June 2019

Summer is a spacious season. The days are long. The weather invites us – with glorious sun and breeze, or with soggy heat – to slow down. The pace of work slackens for many, allowing summer to become a season that lets us recharge both body and spirit.

For me, summer is a time for reading – a part of my own way to recharge. I will re-read old favorites, a childhood habit I never dropped, and I’ll also read and listen to new books. I’ll read for pleasure, for curiosity, and – yes – out of a hope to get some inspiration to share with you in the coming year.

On my list are Robin Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass, recommended by several of you, and Barracoon, by Zora Neale Hurston. Maybe I’ll finish Richard Powers’ The Overstory. I also intend to read How to be Less Stupid About Race, by Crystal M. Fleming. The UUA’s Beacon Press published it last fall, and they say it “provides a fresh, accessible, and irreverent take on everything that’s wrong with our ‘national conversation about race.’ ”

In September we will launch a variety of programs, including book groups, related to the dream of “Beloved Community.” The UUA’s 8th Principle Task Force writes: Beloved Community happens when people of diverse racial, ethnic, educational, class, gender, sexual orientation, backgrounds and identities come together in an interdependent relationship of love, mutual respect, and care, seeking to realize justice within the community and in the broader world.

Jessica Harwood has been the driving force behind this effort, along with a growing team that has included Meg Walsh, Jane Simonds, Laurentina Quintana, Bebe Leistyna, Peg Johnson, Sheri Hall-Smith, Ginny Fuhringer, Annie Doran, and me. We envision programs that will invite us to be curious, and to challenge ourselves. They will take the form of book groups, workshops, movie nights, and justice actions.

Some of you were part of an effort called “Journey to Wholeness” some fifteen to twenty years ago. In more recent years several of you, including Laurel Foster-Moore, Trish Allen, and Dave Junno, led discussions on William Barber’s The Third Reconstruction, Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, and Robin D’Angelo’s White Fragility. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate as we move forward. I’m curious and hopeful about what will emerge.

I’m also curious about what you will be reading this summer – for fun and relaxation, for challenge, for learning something new, for the sheer pleasure and beauty of language and ideas. I’m curious about what you might recommend to others.

Feel free to send me an email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) some time in the next few weeks, with the title, author, and one or two sentences about why you think others should put that book on their summer list for reading or listening. We’ll assemble and share suggestions on our Facebook page and website.

I hope this summer is a spacious season for your body and spirit. I am, as ever, grateful and honored to serve as your minister.   Janets signature