You have coveted tickets to a performance that you’re very excited about. The day finally arrives, and you enter the auditorium with great anticipation. There’s a buzz in the room that resonates with your heartbeat…almost a throbbing. At the appointed hour, the house lights dim, the room settles into breathless silence, and the curtain opens. And then…
What? As any theatre person knows, anything could happen. That’s the beauty of live theatre. Let’s use this experience to think about what might happen as we enter this particular fall.
1. This is the least likely of all possibilities, but maybe the ‘show’ will be exactly the one for which we’ve had season tickets for years. School starts as usual, people go back to their ‘normal’ schedules, our Sunday services and programming all happen in person. UFP teams begin to meet again…to plan programming and to tend to all the details that has made UFP a showstopper!
2. Or, it could be the show we expected, but the shine has worn off…that is, the storyline is choppier than we remember, the actors forget their lines, the stage setting is shabby and worn. So disappointing! Clearly everyone is trying valiantly to replicate the shows of the past, but it’s impossible. There’s little spirit or energy, and by intermission, half of the audience has left.
3. Or, it could be a show we don’t recognize, maybe even in a language we don’t understand, and we check our tickets to be sure we came on the right day. It’s not the story or the music we came to hear, and we feel completely disoriented. Will we stay for the whole show?
4. Or…Here’s the possibility I’d like to embrace: that this fall will be the opening of a story that we create together…one that helps to build the world of love and justice we dream to be possible. Imagine that! Really. Can you imagine that?
To put on this ‘show’ requires a full crew of stagehands, designers, artists, actors, promoters, and organizers. YOU are needed. Whether we are meeting in person, or online, or some combination of that, UFP is definitely a community production where there’s no separation between performer and audience. Everyone has a role to play.
For example, over this last 18 months, Sherry Hambly has played a significant role on our tech crew, making it possible for us to offer an on-line community gathering each week. Here’s what she’s said of that experience:
I signed on to be a UFP tech volunteer because I believe members of a community need to
give what they can when they can to make the community strong, especially during difficult
times. It was obvious from the start that the Sunday Zoom services were an important way for
our community to feel connected. I also like tech and thought it would be neat to learn bout
As a techie, the experience allowed me to learn more about this new-fangled app called Zoom,
and it improved my video editing skills. But more importantly, I always enjoyed the whole
experience of a Sunday service right from the pre-chat to the production of the service and
ending with a debrief. There was a real sense of comradery during this time.
I liked that there was no such thing as a mistake – your best was good enough. If something
went amiss, you just moved on to the next thing to be done.
But most of all I was very humbled by the gratitude that was spontaneously and regularly
expressed to the tech team by many different people who attended these services. The digital
services are so very important in keeping us all connected, and feeling safe in a way, during
these difficult times, and people appreciate it greatly. And I am forever grateful that I could
help in some small way.
Wouldn’t you LOVE to have an experience like Sherry’s? Maybe it’s not in a tech role, although we could sure use you there! There are lots of different ways you can be part of ‘putting on the show’ at the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough.
Please speak to me about the role you’d like to play! YOU are needed! That’s the beauty of life!
Now, go think on that as you enjoy the last few weeks of summer. Then, let me know what you decide!
See you soon,