One Monday morning this fall, Amanda Tedman from the Corner House walked into the Chapel for our Monday morning prayer service, sat down, threw off her shoes, and settled comfortably into her chair. It was a beautiful moment, symbolizing the desire of our community members to find home again in our spaces and in our gathering together. Monday mornings on the deck this past summer proved to be an important step in re-founding our ways of being together—in prayer, reflection, storytelling, and our knowing each other. Our Monday morning gatherings, now indoors, continue to anchor us in the important small steps it takes in renewing our shared sense of community.
In addition to our Monday mornings, we are starting to find more ways to celebrate with each other again. We held our annual Barn Dance for solidarity in person for the first time in three years this past September. Being back in the barn with friends and families was an incredible feeling. The pandemic may have presented many obstacles to our being together, but we most certainly have not forgotten how to celebrate and have fun.
Just as the leaves began to change and the cool fall breeze blew in, two new trees were planted in the yard of the Cedars to honour the life of both Peggy Hopkins and Thelus George, two of Daybreak’s beloved saints. Even though Thelus and Peggy died many years ago, the beauty of their lives remained readily present as those gathered shared memories and stories. When it came time to bless the trees, Wendy Lywood handed Maryanne Larcina a bowl of water. As Maryanne sprinkled the water on the trees, she began to sing the hymn: “Don’t be afraid.” Soon, all of us were singing this hymn, led forth by Maryanne: “Don’t be afraid, my love is stronger, my love is stronger than your fear…And I have promised, promised to be always near.”
Thin and wispy, it is hard to imagine that these two small paper birch trees will strengthen and grow. It is a reminder of the blessing of community and Maryanne’s chosen hymn. Our growth as a community in the coming years is difficult to imagine—as it has been throughout our community’s history. But it is our roots that run deep and the gifts of those present in our community today that will nurture our growth and bless our path.
I continue to take great inspiration from Maryanne’s leadership that day, reminding me to not be afraid and to trust in God.