Summertime? We’re here!

Rev. Paul on the occasion of his ordination, May 31, 2015.

It’s that time of year when Unitarian Universalist congregations are winding down, getting ready to do things on a different schedule or scale. Time was when many Unitarian churches completely shut down for a couple of months each summer. It made a certain sense if you were upper middle class, lived in Massachusetts, and assumed that most families like yours summered on Cape Cod or Martha’s Vineyard. Of course, few ever did lead that life. It was a wonderful privilege to live that lifestyle. Yet, summer is different for many people. People want to spend time in the hot-weather activities of the longer days, to be sure. But many people do so closer to home than that imagined Boston Unitarian of 100 years ago.

So while we will move our meeting time to 10:00 on Sunday mornings in the months of June-July-August to try to beat the heat and allow everyone more time for outdoor activities, while we will begin a more compact summer religious education program, we still aim to continue congregational life as normal – to the greatest extent possible.

Why? Because not everyone shares the same schedule. Not everyone is free at this time of year or has the resources to travel or live in a vacation home. And our congregation is for all of us. Furthermore, summer is the time of year when a lot of people who are church “shopping” come through our doors for the first time. If summers are completely different in content or style, they cannot know whether this congregation might meet their need. When people visit they need to see the congregation that they would get in the fall, should they decide ours is a congregation that has the potential to satisfy their search.

Our month of winding down to a summer that is not, in the end, totally different from the rest of the year will include our annual meeting following the 10:00 volunteer recognition service on June 11. Then on June 18th our Team for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns will lead us in an LGBTQ Pride service. From June 19th through midday on the 21st, I will meet with my fellow Unitarian Universalist ministers in the annual meeting of the UU Ministers Association in New Orleans. Then from the evening of the 21st through Sunday June 25, together with our Director of Religious Education Sarah Skaar, four of our youth, our Treasurer Florence Ferguson, and Sharon Van Name, who is on the slate of nominees to serve once again on our Board in the upcoming fiscal year, I will attend the General Assembly (GA) of the Unitarian Universalist Association, also in New Orleans.

At GA, thousands of UUs from across the USA, Canada, and the world gather to do the business of the Association, each congregation with delegates to represent them in the democratic decision making of the organization. GA also gives the opportunity for UUs across the spectrum to learn together in workshops, to worship together in a room where thousands of us know the same songs. We will take action for social justice together. We will have the opportunity to be challenged and encouraged by some of our best preachers, the chance to network, to schmooze, the chance to get to know fellow UUs we otherwise might never meet and grow and take action together. It is an invigorating experience. And through the four adults and four youth from this congregation, you all will be part of it. Talk to us about it when we return!

Peace and Blessings,
Rev. Paul