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Walking in the Dark

Dear Friends, It is almost autumn. The trees are showing the first hints of yellow, and the air carries a hint of cool despite the continuing warm days. As we move into the new church year, we are moving into a time of exploration, uncertainty, and—hopefully—curiosity. We’ll be trying out a new Sunday morning format this fall, seeing how it goes and adapting and changing through the year to come up with the best possible patterns of worship, learning, and fellowship. We will be working to formalize a new church organizational structure, and to settle new leaders into committee positions that are currently vacant.

To match this movement of newness and exploration, the worship team has agreed this year to follow a liturgical calendar based on the work of Father Matthew Fox, an innovative (and excommunicated) Catholic priest who embraces feminism, environmentalism, multiculturalism, and political liberalism. From these, he created a movement called “Creation Spirituality” and suggests a liturgical year—a pattern of moving from season to season in religious community—that mirrors a transformative pattern in the human psyche. In Creation Spirituality, there are four ‘vias’ or roads or paths, to spiritual, emotional and communal transformation. The first of these, occurring in the autumn, is the Via Negativa, the path of the unknown, of mystery, of uncertainty and of darkness. It is the place where much of what we know is that which is unknown. We can define things more in terms of what they are not, rather than what they are. This is where we find ourselves this autumn—in a place of great possibility, but relative uncertainty. There are no absolutes about how we will be moving forward this year, in many ways, but there are many things to explore, to be curious about, and to wonder about. As the year progresses, we will move through, in the winter, the Via Creativa—the path of creative imagination and the creative impulse. Then, as spring arrives, we will honor the Via Transformativa—the way of transformation and rebirth. Finally, in summer, we will celebrate the forms and beauty that we have created and that exist around us in the Via Positiva. Through the journey of exploration that we are pursuing this year, we will consider all of these aspects of the natural, human, and communal process of growth and renewal. And we begin with a spirit of curiosity about what is possible. Letting go for now of certainty, and of absolutes, we surrender to the possibilities of what is not yet known, not yet seen, not yet fully defined. I invite you in this coming season of autumn to embrace with an open mind, and open heart, the possibilities that exist in your life, and in our community, where uncertainty is making space for something new to arise.

In faith and fellowship, Rev. Carol

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