Coming of Age in a Time of Pandemic

May 20, 2020

Dearly Beloved,

What a time to graduate! For so many, the final year of high school is made worthwhile by the opportunities to celebrate with loved ones and friends. Senior Prom. Final spring sporting events. Graduation itself and all of the parties and celebrations that lead up to it. Without all of this, why not simply take the GRE and be done with it? 

So much of high school is not simply about the academics you learn, though those things are important, it so much about the relationships, the exploring, the mistake-making, the practice of self-directed learning, of increased responsibility and freedom, of becoming an adult while still living with your family. While graduation ceremonies have largely been postponed as opposed to canceled, this spring has brought with it so much loss for our high school seniors. The rituals and celebrations that mark this point of turning, this time of coming of age, have largely been made impossible.

This is part of why we as a congregation are holding our graduates in a particular way this Sunday -- we are holding them in their loss and grief. We are holding them in this liminal space of becoming adults. We are holding them in the celebration of what they have achieved and accomplished -- after all completing 12 years of school consecutively is a considerable feat! And we are making sure that they know that they are part of a wider community that loves, respects and supports them.

We also hold them knowing that the world into which they venture is dramatically different than it was a year ago. The inequities, injustice and tremendous disparities between rich and poor within our country and world have been drawn ever clearer. There are 30 million less jobs in the United States than there were in January. Many communities, universities and businesses are wondering what life looks like going forward. And so we hold these graduates in the midst of uncertainty. 

This week, we are blessed to have retired minister, hospital chaplain and pastoral care professor, our very own Rev. Nora Smith preaching. Nora is a woman who has consistently challenged the status quo. Who has been a trailblazer for women in her fields. Who continues to learn and open her heart ever wider. What a gift to have her sharing her wisdom with us. 

Please hold our graduates in your prayers:

From high school: Macy Warner, Lorenzo Antonio Crespin, Abbey Mikesh and Madzie Boyles.

From college: Pat Shettle

Holding you in love and prayer,