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.

Thoughts on the Insurrection

This Sunday, my homily title was “Imagine a More Perfect Union”. I began to gather my thoughts about what happened at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. If you want to listen to my homily, it is here on YouTube (it starts at 24:27):

Click on the arrow above to watch the video of the entire service, or go to 24:27 for the homily.

We are not out of the woods yet. One of my colleagues noted that the most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when you try to leave it. That’s how this feels to me. We are trying to leave an abusive relationship with our would-be-dictator, and therefore our very safety is threatened. I am quite concerned about events which more reactionary insurrectionists are apparently planning for next week and the Inauguration. Some fear another attempted coup, and it’s (tragically) hard to rule that out.

We are indeed responsible for what happens next. I pray that democracy prevails.