Life does not proceed according to plan, does it? Who of us would have anticipated that, for the second time in a row, a church year would begin with such sadness? Of course, last year, the sadness was specific to our congregation with the sudden death of Co-Minister Mark. This year, the sorrow is widespread. So many people have been impacted by Harvey. Our hearts bleed for our city, indeed our region.

I keep reminding folks that everyone of us has been through a traumatic event. The incredible (as in defying credibility) pictures of rising waters, the moving images of dramatic or touching rescues, the nervous watching and waiting, the sleepless nights. And now the mounds of debris in front of our neighbors’ homes. There is a heaviness in the very atmosphere.

Of course, if your house flooded, you know you’ve been through a trauma, a trauma that will not resolve itself quickly. There is very real grief at what has been lost. For, as I’ve said before, our “stuff” is not just things, but the stuff of our lives, much of it precious, much of it memory-laden. And the stress of dealing with all the details that have to be attended to in the aftermath can feel overwhelming. To have practical help in such a time is critical. And I am so proud of how our members have stepped up to help those whose homes were flooded. Jane Zachritz-Holt and the Rebuild folks – you are heroes!

It appears that somewhere between thirty and forty families within our congregation were flooded. We are still trying to gather information so that we can reach out. PLEASE IF YOU WERE FLOODED, let us know and IF YOU HAVE RELOCATED, please give us your new address. We will be receiving substantial funds from the UUA/UUSC Harvey Relief Fund to assist our members within the next few weeks. Watch for details about how to apply for that assistance. In the meantime, if you have an immediate need that a couple hundred bucks would assist with, please let me know. Money is available in the Minister’s Benevolence Fund.

At times like these we need one another more than ever. For practical assistance, of course, but also to communicate to one another how much we care. And, everyone of us, those affected and those not, can find ways to do that. Even if you can’t help rip out drywall or carry a soggy mess to the curb, you can give a hug, wipe a tear, cook a meal, wash clothes, send a card, share a chocolate bar, say “I’m so sorry this happened to you” – you get the idea.

AND we can come together to bolster one another’s spirits and have some simple FUN! Saturday, October 14, we will gather our beloved community for our potluck Fall Social. There will be ABSOLUTELY NO church business conducted, no informational presentation – nothing but shared food, shared hugs, and a shared good time. The organizers and I have some (we think) delightful surprises in store. Come, all of you please. We need to be together. Even if you can’t bring food, come. There will be plenty to go around, I have no doubt! And, if you hadn’t yet had a time to chat with our Transitional Assistant Minister, Sam Schaal, this will be your chance. (Check out his column elsewhere in the newsletter, also.)

In lots of faith and gobs of affection,

Becky Edmiston-Lange