A couple of weeks ago here in the Matriculate Blog, the admissions team wrote a post about liminal, in-between spaces and the wordless tensions that we hold in our bodies when we experience loss, enter unknowns, cross thresholds, or start something new. “[I]t is so important in the midst of liminal spaces,” they said, “to find playful and practical rituals that help you locate yourself in relationship with God, yourself, and others.”

I experience the value of ritual when I rise out of bed each morning, look out my window across the horizon and breathe deeply in the presence of sky, water, and trees; when I brew coffee, make eggs, and sit for a moment, taking in their warmth and nourishment before beginning the work of the day. Ritual gives our bodies space to breathe, to feel, to release, and to receive.

And while some rituals are potent when practiced in solitude, others are valuable because we do them together, experiencing the presence of, resonance with, and connection to others. In this season of physical distancing and limited gathering sizes, our bodies feel the loss of the rituals we would normally engage in daily and weekly rhythms alongside others. Rituals like riding buses, greeting coworkers in shared workspaces, and gathering with faith communities.

As we begin each academic year at The Seattle School, we practice a number of communal rituals. Some are playful and fun while others invite deeper contemplation and engagement. And while we are beginning this year differently than ever before, we are finding new ways to honor these rituals together.

At the end of every August, the Student Leadership realm Anamchara hosts a Welcome (Back) BBQ in Seattle at Golden Gardens for our new and returning students to connect, play, and eat together. This year they are hosting both a “grab and go” BBQ at the school building and a Happy Hour online.

Other communal rituals take place during our annual Community Week. During New Student Orientation, we gather the incoming cohort to welcome you and mark your arrival. At (Re)Orientation, we gather all returning students, staff, and faculty to orient to the coming year together. At Convocation, alumni join us as we gather with each other and our families to receive a charge from our president, to sing, hear words from Scripture, and celebrate communion together. You can see more schedule details and RSVP on our event page here.

Save the date now for Fall Vespers, Thursday September 10, at 5:00pm! Thursday of Community Week, the Sacred Space realm of Student Leadership will host Fall Vespers online—an evening service for connection, reflection, music, and prayer More information about Fall Vespers will be available on the student event page soon.

I look forward to being with you in these gatherings in the coming days and weeks!