In the Balance: An Autumn Equinox Celebration

This special time of year, when day and night are equal, is rich with meaning in the ancient traditions. Come and celebrate with us as we observe the Equinox with a ritual in the manner of these age-old practices, which still resonate with us so deeply today. Through music, rhythm, and ceremony, we will seek to renew our sacred connection with the Earth and the Universe with which we are inextricably interwined.

We anticipate that this service will be both in-person and on Zoom. Click right here Sunday shortly before 10:00 a.m. to join via Zoom. Click here to read our protocols for in-person attendance.When attending in person, please completely power off your cell phone during the service to preserve the Church’s WiFi bandwidth for our Zoom attendees.



“In the Balance:
An Autumn Equinox Celebration”

  Order of Service
Sunday, September 18, 2022         

Board Welcome & Announcements                              Ron Niswander

Prelude “Turn, Turn, Turn”  by Pete Seeger  (text based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
“To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven”
                        Steve Squires, guitar; Eva Greene, piano

Chalice Lighting & Calling In the Directions
Jody McAssey: 
Hail Guardian Spirits of this place! We come here in Peace and with clear intent as our chalice light reflects. We come here to celebrate the Autumn Equinox. We ask that you accept our presence. Hail, Guardian spirits of this place!
Marty Shaw: I call upon the Spirit of the North, the Earth Mother, the Great Bear, to be with us in our sacred rite.
Diana Clark: I call upon the Spirit of the East, the Skyfather, the great Eagle, to be with us in our sacred rite.
Karen Tyler: I call upon the Spirit of the South, the Firebrother, the Great Dragon, to be with us in our sacred rite.
Ellie Weiss: I call upon the Spirit of the West, the Rainsister, the Great Whale, to be with us in our sacred rite.
Jody: I call upon the Spirit of the Ancestors, those who have come before, those who led the way, those to whom we owe much, to be with us in our sacred rite. I call upon the future beings, those for whom we serve beyond our time, to be with us in our sacred rite.

Opening Words by Bobcat                           read by Katherine Innis
We come to celebrate the Autumn Equinox, that special time of year when day and night are equal. The veil between the worlds is thin, and the magic of the season’s tide spills over into our souls. The crops show their full bounty, and the days will become shorter, the air chill. The leaves are beginning their change, and all are preparing for the long winter months. The swifts and swallows have since flown, the squirrel is busy gathering nuts. So too do we gather and rejoice in the bounty of this time, and offer our heartfelt thanks to all that we have received. We reap what we sow, and if anything has been left unattended, or should anything be left incomplete, we ask that they be taken up in our prayers so that we may finish what we have started. On this day we give thanks to the Goddess and thank the God for all their abundance. As the crops and feasts show what the planting has done, so too have our hopes for the year come and gone. We reap the rewards of what we have sown and prepare ourselves for the long winter night. The crops are gathered, the harvest done, we celebrate in the fullness of what we have won. We reap the seeds we have sown in the year and gather together with good heart and good cheer.                                                                                     

Opening Hymn #389 “Gathered Here”                 led by Jody and Diana

Reading: Harbinger of Frost  by Robert T. Weston
Janis: Autumn, we know, is life en route to death. The asters are but harbingers of frost. The trees, flaunting their colors at the sky, in other times, will follow where the leaves have fallen, and so shall we.
Jamie: Yet other lives will come. So may we know, accept, embrace, the mystery of life we hold for a while, nor mourn that it outgrows each separate self, but still rejoice that we may have this day. Lift high our colors to the sky! And give in our time, fresh glory to the earth.

Anthem “Autumn Hymn” music by Barbara Owen, lyrics by Walter Royal Jones, Jr., arranged by Leo Collins.
All Souls Choir, led by Tom Baehr

Story for All Ages: ”The Way to Start a Day”             read by  Marty Shaw
by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall

Offering shared with Edible Brattleboro

Offertory: Chant d’automne (Les saisons)     Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
                                         Eva Greene, piano

Reflection on Joys and Concerns

Sharing:This morning, you each received the gift of a spring bulb. These bulbs represent promise and hope, for the energy to sustain us through the winter. In groups of 2 or 3 or 4, please take a few minutes to turn to your neighbors to share and listen to what we wish to have in our life when this bulb blooms in Spring.                                    

Closing Hymn #1011: “Return Again”            led by Diana Clark
Extinguishing the Chalice
Jody: We now return the energy that we have spent in creating this circle back to our bodies and souls and the land which sustains us, in peace and with the blessings of the ancestors and future beings.
Marty: May there be peace be in the North!
Diana: May there be peace be in the East!
Karen: May there be peace be in the South!
Ellie: May there be peace be the West!
Unison: This celebration ends in peace as it began. May the blessings we have received go with us all as we depart this place, to nourish, strengthen and sustain us.

Closing Circle: “Carry the Flame of Peace and Love” (sung two times)

Benediction                                                         Karen Tyler

May the Circle be open, but unbroken. May the peace of god and goddess be ever in your heart. Merry meet, merry part, and merry meet again. Blessed Be.

Coffee Hour and Conversation