UPDATED: 8/8/21 – Letter from Rev. Jason:
Good morning, friends…
Just a reminder that live, in-person, outdoor services begin Sunday (8/15) with a special morning with Joe Jencks. Joe’s ministry from afar was a gift to us all during last year’s shutdown, so what a great occasion to welcome him live & in-person as a way to kick of some outdoor services together!
Did you know that UUSGS is currently a spiritual home to at least three young adults in seminary? On August 22nd and 29th, we’ll hear from two of them. And then on September 5th, Jackie Shanti – one of UUSGS’s delegates to the UUA’s national General Assembly – will offer a message bringing home some of what is happening in our denomination nationwide.
These services will be offered in-person, outdoors on the UUSGS grounds. Outdoor services are nothing new for us. We’ve done them on special occasions through the years. This year, our motivation is both the natural beauty of our setting in the woods… and also the public health situation that UUSGS leaders are monitoring closely. The UUSGS Board of Trustees meets next week, in part to discuss plans for the Fall. UUSGS staff and lay leaders are waiting anxiously to begin planning Fall programming… but we need the Board’s guidance first, and recommendations around public health seem to change by the week.
What does this ask of us? Well, first, it means that we need to take seriously the health and well-being of every person at UUSGS… including members and the general public, young and old and everywhere in between, and so on. Spiritual health includes physical health. Second, it means that we practice right relationship. Moving together requires goodwill and good communication. In the coming weeks, there will be more communication from the Board and staff about what to expect and how we can work together to keep our ministry adaptive, relevant, and vitalized – and safe. In the meantime, if you have thoughts you wish to share with our leaders, you may contact the Board of Trustees directly at any time by using this form: https://uuspringfield.breezechms.com/form/ffc10b
I am also back in the office following July’s sabbath and can be contacted by email: RevJason@UUSpringfield.org.
The tentative plan for now is to offer two services this Fall: one online and on in-person. (Online services will likely be a similar format and approach as they were during 2020. Outdoor services will be live-streamed to online participants in the meantime.) However, all of this is subject to change as we navigate public health, technology, and community needs together. What if things close down again? What if things look good – so good that we can’t fit everyone at one in-person service? These are some of the questions we may face together.
UUSGS is a strong, caring community. Together, we are called to seek truth in love and to help one another. Together, we seek to love every hell out of this world and to collaborate in building the Beloved Community. UUSGS has been doing this for a while now – 200 years, in fact. We’ve done it under different names and in different buildings. We done it in wartime and in peace, during hopeful times and when life felt scary and difficult. I truly believe that our ancestors are with us right now as we face what is now ours to face: a future that is every bit as bright in the long-term (love finds a way!!)… but one whose shape is harder to discern in the near-term.
Little can be taken for granted. Communication is key. And everyone is needed. The work of making love real – here & now – is ours to do. And I promise you we’ll have plenty of fun along the way. Especially if we embrace this time together as a creative endeavor.
We will screw up (again). And we will find newfound strengths and opportunities (again). Such it is to be a UU. Ours is a religion that not only can adapt but must adapt. That is what liberal religion means. We are adaptable and loving in the face of all that pushes people toward orthodoxy and doctrine. When the old ways are challenged, we trust ourselves and one another to figure it out. To think. To talk. To come together.
OK… I think you get the point. (Can you tell I miss preaching?) 🙂
I look forward to seeing you on the 15th, as we welcome Joe, and later on throughout the month for some inspiring voices. Please keep the communication and creativity up as we move together. Not everything will work for everyone, but I am sincere when I say that I and your leaders want to hear about what is working and what isn’t.
Lots of love to you & yours. See you soon!
Rev. Jason Seymour
“We hope you find this congregation to be a place that helps you to find and keep your balance.”
We’re trying something a bit different this year, given the year we all just had. We’re giving some of our folks – especially our leadership – some time off in July… treating it as a sabbath, a time set aside for rest. We’re putting down the “work” of the congregation and focusing on opportunities for fellowship. Not only is this a well-earned, caring act toward those who serve this congregation’s shared ministry, it also will give us the space we need to be able to imagine and create new ways of being together in the Fall.
Up-to-date event listings throughout the summer can be found on our web calendar. Highlights include:
- Laid back, BYO-everything picnics – Sundays @ noon @ UUSGS
- Online connection opportunities & small group ministry
- An outdoor concert with Verne McArthur, July 11th at 11AM
For families, click here for a message from Director of Family Ministry Darcie Farber, including some fun, all-ages activities!
Check back for updates about summer programming! Stay cool!