Compared to what...

What a wonderfully creative and diverse summer this is turning out to be! It totally blows me away. It began with our friends, Peter and Joyce, from Thunder Bay, Ontario joining us for a week and sharing their profound and challenging experiences from Palestine. Prior to their arrival, I began a conversation with a colleague from one of our synagogues about how we might partner and study this hard reality together - and that, too, is coming to pass. Right after Peter and Joyce returned to Canada, we hosted a guest from Palestine who shared another set of experiences. And right before we departed for the Montreal Jazz Festival, we hosted a planning meeting with two community leaders about new ways of building partnerships with the city.

Two weeks away - one in Montreal and one at home - were heavenly. The Jazz Festival was stunning in every way and cracked open our creativity in ways that I am still celebrating. Upon return, however, Di injured her back and was out of the loop for nearly 2 full weeks. So while she has been recovering - and is now on the mend and back at work - I have been engaged in another blast of fascinating projects including:

+ Planning our August 17th Beats 4 BEAT (2) concert. We're gathering some of our favorite musical friends to raise money for the Berkshire Environmental Action Team. Seven years ago we discerned that we should partner with them to do our part in caring for Mother Earth and it has been a rich and rewarding experience. Currently they are working hard on grass roots opposition to the proposed natural gas pipeline - BEAT helped us make connection with the Climate Summer interns currently staying at the church, too - so we want to really kick up the fun for this gig as it is their 10th Anniversary.  NOTE: it is also the 45th anniversary of Woodstock and the 45th anniversary of the US landing on the moon! So we're going to start with some "wooden music" a la Crosby, Stills and Nash at Woodstock and then kick it into overdrive with our "electric rock and soul" sounds. There will be horns and guest artists and a ton of fun - with refreshments to follow.

+ My sabbatical team has secured our first choice in clergy replacement for me during the summer of 2015! What a blessing to bring back to the area one of the finest local ministers - and a colleague and friend. We've worked out the financial details and now are awaiting word from the Lily Foundation re: our grant proposal. Hard to believe that a year from now I will be AWAY and working on jazz liturgy and upright bass in Montreal for four months!

+ As noted, our Climate Summer interns are here for the next 10 days - camping in our Fellowship Hall - and meeting with local folk as they enlist opposition to the natural gas pipeline. Next Monday we'll hold a potluck and jam session with these great young adults @ 6 pm and you are all welcome to join us.

+ And our friends from the Live Out Loud Youth Group are back in action and
hope to host a LGBT youth film night at church in early August. Additionally we're exploring new ideas about how to transform our Sanctuary, planning for the Season of Creation in September, rehearsing new music and thinking about jazz liturgies in the fall. What's more, my colleague and friend in music ministry is getting married in early October - just after we celebrate the birthday of grandbaby, Louie - and reprise the blessing of our pets ceremony on St. Francis Day. 

What's more, we're redesigning the church website to be both more current and user friendly.  Here's one of the tunes we'll be doing on August 17th: "Compared to What" by the great Les McCann and Eddie Harris.


Peter said…
What a coincidence! Our interesting and diverse summer started off the same time as yours! Our Swiss friends arrive tomorrow for a nine day stay. I served with Eric in Bethlehem and it will be a nice reunion.
RJ said…
Blessing my man...

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