September 2015 Ministers Column

Dear Ones:

Hmmm. I’ve been noticing changing leaves. Not many, but they’re there. And by the time you read these words, there will be more of them. Red, yellow, gold, orange and brown leaves. Summer is winding down. Autumn is beautiful in New England, and there’s always a part of me that can’t wait for autumn’s cool, crisp mornings, ripe apples, and beautiful changing leaves. But I still want summer to last a bit longer.

First things first. The 13th person who contacts me at revpawelek@sbcglobal.net will receive lunch—on me, and with me. But there’s a catch. When you contact me at revpawelek@sbcglobal.net, you must explain to me in writing why the number 13 is important to me—and to UUS:E—at this point in time. This shouldn’t be too difficult. If you need a hint, let me know.

I am looking forward to another awesome year at UUS:E. And what is truly exciting to me at this moment is that we are not searching for new staff members! That was last year. You may remember that last September we were “in search” for a new Music Director, and Gina Campellone was serving as our “Acting” Director of Religious Education. Hiring new staff is a lot of work—not only for me, but for everyone involved. Thanks to the hard work of many dedicated UUS:E members, Mary Bopp has been with UUS:E as our Music Director since February; and since July 1, Gina has been our Director of Religious Education. I love working with both of them and I look forward to the many ways we will collaborate in the coming years. With Jane Osborn as our sexton, Annie Gentile as our Office Administrator, and Grahame Slogesky as our RE Assistant, our staff is in place and ready to work hard to support UUS:E’s mission. Hooray! And I really mean that—HOORAY! UUS:E has a wonderful staff. Please say ‘thanks’ when you get a chance.

Looking forward to the coming congregational year, some of the highlights for me include: Bishop John Selders’ Adult Religious Education course entitled “Revolutionary Conversations,” which will explore theologians whose work undergirds the Black Lives Matter movement; the creation of a small group for theists and all those who want to look more deeply at what it means to believe in God in a secular age; an ArtsMash evening with the Hartford region’s original story-telling organization, “Speak Out;” art shows with UUS:E artists; poetry slams; the work of the UUS:E growth strategy team and the development of our “Growth Through Service” initiative; participation in Moral Monday Connecticut actions in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement; and all the day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month interactions with the members and friends of UUS:E. It is going to be a year of amazing ministry. I can’t wait. I hope you can’t wait either.

Now, why is the number 13 so important to me—and to UUS:E—at this moment in time? Let me know at revpawelek@sbcglobal.net. The 13th person to contact me gets lunch, on me, with me.

With love,
Rev. Josh