August 19, 2012 was Rev. Doug's first service with us as our interim minister and members and friends welcomed him with open arms. For the last 13 years, the Rev. Dr. Douglas Wadkins served the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Bellingham, WA but has also worked as a hospice chaplain, campus minister, and served congregations in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Wisconsin and Washington. For the last six years, he has been working with the Pacific Northwest district on their Transition Team, helping congregations share the ministry during times of change.
Rev. Doug is in the office on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and is available to meet with members and friends by appointment. Please call the office or contact him at email@example.com.
Notes From Our Minister
The Beacon - December 1, 2013
On a Cold Winter’s Night…
Light fades, of course, with the oncoming of dusk;
I faithfully note the rheostat dial of day
That will rise to brilliance, weaken as it must
Through each uncalibrated shade of gray,
One of them that of winter afternoons,
Desolate, leaden, and in its burden far
Deeper than darkness, engrossing in its tones
Those shrouded regions where the meanings are.
-- Anthony Hecht
So much of this season deals with the interplay of light and dark, of change and promises of transformation. The lived poetry of the season speaks to our ears, eyes, touch and imagination. Sometimes the perception is garish and vivid, sometimes somber and subtle, sometimes joyous and sometimes bittersweet. Such is winter. For me, wherever I have lived, winter has always been an experience of mystery. Will the day bring the interplay of gray and light, will it be soggy and damp, will it be snowy and silent or sparkling, sunnily vivid and crisp? Any of these experiences are capable of evoking a range of feelings and food for contemplation. Each may be an experience of illumination.
In our lives, the ways that we come to know something more clearly, enlighten ourselves, lighten our load and light our path are experienced in a surprising variety. It isn’t a requirement for it to be pleasant, for it to be illuminating. One winter, sitting in my car on the side of the road while a fierce and icy snowstorm obscured first the road and then the car windows, and I thought, hmmm, I am many, many miles from anyone I know. I am not sure if my car can navigate these treacherous roads... what will I do? In that moment, I felt my vulnerability and fragility with such clarity. But I also found my calm, my deepest breaths and the irrepressible call to be home. I moved on and forward. Much about life was learned very quickly, within a few seconds really: finitude and possibility!
Many cultures have used the long nights of winter and the subtle interplay of dark, white, gray and light as the perfect elements for plumbing the depths of the human heart and soul. We share our images, songs and stories with one another, bridging centuries and cultures, and from that rich exchange, we find such rich source material for illumination. They spark the imagination through holidays, the sacred power of nature, the complexities of the human heart, the mysteries of white, light and dark. As Unitarian Universalists, we have so many illuminating options. Our December services explore many stories, songs and images for the season: the honesty and healing of Blue Christmas , the lively multigenerational service inviting the Wise Ones’ gifts , the Yule/Solstice’s dark and light interplay and the warm traditions of Christmas Eve.
This season offers many opportunities, and once again, together, we will shape meaning of a cold winters night.. or day even. Join us this month, in community we will find many moments of illumination! Looking forward to seeing you soon.
NOTES FROM OUR MINISTER ARCHIVES