Dear WUUC Community,

It’s September, which means our ingathering service is just around the corner. Ingathering is the time each year when we return from summer adventures, students prepare to return to school, and we ramp up our church programs and activities. It is a time of joy and celebration at our returning to community again. 

I know it was my hope, and the hope of many in our congregation, that we would be able to celebrate our ingathering this year in person. The rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19, however, has made that plan unsafe; and so, we find ourselves preparing for a virtual ingathering for the second year in a row. 

Though necessary, this is disappointing to many of us who were hoping to return to worship and fellowship in our beautiful building, and to see each other’s smiling, maskless faces. That day is still coming, just not as soon as we’d hoped. 

This year’s ingathering also marks the start of my second year with you as your settled minister. And while it will be the second time going through the cycle of the church year, this year will still hold a lot of firsts. We still have yet to have a worship service in our sanctuary together. I have yet to meet many of you in person. I have yet to teach an Adult Religious Education class, or attend a potluck. Many of the tried-and-true ways of being together in community are not available to us right now, and so, in many ways, our first year together was just a “getting to know each other as we get through this weird and difficult time together” year.

The year we are now beginning together (albeit, still virtually for now) will likely hold more of the hallmarks, practices, and customs that we will engage in together for years to come. And so, I like to think of this coming year as our second “first year” together. We still have a lot of “getting to know you better” to do. We have a lot of breaking bread to do. We have a lot of learning and growing and serving to do. And we will. We will do all of these things in due time. 

This year holds many opportunities. I know our hearts are ready and our spirits our willing, but our bodies are vulnerable. So we will wait just a little bit longer. And I know this: our patience will be rewarded. When we do finally have that first worship service in the church building, when we attend that first potluck, or sing together for the first time in months, it will have been worth the wait. Our sacrifice will be rewarded, and it will taste all the sweeter knowing that we did what we had to do to protect ourselves and others. 

It is said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, but that second step is just as important. As we continue our journey together, may our second first year hold much-longed-for reunions, many beautiful firsts, and abundant blessings for all.

Peace and Blessings,