Ingathering During A Time Apart

“We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.”

Gwendolyn Brooks

I’ve been in the church building almost every week for the last 2 years. Neither stepping away, nor pandemic life afforded me to stop showing up, since the drop in program launched at such a pivotal time. But in all the times I’ve been at church, I felt truly blessed with the privilege to participate in the past week’s Water Communion.

Blessed to share space with others of my faith, blessed to share space with my spiritual partner, and blessed to be able to inspire others in our church community with the privilege of the internet. 

Terry Hassman singing with our guest, Alex, and musicians Noel and Elizabeth

Whether you call it Gathering of the Waters, Ingathering, or Homecoming, this time of the year is an exercise in deep discernment as to what coming home really means when we can’t gather in person as we would like. This year means much more to me than I would have expected. I learned that our ingathering rituals come from the same idea as homecoming, taking stock in our community members, and the preparation for change. 

For me, this ingathering comes after a moment where my faith and spiritual resolve was challenged through actions outside of my control. If you’ve spoken to me about Line 3, you’ve been witness to how challenging my reintegration has been, the trauma I’ve been managing, and the community I’ve had to build to stay whole. But I can see now that preparing for change is exactly what I’ve been doing. 

I have been working hard to build deeper relationships with all of you, while standing strong to my boundaries and needs. Although I was ready to jump head first into the next phase of my activism, I came away from this experience with a greater understanding of front line work (both at Line 3 and otherwise), the difficult decisions that come with this type of justice work, and the trauma that is often not talked about when we work for real change in an unjust world. 

Line 3 was going to teach me all I needed to know to be better prepared for the future. And it did. Just not in the way I expected. 

It made me slow down. It made me pause and reassess what was really important to me. Many days after my return home, I couldn’t do anything. I know how wild that sounds for me and my “constantly on the go” lifestyle, but I had to stop to start anew. 

Jolly making banners in MN for the Line 3 protests.

Sometimes, many times, it’s better to pause and remove yourself from the harm than to plow through. I know many of you know that my pause from church was ultimately to begin again, renewed and ready to do the work of the church. 

And so for this season of renewal, of a time of change, I ask that you slow down, and even take a pause. 

Though, not a long pause. Just long enough to discern your best next steps. 

And if you have heard the phrase, “if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together”, let it be known that I want to go far with all of you. 

Because I’m a firm believer that the universe places us right where we need to be, my discernment has led me right back to you. Home to the UU Church of Studio City, as it does again and again. But sometimes, I feel like we’re all rushing in opposite directions as fast as we can. 

So starting in October, I’m hosting four Town Hall meetings in our “Woods” outdoor space. These small-group, informal chats will be a great way to gather safely and talk about our congregation’s best next steps. 

Town Hall Dates

Sundays at 11:30am after service

October 3: Our Mission and Vision

October 17: Growing Membership & Community Ministry

November 7: Widening the Circle of Inclusivity

November 21: Church Traditions: Past, Present, & Future

And what about all the talk about Healthy Congregations? How can we possibly make any real decisions without their input?

The good news is that they have started their work.

They have already met with Rev. Hannah and will be meeting with me this coming Wednesday. 

We’ve been on the edge of our seats waiting for the HC Consultants, and in this time of pause, we can be prepared for the changes coming. We can take our time and set a pace where everyone is able to come along, and have their voices heard. I personally invite you to reach out to me with any questions you may have, and look to the E-News in the coming weeks for more information about the upcoming Town Halls. 

In this time of growth and change, I welcome you back home.

Antoinette Scully,

President of the Board of Trustees