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Finding your center is our theme this first month of the 2023 new year. I am a potter, so my first association with that metaphor is pottery. When you sit down to make something on the potter’s wheel, you begin by finding your center. To do this, one must focus energy through their hands to push the clay into balance on the pottery wheel, if it wobbles, you’re not there yet. Centering the clay allows you to begin to shape the clay. After centering the clay, one can open the clay and then pull it into an intention. Centering is often a hurdle for beginner potters, especially since the clay often needs to be kept centered or righted to the center throughout the process of creating a form.

I have been making pots for a long time now, and centering is no longer a hurdle, but still sometimes a challenge. If the clay is too hard or soft, or if I am off balance, chances are centering the clay will be too. Experience has taught me to recognize the conditions needed to find the center.

It’s an apt metaphor for tending to our lives, our souls. As we change, the center moves and finding balance requires our energy and focus if we want to live with intention. Experience can teach us how to find the people and places that help “right” us when we wobble.

First Church and religious education is focused on offering our children, youth, and families a place to experience people sharing community, knowledge, and spiritual practices in order to rediscover how to find what is most important. The hope is empowering each of us with tools to find a focus and intentions that center ourselves, our family, and our community, we can and will ultimately shape our world.

Each piece of clay has the potential to become a vessel of our intentions and is a new beginning that requires centering. On this new year may we know there is hope in beginning again. May we feel all the exhilaration in starting anew and in the challenge of finding our centers, the ones that hold and guide us forward in our endeavors with intention.

Happy New Year Blessings in 2023!

Rev.  Kimberlee Tomczak Carlson
Minister of Religious Education

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