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A literary and lyrical morning

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Rusty Moe
  • Rusty Moe

On Sunday morning, I took myself a little out of my comfort zone: I went to church. Okay, I went to a church. My original plan to attend the service at The Church Within (1125 Spruce Street) before poet Rusty Moe and singer Tim Hoover performed was thwarted when I couldn’t convince myself to get out of bed at 9:00 a.m. Luckily, however, I was up not too long afterwards and at the church in time to meet a few people and to take in my surroundings before things got underway.

The people who were milling around while Hoover and Moe were doing sound check were all incredibly friendly and invited me to come back for a service in the future. I had attended the church a few times years ago when it was still on West 79th Street and was quickly reminded of its gay-friendly atmosphere. After spending years as an acolyte in the Episcopal Church, it was nice to find a place where I could be spiritual and accepted, all at once. If I can coax myself out of bed while the clock is still registering single digits, I would be glad to reacquaint myself with the parishioners and clergy.

Rusty Moe, whom I’d heard read a couple months ago at the Jewish Community Center, shared from his memoir Bright Wild Stone: A Contemplative Journal of Roots That Shape a Life. His tales were funny, starting with his post-treatment, nurse-irritating antics while recovering from a kidney stone, and moving, especially an essay about lucid dreaming about his beloved grandmother after her passing. Hoover, a talented tenor, sang a few songs in between readings, including Glen Miller’s Moonlight Serenade and Nancy Lamott’s Listen to My Heart. The latter, a love song, left Moe smiling at his partner. When Hoover finished singing, Moe patted his heart with his left hand, clearly touched. He placed his right hand over Hoover’s heart and together they stood for a moment as though no one was watching. A love like that is inspiring and left me feeling hopeful… a little like I’d gone to church after all.

A little Moonlight Serenade, courtesy of the Glen Miller Orchestra:

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