The last Soul Matters theme for the congregational year was the gift of renewal, an appropriate theme to launch the summer season. What does renewal mean to you? Replenishment? Recovery? Restoration? Summer can be a time of replenishment when schedules slow down – a little- and there might be opportunities for vacation time. For me, this month will also be a time to take a break from social media and explore those things that bring joy to counterbalance the challenging news headlines and concerns about the upcoming elections. I have challenged myself to disconnect from social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram and use my cell phone a little as possible. It has indeed been challenging! I’m so accustomed to checking emails and social media platforms on my phone, that I instinctively reach for my cell phone. Two weeks into what I call my social media sabbath, I am less attached to my phone. It is liberating to focus on other things like art projects without phone alerts and interruptions. This summer I have been inspired by a Creativity Matters prompt to create a “Less & More Mural” to consider what I want more of and less of in my life. What would your mural look like?

Creativity Matters is part of the Adult Faith Formation Soul Matters program. Participants receive packets with reflection questions and prompts that explore the monthly theme through art. During COVID I participated in the pilot program on-line and became a fan. At first, I was intimidated by all the artists participating in the program: a photographer, a quilter, an art therapist zooming in from her art studio, and other folks who already had an art practice. I completed the assignments but rarely shared, preferring to talk about the process and emotions behind the pieces I created. Over time I realized the goal wasn’t to produce the
perfect piece but to enjoy making time for creativity, playfulness and imagination in community. Creativity Matters was a lesson in embracing vulnerability and taming the inner critic. It was also a journey into creating collages which I have used to explore sermon themes, unpack ideas that arise during spiritual direction sessions or simply play with images and color. I wanted more creativity in my life after participating in the pilot. Although I am no longer in a group, I continue to create collages and find inspiration in the monthly Creativity Matters packets. I am glad we have had a Creativity Matters group that meets on campus each of the last two years. A special thank you to EJ Haack and James Cassara for co-facilitating the group. I hope we can form two groups next year since there is usually a waiting list. If exploring our monthly themes through art is of interest to you, please let us know by filling out this form.

Have a wonderful summer! I look forward to our work together in the fall. If you haven’t read “How We Ended Racism,” our congregational common read, I encourage you to do so. Rev. Audette and I will be hosting a monthly series “Collective Liberation in Action” starting in October for learning and action as we reflect on themes and exercises in the book. We hope you join in!

Hasta pronto,

Rev. Claudia

Minister of Faith Formation