Coming Together Again

Summer ends and fall begins in the seasonal shift of September. This month has long been a favorite of mine and perhaps it’s also one of yours. In childhood, I remember lazy summers giving way to new adventures as schools reopened with classrooms full of new “next grade” activity and both old and new friends or acquaintances. High school continued the pattern, but the activities of summer and the school year became less distinct as well as more clearly purposeful. Next came leaving home and a summer job for the exhilarating and life-changing environment of the university. The summer-fall transitions were markers along a pathway toward independence and adulthood, and I think they were always spiced with joy (although I remember some uncertainty about that very first school day).

But life in the real world environment of working (or not-working) adults may not stir the same sense of appreciation for this time of year. Daily activities are less likely to vary as the seasons change, and the fading departure of summer’s long and (usually) warm and (usually) dry days along with family vacation opportunities to enjoy them is rarely cause for celebration.

However, we do celebrate the transition here at Cedars. This is when we begin to cede our outdoor paradise to nature once again, and when some of us return from family reunions or adventurous travel. The celebration occurs in our traditional Labor Day service, as we commingle waters representing summer activities in a symbolic regathering of the community we are.

The regathering is more than just a ceremony however—we really do come together again. Our church year tends to mirror the school year calendar, and even though we maintain a substantial presence during the summer, September always brings a renewed sense of identity and purpose as we move back indoors for our active season.

And active it is, or soon will be. Our Co-ministers have returned from their travels and study leaves with fresh energy and intentions now being shared with the worship and program associates (watch for inspiring services and the new brochure of fall program offerings). The Cedars choir has just made its return (and always welcomes additional members if you’re interested).

Candee Cole, our new Director of Religious Education, has been laying the groundwork for a more diverse, age-separated program that has already begun to draw excited parent comment on Cedars’ Facebook page (and I noted in last month’s column that our RE committee has been re-energized with new leadership and is offering many ways to participate in support of that rewarding program).

Our re-branded Community Life team (formerly known as the Membership Committee) is now prominently active in welcoming visitors on Sundays—and has been relatively busy this August, suggesting that we will have new faces among us this fall. And getting this new Beacon going with its weekly presence and timeliness has been the recent project of our Communications team, with enhancement of our website as their next interest.

Much more could be mentioned, but I will save some of that for future columns. One significant activity that I will add here is the early planning now underway for our annual auction dinner, scheduled this year for November 5th. Pictured below (and in the Life at Cedars album on our Facebook page) is a reminder of last year’s auction entertainment by our choir as well as a peek at the generous selection of seasonal local foods featured in a very special recent brunch that was also an auction offering.

Welcome back to another great season in our lives together here at Cedars!

Richard