Gathering Together Again
|Black-backed gulls hold a conference in the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge|
The fall program year is beginning at many churches this week. Now that summer vacations have come to an end and the traditional end of summer/beginning of fall three-day weekend (also known as Labor Day) has passed, people are gathering together at church again.
It can be frustrating to those of us who don't take a "vacation from church" in the summer to acknowledge that others do, but they do, and we put many of our programs on break during June - August (this is a chicken/egg deal - do we break because of low numbers or are numbers low because of the break in programming?). Some churches hold a "rally day," or "start-up Sunday," or other similarly-named event early to mid-September to signify that we're back in business at church and to remind people that it's time form them to get back into the habit of church going. Not that we weren't in business before, but .... well, you see the difficulty of holding the ideal and the pragmatic in tension here.
At any rate, we, too, are back in business and our kitchen ministry prepared a scrumptious "Welcome back!" lunch at church today, complete with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, salad, and too many wonderful desserts, and I was pleased to see the turnout. I was pleased to see how many more people were in church services today. And I think people were pleased to see one another, too, judging by the noise level during lunch. The young people sat together; some parishioners brought guests; and the joyful noise of the youngest set reminded us all that a community like ours is always changing and growing and renewing, thanks be to God.
The fall is a time to start again, anyway, even for those of us who are no longer in formal education programs. New habits, new routines, new clothes, new projects are on the agenda for people of all ages come September. Everything feels new and fresh, even the weather!
It was good to gather together again. As I approach the first anniversary of my call to Bruton Parish Church, I look forward to seeing what this new church year holds for all of us.