Tags: church: somerville: ucc: retreat: 2010

moon house

First Church Somerville retreat 2010 (Feb. 5-6)

Friday night's post-dinner session started with icebreakers, and as Betsy was explaining I kept interrupting to ask questions, and Laura Ruth said, "Come sit by me," and I kind of laughed, but she indicated like no she really meant it, so I scooched across the room and curled up next to her.
She asked me, "Is it okay that I called you out?"  I said it was fine.  I almost said, "You're a pastor - it's your job."

One of the questions was how long you've been at First Church, and various of the people I'm familiar with (who by definition do more than Sunday morning, since I almost never do Sunday morning) -- Kathy, Tara, Jeff and Julie, the Duhamels -- have only been there 2 or 3 years, which surprised me.

Later, Laura Ruth taught us a nigun, so it's just "lai lai lai ..." and after she was done, Ally said, "What was that again?" after Laura Ruth laughed, she looked at me.  I laughed and said my first thought had been, "That wasn't me!"

In conversation with a few of us, Tara talked about being a hymnal junkie.
I said that my best friend (and another woman I know) collect hymnals and that I don't but maybe I should since I have purchased the UMC Book of Worship and Book of Discipline.

At some point I was going through the Sing! Prayer and Praise book [the new praise music supplement to the UCC hymnal] to find which hymns I knew, and one of them was "She Comes Sailing on the Wind," and Jeff said, "Oh, you know that one?  I've been wanting to learn that."  I said I couldn't sing it all that well on my own but that I would try.  Yes, I was yet again reminded one of the things church does is pushes us beyond our comfort zones, pushing us to utilize gifts and graces we aren't necessarily even sure we have.

When I was talking about "She Comes Sailing on the Wind," I said that it was one of the hymns I picked for the Sunday I preached, and how we sang other hymns that Sunday morning, some of which I was like, "Oh, I wish I had picked that one!"  It occurred to me that if I collected hymnals I could collect all the hymns that I like, so I could just go to that booklet and pick out hymns to go with whatever service I was working on -- yeah, worship planning... what is happening to me?  There are all these things that Ordained Ministers do and I'm like, "No, I'm not Called, because I don't (wanna) do any of those," and I keep having to be like, "Well except for that, and that..."

As we sat together after Compline, Jeff was humming, and someone asked him what song, and thus started a session of singing and guitar-playing.

Ally asked if she could teach us her favorite Julian of Norwich song.

Ally taught us the chorus ("All will be well, and all will be well, all manner of things will be well."), and I thought, "Okay, this isn't a tune I'm familiar with, but okay," and then she started the song -- she would sing the verse, and then we would join in on the chorus.

I wasn't blown away at the beginning, and then I wanted to argue back to the singer ('cause, hi, it is Julian -- you'll understand what I mean when you read the lyrics), but then, oh, it kind of broke me open at "I know it's too much, and it brought me to my knees, where I heard..."

After I got home, I looked up the lyrics and then bought the track off CDBaby (I would have bought the whole album, but I previewed it and wasn't really taken with it).

I've been praying this song a lot since I got home from retreat.

When Ally first started teaching Laura Ruth the song, Laura Ruth picked up a shaker and I thought, "music is so how you pray."

Saturday morning, I passed FCS-Ian, and he asked, "You didn't bring your lectionary, did you?"  I said, "No, but it occurred to me this morning that if you're doing your morning prayer service, you need to know what the daily lectionary is, and so I should have brought it."
So he just picked passages (Judges 5:1-13 and Matthew 26:36-45).  [After I got home, I looked it up, and the assigned passages were Judges 3:7-11 and Luke 4:42-44.]
The Bible we had there was the Authorized King James Version.  Yeah, that was interesting.
We talked mostly about the Luke passage.  In conversation, I commented that Jesus is modeling for us that you can pray, "I'm willing to do this, but I really don't want to -- you can register a complaint."

We also talked a lot about the last line -- "Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."  That Jesus after twice exhorting them to wake up and stay awake, this third time tells them to sleep.  I thought but didn't say that I really didn't remember the story ending that way, but when I looked it up at home, yeah, the NIV for example says, "Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners," which has rather a different slant.

There wasn't enough snow on the ground for FCS-Ian to make a snow labyrinth, but there was some snow out on the fields, and before breakfast we saw a fox lope across.

After breakfast was a whole-group Intro to Prayer session.

Laura Ruth said that when she and Molly get up on the chancel, she wants to look out at everyone and greet them (hi, she is an extrovert) but instead she takes off her glasses and covers her eyes with her hands, and she said that what she is praying in that moment is: "Be in every cell of my body.  Make me transparent.  Help me lead Your people."

Molly talked about how there are 4 different kinds of prayer (and she had a Scripture example of each of them) -- intercession, petition, lament, thanksgiving.  I would have combined intercession and petition (yes there's a difference between asking for things for other people and asking for things for yourself, but they're both still asking God for things) and added confession.

We did a four corners exercise responding to various statements about prayer (Strongly Agree, Somewhat Agree, Somewhat Disagree, Strongly Disagree).  Yes, the responses from the various corners often very much resembled each other, but I think there was some good discussion, too.  Possibly my favorite moment was the group that Somewhat Agreed that they were happy with their current prayer practice (no one went to Strongly Agree for that) was about half people who have a prayer practice and about half who don't.  The hardest statement for me to respond to was, "I believe that some prayers count with God more than others."  Define your terms!  I ultimately said that I think all our prayers matter equally to God because we are all beloved children of God and God understands just how important each of our prayers is to each of us -- but that that is an entirely different/separate issue from which prayers God actually answers (if we even believe in a God who interferes in the world in that way).

Then there were prayer practice breakout sessions:
Kim and Betsy: craft and art as prayer
Molly: Prayer 101 and Lectio Divino
Laura Ruth: anointing for healing as prayer
Keith: guided meditation as prayer

I went to Laura Ruth's anointing as healing.  She walked us through how to do it really step-by-step, which felt a little awkward, but which I think was really good.  She talked about reading the other person and trusting your intuition.  Don't rush into their space.  Ask permission before touching them.  (And in that permission-asking, state what specifically you're going to do.)  Ask permission to anoint them with the sign of the cross -- or another symbol, like a spiral, since some people have been really hurt by Christianity and so that symbol can be really loaded in negative ways.  Ask what it is that they would like prayer for.  Ask what name they use when they're praying to refer to the Divine -- so that you can mirror their language (which never would have occurred to me, but which I think can help make it feel much more intimate and powerful).  Don't worry about having the perfect words to pray -- the intention is what's important, people will forgive a lot if they know that your intentions are good.  You can always just repeat back to them what they said to you -- which can be really powerful, to know that someone really heard you.  Someone commented that she really likes hearing someone pray in their own words, because it's an additional part of the experience that they can't get by themselves.  Laura Ruth also said that if you really can't think of anything to say, honor that -- say, "I have no words right now.  Is it okay if we stand in silence for a moment?"

I was surprised at what a powerful experience it was.

Oh, and Laura Ruth also said something about this ritual not healing the person in and of itself (the oil does not have magic healing properties) but it can remind the person that they can be healed.  (Yes, my disability-politics brain kicked in as I was writing this up, but I know what she meant.)

Julie went to Keith's guided meditation, which was about inviting Jesus to dinner.  She was at the same table as me at lunch afterward and talked about it.  She said her first thought was, "I wonder if Jesus has any dietary restrictions."  I heart First Church.

At one point, folks talked about last year's retreat, which was about enneagram typing, and I said that sometimes I think I should take the test, but that I never remember all the jargon -- that I can tell you in words what my personality type is, but I can't even remember my Myers Briggs beyond Introvert.
Kathy said, "You're even more surprising an introvert than I am."  I sort of thought, "Well, you see me in church settings where I'm comfortable."

We sang "Taste and See" from Sing Prayer and Praise, which we had sung the previous night and I hadn't liked -- with an opening refrain of "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord," I was expecting verses about the beauty of Creation or something, but instead we got "God is great, and will provide for you, like giving you what you ask for," which is theology I just don't buy.  When I was complaining about it to Ari on Sunday, she said that her immediate first thought was that it sounded like a Communion hymn -- and indeed, the Lutheran hymnal lists it as a communion hymn (and notes that it is based on Psalm 34).  I was so stuck in my thinking about why I didn't like it in the first place that it didn't occur to me that we were singing it at Communion on purpose (though in my defense, I have such a low theology of Communion, that out of context the phrase "taste and see the goodness of our God" -- yes I was auto-inclusivizing, though I left the Lords in the verses, because the verses sometimes also said God and I didn't wanna be redundant -- is not going to make me think of Communion).

We closed with a hug circle.  Molly said, "If that idea terrifies you, you can slip out after the last hymn," but that she thinks this is something "that will sustain you for days."

Carmen, who's about four years old, had slipped into the line in front of me, so John Olson who's over six feet tall had picked her up to hug her, but then he told me that he wouldn't pick me up like he had Carmen -- and he said this in a totally reassuring way.  I said he totally could.  So he did.  I don't think someone has really don't that since my Uncle Paul when I was much younger.  (I had thought earlier in the day that I had barely hugged anyone but that I didn't feel that lack, so this must be a good and comfortable space.  I was of course totally stoked about hugging a circle of ~30 people, though.)
moon house

Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

Before CHPC service started, Karl asked if anyone wanted to be the reader -- Jeff was supposed to but was away.  I gladly volunteered.

The Children's Time basically consisted of him reading 1 Cor 13:4-8 to the kids -- and then telling them that if they're looking for guidance about how to behave lovingly, this is a really good text to start with.

The Scripture Reading followed immediately after, and the first reading was 1 Cor 13:1-13.  So I said, "This is the longer version of the Scripture Karl just read.  I know that we've all heard it many times before, but I invite you to listen as if it is new, to really listen."

I actually lost my place early on, but apparently it wasn't a big deal, since I got various compliments on my reading afterward.

Then there was the Anthem, and the second Scripture reading was Luke 4:14-21.  I thought about saying, "This passage may also be familiar to many of us, and again I invite you to really listen, to hear it anew," but I didn't.  (I also opted not to to try to remove all the gendered pronouns, because I couldn't come up with a way to do it non-awkwardly.)

Karl's sermon was titled: "Justice With Love" -- about how justice needs to be rooted in love.  For much of the sermon I wasn't really into what I felt was a false dichotomy -- because he was pitting Paul against Jesus and duh, Jesus didn't see the justice work he was engaged in and advocating as being other than rooted in love -- though I do agree that justice work should be rooted in love (esp. given his point that people who have been oppressed often just perpetuate those patterns once they are in a position of power).

Early on in his sermon, Karl said that the Corinthians passage is about "willing self-limitation so the other will be enriched."

Benediction: May you be for the world light, hope, and even salvation.

After I got home, I emailed Karl:
During Coffee Hour today, both Liz and Mary (independently) told me they thought I should be the lay reader all the time.  I said I didn't know who to bring that up with but that I was on board with that :)

Of course I don't want to stand in the way of anyone who also really enjoys lay reading, but it's one of my favorite ways to be involved in church, so I'm really happy to do it more often if there are people who are on the rotation just because they feel like they "should."
He replied:
Thanks for your willingness.  It’s really important that we involve as many people as possible in the leading of worship so I don’t want to limit to one person.  There is some early conversation happening about expanding the role to do much more of the liturgy.  That will be high on the list for the new Session to think about.
Erm.  I don't think of lay reading as "leading worship," since it's just slotted in, and I am really not interested in crafting liturgy -- okay, that is a lie.  Getting to make everything connect thematically and have it all be theology/language I like is really appealing.  I am more interested in things like adjusting the talking/silence balance (Confession time, anyone? I believe I have talked about my feelings about this here before).  I think my resistance springs from not wanting to have to write liturgy (which I feel like the Liturgist -- a rotating lay position at FCS -- does, but at CHPC all the prayers are from books anyway, so it would be totally reasonable for me to pore over resources, and I half-expect that what Karl means is just having people standing up there speaking, not even necessarily being involved in the actual crafting of the liturgy ... which I obviously have mixed feelings about.  Really all my rhoughts and feelings about church boil down to my wanting it to be done "my way," with other people doing the work in the areas where I feel I do not have the appropriate gifts.)

We have Annual Meeting next Sunday, and the following Sunday we resume our Adult Ed study of John Shelby Spong's The Sins of Scripture (which I am almost done reading -- the benefit of some long train rides recently).  I think I need to come prepared with notes/agenda for each of the chapters so that there is at least a hope that we can focus on building things up rather than just commiserating about those horrible people who use the Bible as a weapon.

I am developing a sense of liturgy or something, because the order of worship at CHPC is grating on me in a "I don't worship optimally this way" -- beyond just my opinions on the actual words of the prayer.

I have so many ideas (and even energy) about how to make worship service here better, but I feel like I don't get a response when I raise stuff (admittedly I'm usually raising it by being like, "XYZ sucks; I wish we would do PQR," but I usually attempt to modulate it some -- and really want I want is a congregational conversation -- if the congregation isn't interested in the kinds of stuff I'm interested in, I can just leave or whatever, but I feel like no one cares about anything and I am so not inspired to stay ... except then sometimes we have good conversations and I get all excited).  I'm slated to lay read on March 28, so maybe I will set that as my deadline at which point I'll call it quits if I feel like nothing's happening.

"Do not be afraid for I am with you."
-Jeremiah 1:8

"The saving presence of God renders every perceived inadequacy irrelevant."
-Anathea Portier-Young
Before service, I asked Tiffany if I had a lay reader bulletin -- she had completely forgotten that I'd agreed to lay read that night.

She said, "I'm glad you're coming to dinner."  I had a moment of being confused, because of course I'd be at dinner -- especially since we had a meeting afterward.  I told her that I'd met someone on Friday who knew I was really involved with church and who asked me if I had a leadership role, and that it wasn't until I saw Tiff's email Sunday morning that I was like, "Oh yeah, I'm on Finance."

From Tiffany's facebook:

sermon in a nutshell: Being called is hard....it sucks...look at Jesus.
Sunday at 7:19am ·
10 people like this

Okay, so that is not really the core of my sermon...just a few notes I had written early in the week that made me laugh this morning as I re-read them.

What if sermons were only the notes?
Sunday at 7:21am
The lectionary texts were Jeremiah 1:4-10 and Luke 4:21-30.  The Jeremiah one was done dramatically by Tallessyn and the girls, and I read the Luke.

Tiffany began her sermon by talking about how she and David Kim were seminarians who had a great idea but both thought they were not equipped to lead this church they had dreamed up.
She talked about the idea that they'd had.
"There's never been a gay rush on  Reconciling church and Dave and I thought that had to change."
But even as this idea they had had turned into reality, they were certain that they couldn't fill the pulpit.
That's how Reconciling Saints Sunday was invented -- out of desperation, trying to find someone to preach.  They honored Jeanne Audrey Powers -- "And you still couldn't get her to preach," Marla said.

Tiffany said, "our perceived inadequacies are of no consequence to the Divine."
She talked about denouncing that which is not of God and announcing what is -- about woe and weal.

One of her themes was that being a prophet doesn't end well.  She told the Luke story -- about how you would think that everyone would be like, "Wow..." and at first they are, but then they say, "So are ya gonna heal me Jesus?  --  What's in it for me?"
She said, "It doesn't end well -- just keep going in that story."
I thought silently, "But Jesus doesn't actually get thrown off the cliff.  Oh, you mean the Crucifixion.  But there is the Resurrection."  There was a pause, and so I said out loud, "It depends on how you define The End."

She talked about how being called is hard work.

She said, "The Good News -- see, Elizabeth, I wasn't done with the sermon (me: "I know") -- is that God empowers us."
She talked about how God deconstructs and reconstructs our self-identity.

"God's presence makes our task possible, but not easy."


During Prayers of the People, Michele lifted up Basement Kitty.  I said, "My roommate was asking about Basement Kitty last night!"


The D.S. met with SPRC last Wednesday and announced our interim pastor -- Nizzi Santos Digan, who's full-time at Saugus and is a friend of the congregation.  Marla said, "Her language is not always where our language is, but her heart is where our hearts are."

Marla said that when Nizzi was asked, she, like Jeremiah, said, "Why me?" said, "There are more progressive people in this conference" -- to which Will said, "No there aren't," and Marla said, "That's what I said."

Later, Marla said that Nizzi had said she wanted there to be a lot of lay preaching -- which is great, because there's so much that we need our pastor to do, and she's only quarter-time with us, and we have so many gifted preachers within our congregation, so we had been hoping for that regardless of who we got appointed.

Friday night, my mom forwarded me an email [NB: This "George" is not my brother, duh.]:
I saw Joe at George's wake tonight. He asked how your sermon had gone and I said I'd send him a copy. He's giving the eulogy tomorrow for George.

I thought you'd like to hear you're admired :)
Below was JoeF's reply to an email my mom had sent him with my sermon text:
Thank you, Barbara.

Right now I am keeping my focus on tomorrow's service, but I look forward to reading this before the weekend's over. Like her mother, Elizabeth is someone I very much admire.
[CWM] Charge Conference/Church Council: Join us for a congregational meeting in which we elect our lay leadership, pass our budget, and discuss new ways for our congregation to be in ministry.
During the budget portion of the meeting, Marla said that she had talked to Martin about pension contributions -- that because Nizzi has a full-time pastorate that is putting in to her pension fund, it would be inappropriate for us to also put in to her pension fund.  Marla asked if we could take the money we had budgeted for a quarter-time pastor from mid-February through June and put it toward Tiffany's pension.  Martin said that if that money found its way to the pension fund before Tiffany's last day as our pastor, that they wouldn't turn it down.  Marla said that we didn't contribute to her pension until we were mandated to by the conference -- that Tiffany had resisted their even talking about contributing to her pension fund, because she knew the financial situation of the church -- and that the money we would be putting in now for these few months still wouldn't compare to the years and years we didn't, but that it would be a token of our appreciation.  ♥

Hello, First Church!

I'm writing to you, the congregation, to invite you to participate in a prayer rotation if you are planning to attend next weekend's FCS Re/Treat at Friendly Crossways (Feb 6/7). The Deacons will be setting up a quiet prayer space that will be available throughout the retreat for prayer and reflection.

We hope that the space will also have a person from the congregation present for as much time as possible to be a prayerful presence in the space.

Everyone is invited, If you feel called, to sign up for a 1/2 hour slot in the prayer rotation. I'm sharing this sign-up sheet with all of you. You can sign up for multiple slots if you wish; you can use the slot to be in prayer with others, or by yourself. We will have options for many different types of prayer. It doesn't matter if you don't know how to pray, or what to say. It only matters that you are present.

It may happen that not every slot is filled; that's ok. Also, if you're not coming on the retreat, but feel called to set aside one of these slots to pray, wherever you may be, you should feel free to do that as well.

Any questions, let me know.
Looking forward to Re/Treating with you!

Click to open:

    * Prayer Rota at FCS Annual Retreat 2010

Voicemail my brother left while I was at CWM: "Hey, Elizabeth, it's George.  Figured I would tell you before our parents told you, that I went down to St. Louis this weekend and now I'm engaged.  Just thought you'd be excited for me.  So feel free to give me a call back or not, whatever.  Anyway, yeah, bye."


For years, JohnP. (from UCN) has said that he sometimes does work on my campus and he'll stop by.  This morning he actually did.  Hugs!


Ben and Peter are having a wine tasting connected to one of their class sessions this week, and so Peter was telling Scott about it (Scott's taking their class) and I automatically pulled up his Google calendar to see if he was available at that time (hi, I am an administrative assistant) -- but Scott did actually know what his plans were.
We joked about this after Peter had left, and when Scott was looking at the calendar he pointed at "A Farewell Open House for Pastor Tiffany and Her Family" on my calendar and made sadface.
I told him I actually can't make it, and I told him about coffee with Tiffany last Thursday and being invited to the leadership farewell dinner this coming Tuesday, and how I was like, "I'm part of the leadership of the church?  'Cause I'm on Finance?"  Scott was like, "Of course you're part of the core leadership of the church."


Edit: I am heading to bed early tonight, but literally for the rest of the week my plans every night are "church" (effectively) --
Tuesday: CWM leadership farewell dinner with Tiffany
Wednesday: Rest and Bread
Thursday: CAUMC young adult small group (I assume)
Friday/Saturday: FCS prayer retreat (5pm-5pm in Harvard, MA -- about 45 miles away)
Sunday: church

Yes, I am up past my bedtime again.

Serendipitously, this morning's daily lectionary readings were: Isaiah 61:1-7 and Romans 7:1-6.

I saw FCS-Ian last night 'cause there was Council after Rest and Bread.  The copier's still broken, and he asked me if I still had the lectionary sheet* and I said yeah, not with me but at home, that I was planning to bring it to church and that I could also email him the Thursday daily lectionaries for the weeks until Lent.  I got home and couldn't find it, so I typed up the Thursdays until Lent from my RCL book.

*Two Thursdays ago, he hadn't printed up slips, so I used his sheet of the month's daily lectionaries, and took it with me, thinking he had another copy, and the next week he didn't have a copy but I still had mine in my bag.

He replied later this morning:
Thank you very much.  It is so nice to see you on Thursday mornings.


Today was really busy at work.  I literally didn't get done all the things I had to get done.  I didn't feel like I was dropping balls, though, and I did take various breathers (including a comfortable lunch -- outside! -- with Cate).  Scott said he'd never seen me so busy.  I pointed out that the day Sonia came to visit was really busy.  He said that was the second busiest.

At one point, he complimented me on a phone call he had been present for, said I clearly work in the Negotiations unit.  I said that was funny because when Jim had approached me and said, "A project for your diplomacy skills," I had mentally recoiled, thinking, "Least favorite part of my job -- diplomacy, politic, negotiation."  Scott said be that as it may, it doesn't change the fact that I'm good at it.  "In certain contexts," I insisted.  (I feel like what Scott was present for wasn't much of a negotiation.)

I am good at being mad at people, and I am good at taking care of people -- these are modes I operate really well (comfortably) in.  I debated going to Blue Shirt tonight, because I was feeling like I needed to recharge and being around people was going to drain me further.  But I went anyway.  I got a sandwich and a fruit&sorbet smoothie -- yay healthy food.  It was just Kathy and Gianna, and Gianna was leaving.  We talked about church and family and etc.  (Laura Ruth greeted me with, "Doctor [surname].")  Erica, and Jeff, came later.

Laura Ruth told the story of going to Scott Brown's office today -- she was at the State House to lobby for trans rights, and Scott Brown's office is right near her Senator's office (Sonia Chang-Díaz) -- and confessing that she had thought she didn't need to know anything about Scott Brown because she was so sure that Martha Coakley would be elected, and so she doesn't know anything about him, and she talked to his legislative liaison or somebody (I forget) and asked questions, including, "My congregation is really progressive, so what can we do to support you, given how different we are?" and the guy said, "Talk to us -- write to us, email us ... we have to represent the whole state, not just a part of it."

Around 7 (I got there around 6) Laura Ruth and Jeff had their meeting about re/New etc.  Well, it started with Laura Ruth saying that she and Jeff needed to have their meeting, and I got up, and Jeff said, "It's an open meeting," and I sat back down.

I wasn't sure how helpful I would be, but I had some potentially useful thoughts, and I was really useful in practical matters of reminding them of things they had said they would talk about, asking Laura Ruth if she should input into her phone calendar a change they had agreed on verbally, etc.  At point I said, "And people wonder why I'm never planning to quit my job -- this is what I do," and Laura Ruth said something about Calling (in a way which Affirmed that this is a gift of mine).

They talked about "Christian rockstar music," and she made a disgusted face.  She said, "My nephew's a Christian rockstar.  I love the boy, but it's nauseating," and she mimed preening flowing hair.  I said, "Would you feel the same way if he were gay?  I'm just thinking, with the [miming], that if he were gay, you would be like, 'Oh, that's so [mentally searches for a good word].' "  She was appropriately abashed and said, "Point taken, you don't even need to finish the sentence."

At one point, Laura Ruth mentioned a couple in the church and referred to them as a straight couple and then said, "Well, I don't know -- [male name] might be trans."  I said, "Trans people can be straight," and later, "If one person uses masculine pronouns and the other person uses female pronouns, they're an opposite-gender couple -- who may or may not identify as queer."  Jeff asked, "When are we [First Church] gonna do queer theory 101?" and I got all excited.  He said, "I probably sound like my grandma does on race," and Laura Ruth assured him that wasn't so, and she also said she wasn't sure she even knows what queer theory is.  I said that "queer theory" in the academic sense contains a lot including a lot of stuff I don't necessarily understand, but that what Jeff meant, like GLBT Issues 300, is something I'm really excited about -- about the nuances of language and the difference between sex and gender and all that.

We finally departed around 8:30.

Other good things about today: The job candidate didn't mind my taking him outside, the glitches that there were seemed to be fine, my W-2 came in the mail so I can now file my taxes, the FCS prayer retreat is 5pm-5pm so I don't have to miss the teaching part of that workday.

Edit: Tiffany and I made a date for coffee before she leaves, and I asked if she wanted to meet at Mr. Crepe or somewhere else, and she said, "Why break with tradition? Mr. Crepe works for me."  ♥
moon house

"I lift up my eyes to the hills -- from where will my help come?"

As I was setting up before Rest and Bread tonight, my cell phone rang.  I almost didn't answer it because I didn't recognize the number and I figured they probably wanted my money, but hey I was way early and if they were someone I wanted to give my money to I had my credit card in my pocket.  It was the therapist I'd left a vm with this afternoon.  (The woman Tiffany referred me to is out-of-network and I have an HMO, and the two people she named are also out-of-network, so I did a brief browse of the in-network online search.)  I felt bad that I was chatting in the chapel ('cause partway through a guy came in and hung out a bit and then left) but it turned out that he was a guy who had come a while ago and didn't know we'd moved service to 15 minutes later than it was before so he was just very early.

After I'd finished set up and gotten off the phone, I went upstairs to Laura Ruth's office.  She told Keith (who had been in Puerto Rico) that I was "AWESOME!" on Sunday.  She then said. "I met her mum and dad on Sunday, and you know that thing she does?  [demonstrates standing behind me, her hand on my back/shoulder]  Her whole family does that."  This is apparently a thing that I/we do without even thinking, because I had to think to remember that yes my mother did that, and had to work even harder to remember that this is a thing that I do.  Hugging I know I do -- and random shoulder massages I know I used to do a lot.  But that way of maintaining physical contact with someone even when you're not directly engaging with them... yeah, that is totally something me and my mom would do but is not something I ever would have thought of.

Laura Ruth was cold, as per usual, and I asked, "Would you like fingerless gloves?"  She was resistant to the idea of my buying her a pair as a gift (what is WRONG with people?) but she is letting me get her a pair (I said, "They're like five bucks," and she gave my a $5 bill and said she would give me whatever additional money it cost; I am reminded of how ungood it is to not allow people to bestow a gift on you -- but seeing the $5 biill in my pocket when I was emptying my pockets before bed reminded me that I need to find her a pair, so that's good).
Dear Beloved Congregation,

At 6:30 PM today, we will gather for Rest and Bread, to pray and share the feast of Communion. Music for meditation begins at 6:15.

In Davis Sq., one of our neighbors is the Haitian Bible Baptist Church at 45 College Ave. We'll pray for this congregation and all our neighbors whose families are affected by the massive earthquake in Haiti.

Speaking of praying, our Annual Retreat is coming up, February 5 & 6. Our theme is Prayer. We will be exploring the ideas and practices of prayer, looking for ways of praying that feel real, are real. Some of us need to draw in order to pray, some need to move our bodies. Some of us need to pray with words and some of us don't know how to find words, but we can find the alignment of our spirit to God's presence. Some of us are at the beginning of a prayer practice and some of us begin again each morning. Please contact Liz [redacted] and Betsy [redacted], copied here, to register.

Laura Ruth
(This tempts me to attend the retreat.)


Psalm 121
Ephesians 2:12(?)-22  (I thought of Yoder's "Baptism and the New Humanity" chapter.)

Rest and Bread is following FCS Sunday morning in doing a series on "Race, Immigration and Justice."

During Prayers of the People, I said, "I pray for the trans woman I read about today who Collapse ).  And I pray for all those who do not have control over their own bodies because of gender, disability, class, race."  (After I finished, I realized I should have said, "or any other reason.")

And later I listed a litany of prayer requests and closed with prayers for myself that I be able to take care of myself with all this stress.  \o/

Inviting us to Confession, I said, "We acknowledge the moments where we have missed the mark -- where we have done that which we wish we had not done, and where we have failed to do that which we know we should do.  And we acknowledge those moments, knowing that after we acknowledge them to God, we can let them go, let go of the guilt -- knowing that God is always welcoming us into that light, into that love."