“Come, ye thankful people, come, raise the song of harvest home; all is safely gathered in, ere the winter storms begin. God our Maker doth provide for our wants to be supplied; come to God’s own temple come, raise the song of harvest home.”
(Come, Ye Thankful People, Come, UMH # 694, Henry Alford, 1844)
Last Thanksgiving weekend members of our family went to the Indian Lands Conservation area in Dennis for a walk and discussion led by Marcus Hendricks. Marcus is a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe and Nipmuc Nation. The walk was sponsored by the Dennis Conservation Land Trust. I found the presentation to be very meaningful. It was good to be able to think about Thanksgiving with an experience that connected us more intentionally to the land and with a representative of the people who welcomed the Pilgrims 400 years ago.
Native Americans have much to teach us; not only about healthy ways of relating to God’s creation, but also about things like gratitude and living honorably. Earlier this year I finished reading a book called “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Kimmerer is a mother, biologist, professor, author and a Native American. In the book Kimmerer dedicates one section to what is called “The Honorable Harvest.” If you would like to hear Kimmerer reflect on “The Honorable Harvest” you can go to the 2014 Forum on Ethics and Nature at www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDAPis_GA_s.
As Kimmerer correctly states in her book, in order to live we must consume. That’s the way the world works, the exchange of life for a life, an endless give and take between our bodies and the body of the world. She also states “If we are fully awake, a moral question arises as we extinguish the other lives around us on behalf of our own. Whether we are digging wild leeks or going to the mall, how do we consume in a way that does justice to the lives that we take?”
The Honorable Harvest is a set of guidelines related to harvesting in a way that seeks to do justice to the lives we take; that honors the gift of life and demonstrates respect for all God’s creation. These principles are primarily geared toward doing things like picking blueberries, gathering nuts, harvesting mushrooms and more, but they can be instructive in general. Some of Kimmerer’s thoughts on The Honorable Harvest are below:
1. Never take the first one. (Because it might be the last. This reflects an important ethic of self-restraint)
2. Take only what you need and no more.
3. Minimize harm
4. Use everything you take. (It is disrespectful of the life taken to waste it.)
5. Be grateful.
6. Share with others
7. Reciprocate the gift – (If we take from the earth, we should consider what we can give back. What can we give back for all we have received? Perhaps we can pick up trash, plant seeds, assist plants, trees and other living things to help them flourish, offer a song or prayer of thanksgiving. What will I give in return for all the good gifts of God?)
These guidelines help us move to a more sustainable way of living, which is perhaps needed now more than at any other time. These guidelines also point us to a more honorable, careful, respectful, thoughtful and holy way of living. Hopefully they will give us some good things to think about during this season of Thanksgiving!
“Acknowledging the lives that support ours and living in a way that demonstrates our gratitude is a force that keeps the world in motion.” (Kimmerer)
We have been offering in-person, in-door worship since the beginning of October. For those who have felt comfortable attending, it has been good to be together again and to be in our beautiful sanctuary! In order to worship indoors safely we will continue to request that everyone wear a mask during the service, except the worship leaders when they are speaking. In addition, seating will be spaced out in our sanctuary so people aren’t too close to each other. This also means the ushers will at times invite people to sit in either the balcony or in the Café Church (Parish Hall). The ushers have also been asked to take the names of all those in attendance on Sunday. This is another safety precaution. If we find out someone has tested positive we can then contact each other with this important information. We will also continue to refrain from congregational singing and from passing the plates for our offerings. We will also be dismissing people pew by pew at the end of each service. Unfortunately we won’t be able to have a fellowship or “coffee” hour after our services yet.
After every Sunday the sanctuary, nursery, classrooms, restrooms and all meeting spaces are all cleaned and disinfected.
Our services continue to be recorded every Sunday as well and are available on our congregation’s website at www.syumc.org.
October is now in our rearview mirror, but we are looking forward to November and December and gearing up for our annual Christmas Room!
We have lots of goodies for you! We continue to mark and sort new items each week. We are still taking donations for the Christmas Room of your unwanted, but beautiful decorations. We are especially looking for old “vintage 50’s ornaments and figurines”. These items are always a big seller, as is holiday jewelry. This year the room will be in the Parish Hall to allow more space to spread out – to help control traffic flow and allow for physical distancing due to the restrictions of the pandemic.
A calendar for volunteer workers has been started. Please stop by the shop to add your name for a couple of shifts. It is a fun time to see what our Thrift Shop is all about. We really need to double our staff for the three weeks from November 28 through December19th. Connie & Penny thank you in advance for any time you can offer.
Please don’t forget to check out the Furniture Barn. The Barn is stacked to the rafters with new items!
Christmas at the Thrift Shop
It’s hard to believe Christmas is just around the corner! Our Christmas room will open the Saturday before Thanksgiving. We have been storing up a lot of Christmas inventory – please plan to stop by!
“No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
On Sunday, November 8th we will recognize veterans during our worship service. This will be the day we intentionally give thanks for the service of all the men and women in our armed forces. We are grateful for their commitment as well as the sacrifices they have made – and their family members have made – on all our behalf.
One of the priorities to come out of our house meetings last year was to strengthen the connections we have with each other. A great tool to help us do this is an updated, pictorial, church directory. It has been a number of years since our last directory was made. This time we will be creating and printing our directories “in house!” This will enable us to keep our directory current, include more people in it and make the directory more accessible to everyone.
During the month of November we are encouraging every member and friend of SYUMC to either have their picture taken before or after worship, have someone stop by their house to take a picture of them, or to submit a photograph of yourself that we can include in this new directory.
We have a good group of people from our congregation working on this project, including some who may call you to make sure your contact information is correct, as well as excellent photographers who have offered their talents to support this initiative. Because we are making this directory “in house” if you would like you can email a photo of yourself or your family to firstname.lastname@example.org. Hopefully we’ll have the new directories available, both on-line and hard copies, by the beginning of the new year!
We thank all those who worked so hard to transform part of our basement area into a new, attractive and fun youth space. We’re grateful to Dr. Bentivegna, someone Carol Cox connected us with, for the donation of a beautiful ping pong table and air hockey table. We also thank all those who moved these tables to the church building, as well as a new, slate, pool table that will be assembled soon! Our Youth Director Valerie Jansson, her husband Brian, Lesa Dovell, Joy Mueller and Pastor John cleared and cleaned up the space to make it a fun spot for your young people. Be on the lookout for some game nights – for all ages – in the future!
On November 17, 2020, 6PM, at Mattachese Middle School in Yarmouth, there will be a Town Meeting. This particular meeting is especially important for us as a congregation because the items that will appear in the Spring Town Meeting will be up for discussion. In other words, each item that may appear on the Town Warrants and Ballots for the major meeting sometime in the Spring 2021 will be up for discussion, approval, or rejection. This includes our most recent request for funding from the Community Preservation Committee for additional work on our historic sanctuary. The Community Preservation Committee has encouraged members of the congregation to be present to support our application. If you have any questions, feel free to speak with either Allan Broadhurst or Pastor John.
Food items and monetary donations will be collected for local food pantries on Sunday, November 22nd. In addition to the usual staples, items for holiday meals are greatly appreciated. Please bring in non-perishable food items or an extra gift to support those experiencing food insecurity in our own community.
On Sunday, November 22nd, members and friends attending worship will be invited to take the name of a member or friend of our congregation who has not been able to get out of their home much lately, either due to age, underlying health issues, or concern for COVID 19. During these challenging times, we want to make sure we are able to stay as “connected” as possible. Cards will be available with a person’s name and their contact information on them. In addition, someone has graciously offered to bake a tasty treat that can be given to those visited. We ask that people stop by the person’s home, say “hello,” let them know their SYUMC family is grateful for them and give them the gift of this tasty treat. Please prayerfully consider this opportunity to share some of the love of God in Christ with others during this Thanksgiving season.
SYUMC celebrated All Saints Day with a special worship service on Sunday, November 1st. During this service which included holy communion, we honored the lives of members and friends of our congregation who have died during the past twelve months. Every year we are deeply grieved by these losses, but also grateful to God for the many ways the lives of these individuals have blessed our own, as well as our life together as a community of faith. This year has been an especially difficult one for those who have lost a loved one. We are grateful to come together to support each other, witness to our faith and give thanks to God for the gift of all our saints.