Welcome Back!

I hope everyone has gotten some summer sun in, some summer fun in. Water, sun, sand, woods, mountains; whether it’s a sprinkler in a yard or a lake in a park or star-watching on a clear summer night or WaterFire –summer has gifts no other season offers. I hope each of us has had some chance to enjoy them and absorb the restoring energy of soft air and warmth and light. We all need it. For me, this was a very busy summer, with lots of good things and highlights, but always the best times were the easy-going ones – sleeping in, breakfast outside, precious time to do nothing with Tim, hanging out with the dogs, listening to folk music in a pub full of good sounds and good will, late-night conversations with family over the dinner table, floating in a lake with my eyes closed, just feeling the water around me. Urgent as the world seems – and is – all the time, everyone needs and deserves rejuvenation, not just in summer, but all the time. I’m working on that for myself, and I really want that for all of us – about which you’ll hear more in the coming year, for sure!

Meanwhile, of course, things are gearing up at church. We’ll be starting to launch the new church year when you get this newsletter and, as always, there is a lot going on. One of the things I most want to stress is the exciting discernment work we’ll be doing this fall, our whole church, working with esteemed UU theologian and consultant Rev. Dr. Thandeka. It’s been many years since First Unitarian looked at its identity as a church: who we are and how we are, what we need, what we feel called to, for ourselves and our neighbors, here and now. Congregations need to revisit these questions every five to ten years, to make sure the church has a sense of itself, its identity and priorities, to help guide what we do and how we do it.

Rev. Dr. Thandeka’s Love Beyond Belief™ program has a lot of relevance for this, looking at just those kinds of questions, grounded in a deep sense of community and opportunity. She will be working with us from about September 28 to October 7. Thandeka will be meeting and leading programs with staff, lay leaders, and congregants over the course of this time. Please find the schedule for her work with us on page 5 and mark your calendars. You’ll see there are workshops and meetings tailored to staff or lay leadership, and three important offerings for the whole church community:

  1. Her “Got Race?” lecture on Monday, October 1 (open to the public), and
  2. Her two dynamic laity workshops, meant to help us look at our identity and priorities going forward, on the evening of Friday, October 5, and 9:30–4:30 on Saturday, October 6

Please try to attend all three of these – it will be so important to involve as many members and friends as possible as we share this experience and the understandings and priorities we will form together going forward.

I’ll just finish, for now, by mentioning the monthly ministry themes that help us organize over the year, so that different elements of the church – Sunday worship, whether in the Meeting House or the Parish House; some Chalice Circle groups; some programs during the week – offer a range of approaches to a unifying theme. This allows us lots of ways to consider a theme, and everyone can build on those themselves with friends over coffee, with family over a meal. Our theme for September is Vocation and Call, so be ready to dive in to this interesting, layered, and sometimes hard-to-pin down experience.

I’ve missed you lots this summer – and am so happy that I’ll see you soon, have a chance to catch up with everyone, and share stories of the summer.

See you in church,

Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Minister
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday