March Message from Rev. Telos Whitfield

A life without love is like a year without Spring

Octavian Paler

Dear Ones,

The winter days are still with us, the wind and grey skies, snow flurries or rain, earth still frozen, seeds buried deep. But there have been beautiful blue sky days, the sap is running and we can feel energy within and around us. And we can feel the change of Spring coming, the sun will begin to feel warmer, growth and new life coming again as it always does. The natural world offers this mirror of what occurs within us, the cycles of challenge, death and rebirth. This time of year brings together the holidays and holy days of multiple faith traditions – the celebration of the Vernal Equinox in the pagan tradition, the holy time of Ramadan for Muslims, and Lent and the high holy day of Easter for Christians. This is a time of rebirth and new life, and a time to honor the spiritual communities that people are dedicated to. I am a pagan at heart, the forest and nature always a place for me to find solace and renewal. And within Buddhist practice, a deep sense of peace. And I strive to follow the ways I imagine Jesus to have been, though I do not imagine myself to possess the courage of a revolutionary against our political systems, may we do this as a collective voice and force. For me, Jesus offers a revolutionary path of love, so we honor the life that he lived. The political power he was pushing against, the vast and inclusive welcome and healing he offered, the simple message that he kept offering to Love our neighbor as ourselves. I imagine he understood struggle and pain at a deep level and empowered those around him. So may we always remember as we are with someone that we do not know the depth of struggle they may be encountering, and what our love and caring can mean. This is what being part of a community of faith can mean. I am deeply grateful to serve this amazing congregation that welcomes newcomers into our midst and honors our longtime members including Esta Smith who celebrated a century of living and has been a member for over 73 years! A community shows its strength and health through having a continuum of commitment, through having people step into roles and work that they feel called to offer, and through our connections and support for organizations and people in our community. These are all hallmarks of a healthy congregation. You good people of All Souls have supported me during a most challenging year just past with comfort and understanding, sharing your experiences and your hearts. I am grateful, deeply grateful and I feel inspired, deeply inspired by our work together! You truly are a welcoming community in the truest sense of that word, and you share your experiences and challenges, reach out to support each other and to receive help. You aren’t afraid to share ideas that might be new or unfamiliar, radical even! We have embarked on our Stewardship Campaign – Gather In Faith, and we offer our gratitude to our hardworking Stewardship Team that includes Leslie K., Christina G., Catie G. Berg, with support from Trish M. and Ann N. Thank you all for your good hearted work and commitment to this important effort! The board of trustees has asked me whether I would be open to serving All Souls in a greater capacity and I said, Yes! I would welcome the opportunity to deepen my involvement, supporting our staff, increasing justice efforts in our communities, and supporting our newcomers and long-time members. I felt called to serve All Souls four years ago and that calling has only deepened over time. You touch my heart, challenge my mind and call my spirit to what serving a community of faith truly means.