I woke up early this morning, about quarter to five, even though the cats were quiet and not yet insistent that it was breakfast time. And as I lay there wondering if I could go back to sleep for the half hour or so more that I normally need, the excitement of this weekend began to build up in me and eventually I decided to get up, feed the cats, and get started on this big weekend.
I haven't said much about it yet, but Sunday afternoon we are dedicating our new building in a bang-up ceremony that includes visiting dignitaries from the PNW district, local county commissioners and even the mayor of Langley. I feel very honored that several pastors from the lectionary group will attend; I invited one of them to bring greetings from the group during the service and he consulted the others yesterday about what he should say. I was thrilled.
Our dedication speaker will be Gini Courter, moderator of the UUA board who conducts the business sessions at General Assembly AND my real friend, not just on Facebook. Lest this sound incredibly pedantic, to have a moderator and purveyor of Roberts Rules as our speaker, I assure you that Gini is a wonderful, lively, engaging speaker, and I suspect her sermon will knock our socks off.
The planning that has gone into this dedication service has been extensive and yet I'm sure we will encounter some bobbles in the execution of the plan. That's just the way things go. A wise colleague once said to me, as I was contemplating ministry, "Expect three things to go wrong in any given worship service; that's just the way it is. Continue to be a non-anxious presence." Or something like that. It gave me hope then and gives me hope now.
What I am really hoping for, in this building dedication service, is that my congregation, my dear, dear friends in UUism on Whidbey Island (and they are my friends, in a very special kind of way), will see themselves as part of a larger movement, with responsibilities and opportunities that are unique to our setting, our community culture, and that we have support and encouragement from many sources. I hope they see how important this is, as a community of faith, to celebrate together with many others, to proclaim to many others the ideals and promise of Unitarian Universalism.
I hope we have standing room only. I hope folks are dazzled by the array of vestments and flowers and music and people who crowd the room, who process down the aisle to the strains of "For All the Saints" and recess at the end to "Forward Through the Ages". I hope they take seriously the meaning of the hymn "Let Nothing Evil Cross This Door". I hope they love Gini's wonderful humor and piercing message. I hope they come away with a sense of purpose and community that is so firmly entrenched that it never leaves them.
And one more thing. We got our final occupancy permit just last week. We were sweating it.