Summer at UUFM

Summer is full on here! Temps in the 90’s and 100’s can hardly be interpreted any other way.

Fortunately, at least in Manhattan, things slow down in the summer. It used to be that the fellowship closed in the summer! Those days are long past. The tradition of closing the church doors for the summer has almost disappeared among Unitarian Universalist churches, though for generations, that’s exactly what summer meant.   It’s been said that we were the only people God trusted enough to take the summer off.

The practice of a long, healthy vacation for UU ministers has not ceased. Most ministers take a combination of vacation and study leave that means a big chunk of lay-led services through the summer. That hasn’t been my practice. I prefer to spread my vacation and study leave throughout the year to have more presence in the fellowship through the summer and more short breaks through the year.

I will be taking vacation July 25 through August 7, backpacking and hiking in the Wind River Range in Wyoming and at Yellowstone with my partner. Touching base with nature nurtures my spirit, and I love adventures with Jane! While I’m gone, staff and leaders can be contacted in an emergency and will be able to contact a minister, if necessary.

So what else am I up to this summer? Planning and study for the coming year is a major thrust. Some of that involves work with staff, the Strategic Planning Committee, the Board, and the Sunday Services Committee.

But what’s really exciting?

I’m looking at how we will be using themes in the coming year to tie together various aspects of congregational life, including but not limited to Sunday services and religious education. We hope to launch small groups for discussion around the Soul Matters topics we’ll be drawing on. Come September, we’ll have a monthly theme to inform worship and much more. (Some of the topics we’ll explore: Covenant, Healing, Identity, Risk, Zest!)

If you’re interested in helping to get small groups going or in any other aspect of developing themes, I’d love to hear from you. There is a workshop in Topeka in August and we’ll have a good group of people attend to help us learn how to develop themes in our congregational life.

Have a great summer! It’ll be over before we know it.


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