By DEVIN WEEKS
Hagadone News Network
COEUR d’ALENE — Friday is the 2019 summer solstice, the date on the calendar when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky and the daylight lingers on the lawns while a new season unfolds.
“It's a time for celebrating the longest day of the year and what we have on Mother Earth to sustain us," said Murphy Sullivan, board president of the Church of Truth in Coeur d'Alene.
The church, along with the Coeur d'Alene Metaphysical Resource Center, is presenting its inaugural Metaphysical Summer Solstice event at 7 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Both events, which are free and open to the public, will be held at the church, 523 E. Garden Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.
"What we're offering is a place to celebrate your spirituality with like-minded people," said Sullivan, who is coordinating the event. "One of our favorite things here is creating a world that works for everyone."
Friday evening will feature a ceremony including drumming, flute playing and the creation of a sun mandala, a symbolic representation of the sun and its energy.
On Saturday, a vendor fair will feature local holistic healers, psychics, massage therapy, stones and crystals, artists and crafters.
"It's a summer solstice celebration, which is basically about honoring Mother Earth, and it's about honoring ourselves," Sullivan said. "It’s like a New Year's resolution; it's a check-in. How are we doing now? How are we doing as human beings? How is humanity doing? What are we doing to make the world a better place for all of us?"
While the summer solstice is steeped in pre-Roman, pre-Christian rituals of music, feasting and bonfires, it's something people of any faith can enjoy.
"Christian holidays are more about connecting with events in the life of Christ than they are with geological, agricultural or astronomical events," First Presbyterian Pastor Craig Sumey said.
"As a general rule, we do not have holidays that are specifically tied to solstices or equinoxes, but we do have some that are close to those events.
“For us, the closest in the summer is Pentecost. That was last Sunday. That is a celebration of the holy spirit coming upon the church. We call it the church's birthday."
Sumey said individuals can decide if they feel comfortable participating in a solstice event.
"There are some that would be very cautious about this because it doesn't correlate with what we’re called to celebrate in our faith," he said.
"We want to call attention to God who is the creator as opposed to calling attention to the creation.
If someone wanted to connect with others at a community event like this solstice celebration, Sumey said, their faith need not preclude them from participating.
"Christians are called to form relationships with other people to engage with our culture so that we can share Christ's love with others," he said.
"I would never outlaw anybody from doing something which is just an engagement with their community," he said. "Just be respectful of that while they are being loving and connecting with others. I think being a part of each others' lives is important. We want to engage and not isolate."