In the Interim: Mountains to Climb

I suppose that it’s not completely surprising that mountains are on my mind this week.  Not only have I been watching the scenes of mountains exploding in volcanic eruptions in Guatemala and Hawaii, but as the push toward the final weeks in this building – as we have known it – come toward their end, the energy and emotional pitch is rising and the list of ‘things I’ve got to do right now’ is growing.  And so it seems like we all have mountains to climb.

Life in church has a rhythm to it, and the church year is calendared for a reason.  Every minister and religious educator and music colleague that I talk to – and I am confident this is true for other members of the church staff as well – is feeling, to one degree or another, as if they are trying to crawl to the ‘finish line’ until they can take a breath and rest, go to General Assembly, read a book, or otherwise push the ‘pause’ button…even if it’s for just a little while.  I suspect that those of you reading this may be feeling the same way (some of the time, anyway): those of you who have been working on the operetta, leading Action Teams or task forces or planning and executing major events – it’s just a little overwhelming.

And yet, magic happens.  My hat is off to Maggie and Jim Herzig, organizers of the Interfaith Iftar with members of the Turkish Muslim community, for instance. 95 people showed up last Friday night, both Follenites and guests…and lots of children too, cared for by Sylvia Fohlin and Annika Hawkins and several women who were guests…what a night!  Another congregation has said, “The most radical thing we can do is talk to each other,” and it was proven on Friday night in the conversations going on at each table. Together, in community, the world changes, a bit at a time.

And how about the operetta?  Last night at the dress rehearsal, there were Simon Horsburgh and Chris Walters – this congregation’s Program Council President and Vice President who I know have plenty of other things to keep them busy, working side by side, changing the set of “Patience” at intermission and problem-solving technical issues.  There were Henrietta Yelle and Lex Johnson backstage – two who have made our Middle School Youth Group program really hum this year – making sure that all the leads had their dressing room spaces while downstairs, Glendalys Gandhi and Alisa Pascale – both dedicated religious educators – were getting snacks ready for the actors…and so it was, all over the church, with many people.  A boiling pot of energy and activity…in support of the amazing children and youth who were on stage, giving it their all.

Out in the hallway, I just heard someone say that there are people “running on vapors.” Yep, that’s me too: we’re planning Sunday’s worship service and the one that comes after that, getting ready to honor not only our graduating seniors but also youth making other transitions.  We’re packing like mad and labelling and getting supported at every turn by Jane Spickett and Jackie Hawkinson and their crew of haulers and schleppers. We’re documenting and filing and staffing – because next fall there will be an RE program with a great new Director of Faith Formation and darn it, she will have mountains to climb, too.  Everywhere I look – mountains.

And then, the last one – almost in view – the mountainous road that will lead me away from Follen Church and on to new adventures.  That one comes on June 30th. The days leading up to it loom in front of me, urging me – and all of us – on toward tomorrow. May we find paths that are less rocky and roads that are well marked, as we make our way up and down the mountains of our lives and of this church.


Deborah Weiner
Interim Director of Religious Education