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Water and Camping and Poems, Oh My!

By Elizabeth Corbett, Programs and Membership Coordinator

It’s time to get the school year started! I’m excited for this year, as my “grandchildren” have some pretty significant “firsts” this year: Shelsy starts her senior year, Adrian is a freshman (and, he’s running Cross Country!), and little Valery is off to pre-K. I am a proud abuela. And it’s the start of the church year; we’ve got some “firsts” on the WUUC calendar too!

It is not a “first” for us, but rather a yearly tradition: mark your calendars for Water Communion on Sunday, September 3. Water Communion is when we bring water from somewhere we’ve visited this summer, say a few words to the congregation about its significance, and pour it into a communal vessel. All of our waters from all of our places mix together, reminding us we are not alone as we take on the work that Westside will do in the coming year. It’s fun to listen to where people have traveled, and it’s our way of gathering together for the start of the church year.

Coming up on Friday, September 8: Reverend Carol will lead a Spirit Quest weekend at Elkmont in the Smokies. This is a weekend of camping and time to devote to earth-based spiritual practices. Although there was a Spirit Quest component to last year’s retreat weekend, this is the first weekend away devoted solely to these practices. Speak with Reverend Carol for more information about this spiritual, introspective, and meditative weekend.

And one more “first:” mark your calendars for a trip to Cherokee, NC, with our neighboring UU churches. Cherokee is the town on the reservation home of Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. Slated for Saturday, September 30, participants will visit the Oconaluftee Indian Village and learn more about the group and its history.

Poetry at Westside: Are you looking for an ongoing opportunity to connect with other Westsiders and be creative? I’m heading up the Poetry Writing group that meets the first Wednesday of each month. We’re having a fun time! You can read our sweet little poetry jewels right here. (If this link does not work, we will post the poems in the Members' Area ASAP) This past week, we used the poem Ninety (which is in the link) as a model to write our own poems. Ninety tells the story of a person in an assisted-care facility, remembering back to all sorts of childhood games. So the three of us–Ellen, Phyllis, and me–each chose an age and wrote the first stanza of the poem. Then we passed our first stanza to another person, and we wrote the second stanza on the poem we received, continuing the theme of that poem. We did the same thing for the third stanza, and passed again so we each got our “own” poem back. Then we wrote the fourth stanza for that. Check out the poems in this link! (If this link does not work, we will post the poems in the Members' Area ASAP) It is fun and collaborative, and we’d love to have you join us!

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