Our theme for December was Going home. This theme led us into weekly conversations about home as we wrestled with what home means for each of us. In addition, we celebrated the Season of Advent by studying the ancient prophecies that promised the coming of the Messiah.

We kick off the New Year with a topic most associate with home. In our next series, Wilderness experience, our theme is belonging.

Our book for this series is Braving the Wilderness. In her best-selling book, Dr. Brené Brown offers the metaphor of wilderness as a paradox. In scripture, the wilderness is thought of as a place of solitude and dangerous temptation. But the untamed wilderness is where we travel to find true belonging according to our author.

The write-up found on Amazon has this to say about our next book:

Social scientist Brené Brown, Ph.D., MSW, has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives—experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping a clear path to true belonging.

In her book, Brené Brown describes a spiritual crisis of disconnection that she believes is pervasive in society. And she offers recommendations for how to experience true belonging that challenges what we think about ourselves and each other. She encourages us to venture out of our ideological bunkers and show up as our true selves. Dr. Brown challenges us to brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism.

Increases in new infections and yet another variety of COVID pushed us back into isolation. While the latest surge is described as a pandemic of the unvaccinated, breakthrough infections are rising, putting us all at risk.

While our regular attenders are vaccinated, we realize that a large number of persons are not vaccinated. Therefore, we reinstated our policy to require masks in our building for all persons when not eating or drinking.

We strongly urge all persons to get vaccinated as soon as practical unless advised by your doctor. Avoid news sources and rumors that promote baseless claims and pay closer attention to the experts we depend on to keep us safe.

We each make our own arrangements for lunch at this point. However, we look forward to returning to pot-luck lunches when infection rates fall. We anticipate this happening as the number of vaccinations reaches herd immunity levels, and the CDC relaxes precautionary measures.

If you prefer to avoid groups or live too far away I encourage you to join us online for our Wednesday gatherings. Alternatively, you can call in by phone, be heard, and hear what others say by calling (929) 436-2866 — enter the meeting ID, 282 039 5568#.

We are a diverse group, and we are delighted when new persons join us. I hope that you will join in on our discussion.

You can contact our office with questions, by phone or simply type your question on our website’s homepage — FlintAsbury.org.