July 2016

Dear Friends,

It is as a happy family that we approach the anniversary of our arrival in Nashville mid-July last year. I would never have planned to move twice in a short period of time (once in July, from Meadville to Nashville, and once in October from our apartment to our condo) – but we are unpacking the last of the boxes finally, putting things in order, and feel really, truly at home here. So much of that is the heart- felt welcome and enthusiasm of GNUUC for this new chapter of ministry in your Congregation. Thank you.

After an intense week at UUMA Ministry Days and General Assembly, I’ve spent the past study/staycation week between office and home, engaged in planning for the new church year ahead. It’s been great to work with your wise friends in the Congregation who’ve led Summer Song worship services; we hope you’ve been enjoying these interactive, thoughtful services. I attended the Religious Education retreat in June; will be co-leading the Worship retreat in early July; and then participating in the Board retreat later in July. Pastoral care continues; what a privilege to be your minister, to hold the joys and sorrows of your lives so close to my heart and mind. Watch for announcements about upcoming special events, adult religious education classes, and continuation of the covenant groups that are off to such a good start this summer. Our social justice outreach seems strong; I’m proud to know that we were a mighty presence at PRIDE – thanks to all who braved the heat to show up on the side of love!

As planning continues over these summer weeks, there are two ways you can participate in worship services for 2016-17 church year: 

Principle Reflections - I plan to offer a sermon series on the 7 Principles, for those who’ve asked me specifically about deepening UU identity. Our youth have asked if the adults in the Congregation could reflect with them on the why and how of the Principles – for example, why does the First Principle (as well as 2-7) matter to you, and how have you been challenged to live it? When have you stumbled, when have you soared, in trying to live a particular Principle well? If you have a “favorite” Principle, or one that really, really challenges you, and if you would be willing to share your experience with our youth as a “Time for All Sages” on Principle Sundays, please be in touch with me. They would love to hear from you; you love hearing from each other; and I always learn something important about you and our Congregation when I have a chance to listen to you. 

Soul Matters Services – We’ve officially joined the “Soul Matters “collective of UU congregations who are committed to reflecting on a month-by-month theme (in worship, in conversations, in covenant groups, in religious education), and I’d very much like to hear your thoughts about the following themes. Is there a specific topic related to these themes that you would like to hear about in a Sunday worship service? The themes are: 

  • August – Mission
  • September – Covenant
  • October – Healing 
  • November – Story
  • December – Presence
  • January – Prophecy 
  • February – Identity
  • March – Risk 
  • April –Transformation 
  • May – Embodiment
  • June – Zest

Thanks for your thoughtful attention to these things – I look forward to hearing from you. And please know that there’s always an opportunity to participate in worship by way of offering a service, serving as a service coordinator or greeter, and of course, singing in the choir! 
Here’s to our next year together! 

In love and faith, Rev. Carmen Emerson