The other morning, I woke and could feel a slight shift in the air. It was very subtle, and yet there was no mistaking it. The distinct feeling of a coolness to the breeze held within in the beginnings of a cooler season coming upon us. As we begin this church year, it feels like a new beginning in many ways for me. I have not been with you, other than a very short three weeks in June, for most of this calendar year. And with that, this fall season sees us beginning our seventh year in ministry together, and me beginning my tenth year in ministry. To say that things have shifted and changed a great deal in those years would be an understatement to say the least!
We all have been through a traumatic time over the last three years, and we are not out of the rapids yet. I’ve started to think of this river of life that we are travelling on. Some of us are in canoes, others are in yachts, some in rafts. This pandemic has affected each one of us differently and what we all hold in common is that we all have been affected. We are living into a wider view and being confronted with the idea that, as Norman Cousins states, “the world as a whole has got to be managed, not just its parts.” The word whole implies that there are various parts and that they are all interconnected.
We know that well here at South Fraser Unitarians. What affects one of us, affects us all. We were with Ann B in Gordon’s dying, and we grieve with her as she settles into a new way of life. We celebrate with Smitty M as she settles into a new position at Langley Senior Resources Society as their Manager of Programs. We hold in our hearts Dea F, Bob W, and Christine K as they settle into new homes this month. We surround all of those returning to school, either in a student or teacher role, with our love. And most of all, we surround each other with our love each time we gather, whether it be online or in person.
Together, we form a community that cares, connects, and changes. As we embark on the journey of a new congregational church year, let us hold each other in love and send our love out into the wider world. A world that so desperately needs the love we have to offer. May it be ever so.
 Charles M. Johnston, Necessary Wisdom (Berkeley, Calif.: ICD Press, 1911), 207.