What does it mean to be a people of stories? It’s our stories that make us who we are and give us ways to share that with each other. A big part of Unitarian Universalism is the commitment to honor one another’s stories, especially those that define our deepest commitments and beliefs. Our Sunday services this month will be full of opportunities to think about, hear, and share meaningful stories.
As we move through August, we finish up the summer, it’s time to gear up for the Tree of Life sesquicentennial. That’s right, on October 24, 1865, a few brave people signed the charter that formed the congregation that grew into Tree of Life. You can read about the congregation’s history here. We’ll celebrate together with music, a special guest in the pulpit, and a very special project that will beautify our building and honor our past and future.
We also welcome our two interns this month. Michelle Lattanzio and Misha Lentz are both beginning their Congregational Studies year at Meadville Lombard seminary in Chicago. Each of them will be engaged with Tree of Life and other cluster congregations half-time (~20 hours a week.)
I will act as their Teaching Pastor, supervising their work and reflection, and Rev. Matthew Johnson in Rockford will provide support and additional opportunities for learning. We will be looking for five people to work closely with Misha and Michelle over the next 24 months, giving them feedback on their ministerial presence, preaching, and overall gifts for ministry. If you’re interested in being part of the Teaching Team, please let me or one of the interns know. This is a chance to participate in a minister’s formation–a gift to that minister and to Unitarian Universalism as a whole.
There are many exciting things happening this year! Don’t forget to collect water for our annual Water Ceremony on August 30th. And be thinking about who you’ll invite to our first Bring a Friend Sunday on September 20. That day, we’ll gear the whole morning toward folks we think would be great Unitarian Universalists. We hope that by encouraging everyone to invite a friend on the same day, we can create an atmosphere of welcome that makes it fun and easy for newcomers to feel part of Tree of Life.
We’ll also be launching some new groups and educational opportunities, so keep your eye on Happenings to learn the details. In case you’re wondering about me, I’m on study leave–a time of preparation, reading and planning for the year–until August 13, when I return to my regular office hours. In September, I’ll also be restarting my Community Office Hours in various coffee shops around McHenry County. See you soon.