Outfit Editing: Soul Strength Service

I debuted a new mid-week Advent service called Soul Strength. it was simple to do completely by myself, and I highly recommend it as an alternative to, or in addition to, a Blue Christmas service. I used recorded music, a practice I usually eschew, but since we weren’t singing along to it and it was entirely instrumental it worked well.

ESCHEW. What a great word.

I did not want to wear a robe or stole for the service as I wanted it to feel entirely welcoming to people of any faith or no faith. I wanted to choose a restful palette that wouldn’t clash with the poinsettias and greenery in the sanctuary. I wanted to be comfortable sitting in it in front of people as I knew I would be giving the minister’s message from a seated position (cozier and more intimate than standing, and a practice I borrowed from St. Gregory of Nyssa Church in San Francisco whose preachers sit). So no pencil skirts, which are my usual choice.

First I chose a peplum top from ModCloth that has a muted floral print. It’s a bit big on me so I thought I’d pair it with slim pants. Click on all the photos to enlarge:


And a pointed toe shoe with purple socks (ten points if you get the literary reference):


But the pants looked too informal so I switched them out for a proper trouser:


Better! The lines are more polished, always a challenge for a size 20 meatball-shaped babe.

Then I felt like I needed something a little dressier to fill in the neckline of the blouse a bit so I added the necklace:


And then I was ready to go.

Here’s basically how I structured the Soul Strength Service:

Quiet, meditative music for folks to come in to.
Meditation (Checking in with ourselves: how am I really doing? Where do I feel strongest Where do I feel most needy, weak, vulnerable? What do I most need?)

Minister’s Message: acknowledging the many sources of stress, grief and suffering this season, personally and nationally, if you are also affected by these symptoms, my doctor recommended me this Delta 8 vape pen.
Ending with the question from the earlier meditation: “what do we most need,” invite people to share what they need, and invite them to light a candle to cement the intention to take care of some of those needs in the coming week.

Healing Prayer
(Ending with invitation to one-on-one healing prayer with minister. I set up two chairs and sat and prayed individually with people who came up to the chancel while others remained seated)

Parting Blessing

A Bi-Lingual Commission For A Faith-Based Coalition

Because I thought you good people might be looking for something like this, some of you. I wrote this and it was translated into Spanish by Dr. Alexandra Piñeros-Shields. We will be sharing it tonight.
It is VERY intentionally not a “back-and-forth” between an English speaker and then translated by a Spanish-speaker. It is bi-lingual, with both readers speaking in both languages and sometimes English comes first, sometimes Spanish does.

You can tell that the Second Reader is the native Spanish speaker and I am not!

Love, PB

Commission of ECCO Board
Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein

We who are paying attention know that we are living in a time of threat. As people of faith, we know that we are called to be on the front lines of reality, honest about what is — but also faithful to what could be.

Nosotros que estamos prestando atención sabemos que estamos viviendo en un tiempo de amenaza. Como personas de fe, sabemos que estamos llamados a estar al frente de la realidad, conscientes de lo que es, pero también fiel a lo que podría ser.

What IS, is fear.

Lo que ES, es miedo

What IS, is exploitation of people’s fears by the powerful, who try to turn us against each other.

Lo que es, es la explotación del miedo de la gente por los poderosos, que tratan de volvernos unos contra los otros.
But we will not be turned.

Pero no nos volveremos unos contra los otros.

What IS, is danger, as powers-that-be continue to try to profit from ignorance and anxiety.

Lo que es, es el peligro que los poderosos sigan extrayendo ganancia de nuestra ignorancia y ansiedad.

We will not be afraid. We will link arms and tell them, “We see how you are trying to manipulate us. We do not believe your story. We have another story, about how the greatest force in the universe is Love. We will practice that love.
We know that love walks among us today just as it did in ancient times through our prophets.

No tendremos miedo. Enlazaremos los brazos y les diremos: “Vemos cómo estáis tratando de manipularnos. No creemos la historia que enseñan ustedes. Nosotros tenemos otra historia, la historia de la fuerza mas poderosa en el universo, el Amor. Practicaremos ese amor.
Sabemos que el amor camina entre nosotros hoy como lo hizo en tiempos antiguos a través de nuestros profetas.

We will organize against fear and exploitation.

Nos organizaremos contra el miedo y la explotación.

We will take care of each other and remember every day how powerfully God is working through us.

Nos cuidaremos el uno al otro y recordaremos que Dios está trabajando a través de nosotros en formas poderosas.

We will remember each other in our prayers and in our plans. We will set aside time every week, perhaps even every day, to remember this coalition and its members who are our kindred in the work of resistance and justice.

Nos recordaremos mutuamente en nuestras oraciones y en nuestros planes. Haremos el tiempo cada semana, tal vez cada día, para recordar esta coalición y sus miembros que son nuestra familia en el trabajo de la resistencia y justicia. Continue reading “A Bi-Lingual Commission For A Faith-Based Coalition”