August 2015 Minister’s Column

Dear Ones:

I am writing to you on a very, very humid day in mid-July. My family and I have just returned from a week in the Berkshires (where it was much less humid) with my in-laws. We are getting ready for a trip to Washington, DC where we will, among other things, tour the White House! Later on in August we will spend a week on Cape Cod visiting with my parents.

Most years I don’t write an August column, but this year I wanted to take a moment to say “thank you” for what turned out to be a very positive fiscal year for UUS:E. (For the details, please see the message in this newsletter from the Finance Committee.) In short, every Sunday when I introduce our offering, I remind us that “our congregation is supported by the very generous financial giving of members and friends.” I want to underscore here just how true that statement is. The members and friends of UUS:E are extraordinarily generous in their giving to UUS:E. I, for one, deeply appreciate it. While no congregation is free from financial constraints and worries in our times, and while we certainly aren’t in a position to ‘rest on our financial laurels,’ I think it is nevertheless fair to say that UUS:E continues to perform well financially due to the commitment each of you makes. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your generosity.

Looking ahead to the coming year, those of you who attended our annual meeting in May know that we are exploring the feasibility of conducting a limited capital campaign to help reduce our mortgage. Special thanks goes to Stacey Wyatt for chairing this effort! Some of you will be asked to participate in an interview process as part of this feasibility study. If you are asked, I hope you will be able to participate. We will announce the results of the study at a congregational meeting after our Homecoming services on September 13th.

Here’s a quick plug for two upcoming events on Sunday, August 23rd. First, we are blessed to be joined in worship by New York-based violinist, Sharon Gunderson. Accompanied by our Director of Music, Mary Bopp, Sharon will be playing Edvard Grieg’s “Violin Sonata No. 3 in C Minor.” I will offer some reflections on Grieg, who became a Unitarian during his life and expressed a profound commitment to individual religious freedom. Also, on the 23rd at 12:30 we will be conducting a special memorial service for pets and animal companions who have died in recent years. All are welcome. There’s more info in this newsletter.

It’s summer. I am taking my vacation and study leave, but I remain available for pastoral emergencies. If you need to reach me, our office administrator, Annie Gentile, has my contact information. For now, I hope you are enjoying summer.

With love,

Rev. Josh