October Message from Rev. Telos Whitfield

Dear Ones,

We will be exploring Courage during this month – “Cur” means heart, facing life wholeheartedly with open hearts and letting our courage flow freely. It isn’t easy and often we are asked to be courageous unexpectedly; suddenly our life changes and we are faced with an experience requiring our involvement. It might be to demand the truth in a circumstance, putting voice to our principles and letting our actions speak. It might be to navigate care for ourselves or another through the healthcare system as I am doing right now with care for my father. It has taken courage to put his needs and care first in the face of costs and complicated systems. I realize I am not alone in this journey, that many of you have had to navigate and advocate for yourselves or a loved one. There are so many ways that courage manifests. We may not believe that we are courageous but we are, we need to be. It is a way that people can recognize how integral our faith is to the way that we live. It takes courage these days and in these times to be of a liberal and open faith, and to counter fears of difference, scarcity. Now more than ever, it is vital to embrace the all-embracing reality of how our lives and experiences are interconnected. 

Our Caring Circle will be offering an End of Life Planning Workshop on Saturday, October 8th and we welcome your participation and involvement! This will be an interactive conversation as we support each other in planning our own or a loved one’s memorial service. And together we will explore various possibilities for burial and final disposal of our bodies. Death touches us all – it is a universal experience and it tends to be an area that we don’t talk about very much. We are offering an opportunity to engage and talk together in contemplating how we might want to be honored and remembered, how we might honor another. At the end of this month we honor Samhain, an ancient Celtic holiday celebrating  Harvest, making preparations for wintertime, and a time when the veil between the physical and spirit worlds is thin to allow us to reach across. We are grateful for the food that we have grown, that has been grown for us, potatoes and squash to sustain us in the coming months. And we offer gratitude to those ancestors who have gone before us. 

With Gratitude and Blessings, Rev. Telos 


There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs, and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up and she looks down. She looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly.

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.

(Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape)