Season’s Greetings from Chautauqua
Dear Chautauqua Community,
My thoughts and prayers are with each of you as we look toward the end of a tumultuous 2020 and turn our thoughts to preparing for an in-person summer assembly season for 2021.
Earlier this year, when considering the slate of 2021 weekly themes, we decided to close our summerlong exercise in shared learning on a simple yet profound topic: Resilience. We will seek to conclude our time together in 2021 on that hopeful note, with programs aligned with this description:
What drives people to keep going when forces outside their control work against them? And what does that tell us about our humanity and hope for the future? We close our 2021 season looking at the resilience that emerged during a tumultuous 2020. From a global pandemic to the quest for racial equality, we reflect on a revealing, historic period by lifting up the stories and the lessons of those who refused to give up, give in or go away.
Stories of the resilience of the human spirit, often astonishing even during more “normal” times, have served as a vital source of light and hope in a year of entirely too much darkness and mourning. Top of mind currently, especially with our troubling hospitalization levels but continued promising news regarding vaccines, is the courage and ingenuity embodied by medical professionals, scientists and public health experts. Our gratitude for their resilience is boundless; we pray they receive a richly deserved reprieve, and soon!
Can you imagine explaining your 2020 circumstances to your 2019 self? So much, too much, has happened to us all this year. But if you participated in answering this question, I suspect you were able to identify points of personal resilience and perhaps more than one example of the blessings we continue to enjoy in our lives. We’ve learned so much about ourselves as a society and individually. At Chautauqua, our 2020 season made possible by the introduction of CHQ Assembly was a triumph, and a demonstration of this institution and community’s resiliency. I am profoundly grateful to you for your support of this work — through your engagement, through your gifts to the Chautauqua Fund, and in so many other ways. For each dark moment in 2020, goodness continued to force its way through, sometimes in ways we didn’t expect.
Like many of you, I naturally find myself reminiscing about the “before times,” as we’ve come to call it, and in particular our remarkable 2019 summer assembly season, the most successful by any measure in recent memory. I dream of a packed Amphitheater and celebrating beloved community traditions. With the news of recent weeks, we can be hopeful that these are not just memories, but a vision of our future, though not likely to be fully realized in 2021. The coming months will require patience and even more resilience — but we will get there.
It was in our beloved Amphitheater on July 26, 2019, that the Rev. Otis Moss III closed his week in residence with a message that resonates even more powerfully today. “Neighbor, oh neighbor, I want you to know you were built for this,” he told the worshippers that morning. “You are more powerful than you will ever know. With all you have experienced, lesser beings would have crumbled.”
Chautauqua, and more broadly our world community: We were built for this. We are more powerful than we will ever know. With all we have experienced, mourned and suffered, particularly in the past year, lesser beings would have crumbled.
We are amazingly resilient.
This is a time of many sacred rituals and traditions. Our Jewish brothers and sisters just completed their celebration of Hanukkah, and Christians around the world look longingly toward Christmas. Whether you mark a holy period, celebrate a new year, or both, I pray that the coming days are filled with reminders of your life’s many blessings. To you and to all members of our Chautauqua family, I offer warm wishes for a safe, healthy and hope-filled 2021, brimming with joy and togetherness, awash with new memories made with family and friends.
Season’s greetings from Chautauqua.
With all my best,
Michael E. Hill
P.S. Our team put together this brief video below as a love letter to our cherished Chautauqua community. I hope you will find warmth in its simple message, the scenes of pure joy from seasons past, and, especially, the recording of “God Be With You ’Til We Meet Again,” from the last time we gathered as a community in the Amphitheater, on Aug. 30, 2019.
Save Your Trip
Fill out the form below to save your trip. You will receive a link to your saved list via email.
Save Your Favorites
Fill out the form below to save your favorites. You will receive a link to your favorites list via email.
"*" indicates required fields
You have now entered the season. Some website content may differ depending on the current season we are in: Summer or Fall/Winter/Spring. You can toggle between the two season options at any time.