“I have heard from so many of you, in so many ways, that what you most want from me is an invitation into the Unitarian Universalism you’re dreaming of, into building that world and that work together,” she said. “And I’m going to hold you to that. When I say that love is the center of our faith, that means I am committing to loving each one of you every day.”
—Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt, UUA President-Elect, UU World
Join me in celebrating the election of the Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt to the presidency of the UUA and the preliminary passage of the Article II revisions to our Unitarian Universalist Principles, Purposes, and Sources! It was thrilling to serve as a delegate to this year’s General Assembly in Pittsburgh, PA, our national meeting of representatives from congregations across the nation and around the globe. Rev. Sofia was elected with the support of 95.5% of voting delegates, and new UU value statements were given preliminary approval with the support of over 85% of voting delegates! This is an exciting time in the evolution and transformation of our living faith tradition.
In addition to participating in all of the business meetings of the UUA this year, I was able to attend fantastic workshops on topics like trauma-informed ministry and mental health peer support in congregations. I also met with dozens of colleagues and friends serving in a variety of ministries. I made many new friends who were so impressed that members of our community traveled so far to be a part of this truly herstoric moment in the life of our liberal faith. A special thank you to everyone in our congregation who volunteered or served as a delegate to our UUA General Assembly.
Closer to home, we are transitioning to our summer worship calendar as the regular church year winds down. Our congregational leaders, members, friends, and professional staff are encouraged to take time for renewal and restoration after another extraordinarily demanding church year. We’ve planned an exciting summer worship calendar with new and familiar faces from the local community and our congregation. Each year of developmental ministry, I have brought one honored guest teacher from the broader community to lead worship that enhances our multireligious embrace and/or our anti-racism and counter-oppression efforts. I am happy to share that our 2022–23 Honored Guest Teacher is Rabbi Shira Freidlin from the Santa Monica Synagogue. She will be with us to lead Sunday morning worship on July 23. I hope you’ll find all of our summer programming to be spiritually nourishing and that you’ll take some time to replenish your heart, mind, body, and spirit this summer.
Our Soul Matters theme for the month of July is “Play.” It is defined as “engag[ing] in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” That sounds good to me! You are invited to reflect upon the following theme-based questions in your committees and small group meetings this month:
- What makes something play for you? When you feel free from the burden of producing an outcome? When creativity is involved? When you lose time? When you can just be yourself? All of the above? Something else?
- Can worship be play?
- Can play lead to transcendence?
- Can play be a form of political resistance?
- When has play saved or healed you?
- Who keeps you playful?
Though I will be away for July and most of August, Pastoral Care is still available if you are in need of spiritual support. Chaplains Michael Eselun and Bronwen Jones will be on-call to provide professional support. To request confidential support please reach out to Linda and Denise, our Pastoral Care Team Co-Chairs at email@example.com. You may also contact them to share a joy, sorrow, or milestone with our community on a Sunday morning. Other questions can be directed to our church office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May you have a beautiful summer filled with an abundance of love, relaxation, play, renewal, and joy!
Yours in love and ministry,
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae