I will be on vacation from July 6-August 3, 2018.
Gloria Kozlosky, Membership and Hospitality Ministry Team Chair, is the Summer Caring Coordinator. Please let her know if you think someone needs a call or visit. She will contact me if there is a pastoral emergency.
Liz Weber, UU seminarian, is happy to receive inquiries for non-member rites of passage (weddings, funeral and christenings) through August 13. Inquiries about the church program can be made to the church administrative staff or to Mark LaPointe, Acting Interim Director of Community Life and Learning.
Some pertinent dates for Rev. Vicki:
Wedding Rehearsal and Ceremony, July 27-28 (Salem, MA).
Peace Conference at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center, July 21-22 (Interfaith Environemental Studies).
Funeral and Interment, August 3 and 4 (Milford, NH and Concord, MA).
OWL (Our Whole Lives Sexuality Curriculum) facilitator training, August 17-19.
I am out of the pulpit in August and spend much of that month in “study leave.” Technically, I am “free from parish duties” during that time but I meet with staff to plan worship, I work with a consultant (this year on our home base plans), I meet with team leaders and the board president, and I coordinate community work with other religious leaders. I also get to attend church as a worshiper and visit various houses of worship in our area.
Blessings of peace, rest and renewal to you all,
Although we definitely slow down during the summer, we do not stop being a church: a community that cares, that responds, thatlearns, that prays.
If you’re looking for a community of action this summer, don’t let our sleepy appearance fool you. We do a lot less programming in July and August and our minister is on vacation for much of that time, but she and many others are using their time away from the regular round of meetings and programs to put faith into action.
Some of us will be volunteering for Kids In Community, a summer camp for kids in Lynn located at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the Common. Suzanne Forgione can help you connect with opportunities to volunteer by reading to the children the week of July 16-20. Call the church office for information on how to contact Suzanne.
Are you concerned and angry about the current administration’s policies toward immigrants in America? Learn and engage. Our county community organization, ECCO, also slows down in July but will be back in full swing with regular meetings in August. Please follow ECCO on Facebook and get on their email list. You can join us in our work for immigrant advocacy, building relationships with the police in Lynn toward more community-accountable and anti-racist practices, legislative campaigns (our most recent were raising the minimum wage and putting into law earned sick time for all MA workers) and building strong relationships among our faith communities in Essex County.
I would also recommend following Cosecha Boston, another immigrant-advocacy and justice organization that can help you put your faith into action. There is so much you can do: learn, educate others, write letters, attend deportation hearings, be a witness, become part of a response team for immigrants who are arrested, detained and in fear of deportation. Many of them have lived in this country for well over a decade and their children, American citizens, need our support when they are abandoned. Cosecha Boston is focusing right now on working to interfere with ICE. It is not hard to take action from your computer.
Are you dedicated to the rights and safety of LGBTQ people? So are we, officially, as a Welcoming Congregation. We march as a congregation at North Shore Pride every June. We supported and worked toward Marriage Equality and we will do it again if those rights are ever threatened. We support transgender individuals in their right to be safe and protected under law. You might want to learn about the ballot initiative to repeal transgender public accomodations law. Connect with Freedom For All Massachusetts become an active ally.
Our Social Justice Ministry Team, together with LUUP (Lynn UU Partnership), urges us all to read Toxic Charity by Robert Lupton as an all-church read for the 2018-19 program year. It’s an easy read. Please let Rev. Vicki know if you would like to be reimbursed for a copy. She is happy to do so. We also have some copies available at church.
Check out the Green Sanctuary Ministry Team blog and read about their recent programs and efforts to educate our local community on environmental issues.
[I offered these reflections during our Annual Meeting on June 10, 2018. – VW]
We shaped the arc of this year as a circle. “Draw the Circle Wider” was the theme of our ministry, the metaphor we used for our mission to think expansively and to prepare for a future where we would not fairly passively expect people to find us on Sunday mornings but would intentionally create a program and community life that reached out to them.
We drew the circle wider, doing and thinking differently.
But as I reflected over the year just concluded, it occurred to me that a circle is an interesting configuration for a progressive institution to embrace. There is more to it than meets the eye!! As Americans, as Westerners, we stand in a tradition that has instructed us that time marches forward and so should we, questing always for the new, and ever moving FORWARD. “Forward through the ages, in unbroken line,” says the words of one of our most cherished hymns (those are the UU lyrics to the old chestnut “Onward Christian Soldiers”).
So it is therefore a little more countercultural than we may have realized to suggest that we draw a CIRCLE. After all, “you’re going on circles” is not a compliment but an expression of concern. To draw a circle wider is an expansive notion but still… are you just going in circles?
The circle is a symbol of eternity. It is sacred. It is the shape of the sun, the planet, of wholeness. To embrace the circle is potentially, an interruption and rejection of the violence to self and to creation that can be the result of endless questing, endless forward motion — the kind of quest that we know can lead to obsession with conquest. To abide within a circle of motion is to recognize that our job and our journeys are not linear propositions, where we move forward in exhausting and eternal pursuit of some unattainable ideal beyond the horizon, but are cyclical: we are born, we live, we die, we leave a legacy that helps to root in the next cycle of gentle growth. And so this cycle, this circle proceeds not in competition and quest but in blessing, as the indigenous American poet Joy Harjo writes,
Like eagle rounding out the morning
And as we have sung many times this year in our signature anthem: “Draw the circle, draw the circle wide! Draw the circle, draw the circle wi-i-ide! No one stands alone, we stand side by side. Draw the circle. Draw the circle wide.”