Monday, March 05, 2007

Coming to the end of a weekend on Vashon Island

It's been a good, productive weekend on Vashon Island, these past few days. I arrived on Friday afternoon in time to attend the Program (aka Worship) Committee meeting. Our meeting was at the home of the chair, Beth, and part of the charm of the meeting was the view out over Quartermaster Harbor from her front room, while petting Sadie, the Rhodesian Ridgeback, and Tiber, a labbish mix, plus a couple of other dogs who were visiting. It's a good crew of folks on this committee and we always enjoy our meetings; they are putting the finishing touches on the remainder of the church year's worship services and looking ahead to next fall, though they are not sure just whether they will have a minister by then to work with.

Saturday morning, I hustled down to another member's home; she was hosting the New UU class that I was presenting with the help of the Membership committee. We had three attendees besides the M'ship committee and host. We offered a brief version of our personal spiritual journeys and spent some time talking about UU history and answering questions. I smile inwardly when I hear people say "I don't know if I'll fit here---I've got a kind of weird outlook about religion" because it's so likely that the person will discover that s/he is not so weird after all.

In the afternoon, I taught the first session of Building Your Own Theology and we have twelve people signed up for the class. The activities for the first session include introductions and a brief version of religious background and thinking and we launched into a productive discussion of "theology---the word". I realized that we UUs redefine words rather cavalierly sometimes and one participant called us on it in the discussion. "Theology" does mean, literally, "study of God" or "knowledge about God", but we have softened the meaning so that it can apply more broadly to nontheists as well.

In the evening, I attended a rather loud concert with my hostess Rhoda and her family, a benefit for a sister village in Guatemala which was decimated by mud slides awhile back. The combination of weariness and loudness wore me down and I left at intermission to go home and go to bed early.

Sunday, the church service went very well, though Joys and Concerns was so lengthy and full of sorrow that before we sang the next song (Enter, Rejoice, and Come In), I felt moved to call for a time of silence to honor the several deaths and losses noted by congregants. My sermon was the annual "sermon on the amount", to kick off the canvass campaign, and it was okay, though not particularly outstanding, in my view. It did engender some positive response later, which I appreciated.

One of the Vashon longtimers is Beryl, an incredible 87 year old woman who still rides horses, hikes, travels a lot, and plays stupendous piano. She puts together a yearly recital for friends and I was invited, so I spent the afternoon in her tiny apartment listening to a phenomenal concert of Schubert, Mozart, Albeniz, and Bach piano works, with twelve others crammed into that small space. Whew!

Today, Monday, we had seven people show up for TSKK (Tea Shop Koffee Klatch) only it was really CLUUKK (Cafe Luna UU Koffee Klatch) because the Tea Shop was closed and we had to relocate to Cafe Luna for our gathering. It was a boisterous crowd that showed up, and as we were leaving, one woman at another table stopped me and said, "Your group was having a lot of fun. What group is it?" and I confessed that we were from the Unitarian Fellowship. At which point she said, "Boy, I've got to become a Unitarian again!"

At noon, we decamped to the Homegrown Cafe for our monthly Lunch Bunch, and five of us enjoyed the Homegrown's excellent grub. Afterwards I made a couple of pastoral calls and am now back at my hostess's home. The board meeting is tonight and after that, I'll come back here, get a short night's sleep, and take off on the 5:45 a.m. Southworth ferry for Port Townsend and home across the Strait. I should get home in time to get re-organized and up to Whidbey General to do my Tuesday volunteer stint.

It's been a good weekend. Full, which is how I like it best, and interesting, with plenty of folks showing up for the various events offered. I especially like teaching classes, so Saturday was really fun, though today's coffee and lunch groups were pure hilarity.

I will miss these good people but their search process is heating up and they are going to do fine.


LinguistFriend said...

I wondered where you had gone, and should have thought of Vashon. It sounds like a productive week end, although not quite as fully emotionally invested on your part as it has been in the past. And that is necessary, for both them and you, as I do not need to say.

This business of easing into and out of of such interactions, and knowing how much distance to keep in a particular interaction, has been much on my mind recently. That is because I have been reading the doctoral dissertation of a student at another university who wrote her excellent master's thesis based on lab work done under me at a third university when we were both there. She asked me to be an outside member on her doctoral committee that advised on and must quiz her on her doctoral dissertation, so I have spent an unreasonable amount of time recently on studying the document. On Thursday I will drive down to the other end of the state and try to be as constructive as I can at her defense of the dissertation, although it is not exactly as I would have liked to see it. It is hers, after all, between her and her supervisor in place, and the work is a step in a very useful and practical direction. I did get her into her professional field, and she will go ahead and make some real contributions in it, which is the sort of success one can hope for in that advisory role.

ms. kitty said...

You know, LF, it is interesting. As I draw closer to the end of my time with these folks, my love for them feels stronger than ever. Yet I feel that ending my time with them is the right thing to do and I see that they are gearing up to go into search with a high degree of excitement.

What makes it easier is that I know in my heart that what I have to teach them about doing church is complete, that they need someone else to help them continue the journey. I have taught them what I know and what they could learn from me. Their next minister will take them on the next leg of the trip.

Mile High Pixie said...

Very groovy of you to help them along even as you're leaving. What inspiring work you do! you keep reminding me to appeal to the better angels of our nature and to work towards solutions and joy, not continual venting and grouchiness.