Greetings, Dear Ones.

Our theme for the month of October is sanctuary. Sanctuaries are places of refuge or retreat, particularly in troubled times. We create sanctuary for each other and for ourselves in many different ways. Sanctuaries can be our own bodies, spaces in the natural world, built or created spaces, relationships, and communities.

But what makes something feel like a sanctuary to each of us? How are the things that make a sanctuary for me similar to or different from what makes a sanctuary for you?

A thesaurus I looked at said that two of the synonyms for “sanctuary” are “hideout” or “hideaway.” And I thought, “Hmm. Yes, and…” What’s the relationship between a sanctuary and the outside world?

In a sanctuary we’re protected from trouble, but are we shutting the world out? Are we hiding?

Or is a sanctuary a place where we are protected so that we can heal, recharge, or be physically safe even while we remain aware of and work on or work with external forces that are making us unsafe?

Or is a sanctuary a place where we have different relationships with the outside world depending on our needs?

If sometimes a sanctuary is one thing and sometimes the other, how do we know the difference?  Where is the line between being safe, and shutting the world out?

And how does each of our visions of sanctuary reflect not just our relationship to the outside natural world, but to the human community who can find sanctuary within them?

None of these questions have easy answers, and our answers to them might change over time, with our personal situation, and with our identity. But I believe that how we grapple with them and how we answer them has much to do with our individual and collective spiritual journeys.

During October, we’ll explore the idea of sanctuary in our services as we honor Indigenous Peoples day and All Souls Day, as Cora Goss-Grubbs reflects on her unexpected spiritual journey while taking a class on Social Work with African American Families, and as I join with you to reflect on our questions about sanctuary. I hope to see you in worship!

Love and Blessings,
Rev. Diana