May 10th, 2010

love one another as i have loved you

saying goodbye to my second pastor in six months

[FirstChurch Mailing List] This weekend at First Church Somerville
Sent: Fri, May 7, 2010 12:13:22 PM

Dear Beloved,

Mother's Day! My Last Sunday! Molly in Service!

Our service on Sunday will be about all these things, but more importantly than all these things will be our praying, singing, and speaking together of our longing for God. We will praise God for her willingness to match our longing, and to love us in ways we are able to recognize. I pray you, join us for worship.

In addition to our worship, we will practice the spirit opening discipline of caring for others and ourselves. We will take two offerings this Sunday, our regular offering, and also a special offering for the Holy Bible Baptist Church, our Haitian sisters and brothers in Davis Sq. Members of this congregation will be going to Haiti on May 24, with a ship container of necessary things. Our offering will help with this.

Myriam Piervil, from that congregation will join us for worship, and will say a few words to us, a mission moment, during the announcements.

Also joining us will be the Rev. Merrie Allen. Merrie iis the Clerk of the Metropolitan Boston Association of the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ. Merrie will lead us in our litany of Farewell. In this litany, Merrie will ask you to forgive me, and then she'll ask you to release me to my new ministry. Then Merrie will ask me if I will forgive you, the congregation, and then she'll ask me if I'll release you to the ministry of ourselves, you and Molly. We will say, "We do," and "We will, with the help of God."

I'm preaching a short sermon, Althea's the liturgist, Tim's leading the praying of a Psalm, Dibbie's helping me with the benediction. Molly will read scripture and participate in others ways. Lots of folks are playing lots of instruments. Joe's promised something achingly beautiful. Thom will lead our singing, which we will do as if our lives depended on it, please?

One last thing, in the past, it was the habit of the church to bring canned goods and non-perishables every Sunday of the year for folks who are hungry. The Deacons have asked that we resume this act of compassion. There will be a basket at the back of the church for these non-perishable proteins and pasta every Sunday. On Communion Sundays, these food gifts will be presented, with the offering, to be blessed for the use in the community.

Oh, yeah, there's a party tomorrow night, 6-10. I'm bringing a CD mix of R&B music (such as "Brick House," oh yes!). There will be food, skits, and dancing. I've not been reading the emails, so I can't wait to see what will happen. Will I need a rain coat? Meck will come with me. Thanks, y'all, in advance.

If you can't make it this weekend to worship and the party, I know you're with your moms and in necessary places of rest and responsibility. Please, know I understand these necessities. I feel your love and kind regards, and I send you my prayers and blessings.

Laura Ruth

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When I told Scott this morning about how I had cried a lot but I hadn't felt painful grief or anything, he said that I was sad but I wasn't grieving -- which he thought was a good thing: that I'd had this good process and I'd done what I needed to do and all that.  When I was telling Ari this tonight, she commented that it is true that, thinking about the Kübler-Ross stages of grief, I've been able to experience a lot of those already as part of this process.

Edit: From Molly's email to the listserv Tuesday:
It was so good to be back with you on Sunday--to feel not a million miles away from my church family in the midst of my medical labyrinth (no dead ends, right?), to see the tears shining in your eyes as you said goodbye to Laura Ruth, as you recognized the truth of Althea's words in your own lives, as you let the feelings that were set free that morning, begin to free other feelings and griefs in you, griefs both present and past. What an amazing gift, just to have a place to feel your feelings, whatever they are; to sit beside people it's ok to feel things with, who won't be ashamed of you or themselves when feelings get out of their tidy boxes, when nose and eyes runneth over.