Dear Members and Friends of ASC,
We are a community of faith and we covenant together to treat each other with care and dignity, respect and love, to the best of our abilities as human beings. As we encounter each other, we come face to face with our own frailties and fears, and are challenged to stay open to learning and seeing each other in new ways. And care, so much care and compassion, flexibility and work is required to be part of a community! It is the challenge and blessing we have all embraced. As our first year together comes to a close, I want to express my deep gratitude for being able to serve this congregation. After fifteen years in ministry, I feel like I have come home to you and to All Souls. I have witnessed incredible resilience, care and creativity shared in this community in a year that has been like no other. We have lived through the challenges of a world-wide pandemic, experiencing isolation and fear, cancellations of events and visits, illness and loss. We have been unable to see family and friends during holidays and other important events. It has been a very challenging time. We have offered every one of our worship services through the virtual world of technology, thanks to our incredible technical hosts in George and Daniel. We have heard incredible music sung and played by so many people with leadership from Tom and Eva. And we have witnessed an incredible volume of work and leadership throughout this year from our hardworking board members, our faithful committee chair people and all of the people supporting and contributing to our work and presence in our community. We have not been able to connect in person for coffee hour conversations, small group ministry or workshops, or been able to share meals together. We haven’t been able to hug each other or lay a hand on a shoulder. But I have witnessed abundant creativity and compassion, and such resilience in you and in this community! As a nation, we have also witnessed violence and chaos as our democratic process was threatened with the storming of our Capital building in January, continued violence against people of color, and widespread demonstrations for racial justice all across the country. It brought to light once again for me, how vitally important spiritual communities are to offer support, to be a forum for sharing feelings and reactions, and a place to gain comfort, and a sense of belonging. Each of us helps to strengthen and support our All Souls community in the ways that we can. It is heartening and hopeful. Through all of the challenges of this year, I have seen the strength, care and compassion that is All Souls, and it has been inspiring and beautiful to witness. I have witnessed your ability to celebrate and worship together, to learn and explore new ideas, to care for our church building and grounds, following through on the vision of a new accessible bathroom. You have shared your creativity in crafts and art and food with the community through our amazing Holiday Bazaar and Spring Fair, our art exhibits, and as a congregation, you have demonstrated leadership in faith and justice efforts in our community and beyond. There is so much to remember and celebrate. I feel blessed to be serving as your minister and I look forward to honoring the work we have done this past year, and I look forward with anticipation to our new year together!
Blessings, Rev. Telos