July 2016 Minister’s Column

Dear Ones:

I have a request. I’d like to hear from as many UUS:E members and friends as possible what your favorite sermons of mine have been over the years. Please write to me at revpawelek@sbcglobal.net or leave a message on my home office phone, 860-652-8961. If you don’t remember titles, that’s OK. (I don’t remember most of the titles either!) If you can tell me what the sermon was about, or if there was a particular story or message that you remember, that should be enough to help me identify which sermon you are referring to. And if you can’t remember specific sermons but there’s a certain type of sermon that you like, you can inform me of that too.

I’m making this request mainly so I can identify what has stuck with you over the years. I’m trying to discern which sermons have had the most impact on you, or have meant the most to you, or have been the most helpful to you. I want to learn what works best for the congregation.

I’m also planning to “re-preach” the two sermons that get named most frequently in this little survey. I will update them and preach one on July 31st and the other on August 28th.

When you send me an email or leave a phone message, you will get a message informing you that I am on vacation and study leave. That is true. But don’t worry. I want to hear from you in response to this question. What have been your one or two favorite sermons of mine?

***

Speaking of vacation and study leave, I will be taking approximately six weeks off for this purpose between July 5th and August 21st. As is always the case, I am available for pastoral emergencies during my vacation and study leave. I request that people only contact me in the event of emergencies (and to tell me about your favorite sermons!)

During the summer our family will be spending some time in the Berkshires with Stephany’s parents. The boys will be participating in various camps there. We’ll be taking a road trip to Baltimore. And we’ll also be spending a week on Cape Cod with my parents and my brothers’ families. My primary focus of study this summer will be the work of Morris Berman. Some of you may remember the sermon I preached on May 1st in response to his first book on human consciousness, The Reenchantment of the World. This summer I will be studying his other two books on human consciousness, Coming to Our Senses and Wandering God. I will also wade into his series on the United States of America, Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America, and Why America Failed. My goal is to teach an Adult Religious Education course on his work sometime next year.

***

Finally, as many of you know, UUS:E has made plans to hire a ministerial intern and become a teaching congregation. Well, we were poised to begin the internship in September, however our candidate ultimately accepted an offer from another congregation. This means that we will not be commencing with this program in the fall. I was very disheartened by this news. Such is life. We will eventually do this, just not next year.

With love,

Rev. Josh