A weekly newsletter from United Methodist Church of Lenox Rev. Nami Yu, Pastor
The most challenging moment as a pastor would be facing the unexpected death or fatal disease in the congregation. When I have no words to say, even in comporting prayer, I feel so helpless and frustrated. It is with a sad and heavy heart that I inform you of the passing of Gerald Wergland. Gerry died yesterday morning of a heart attack. Please keep his family in your prayers as they mourn his death. So far, the family would like to have a memorial service on Saturday, November 30 at 1 p.m. I will keep you updated with any other changes or further details.
For your healing process, I attach the inspirational contemplation quoted from the book, "Mirabai Starr, God of Love: A Guide to the Heart of Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Monkfish Book Publishing Company: 2012), 63-65."
My friend and brilliant translator of many mystics, Mirabai Starr, who lives nearby in Taos, New Mexico, has encountered numerous deaths and losses, each cultivating in her a deeper spiritual practice and longing for God. But the death of her fourteen-year-old daughter, Jenny, in a car crash was “an avalanche,” Starr writes, “annihilating everything in its path”:
Suddenly, the sacred fire I have been chasing all my life engulfed me. I was plunged into the abyss, instantaneously dropped into the vast stillness and pulsing silence at which all my favorite mystics hint. So shattered I could not see my own hand in front of my face, I was suspended in the invisible arms of a Love I had only dreamed of. Immolated, I found myself resting in fire. Drowning, I surrendered, and discovered I could breathe under water.
So this was the state of profound suchness I had been searching for during all those years of contemplative practice. This was the holy longing the saints had been talking about in poems that had broken my heart again and again. This was the sacred emptiness that put that small smile on the face of the great sages. And I hated it. I didn’t want vastness of being. I wanted my baby back.
But I discovered that there was nowhere to hide when radical sorrow unraveled the fabric of my life. I could rage against the terrible unknown—and I did, for I am human and have this vulnerable body, passionate heart, and complicated mind—or I could turn toward the cup, bow to the Cupbearer, and say, “Yes.”
I didn’t do it right away, nor was I able to sustain it when I did manage a breath of surrender. But gradually I learned to soften into the pain and yield to my suffering. In the process, compassion for all suffering beings began unexpectedly to swell in my heart. I became acutely aware of my connectedness to mothers everywhere who had lost children, who were, at this very moment, hearing the impossible news that their child had died. . . . .
Grief strips us. According to the mystics, this is good news. Because it is only when we are naked that we can have union with the Beloved. We can cultivate spiritual disciplines designed to dismantle our identity so that we have hope of merging with the Divine. Or someone we love very much may die, and we may find ourselves catapulted into the emptiness we had been striving for. Even as we cry out in the anguish of loss, the boundless love of the Holy One comes pouring into the shattered container of our hearts. This replenishing of our emptiness is a mystery, it is grace, and it is built into the human condition.
Few among us would ever opt for the narrow gate of grief, even if it were guaranteed to lead us to God. But if our most profound losses—the death of a loved one, the ending of a marriage or a career, catastrophic disease or alienation from community—bring us to our knees before that threshold, we might as well enter. The Beloved might be waiting in the next room.
Racism Training Workshop on Saturday, November 16, 9 a.m.-3p.m. Venue: Trinity UMC, 361 Sumner Ave., Springfield, MA
This is mandatory quadrennial training for everyone with an appointment. Laity in leadership are encouraged to attend. This is the last available scheduled training for the CWM district.
All of you are invited!! The lunch will be provided. If you are interested in attending this workshop, please let Pastor know by tomorrow. Thanks.
Celebration of Stewardship Sunday
This Sunday's Worship will be led by the worship band team as a contemporary service for the celebration of Stewardship Sunday. Instead of having traditional liturgy such as the call to worship, hymns, responsive reading, the worship band team will offer modern hymns for around 20 minutes. After the service, we will have a luncheon together. Please come and join us!
Upcoming Events for November
Saturday, November 23, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Holiday Craft Fair at UMCL
SILENT AUCTION GIFT BASKET/CONTAINER SUGGESTIONS
Select a list of ideas if you need help...be creative
Take a basket or use your own basket/container
Bring an item or two to add to a basket
GIFT CERTIFICATES ARE ALWAYS NEEDED!!!!
Tell us the VALUE, please!
Return by Sunday, November 17
We will do the wrapping
COME TO THE AUCTION AND BID!!!
If you have any questions, you may ask Judy Rufo. Thanks
Sunday, November 24, 4-5 p.m., Ecumenical Thanksgiving Worship at Church on the Hill, Lenox
This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.
This year's Ecumenical
will be held at
The Church on the Hill
in Lenox Sunday, November 24 at 4 p.m.
Everyone is welcome!
Our 5th annual “Holiday Craft Connection” is fast approaching-- Saturday November 23, 2019 from 9am – 3pm! We have 36 vendors participating in the event this year! A great time to start your holiday shopping!!
The church will not be having it’s own craft table this year, however there are still plenty of opportunities to participate in the event. We will need holiday baked goods to sell at our “Heavenly Homemade Pies and Breads” booth, cookies for the “Holiday Cookie Walk”, gift baskets for the “Silent Auction”, and as always lots of helping hands to assist the day of the event.
Sign up sheets are in fellowship hall.
The craft fair has been our largest annual funding raising event, raising close to $6,000 each year. Please consider helping to make it a success again this year.
For more information contact any member of the Hospitality Committee (Laurie Sturma, Laurie Kropkowski, Shirley Perkins, Judy Rufo, Judy Upton, Mary Lou Nutbrown, Lois Hill, Lisa Turner).
Our mailing address is:
United Methodist Church of Lenox, 6 Holmes Road, Lenox, MA 01240 413-445-5918 Do you have an event you wish to share in The Connection? Email copy to email@example.com; deadline is Tuesday by 5 p.m. All art work, flyers and photos must be submitted in jpeg format.