These last four months have been characterized in my eyes by a real solidifying of our routines and practices on Sundays. I find more and more that we have created a culture of mutual support and cooperation in our community that translates during worship to a sense of kindness, awareness, and participation that I find extremely gratifying. In terms of weekly administration, my efforts in the last few months have been focused on continuing to streamline our practices of shared leadership, meal planning and preparation, and storage of our tools for worship. Fresh Direct has turned out to be a real blessing, not only because it makes things simpler on Sunday afternoons to have our groceries delivered, but because of the way it has allowed our cooks to participate more fully in meal planning and ingredient selection. I have been delighted by the community’s increasing level of ownership and responsibility with regard to our weekly practices.
We’ve gotten so good at the weekly stuff that I have been able to focus more on keeping our blog updated with photos, recipes, and poems. I’ve taken over the finances and have been converting our systems to use Google docs and spreadsheets, which allow us to have remote access to our files and also secure back-up and storage. During Advent I especially enjoyed having extra time to make a special Advent Jesse Tree with an accompanying Advent calendar for Emily’s preaching stand, a new banner for the narthex and a birch-candle Advent wreath, centerpieces for our tables, and snowflake lanterns for the stairs. Creating a changing sense of the liturgical seasons through crafting and decoration is, as I’m sure you all know, one of my favorite parts of my job as Community Coordinator. My hope is that it enriches our worship experience by making Sundays seem both special and set-aside, as well as connected to the patterns of our daily lives outside the Church. I try to use materials that connect us to the larger world (like the twigs, branches and seed pods I collected from Prospect Park) and especially to the traditions of cooking and eating (flowers made of cupcake liners, banners made of dishcloths and baking doilies), so that we can express our identity visually as well as liturgically and through dialogue and conversation.
There are a couple of events coming up in January and February that I will be participating in. Some of you will join me in attending the Music that Makes Community conference here in New York City on January 20th and 21st. I am very much looking forward to this opportunity to expand my experience in congregational song leadership, as that is a part of my role at St. Lydia’s that I am enjoying very much these days. In February, I’ve been invited to attend another conference called Doing Good Well, in San Antonio, Texas. Conceived by CIVA (Christians in the Visual Arts) and supported by The Sister Fund, DGW will bring together Christian female leaders in the visual arts for development training and an exchange of skills and resources. I think its going to be a great opportunity to make connections and brainstorm ideas about how to move forward with our goals for St. Lydia’s role in the visual arts. Also on the agenda for the next quarter is our second annual round of fundraising, for which I’ll be doing things like laying out photo spreads, orchestrating mail merges, and making thank you gifts.
I have also enjoyed being a part of the ongoing conversations we’ve been having the last few months about denominational discernment and safety and welcome. Meetings with Pastor Phil, Bishop Rimbo and Rev.Horner have imbued our work with a new sense of connectedness and support for me. Emily’s leadership, as well as all the invaluable contributions of insight and reflection on the part of the community, has made me feel honored to be part of such a thoughtful and committed group. I am excited about the possibilities that are opening up to us, and I think 2011 is going to be a very exciting year for St. Lydia’s!
With much love and gratitude,