Here, Together: September 2020

There’s been no shortage of things to listen to these last challenging months. Podcasts, news pieces and editorials, Facebook posts, radio updates, independent news broadcasts … Ever since mid-March, that moment when everything changed, you could say that news sources have made up a kind of frenetic, “all talk, all the time,” playlist to my life.


So what I’ve appreciated above all about this summer has been the chance to slow things down and listen to life differently. There’s something about putting life’s responsibilities on pause — even for a few precious minutes or hours — that allows for hearing life’s call differently when you return. Things forgotten or barely noticed somehow return to awareness, resonating differently. And bound up with this? Renewed energy. A more true, “big picture” view of the whole. A deeper sense of engagement.


It’s what I’d call an ordinary miracle.


It’s also an invaluable way to re-enter the fellowship year.


In September of last year, several of us at the fellowship started the year off just this way by gathering at Twin Valleys Outdoor Education Center for what we called a Leadership Retreat. It, too, was a miracle in its own way: after just a few hours together spent in slowing down, listening, and relationship-building, we emerged feeling newly engaged and inspired by the rich synergy of the “time away” experience.


Because the retreat was so rich, many of us sensed it was too valuable an opportunity to be reserved for just a subset of congregants.


And so, I’m excited to share that this year your board and Council on Shared Ministry have recommended our September retreat be open to all participants in the UUFP community. Because it will be held online, it will be accessible to folks who would not have been able to make the trip down to Twin Valleys. And if it’s hard for you to imagine experiencing “retreat” while being online, know that we will build in opportunities to leave the screen, move around at your own pace, and savor something of a retreat environment. We successfully experimented with this during our online mini Board Retreat back in July.


To learn more, look for the “Save the Date” notice elsewhere in the September Chalice, and watch for registration information, forthcoming via our weekly e-News and on the website.


In one way or another, we are all being called to reinvent our lives — and our institutions — in these deeply challenging times. I, for one, am so grateful for the opportunity to listen for life’s call, despite the tumult, here, together with all of you. I hope you will join us in September.

In love and service,

Rev. Nicoline