My sister in ministry, around the corner…

Long time, loooooong time, no blog post. Covid-19 has meant that I spend far too much time online. I think in part because of that, I’ve had essentially no desire to blog. But I’m going to try to get back into it, because … there’s a lot to share!

Photo title: “It’s not polite to point”. (Rev. Lara Hoke points at Rev. Jen Munroe-Nathans during the charge.)

One of the nicest things that has happened during the pandemic, for me personally, is that an old friend is now the minister at the church around the corner, the Congregational Church of Littleton (CCOL). Once upon a time, CCOL and First Church Unitarian (FCU) were the same Town Church, established in 1714. In the 1830s and 1840s, we had that trinitarian/unitarian split and became two separate congregations. But with my old friend (Pastor Jen Munroe-Nathans) now around the corner, I hope we can join together more and more!

Yesterday, I had the honor of delivering the Charge to the Minister and the Charge to the Congregation in Pastor Jen’s installation. If you want to watch the service, here it is:

It was a lovely and inspiring service. (My piece, for my mother, who will want to start there, is here.)

I so look forward to more and more “good trouble” with my old friend, and our congregations.

My grandfather was in fact an ordained German Reform minister (Rev. Dr. Elmer R. Hoke), which is part of the United Church of Christ, like CCOL. So that’s kind of cool, too.

Fun outdoors and in-person!

One of the biggest treats in this year of Covid-19 has been occasional outdoor, in-person events with some of the church’s kids (from our Religious Education “RE” Program). It’s just simple joy to be outside with other people, having fun. Our RE Program has been led by volunteers this year (following the retirement of our Director of Religious Education or “DRE”), and they’ve done an incredible job.

After the RE lesson, we all walked from the church over to Fay Park and played a few games. One of them was “Strike a Pose”, or “Freeze Frame”. Here’s one picture from when I joined in with the kids.

Rev. Lara Hoke with some of the RE kids, freezing a pose at the sound of the bell.

Later on, we played a spontaneous game of “monkey in the middle”. The kids loved it when I was the monkey.

I can’t thank our RE Committee enough for the leadership and creativity they’ve shown this year!

Greater Lowell Interfaith event

Yesterday I had the pleasure of being involved in the Greater Lowell Interfaith Leadership Alliance (GLILA)’s Annual Spring Gathering for Peace. [I live in downtown Lowell, so I participate in GLILA. I also participate in the Greater Littleton Interfaith Council (GLIC).]

Here’s a video from yesterday’s virtual interfaith event of GLILA. If you watch on YouTube, click on “show more” in the description for blue time stamps that will take you to any particular part of the event.

Remembering those lost to COVID-19

To set the tone for the inauguration tomorrow, President-elect Biden led a memorial to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19. He asked for churches to turn on their lights and ring their bells on Tuesday, January 19 at 5:30 p.m.

First Church Unitarian participated. You can watch the video above (just click on the arrow in the image). Sexton Henry Whitcomb, Jr. rang the bells (16:06). After the bells rang, I said the names of loved ones (18:17) that members and friends of FCU have lost to COVID-19 : Bud Hunt * Fernando Torres * Jean Champagne * David Friedman * Gail Whittle * Barbara Fleming * Meredith Price * Peter Overby * Yolanda Bartlett * Barbara Anthony * Reed Anthony * I then concluded with a prayer.

MLK Sunday

Today was Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday at church. I always love this Sunday. Every year, I am amazed again at King’s words and ideals and prescience. If you wish, you can watch the service (click on the arrow in the picture below). If you watch on YouTube, click “show more” to see the Order of Service.

I tried to put King’s ideas into our 2021 context. One thing is for sure… King always challenges us. And he always inspires me.