I’ll be on sabbatical from Sunday, May 29, thru Sunday, September 25, and I’m deeply grateful for this opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. My sabbatical theme is What Next? and I encourage us all to consider this question while I’m away.
Rev. Aubra Love, our Sabbatical Pastor, will preach most Sundays, and the Worship Committee will cover the rest with some wonderful preaching from our congregation. Please give Rev. Love a warm welcome this Sunday; you can read her short bio here.
Children & Youth: By the time I return, I hope we’ll have hired a new Sunday School Program Coordinator, and I ask that you please share this position description far and wide to help with the task. You can send any leads to Dawn Straitz and April Quinlan, Co-Chairs of our Children & Youth Committee.
Music: Since Dorothy’s retirement as Music Director, our Music Program has been in an intentional, “post-Covid” interim. We’ve scheduled guest accompanists to play most Sundays, and LaTia Barrett, Cantor, and Sarah Spaeh, Music Chair, have coordinated the special music for worship. On July 17, we’ll welcome Sonya Sutton, former Music Director at St. Alban’s, to lead a “pick-up choir” for whomever wants to participate. If you’ve ever been curious about group singing, give it a try! On September 18, the Music Committee will lead a Coffee Hour Conversation focused on “What Next?” for our Music Program. I hope you’ll join them and offer your ideas and ongoing support for music in our church.
Racial Justice Audit: You received a copy of the final report yesterday via email, and I encourage you to read this account of the truly commendable work done by our congregation over the past year. Of course, this is only the first step. Next, comes our strategic planning process, in which we’ll take what we’ve learned from the audit process and incorporate it into goals for all our committees and programs at church. I’m so grateful for our congregation’s commitment to this work and look forward to discovering how it will change us. This summer is a good time to consider where we are, where we want to go, and how we plan to get there. If you’d like to be part of this fall’s strategic planning team, please email me.
Finally, I offer broken hearted prayers for the families and friends of all shot at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. Bishops United Against Gun Violence created this Litany in the Wake of a Mass Shooting in 2018. Since then, it’s been updated thirty times, including last week’s shooting of thirteen people at a Buffalo Supermarket and this Tuesday’s killing of twenty-one in Texas. As these Episcopalian Bishops write, “one does not pray in lieu of summoning political courage, but in preparation for doing so.” May we rally together to vote for politicians who will DO something, beyond thoughts and prayers, about gun violence in this country.
For this and many other reasons I encourage you to participate in the Poor People’s Campaign: March for Voting Rights on June 18. Did you know that nineteen states have recently enacted laws that restrict and deny the right to vote? For Juneteenth, stand side-by-side with poor people and low-wage workers to demand real change. Over 250 UCC Justice Leaders and Clergy will gather at 9 am at First Congregational UCC at 10th & G Streets and then head to the National Mall for the March. You can register here.
I close with additional thanks to all those whose workload will increase in my absence. You know who you are, and I’m immensely grateful.
With Peace, For Justice, and Till September,