It’s Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of Summer in America. Newer members may not realize it, but for most of our history, Unitarian Universalist churches were closed during the summer. No one is sure where this practice originated, although the prevailing theory links it to the fact that Unitarianism has its root in the Northeastern United States where congregants left town to spend the summer on “the Cape”. Whatever its origins, our own church continued the practice until roughly ten years ago when we briefly dabbled with an every-other-Sunday schedule before committing to year-round services.
I was still a newish member when we made that switch, and I’ll admit that it took some getting used to. I remember a couple of summers without services, and I enjoyed having relaxing Sunday mornings at home without rushing to church, but I also remember how lonely our very first summer was. Our family first visited the church at the end of April, so we only had a few weeks to get to know the church and some of the people before everyone disappeared.
In the early days of our liberal religion, Sunday services were mostly about the religious/philosophical/moral/ethical sermons so a few months away were probably a bit of a mental relief. In our current society, however, church is so much more than just the Sunday spoken words; it’s the community and connections that keep us coming back week after week and year after year. Closing for three months denies us the chance to maintain those relationships and the chance to meet new visitors that may not realize God gives us the summer off because he trusts us. (That’s an old UU joke…)
So for everyone, especially the long-term members that still remember taking the summers off, this is your reminder that we are still here offering thought-provoking services, fellowship time, and community-building activities even in the heat of summertime. The sanctuary can get hot, and our building relies on natural cooling methods (i.e. windows and fans) so we may move the services up an hour to enjoy the sanctuary before the late-morning sun heats the building – watch your emails for updates if/when that happens!
Thank you to everyone that’s been joining us onsite and on-line. It’s been gratifying to see you both during and after the service – and we hope to see you again soon!
Stephen Day, Worship Team Chair