Tag Archives: church

Citizen of the World

Citizen of the World

20161008_095909We had an International dinner at church last night.  I’m a sucker for a church potluck, but this was especially fun because of the theme.  Hero and Karma came with me, although they mostly hid out in the youth room rather than have to make grownup conversation.  It was an interesting variety of food, from Korea, Colombia, Germany and Boston.  😉  Okay, some people stretched the International idea a little bit, but to be honest, I hadn’t realized how much I missed Boston brown bread!  My favorite was the Korean Chap Che, a beef and cellophane noodle dish that I really need to get the recipe for.

My contribution was zaalouk, an eggplant and tomato cooked salad from Morocco.  I do not like eggplant generally, but I love it in this.  It’s one of three salads that come on a salad platter at the Moroccan restaurant we like to go to, and I can now make all three of them.  For those who are interested, here’s the recipe I used.

Zaalouk

(Adapted from a recipe at about.com)

1 large eggplant
large tomatoes, seeded and chopped3-4 cloves of garlic, diced or smashed
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley (you can go halfsies with cilantro, but I hate cilantro, so…)
1 T paprika
1 T cumin
1 1/2 t salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup water

First roast the eggplant.  Slice it in half, put the halves face down on a baking tray lined with parchement paper, and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, or until the skin starts to collapse slightly.  Remove and cool, then scoop out the insides.  You can do this a day or two in advance, as you have time and the oven on anyway for something else.

Dump all the ingredients in a dutch oven or large sauce pan and bring to a boil, then turn back the heat and simmer for half an hour.  If the ingredients are too chunky at this point, mash them with a vegetable masher, but leave some texture.  Continue simmering until the mixture is thick enough to mound up in the middle of the pot.  This can take a while, but resist the urge to turn up the heat, as it will burn easily.  Long and slow gives the flavors time to develop.  Mine cooked almost 2 hours, but it was totally worth it.

This mixture freezes beautifully, so don’t be afraid to make extra.  I got two eggplants off the discount rack at the store for this and roasted them that day, keeping the pulp in the fridge until I was ready to make the salad.  There were plenty of leftovers, so I’ll pack them up in individual containers and bring one out any time I want to dress up a boring bit of chicken for dinner.  Or just for snacking!  It’s best eaten with pita, but any bread works, and I bet it would be great as a topping for roast chicken or kebabs!

I Choose You…

I Choose You…

It’s been an exciting few weeks at church.

It started April 15, when our minister informed us that he was leaving to take the position at the UU church in West Chester.  This makes perfect sense.  He’s been with our church for 14 years, which as a preacher’s kid I can tell you is a LONG time.  I don’t think we ever stayed anywhere longer than 7.  And his home and family are there, with a lot of ties and connections there.  This is a good move for him, and I can only wish him well.

But I was devastated.

I’ve only had 3 ministers in my entire life, and Dan was the only one I wasn’t related to in some way.  Dad, obviously, and Burton, who was my brother Ben’s godfather and a kind of surrogate uncle/grandfather when we were little.  I started going to BuxMont because of their pagan circle, but I was hooked when, in the first sermon I heard while I was there, Dan quoted Terry Pratchett.  My minister was a geek.  I had found a home.  Now suddenly he was leaving, and I had to look at how much of me staying was him and how much was the community.

I was already struggling with my decision to wait to become an official member.  After 2 months, I already knew this was a comfortable, supportive, encouraging environment, and I was going to stay.  But I wanted to see how the annual meeting went.  You can tell a lot about a church by how tense the annual meeting is.  Talking about money often brings out the worst in people.  After Dan’s announcement, though, I changed my mind.  A transition of this kind is a big deal, and if I was feeling this invested, then I needed to be in a position to be involved in the process of change.  Plus, I kind of wanted to be a tick in Dan’s box.  I know it’s not about the numbers, but it was a way of showing him I valued his ministry and it had affected me enough to make me want to join.

I signed the book with 4 days to spare in order to be able to vote at the annual meeting.

That Sunday, my first as a member, Hero was babysitting for both services.  So I brought my knitting, planning to attend the first service and knit in the library through the second service.  In the announcements for first service, the president of the board of trustees got up and asked for volunteers to serve on the Interim Minister Task Force, to handle all the candidate evaluations and interviews involved in selecting a transitional minister to help clean house before we search for a permanent minister.  It’s a UU practice that I think is a great thing.  It helps avoid the “rebound boyfriend” syndrome I’ve seen several times in churches.  I had talked to Dan during my pre-membership meeting about the possibility of serving on the ministerial search committee, not knowing about the interim thing, and he had kind of put me off the idea, that since I was such a new member, the board would probably want people with more experience.  So when Howard made the request, I sighed a little but moved on.

Second service came around, and I was sitting at the table working on my @#$% shawl (that’s another post) when Howard came in and sat at the table across from me.  I smiled a little at him, he smiled a little at me, as one does with people you don’t really know.  He pulled out a laptop and started working on something.  I thought about his call, I thought about what Dan said, I thought about what I wanted.  Finally, I cleared my throat and said, “I know I’m a really new member, but I would be happy to serve on the task force if you thought I could be of help.”

He looked startled, but we started talking.  I told him about my experience at BuxMont, my background as a PK, my spiritual and professional base.  A couple of other people came in, older members who I had actually talked with while contributing to the upcoming auction, and they vouched for me.  By the end of the service, he had sent me the schedule for the interim task force and said he’d put my name in to the board when they met on Monday.

By Tuesday, I was on the task force.

Now, when I said the schedule, that makes it sound like there was a lot of time for deliberation, review, strategizing.  That is NOT how this went.  There was literally 2 weeks from the time that the candidates names were released to the churches they were interested in serving until the time we could offer the position to our first choice.  Knock off two days from that for when we had to get our top three choices back to the denomination for evaluation.  Take another day or two more to allow the board to review our choices.  So we had about 8 days from release day to review, interview and vet our candidates.  The Task Force was named on Tuesday, and we met for the first time that Thursday to get to know each other, review the process, and come up with a strategy for how to proceed.  And to say various kinds of prayers that good ministers would want to come serve us.  I got elected tech expert, as we needed to make a bunch of information about BuxMont available electronically to the candidates, and none of the others were familiar with using Google Docs nor had used Skype very much, which was how we were doing out interviews.  I had an all in one computer and a Snowball microphone, so I was the techie.  Which, as the baby on the committee (everyone else had been there at least 10 years, one of them for 40!), I was glad to have something concrete to contribute.

Release day came, and with it our first big meeting.  Hallelujah (or OMG) but we had EIGHT candidates interested in us!  Talk about an embarrassment of riches.  So we started combing through the applications, trying to find ways to prioritize which ones we were interested in.  They were all really good, and each would bring something a little different to the congregation.  There were a lot of debates on what was more important, this thing or that, these benefits over that challenge.  We ended up deciding to interview all of them.  *crumple*  For good or ill, two of the task force members weren’t available over the weekend, so we crammed all but one interview in over the following three days.  It was really interesting to see how our thoughts shifted after each interview, how hearing someone speak in person gave such a different impression from what we’d seen in their application packet. All of them brought great ideas to the various challenges we wanted them to address about BuxMont.  I made a list.  I think we all made lists. Slowly we began to winnow them down.  One candidate took themselves out.  A couple more weren’t a good fit financially.  But slowly we focused in on our three.

That Sunday I got to speak during the first service about how it was going and what the interim ministry was about.  I forgot how much I like public speaking.  It scares the hell out of me, but I still love it.  It’s my roller coaster.  And to get to speak about something I was getting so excited about was the best.  Of course I was shaking so much when I finished that I almost couldn’t walk in my heels!  But I got good feedback from people, and I think I got across some of my enthusiasm.  At coffee hour, the task force members ended up gathering in little clumps here and there to whisper considerations and opinions to each other, giving all the candidates code names so we didn’t violate confidentiality.  Which was hysterical.

I had to miss the last interview on Monday.  I had taken Friday off, both because of these interviews and because I’d had to be up at 3 a.m. to get Hero off for her Disney trip (yet another post!), but I just couldn’t take Monday off as well.  When we met that night, I felt really bad because they’d had major technical issues.  They ended up having to do the interview by FaceTime on one of the team’s cell phone.  We jokingly agreed that it was a test of the candidate’s flexibility and adaptability!  So we spent two hours going over all the candidates references, their answers to our interview questions, evaluating them on 5 different criteria, and in the end we all agreed unanimously on our first choice.  There was some debate over who should be second and who should be third, but we crossed our fingers that that wouldn’t matter because our first choice would want us, too.

And she did.

Starting at the end of August or beginning of September, the Rev. Dr. Susan Rak will be our interim minister.  Susan is currently the interim at First Unitarian in Philadelphia, where she has helped them do some really amazing things and prepared them to call an outstanding, energetic and dedicated settled minister.  The task force is so excited about what Susan can bring to BuxMont over the next two years, and I hope we’re passing that excitement on to the rest of the congregation.  I am still sorry for the loss of Dan, but I’m practically bouncing with anticipation for the future.

The last hurdle we had to overcome was the passage of the church budget at our annual meeting this past Sunday.  Remember what I said earlier about wanting to see how the congregation treats each other at an annual meeting?  Yeah, well, ramp that up quite a lot.  See, the church had a shortfall on their pledge drive this year, meaning we would be calling an interim while working from a deficit budget.  We had heard murmurings that people were going to argue against approving a deficit budget, and the task force was worried how this would affect calling Susan.  Howard presented the budget, and there was some stomach knotting debate.  Then Tom, one of the trustees, got up and spoke about a plan for how to make up the deficit and build a cushion by the work of a short term task force.  Now, Karen, the chair of the interim task force, had asked me before church if I knew anyone new who would be interested in serving in a stewardship capacity.  I knew I didn’t have it in me to serve on the stewardship committee, and everyone I knew from the Explorations class I’d been in was still too new or still finding their way to serve.  But when Tom said “task force” and “done by September”, I thought of all the ideas we’d heard from all the candidates, ideas I’d gotten from other places, and my hand went up.  As did the hands of two other people from the interim task force.  And no one else.  So I stood up and said that the reason all the volunteers were from the ITF was because we had heard some great new ideas and we wanted to see them implemented and hoped others would be excited enough to want to help with that as well.  Afterwards I heard 3 more people volunteered.

So there we are.  Less than a month, and I’ve become a rabble-rouser at church.  I hope my parents are proud!  During one of our early sessions on the ITF, Karen suggested a book called Serving with Grace, which I have since gotten a digital copy of.  It’s a great book on leadership development, and on serving your church being a spiritual act.  Coming down from the success of the ITF, I really do feel that way.  Doing that job was not only an act of service to the church, but was an act of my own personal faith, that service to others is as important, if not more so, than rituals and prayers.  It’s a concrete manifestation of our inner life.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this path of service takes me.

The Word Made Manifest

The Word Made Manifest

(I may get struck by lightning for that title…)

Something I tend to forget is the power of sympathetic magic.  How like attracts like, and naming something, whether it be something material or something more ephemeral, helps make it manifest.  But I’m starting to see it in my life right now.

I started going to church in a search for community.  What I wanted out of that was kind of vague.  I think at the heart of it was I wanted a place where, if something were to happen to me, there would be people who would help me beyond my two best friends and a handful of people at work.  A place for my kids to have adults to look up to.  And a place where I could contribute to other people’s well-being.

This started paying off in unexpected ways a few weeks ago.  I took the kids to game night, and for the first time they were exposed to kids significantly younger than them.  Young kids see teenagers are basically superheroes, and my kids had never experienced that before, really from either end.  They were both a little overwhelmed by it, but they rose to the challenge.  Hero did so well with one overly exuberant little girl that the mom spoke to the director of religious ed (basically the Sunday school director) about hiring her on as a regular babysitter.  So Hero now has a job, and one that actually pays!  She can pick and choose which opportunities to work fit her schedule (for example, she’s babysitting during the Wednesday class I’m going to), but she doesn’t have to work every Sunday, for example, or every special event.  I’m hoping after a couple more events, we might be able to get Xander on that list, too.  Once he’s not so overwhelmed by the attention!  He did seem to have a good time playing with the younger kids.

And I scored a hat!

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Back in December when I first started, I think it was my second Sunday there, they had a craft fair after service.  So many creative people in that church!  One of the women did hand-decorated felt hats.  I love hats.  I had a real Indiana Jones fedora I wore so much in college until one day I left it under my seat in class and someone swiped it.  She had one that I fell instantly and completely in love with.  It was teal green with a rounded crown and a brim with a lip on it, and she had decorated it with peacock feathers.  It was gorgeous, I loved it, and I was broke.  I put it down sadly and walked away.  I ran into her again at church last week.  She was wearing a dramatic straw hat with purple flowers all over it.  I took a chance and asked her if she still had that hat.  She said she wasn’t sure, but she’d check.  Middle of the week, I got an email that she’d found it!  Hooray!  She brought it to church on Sunday, and it was awesome!  Hero’s jealous of it.  Maybe I’ll get her one next craft fair…

But opening myself up to community is helping in ways I hadn’t expected.

I walk with a former co-worker at lunch most days, and we talk as we walk (obviously).  The other day I got complaining about my basement, and how it’s always flooding and I wish I could  dig out a hole to sink a sump pump, but I can’t break the concrete.  Out of nowhere Friday night she texts me to ask if she could bring her husband over to take a look at it.  Well, he’s a union plumber, so of course I said hell yeah!  They came over last night to have a look at it, and he agreed with my assessment, that the stand pipe there was probably a drain and that the concrete wasn’t so thick that he couldn’t hammer through it easily enough and sink either a bucket or a deep pvc pipe with rock at the bottom.  The benefit of the later is it would allow ground water to seep directly into it instead of having to rise to the surface and then run in.  I already have the pump, so Joe is going to check around his job site to see if he can find something to use for the insert, so yay!  I also mentioned wanting to permanently pipe the outside spigot and that I need to replace the water heater, and he immediately started making suggestions on that, too, so double yay!

I have to think that some of this comes from the service we had last Sunday.  It was an extended joys and sorrows ritual, where instead of being a small part of the service, the majority of the service was encouraging people to name their sorrows, their joys and their hopes.  Since there was more time allotted, I took the opportunity to stand up during the joys part and celebrate the fact that I fixed my own washing machine all by my own self.

Wait.  I don’t think I told you this story!

Three weeks ago, about two weeks after I paid $200 to get my 18 year old washing machine fixed, Morgan woke me up to tell me that the washer was flooding again.  I was barely conscious, he’d dealt with it, and there wasn’t anything more I could do about it at the time, so I went back to sleep.  The next day, I spun the last of the water out of my clothes, threw them in the dryer and promptly went into denial.  I just didn’t have the money to pay for another repair, let alone a new washer.  But eventually people start running out of underwear, so I had to deal with it.  I did some research based on what Morgan had told me happened, and decided that it was probably one of the internal water supply hoses that had given out.  That didn’t seem too hard to fix, if I could figure out how to get the housing off the machine.  But I needed to confirm that was the problem and get the hose off so I could drive around and try to find someone who carried the right part (all the appliance repair supply shops in our area have closed.  No one fixes things any more!)  So I pulled it out as far as I could, climbed over to detach the supply hoses…

And found that the drain hose had come off.

Seriously.  That was it.  Shoved it back on, clamped it back in place, and it was fixed.  No fuss, no cost.  I was stupidly chuffed.

Back to church.  So I stood up in front of the congregation and told this story, ending with something along the lines of, it wasn’t the actual act of fixing that I was so proud of, it was the fact that I was brave enough to look.  That kind of bravery, the “Maybe I can do it myself” feeling, I think gets harder and harder as our world gets more and more complicated.  So yes, I think taking the chance is an act of bravery.  Especially for me, who has no childhood experience of watching a parent fix things, and who hasn’t been educated in any of this stuff as an adult.  I think that bike repair class helped in more ways than I expected!

But more important was the naming of it.  By saying aloud in sacred space, “This I can do and this I am willing to do,” it put it out into the Universe that this is who I am, and has started bringing those things to me.  While I can’t do some of the stuff myself, I think Joe will explain what he’s doing and give me a chance to learn some simple things that I can do.  I’ll learn.  I’ll grow.  I’ll connect.

Hrm.  This post didn’t go where I thought it would.  But I’ll leave you this.  Name your fears aloud.  Name your triumphs aloud.  Speak your hopes, your sadness, your curiosity aloud.

Someone is listening.  Believe me.

Not so Perfect

Not so Perfect

I started with a study group at church last night.  It’s a six session program exploring our personal faith and how it maps onto Unitarian Universalism.  I figured it was a good way to meet other people in the church, learn more about UUism and find my path forward.  It’s a nice group of 9 people plus the minister and membership coordinator.  For the first session, we introduced ourselves, learned about how small group ministry works in UU, and then talked about our own paths to that point.  I wasn’t the only one there with pagan or “alternative” religion leanings, and I got to talk a bit about pagan humanism, which was empowering.  Towards the end, the minister, Dan, asked what we were hoping for from walking the path with Unitarian Universalism.  I was surprised when the first thing that popped into my head was “Healing.  Spiritual healing.”

I didn’t say anything.

But it was a moment that grew in my head all the way home and kept me awake off and on last night, half the time near to tears.  Because it was the first time I acknowledged that I was spiritually wounded and needed healing.  It’s still hard to talk about, because it means saying harsh things about people I still love and respect.  But the first step in healing is naming what hurts.  So I need to take that step.

I came into the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel in 1996.  Morgan was a year and a half old, Eric and I had just gotten married, and I was excited to be in a community where I could learn and develop towards my goal of being a teacher and leader myself one day.  And I did learn so much.  My first degree initiation was recognized, and two years later I received my second degree initiation.  I lead rituals, taught classes, aspected deity.  I got pregnant.

Things changed.

I had completed the coursework, as it were, for my third degree initiation, including exploring the possibility of a pagan-based AA program as part of my pastoral counseling training.  I got support and encouragement from my elder/High Priestess who had mentored me.  I went for my interview.  And I was denied.

The reason given for not granting me the initiation was something along the lines of I wasn’t well-connected to spirit.  Which seemed like a BS reason to me, but I wasn’t privy to their discussions, so I didn’t know what it was code for.  I knew that they had just had a young HP go seriously off the rails, so I chalked it up to them being gunshy about a repeat.  I figured if I gave it a year and re-interviewed, I’d be fine.  Coven leadership promised me all kinds of support and guidance in reaching my goal, so I committed to continuing.  I got pregnant.

I never heard from anyone.

I continued with the coven, but things were different.  I started to notice small things.  Comments I got from leaders that experiences I had in ritual weren’t “true”.  I was passed over for roles in ritual despite my experience.  Then a time came when our coven began addressing some group dynamic issues that had plagued the group for many years.  In talking one on one and in small groups with other members of the coven, I thought we were in unity on some of the decisions the tradition was asking us to make.  When we met with coven leadership, though, when I spoke up firmly against what we were being asked to do, the people I thought had my back didn’t.  I looked like an obstructionist and a troublemaker and was left to hang on my own.  My trust of the people I was supposed to be able to trust the most in the world outside my family was shattered.

A year later, I took a sabbatical from the group.

But it was less a break and more of a shunning.  It was tradition policy that if someone was on sabbatical, they were not allowed to attend any Assembly rituals or really communicate with Assembly members.  We had had someone sabbatical from the group before, and I had felt sick to my stomach that this person who was supposed to be a brother to us we were now not allowed to talk to. I understand that the policy was in place to keep the person from feeling pressured.  But for me, at a time when I most needed pastoral care and counseling, I was isolated and unmoored.

I didn’t go back.

The problem is, even with a second degree initiation, ties are made.  There is a part of me that will always be connected to the Assembly.  I still recommend it to people in the area looking for more organized pagan spirituality.  But I can’t go back myself.  I was made to feel like I wasn’t a good enough pagan, that I wasn’t valued, that what I had to offer wasn’t enough.  And I internalized that, so very hard.  I say I’ve been practicing solitary since then, but really the extent of my “practice” has been my internal communications with the divine.  When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I set up an altar in my room, but more often than not it has been a dust collector.

In November, I broke the literal ties to Oak and Willow and the Assembly when I created my new ritual cords.  In December, I started with Gaia’s Rainbow, the pagan circle at BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.  As I started, there was a voice in my head saying, “This isn’t how it should be done,” comparing it to what I’d done in the Assembly.  But after a couple of rituals and classes, I’m realizing THAT’S THE POINT.  In many ways, Gaia’s Rainbow is the epitome of Pagan Unitarian Universalism.  People following their own paths together.  It’s not a coven.  It’s a circle.  Open but unbroken.  I’m keeping my mouth shut about how things “should” be.  Things are the way they are.  And the combination of that and the broader church are part of my healing.  A time may come when I’ll be able to offer service and experience.  But for now I am content to learn these new ways and walk this gentler path while I heal.

People are going to read this post who may want to argue with me about what happened during my time with the Assembly, or who may be hurt by what I’ve said here.  All I can say is that  whatever may or may not have “really” happened back then, this was how I experienced it, and I have to acknowledge the damage it did to me.  It’s been 10 years now. I love you, I miss you, but I’m putting it behind me and moving on.

Going to the chapel…

Going to the chapel…

I haven’t been to church more than a handful of times as an adult.  A couple of weddings, a couple of funerals, my father’s 50th anniversary of investiture.  I don’t count ritual as “going to church”.  It’s a completely different dynamic, and a bit less baggage-laden (or I guess at this point differently baggage-laden!)  Church has very specific connotations for me, and not all of them are good.  As a minister’s daughter, I’ve seen how the sausage is made, as it were.  I’ve seen the infighting and pettiness, the moral superiority, the condesention, the apathy, the martyrdom, all the things that make up the dynamic of any church group.  Actually, a lot of it was the same in my coven/tradition, so it’s not strictly a church thing.  But my whole childhood was contingent on the whims of the congregation, so you take that sort of thing a bit more personally.

I’ve been solitary for seven or eight years now, and I’m feeling the lack of community in my life. Especially in the last few weeks and months, with the surge in violence and discrimination and political bile.  There’s only so much I can do as an individual, and I started to feel starved for like-minded community. So I started doing some research.

Denomination was never a question.  I can’t go back to the church of my youth, as even the most liberal UCC churches around here are still more conservative than I’m comfortable with.  Plus the whole God thing.  I’m a Pagan humanist, so I needed a humanistic church.  Which meant Unitarian Universalist.  I’ve often thought about going to a UU church.  I even at one point considered going into the ministry. Hell, they even have a specific Pagan wing of the denomination.  So yeah, if I went back, that would be where I’d go.

Surprisingly (or not, considering the area), there are half a dozen UU churches near me, although it will take some getting used to to actually have to DRIVE to church instead of rolling out of bed, stumbling into my church clothes and crossing the driveway to get to service. Two are within a half hour drive. One of them has a Pagan circle. So that was decided.  I’d explore the BuxMont UU.

I had planned to go the Sunday before Thanksgiving, but confusion about an appointment for Morgan and the demands of Thanksgiving prep kind of put the kaibosh on that.  But I think in the end that worked out for the best.

Honestly, though, I was scared to death to go.  Introversion is not a fun thing, especially when you’re struggling to overcome it.  Add to that the whole haven’t been to church since childhood thing, and I was feeling a lot of regression coming on.  I actually called my mother to ask her how to adult at coffee hour BECAUSE I HAD NO CLUE HOW TO ADULT AT COFFEE HOUR.  I did come close to bailing.  “It’ll keep until January, right?”  But I didn’t.  Instead I got up, dressed in my subtle Mycroft Holmes cosplay (wool trousers, striped shirt, waistcoat, black blazer with 2″ heel boots), screwed my courage to the sticking place, and went.

Walking in the door was like coming home.  That smell of stale coffee pervades every church I have ever been in.

The building was nice.  Modern, which isn’t my favorite, but not soulless, if that makes sense.  Or maybe it was just the smell messing with my perceptions!  I signed in, got my nametag and headed into the sanctuary. The service itself was nice. Not that different from every service I’ve ever been in, really.  And points to me for remembering my wallet for offeratory!  Adulting!  I didn’t recognize any of the hymns, and my throat and face got tired singing.  Just out of practice!  But I never had any moments of discomfort where I had to mentally substitute deity names, so by the time the sermon came around, I had stopped watching for landmines and was able to relax.  And the minister invoked Terry Pratchett in the sermon, so major bonus points!  The congregation was a nice mix of ages and genders, although not a lot of ethnic diversity, unsurprising given the area.

After service I managed to talk to two people at the coffee hour, but then they did a dedication of their new labrynth, which yay!  I went down for that, and the mother of the boy who designed it is the leader of the Pagan circle, so I got to talk to her briefly.  Interestingly enough, she also lives in Lansdale and her son is also spectrum.  So yeah, I think this was the day I was meant to come!  And after that, they had a new members meeting where people could learn some about the UU denomination in general and BuxMont in particular, so I hung around for that as well.  The leader was fun.  He says he’s a Quaker one week a year and a Catholic one day a year, and the rest of the time he’s still looking.  I can get behind that!

By the time that was over, second service was starting, so I headed home.  I wasn’t energized like I am after ritual, but that may have at least partly been because of the stress of strangers.  Otherwise, though, it felt good.  So like a good Pagan girl, I am dedicating myself to a year and a day.  I’ll go to church at least twice a month and to all the high holidays that the Pagan circle sponsors.  Then next December I’ll see where I’m at and if it’s still feeling good, I’ll become a member.

Interestingly, Hero’s started talking about joining me and maybe bringing her friends.  We’ll start with just her at the Yule ritual and a Sunday service or two, see what she thinks.  But her eyes lit up when I told her they accept transgender people.  So maybe it will be a good fit for her, too.