So, I am an erstwhile member of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, which means, I have yet to pledge, but will, I really promise, very, very soon.
When I took my job as a Religious Educator, I knew that I would lose my church. There’s no way around it, even when you come to this work from inside the congregation, maybe especially so. The minute that you get that first paycheck, it’s over. The minister is my boss and colleague, and though deeply beloved and treasured and revered, there’s no way that she can any longer be my minister.
And the view I take of what happens in my church must be viewed first through the lens of professional leadership, and not through that personal lens which is—OF COURSE—personal! And my lens can sometimes get a little foggy with the intensity with which I feel things about my church, so be glad I have this view!
This year when I finally insisted in my own head that I would go ahead and DO it, and resign my membership at my church (though continue financial support since my kids are here), I decided my church has to really be the Church of the Larger Fellowship. I can be in a covenant group, chat with fellow members, take courses—everything, just without the walls! Perfect for me, right? Sure. Yes, I guess that’s why I’m joining. Sure. That’s it.
OK, really the truth might be that I’m not sure I can continue to show up at the CLF Worship service every year at GA and NOT be a member. I mean, come on. We rock out on many worship services here at GA—great music, fantastic sermons, uplifting, complete, fantastic, services. But there is not one whole package that is as good as the CLF worship. Nope. This is the best worship that happens here, probably the best one that happens ALL YEAR!
Jane Rzepka (http://clf.uua.org/minister.html), CLF minister is phenomenal too. She and Meg traded readings, and then offered comments. So Meg read a reading of Jane’s and then made comments, which is to say brought home just how things happen in our congregations. The reading was about how one brave snow monkey tried going in the steaming hot spring first also described as “which person proposes covenant groups, or welcoming congregation, or NO FOOD AT COFFE HOUR” or some other sacrilege which we all eventually come to think is the coziest hot spring ever, after some, you know, some monkey-ing around.
Meg’s reading was about a hot day at a summer fair. And Jane, oh that Jane is so funny. She opens her comments with “Have any of you ever been someplace where it’s HOT?” GEE! Hmmm….Yeah! We all laughed. And we’d all been someplace with too many wonderful things to do, and too many people all jostling to get someplace. It was a great to think about how we all bring our best self, even when it’s hot, and busy and just way too much for any strapping young 25-year-old marathoner, much less we humble mortals. Just like this GA.
And Kiya Heartwood (http://www.wishingchair.com/home.html) and Meg, who somehow don’t think that they are a singing group but they both accompany each other on, from what I can figure anyway, every song, were fantastic. Maybe Kiya’s “Wishing Chair” partner has her own non compete clause. I was sitting behind the contingent of Church of the YOUNGER Fellowship young adults who have now all fallen completely in love with Meg and Kiya. They have these beautiful harmonies and descants and echoes. And Kiya is such a musician, I could see that there was one string on her guitar with a mind of it’s own, out of tune, and she—man I wish I could do this, she just played AROUND it. Beautiful music.
I enjoyed all the music. The sung responses were fantastic. The hymns just rolled through that room, and we just rolled on with them. The Mary Oliver reading brought tears to my eyes, and the personal testimony of Denny Davidoff, outgoing chair was a charge to the future. All just amazing.
I am sure proud of my own little fellowship! Maybe, next year, I’ll see you there!