From Our Minister: Renewing Our Souls

man washing his face

An image of a person splashing their face with water captivated me as I meditated on this month’s theme of renewal. It reminded me of the occasions we have in the summer months to commune with bodies of water and the contrasts of the bright sunlight and oppressive heat of the summer with the refreshing and revitalizing presence of the flowing water of rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. Indeed, we inaugurate each new congregational year in September with our water communion ceremony, in which we are invited to bring water we may have collected over the summer months to the common bowl along with our hopes for the coming congregational year. It is time for us to start thinking about what those hopes will be and perhaps even considering where we may find the sacred water to bring to that special service.

The image of the person splashing their face with water also reminds me of the central place of water in religious life, especially the requirement in Islamic tradition that we wash our faces and bodies with water before offering the daily “contact” prayers that move through the hours of the day. It has always seemed to me renewal is about washing away some of what we’ve accumulated from the stresses, challenges, losses, and hardships of life to return to our original and perhaps more spacious natures.

While some religions teach we were all born inherently sinful, the liberal religious approach has instead emphasized human goodness, dignity, and potential. So as we enter this rainbow month of Queer Pride and Juneteenth, let’s imagine the ways we can better renew ourselves and our congregation home, affirming and promoting the inherent goodness of those with whom we have the privilege and the opportunity to share our lives. Washing away that which may have caused momentary lapses in our remembering to find our reflections in the tears and the joys of others.

Our friends at Soul Matters theme-based ministry offer the following questions for our mindful reflection in conversations, Chalice Circles, small group meetings, and other contexts this month:

  1. Whose way of being in the world renews your faith in humanity?
  2. How does your body tell you it is in need of renewal? What is it telling you now?
  3. Which of your senses most reliably leads you to renewal? What might you do this week to make room for its gift?
  4. If one were to propose that you make room for a day in which you produce nothing, don’t check a single thing off your to-do list, confront no problems and search for no solutions, what would your first reaction be?
  5. Which summer of your life renewed you the most?
  6. How would your life change if you saw rest as “a form of resistance”?
  7. How would your life be renewed if you put presence before productivity?
  8. Have you ever been renewed by failure?
  9. Have you ever been renewed by vulnerability?
  10. Has an animal ever renewed your relationship with life?
  11. If rest could speak, what do you think it would say to you?
  12. If someone gave you a box of everything that has renewed you, what is the first thing you would look for?
  13. Renewal often happens through becoming lighter. So, what might your inner wisdom be nudging you to shed, let go of, or give up this summer?

Our Pastoral Care Team is available to provide non-judgemental, confidential, and supportive presence to accompany you through the heights and depths of life’s journeys. You can request support by emailing or by calling the church office.

If you have a joy, sorrow, or milestone to share in our weekly announcements and on a Sunday morning from the pulpit, please email or call the office to share news with beloved community.

I wish everyone a blessed Queer Pride, Shavuot, Father’s Day, Juneteenth, and Summer Solstice this month!

Yours in love and ministry,


Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae
Developmental Minister