Board Message – Andy Hansen

Hello, Starr King Family. I’m writing this “October article” on September 11th, 2011, in accordance with our Flaming Chalice submissions deadline. As may be true for you, I’ve been giving extra thought in the last few weeks to how I wanted to engage this special day. It is the tenth anniversary of a painful bookend in history that in some ways divided our lives “before the Twin Towers fell” from what living has been like afterwards.

Frankly, I’ve been wary of this anniversary; I didn’t wish to ignore or avoid reflections about 9/11/01 and yet I felt a shrinking disinclination to relive the shock and grief I felt that day. I recently heard a psychologist on National Public Radio say that she was aware of no data indicating that revisiting those vivid images of destruction would be therapeutic. That suited me just fine, and miraculously, I’ve managed to get through the last few weeks without seeing the Twin Towers fall on television or the internet.

How wonderful it was, then, to be with many of you at our Starr King worship service this morning and listen to Rev. Katie’s compassionate and perceptive sermon describing how the trauma of the 9/11/01 attack weaves into the fabric of life, including other life-traumas. She seemed to me to be saying that compassion requires us to be ready to comfort one another and ourselves in an inviting way when trauma is evoked, as we can’t always know what other painful memories will emerge. I also took comfort from the good old hymn There is a Balm in Gilead, which reminds me that discouragement will come but that succor will also come, and that it doesn’t matter if I don’t know the answers or can’t see my way, so long as I can keep compassionate love at the center of my endeavoring.

And what a seeming MULTITUDE of happy, engaged kids were with us at worship today to enjoy Irene Boczek Stefanko’s delightfully hand-crafted story about creating life and beauty where once there was waste and bleakness.

It was SO NICE to have our Fall Barbeque & Potluck this afternoon, too! This event seems always to be so happy and relaxed. I even saw a first-time Starr King visitor stay for the potluck, which made me feel great. Thank you to the efficient planners, volunteers and participants who made this pleasing, friendly communion possible.

I’m grateful to live in our special Starr King community. I hope you also are finding congregational life satisfying. If something hinders your participation or enjoyment in our community, please let us know. Rev. Katie’s door is always open in spirit, and you can email me directly at

May you find pleasure this month in our sunny autumn, possibly in some fresh apple cider, and most definitely in the beauty of your own Being.