by Rev. Mary Gear
In many Unitarian Universalist congregations, summer services are a bit different. It is a time for ministers and staff to have time away, so there are more guest speakers and lay-led services. Sometimes congregations with two services go to one service. Services may be more relaxed and experimental.
In the past few years, experimentation with summer services has included how we manage during a pandemic; how we offer something that is meaningful and sustainable; how we give staff and volunteers a needed break. There have been many creative solutions and we will be part of one this year. This summer, OUUC will be part of a Worship Collaborative, something that other UU churches in this area have done but is new to OUUC.
For the month of July, we’ll join with four other UU congregations to experience worship together, each congregation leading the worship on one Sunday. Our partners for this venture will be Saltwater UU in Des Moines, WA, Community UU In Pasco, WA, and Northlake UU in Kirkland, WA. Some of the services will be led by a minister and some led my congregants. And, because July has five Sundays, we’ll stream together a service offered by UUA President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray.
Here’s the schedule:
July 3- OUUC, Rev. Mary Gear
July 10- CUUC, Rev. Monica Jacobson-Tennessen.
July 17- Saltwater, lay-led service
July 24- pre-recorded UUA service, hosted by OUUC
July 31- Northlake, lay-led service
Many things will stay the same: All services will be virtual on Zoom and we’ll continue to have break-out rooms after the service so we can meet people from other congregations and have meaningful conversation. One thing that will be different is that the services will begin at 10:30 am instead of 10 am. (The other three congregations all had a 10:30 start-time, so we’ll join them.) There will be someone online for OUUC at 10 am as a reminder or a chat if needed. We’ll return to 10 am services in August. We will open the sanctuary for anyone who wants to gather, but we won’t offer coffee service or childcare (so volunteers get a break!) during the last four Sundays in July.
Last, we’ll pool our financial resources and share our plates with the UU Service Committee Disaster Relief Fund. This fund helps people in Ukraine as well as in other areas facing devastating hardships related to war, climate change, and other challenges. Each congregation will collect donations as usual.
Thank you for giving this experiment a try. I’ll be eager to hear how it goes for you.