Our ministry theme for June is family. I’ve been contemplating the ways UUS:E functions like a family. In particular, I’ve been thinking about all the ways we mark milestones and the passage of time. This year June includes a number of annual rituals and events that help us do this; and in so doing, they remind us of the value our UUS:E family holds in our lives. For example, on Sunday, June 1st, we will hold our annual flower communion. Everyone is invited to bring flowers to worship and then, during the ritual, everyone receives a flower that someone else has brought. This ritual, originated by the early 20th-century Czeck Unitarian minister, Norbert Capek, celebrates both our interconnectedness and unity as a congregational family, and also the unique personality, gifts and beauty each of us brings to the family.
On Sunday June 8th, our outgoing Director of Religious Education, Vicki Merriam, will lead one multigenerational worship service at 10:00; and we will follow that service with an all-congregational party in Vicki’s honor. This is an opportunity to say thank you and farewell to one who has been a pillar of our congregational family with love and devotion for more than 30 years. We could call it a ‘retirement’ party—and certainly it is—but it’s much more than that. Vicki isn’t just leaving a job. She’s marking the end of a career in which she pursued a true calling to nurture children, to expand their horizons through spiritual growth, and to promote Unitarian Universalist values in the world. It has been a profound blessing for our congregational family to partner with Vicki as she has pursued her calling over these past three decades—a blessing we will continue to experience for many years to come. In my view, this blessing is what we’ll be celebrating on June 8th. I hope you can make it!
And then on Sunday, June 15th, Father’s Day, we’ll be conducting our annual bridging ceremony to honor our youth who are graduating from high school and going on to pursue new endeavors. Just as families of all kinds celebrate the entry of their youth into adulthood, so our congregational family celebrates our youth who are making this transition. We’ve watched them grow—in some cases from their birth—into talented, competent, hopeful, principled people. We are proud of them and we wish them well.
Finally, during the last week of June, the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly (GA) will take place in Providence, RI. Because of the close proximity of this year’s GA, quite a few UUS:E members will be in attendance. Those of you’ve who’ve attended GA before know this is the annual gathering of the larger Unitarian Universalist family. It’s an opportunity to conduct the business of Unitarian Universalism, to learn about new trends in UU congregational and spiritual life, to imagine new ministries, to see old friends and to make new ones. GA always reminds me that our UUS:E congregational family is tied to more than 1,000 other congregational families, bound together by our shared values and the powerful legacy of the liberal religious spirit. It’s a family I am proud to belong to! I hope you are too.