudly (check out this video of Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Action Summit in September, furiously calling out world leaders for not doing more to tackle the climate crisis). We asked children and parents – what do you hope, pray, and imagine for our world this Advent? Can you think about what God wants for our world and imagine how you can be a part of that change? Before entering the labyrinth, people wrote their prayers on gold stars and then carried them into the center (these stars of hope are now hanging outside the sanctuary!). Children and adults also engaged in making play dough stars, creating 3D star ornaments for our Gift Tree in the sanctuary, painting kindness rocks, and decorating our Imagine poster. As always, the evening was filled with warmth, light and delight in coming together during this dark season to share hope and peace as a community. Enjoy the pictures from our evening together!