Message from the Minister

— by William Levwood, UUCT Minister

Summer Beginnings

I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer! It’s an odd time of year, in a way. For many of us it’s a time for a little bit more relaxation. Maybe we get to go on a vacation. Maybe not. Even when we go on a vacation, maybe it’s relaxing. Maybe not. Many of us get to spend more time with family, either visiting those who live far away, or for those of us with school age children, it may be a time to spend more time with our children. I love spending time with family, and yet, that too can be many things. It can be relaxing. Then again, maybe not. I hope that all of you have been able to traverse this summer experience in a way that, when all is said and done, leaves you feeling rejuvenated.

In many Unitarian Universalist congregations summer is a slow down time. Often ministers use all their vacation and study leave in the summer. When this happens, all the summer services are lay led. Attendance drops dramatically. This isn’t what happens here in our congregation in Tallahassee. There is a drop in Sunday attendance, but only just barely. There is a little more openness and spaciousness. And also it isn’t a fallow time. Not at all. A lot happens here during the summer. The fiscal year ends. Members step down from positions on committees as other members step up. There is actually a lot of newness. It’s an exciting time!

My study leave early in the summer has allowed me to launch some new programs. The poetry study these past few Sundays has been a huge success, nurturing new connections among members, deepening already existing friendships, and growing our souls. An initiative to develop a Worship Associates Program, making Sunday services more collaborative, more of a shared ministry, is under way. This is something I’ve wanted to do all year so I’m overjoyed that my study leave allowed me to begin to get it off the ground. Likewise, a Pastoral Care Associates program is also in the works, though that is not as far along.

And it’s a harvest time of sorts too. In particular, our exploration with a social justice focus for the whole congregation continues but is about to enter a new stage. This Sunday you are welcome to join us as we discuss our two top initiatives before voting to decide where to focus our energies. This won’t be the end, hardly, but it will be the beginning of the next stage. As we move towards actions we need to remember that our time of study isn’t quite over yet. Whatever initiative we choose, we still have a lot of learning ahead of us. We still need to focus on listening. Our hopes to engage meaningfully in environmental justice work in Tallahassee will depend on our ability to listen and develop partnerships with other communities. We will need to proceed with humility. It’s exciting! And it’s just the beginning.

This message published in the July 28, 2019 issue of The Meridian.