By Rev. Joe Walker, Minister of Congregational Care
Summer is all about doing things a little differently, isn’t it? Get out of your comfort zone, leave your Zip Code in the rearview mirror. Explore exotic locales, eat food you can’t identify, get bit by different kinds of mosquitos, sleep in a tent or a bunk or an airplane seat while stuck on the tarmac.
Summer is about experimenting and expanding your worldview and trying wild things.
We are applying that summer philosophy to our Backyard Bash this year. We are expanding it to eight weeks (June 5-July 31) and we put the format in the blender. This summer, one-night sessions will explore the sacred in unexpected places in everyday life.
Ever thought about making bed pads for cancer patients? Our sewing team will show you how and you don’t even have to know how to sew. (Though, just the other day they taught someone that skill and she fell in love with the ministry. So, you’re warned.)
Tyler is offering an evening based on the TV show with Marie Kondo (which I don’t watch but apparently everyone else does). Or, come learn floral arranging, or how to tie a bow tie, or donate blood (seriously, there’s a blood drive one evening).
Of course, there will still be fun activities for children (of all ages) and there’s food – we want to innovative but we’re not crazy. There are more traditional sessions, too. A labyrinth walk, the mystics, contemplative prayer, the gift of Sabbath, and more.
I’ll make a special pitch for you to attend my session on Green or Natural Burial. As we seriously engage the climate change issues which are already re-shaping our planet and economy, adapting burial customs will have both a spiritual and practical impact on our future. Even if you do not think you would choose that option, come to hear what your family and friends will be talking about as they seek to reverently return their body to nature. I will also quickly touch on a wide range of related topics.
P.S. As I am re-reading this column I am conscious of the fact that it has been written from the experience of someone who enjoys the benefit of summer vacations. Many people we interact with on a daily basis do not get a vacation or other benefits. They work a full-time job at a wage that will not support their family – so they work another part-time job to barely make ends meet. They live with a grinding poverty which lends itself to despair and hopelessness. But, I suppose, that is the beginning of another column about justice and wage disparities…