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President's Monthly Column

May 2018          

A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

Last month, I participated in the “Considering Membership” session for individuals who are new to All Souls and are discerning whether they would like to sign the membership book and become members.  The session lasted most of the day on a beautiful Saturday; the sun was shining and it wasn’t raining or snowing.  I thought twice as I headed out the door, is this really how I want to spend this beautiful day?  I decided, that it was, and I’m glad that I did.

I sat with several other leaders of the congregation, along with 15 others, and we explored the meaning of membership and how being a part of All Souls has changed or is changing our lives. I heard many amazing stories of faith journeys.  We laughed together and even cried a little.  We ended the day knowing each other a little better and being grateful for that time together.

Upon arriving home, I shared some of my thoughts with George and was reminded of all that All Souls has given us - the big and the little things.  When my father died and George and Jenny were unable to travel back to Missouri for his memorial service, Carolyn sat with us one evening and we conducted our own private memorial service. When I found myself somewhat unexpectedly unemployed, Carolyn generously and spontaneously helped us out through the Minister’s Discretionary Fund. I remembered all of the New Year’s Eve retreats that we held at Senexet House, and the pizza and game nights we used to have in the Huntington Street building.  I thought about all of the Garde meals we prepared and served to the companies of the Broadway musical tours.  I must not forget our bridge and canasta games over the years.  I looked around our house and I saw objects we had purchased at All Souls’ auctions and tag sales.  A dresser that was donated by Penny Parsekian and Geoff Kaufman.  Another small shelf unit that was donated by Ginny and Del Campbell. A pair of earrings I purchased at an auction years ago – silver scrollwork with small green stones.  Then there was the time more than 18 years ago when we bid on and won pie-baking lessons donated by Bev Case.  Bev lovingly taught Jenny how to bake an apple pie and gave her her first rolling pin, the benefits of which we continue to enjoy all these years later. A number of these activities no longer happen, and yet, we never lose them completely.  They are among the things that got us to what we are today, and each has been replaced with a new adventure.  We never stop growing and changing.

It’s not simply the material things. We have been given so much love and laughter and support that I can’t imagine our lives without All Souls in it. You are all our family and I am so grateful to you. You were here when we moved to Connecticut 22 years ago and were looking for our “community,”  and I am happy that we are now able to be kinfolk for those who choose to join us, members or not. 

Please know that it hasn’t always been sunshine and flowers.  There were challenging times, frustrations, exhaustion, even tears, and through it all, I’ve grown.  All Souls transformed my life, and the transformation hasn’t ended.  It continues.

In closing, I’ll share these lyrics from a song that I remember singing with the choir a number of years ago:

 

Sometimes, not often enough,

we reflect upon the good things
and those thoughts always center
around those we love.

And I think about those people
who mean so much to me,
and for so many years have made me
so very happy.

And I count the times I have forgotten to say thank you, and just how much
I love  them.

Thank you – I love you all.

Liz Binger, President