Monday, March 23, 2009

Countdown, Blastoff, Reentry

Friday morning: pastor friend in the lectionary group asks fellow members "what should I say at the UU building dedication?" ideas ensue, a few actually might work.
Friday afternoon: polish polish polish the reflection. revise again. reprint. give up on it for now. go back to Facebook, waste time.
Friday night: go have a beer, eat Mexican, watch mindless movie.

Saturday morning: wife of worship leader for morning service informs me that hubby is ill with flu, can't take part Sunday morning. will send me all his stuff. can I find another worship leader? but he was going to be half the sermon Sunday morning, since I didn't want to write a full one. now what? desperate emails and calls. blessing! experienced worship leader steps in to help out. whew. crisis averted.
Saturday afternoon: review review review. what have we forgotten? omg, a gift for the speaker! hustle over to the local drugstore for whidbey island stuff. must be packable. t-shirt with lighthouse looks good. wrap wrap wrap in the only stuff i seem to have anymore that's not xmas-related. not ugly at least. toss in copy of uucwi history booklet. worry worry worry---will she know how to get here? watch for frantic emails from speaker. none yet.
Saturday night: go have wine, eat salmon, chat with other uucwiers at March circle dinner. sleep toss sleep toss throw cats out of room sleep toss.

Sunday morning: butterflies. breakfast. show up at church early to discover that the room is set up for the dedication but not quite right for regular church. move change move change forget to turn on sound system. substitute worship leader steps to mic. can't be heard. fiddle fiddle fiddle. problem solved. I step to mic, out of focus, too much focus on dedication not enough on regular worship. quiver quiver quiver. children's conversation wobbles but manages. service improves. people love being asked about sacred space. service over. go home, collapse briefly.
Sunday afternoon: go back to church at 2ish, set up robing room for visiting clergy. food: bananas, grapes, cheese, cider. hungry hungry hungry. munch grapes. practice the anthem with the choir. I am so not a soprano but manage not to mangle the piece. folks start arriving. greet greet greet hug hug hug surprise surprise surprise---people I did not expect to see. folks I expect to see do not arrive. what to do? coach marshall about lining people up. people line up. choral prelude starts. prez and student min hustle back down to the foyer to take part in the processional. all rise to sing "For All the Saints".
Service: no glitches? well, one greeter (county commish) arrives late, has to leave early. oh well. choir shines, roof raised, speakers eloquent, challenging, admiring. Gini phenomenal even with a cold and fever. act of dedication beautiful (thank you Lori for the ideas), prez shines. history of uucwi tenderly presented by author of uucwi history book. my feet firmly planted, no quivers, no worries, no bobbles of importance. chalice gleams. faces aglow. choir director thankful. historian thankful. prez thankful. student minister thankful. me ecstatic.
After-service: clean clean clean. lug lug lug. move move move. tote tote tote. who wants to go to China City? eight of us show up at CC, too tired and exhilarated to do anything but rave about the service and how glad we are it's over. inexplicably one person has the energy to query the group about workshops we'd like to see at the next annual general meeting. we actually have good ideas, despite the weariness.
After China City: go home in rain. max wants to go out. I have no resistance. will I be awake waiting for him all night? max comes back in soaked. fall in bed. startled awake by loosy jumping on bed. throw all cats out. toss turn sleep. 5 a.m. monday, scratch, scratch, scratch. you know what happens next.

Seriously though: in the afterglow of the service I comment to our district exec about what I hope has happened to our congregation because of the dedication service. We had 20 or so ministers, a few DREs, many members of other congregations---all off-island---come to the service. We had a real processional and recessional to some of the most joyful hymns in the book, with ministers decked out in their robes and stoles. We had one of the very best speakers in the UUA, Gini Courter, as preacher. All these people came to wish us well, admire our handiwork, get to know us a little better, and eat our food, drink our wine, slurp up the cake.

It would be hard to walk away from an experience like that without the recognition that our little congregation really matters to others in this faith. Others take inspiration from our achievement. Others hear our commitment to loving social justice action and see that we care about the same things they do. And we ourselves see that we are part of a larger movement, that we belong to these people as well, not just those who attend Sunday mornings with us. That these folks are new friends and that we can see them again when we attend district events. That we have a place in UU history, not just our own little history book.

And it's over. done with. finished. except in our hearts.


LinguistFriend said...

Well, it is good to know that it all went well enough. Not like my cholecystectomy (not to criticize the surgeon, the bad part was what preceded it). I kept looking for your report of the Sunday events after I got in to my office this morning (at about 5:30 AM, which was ridiculous). Then I was stuck teaching and examining and grading for quite a while (well, she can retake that quiz, it's not like an exam), and THEN there you were. Hurrah.

ogre said...

Sounds wonderful!

Lizard Eater said...

Sounds both exhausting and exhilarating. And the connection to the larger UU world is huge. It's so easy to feel all alone, like your church is the only UU church in the world.


p.s. whenever someone I know is getting married, I coach them that the week before the wedding, ANYTHING that happens, they are to say, "In some cultures, this is considered good luck." Maybe the same for church building dedications.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, guys! LF, you are my earliest-rising reader, I think. Ogre, it was wonderful. And it's over.

Earthbound Spirit said...

Brava! So a good time was had by all at the UUCWI dedication - I'm so glad!

Kari said...

SO happy for all of you, Kit! Congratulations! Joyous blessings on your lovely new church home.

(I'm so sorry I had to miss it--we were trying to get to Europe, but flights are too full, I wish I'd just bagged the trip and come to Whidbey!)

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, EBS and Kari. We did have a wonderful experience and now my congregation "gets it"---they belong to something important.

laura said...

I haven't commented here in a long time, but trust me... I've been following.

I am so very, very glad for this wonderful day to have finally arrived... and be a part of our common history together.

We laugh, we cry, we love, we die. And we bring together one another in service to one another. Just look at the fruits of our labor.

You are, indeed, a remarkable woman, Kit.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Laura!

Mile High Pixie said...

YAY!!!! YAY YAY YAAAAYYYY!! There's nothing quite like dedicating and welcoming everyone to your new building, is there? As an architect, I cherish that moment at the end where I walk around the spaces I've designed and nurtured and infused them with silent blessings: heal all who pass through these rooms, both caregivers and cared-for. Yay!!

And I love "clean clean clean tote tote tote." That sounds like something my mom would say/write.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Pixie, this would be a scene you would fully understand and relish! Thanks for your blessings.

The Eclectic Cleric said...

I'm so, so, SO happy for all of you on Whidbey Island, and also so proud of all that you have accomplished there. And I'm glad that your people "get it" that they are connected to something larger than themselves. But it the midst of all that afterglow, don't YOU forget that "all ministry is local." You've build a home, a place of sanctuary and devotion. Now throw open the doors and invite in neighbors and strangers alike. Wouldn't 20 new, previously non-UUs attending EVERY Sunday to hear YOU preach be a lot better than 20 other ministers listening once to Gini C? So go save some souls Sister Ketcham. And maybe I'll get a chance to see it all with my own eyes this summer.


ms. kitty said...

You will be welcomed with open arms, Brother Timothy!