Minister’s Column May 2023

Dear Ones:

The first thing I’d like to draw your attention to is our May 21 UUS:E Annual Meeting. The official call to this meeting will be emailed by May 1 to all those who have opted out of receiving a hard-copy letter. A hard-copy letter will likewise be mailed by May 1. The Policy Board is proposing a number of changes to the UUS:E Constitution which will be detailed in the letter. The PB is also very excited to recommend to the congregation a balanced budget that does not draw down reserves and, in fact, puts $38,000 into our long-term building reserve. The Policy Board’s ability to recommend a balanced budget is due in large part to your incredible financial generosity during our Annual Appeal. It is also due to the hard work of our Finance Committee, led by our acting treasurer, Glenn Campellone. Note: this is the first time in many, many years we have been able to vote on a balanced budget that does not draw down reserves. I am so proud of us, and so grateful. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

The annual meeting will begin shortly after the second service on May 21. Please feel free to bring a lunch and eat during the meeting.

Our ministry theme for May is Creativity. We’ve explored this theme multiple times in the past. It is an honor for me that the good folks at Soul Matters (the independent UU organization that provides resources for our ministry themes) have asked to share one of my past sermons on creativity in their May worship packet. It feels good to be recognized in this way. In response to this theme of creativity, I’m preparing a sermon on spirals for our May 14th service. Spirals, of course, are ubiquitous in Nature. They are one of the ways the natural world manifests its inherent creativity. (Note: this service was purchased by Nancy and Ted Pappas at last year’s goods and services auction.)

How do you manifest your inherent creativity? I suppose this is an obvious question. But it’s important to ask it. For me, a well-rounded spiritual life includes a creative dimension. Some of you are accomplished visual artists—painters, sculptors, etc. Some of you are accomplished writers of prose and poetry. Some of you dance. Some of you act. Some of you work with wood. Some of you design theater sets, clothing, and home interiors. Some of you compose or play music. Some of you are not particularly accomplished at any of these things. But who cares? The point is that we each have a creative streak, an impulse to express ourselves. We enhance our emotional, mental and spiritual well-being when we let ourselves respond to this impulse. Hence the question, how do you manifest your inherent creativity?

My answer to the question includes spiritual writing (meditations, prayers, sermons), fiction writing (my now ten-year old “sabbatical novel”), designing life-cycle rituals (weddings, memorial services, child dedications, house blessings), and drumming (I wish I could drum more!!). When these creative outlets are present in my life, I feel more at home in my own skin. I feel more myself. I feel more whole. I often hear professional artists talk about some version of this feeling when they create. But access to that feeling isn’t limited to professionals. Again, we all have a creative streak, no matter how muted it may be, no matter what our level of talent is. We all benefit when we create. So I ask once again: How do you manifest your inherent creativity?

And what better way to explore this ministry theme to give yourself the time and space to be creative. Go for it!

With love and care,Rev. Joshua Pawelek

Rev. Josh