Catch The Spirit

By Anita Rafael
Photos by Tim Peters & Hubert Schriebl


Year after year, throughout the holiday season, young and old, we all become dreamers—and the one thing we all dream about most is making the season as beautiful and memorable as we can for our families, our friends, and ourselves.

A couple of weeks ago, we drifted away from the pre-season planning for all the shopping, the feasting, the carrying-on, and the carol practice (yes, we still carol) to spend a little time with three spiritual leaders. We asked them to share their holiday wishes with us, and we asked them to tell us their dreams for the coming holidays and for the future of our world. In faith, we learned, hope is eternal.

Those of us rooted exclusively in the secular realm, and who stand full and firm on our convictions, might pause to reflect on these words from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

In fact, we all believe in something.


rebecca sommons“ In our congregation’s study group, we are looking at ways that people can live simply and mindfully. Instead of running from one thing to the next, we are seeking the calm and quiet that may deepen our connections to each other and to our beliefs. ”

— Pastor Rebecca Sommons
The First Baptist Church of Manchester Center


rabbi david novak

“ My dream is that every person in Manchester and the area would make it a point to go to the new Manchester Community Library. It is a cathedral to humanity, designed for the way libraries should be in the 21st century. If you want to be convinced that libraries are still vital in our time, step inside. ”

— Rabbi David Novak
Israel Congregation of Manchester


gordon mcclellan“ The Summer Lunch Program is a wonderful, truly ecumenical outreach that provides much needed food to hundreds of children in the Northshire. My wish, however, is that food accessibility—and affordability—was such that these children would no longer have a need for supplemental food programs at any time of the year. ”

— Rev. Dr. Gordon McClellan
First Congregational Church of Manchester