When I ask people what they love about this Fellowship, I usually hear the same thing: community. New people are drawn to the feeling of welcome and support that they perceive here, and long-time members describe being part of a network of friendship and caring. On Sunday we celebrated our annual Water Ceremony, which to me represented the way that this congregation comes together with our individual selves and blends into a unified whole. As I get settled into living in this city, I am reminded again and again of the connection to nature here. In my walks in Chipp-A-Waters park I see this: the people of Mount Pleasant on the trails, in the woods, by the river. I am aware, too, of the presence of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe here: part of the fabric and identity of this community.
All of these things came together for me in gathering the water for the Water Ceremony. I stood in the flowing Chippewa River at Chipp-A-Waters park. As I submerged the plastic jugs in the current of rushing water, they gurgled and glugged with a musical sound. I thanked the spirit of the river for the gift of the water. In doing so, I imagined some kinship with the Indian ancestors who made their home here, and who had reverence for the earth and the water that sustains us. And I felt kinship with the current residents of Mount Pleasant, young and old; black, white and brown, whom I see on the trails of this city park, enjoying the autumn woods and river.
The water from the ceremony on Sunday—combination of Chippewa River water and all the water that people brought to the sanctuary—has been filtered and it is back in the jar labelled “Ceremony Water–D0 Not Consume” in the Fellowship’s fridge. This is our holy water, the inside version. The outside version is the living water of the river that flows through this city. Finally, as we celebrate our congregation through the metaphor of water, I invite everyone to think about ways to protect and conserve this precious natural resource. Personal actions might include using less water for baths and showers; reducing or eliminating use of bottled water; and re-using gray water in the garden. For those interested in political action, I can put you in touch with the People’s Water Board and their Faith Outreach Committee. They are working on a water affordability plan to present to the governor.
May this Fellowship be blessed in its diversity and in the values which unite us. May we be strengthened in community. May we be grateful for the water which sustains life, and may we find ways to protect and preserve this precious resource.
Yours in faith and service,
Andrew (Drew) Frantz
September 11, 2019