Stories Over Time

“Come sit by my side, under my shade, settle for a while in the summer garden that I have made for you…”

–Rev. Steve Shick, UU

Group photo of Rev. Lee and others at a UU ministers’ study group at Cedar Hill in May 2023

What does a UU minister look like, sound like, act like, preach like? There are many answers.

This week (Monday through Wednesday) I attended the spring meeting of my UU ministers study group which meets twice a year in Centerville, MA. Since ministers are often “solo practitioners” these gatherings offer valuable collegial connections, the sharing of experience and perspective and wisdom, friendships and time to be in worship together. The members hail from all over the country- California, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, New England. There are theists, agnostics, atheists and others; there are 30+ year olds and 70+ year olds; there are folks who identify as Black and as white and three members who identify as trans or non-binary. I would love it if any one of the people in this group was my minister.

Sometimes, it is odd how quickly it feels that time has passed. I was invited to join the group about 23 to 24 years ago when I first came back to Massachusetts and was single; later when my son was an infant he came along. I am now one of the “seasoned” ministers in the group and my son is part of the Bridging class of high school seniors who will present the service this Sunday. How did that happen?  At the meeting this week, it was my turn to present my “Odyssey”- my journey in Unitarian Universalism and in ministry. It seemed way too soon to be doing that. But what a gift it is to have people in small groups or congregations who know and are still curious about our history, stories and struggles- quite literally over decades. Offering witness to one another’s lives is such a big part of being in community, and in a healthy community there are always new people with new stories to hear and get to know.

Our small groups and summer services offer chances get to know each other better. If you could write a reflection on something you’d identify as a “sacred object” or would be willing to share part of your life journey or theology/philosophy/activism on a Sunday this summer, please let Aaron Pawelek know. Reflecting on and telling our stories is a gift to others and ourselves.

Speaking of stories, if anyone would like to write a note to our 90+ year old women trailblazers (and dedicated League of Women Voters members) who were honored in last week’s Mothers’ Day service, their addresses are as follows:

Elinore Washburn (Raised in China beginning in 1924 and in college during WWII)   575 Osgood St., Ap.t 5204North Andover, MA 01845-1980
Pat Edmonds (Teacher, dorm counselor, and major fundraiser for Phillips Academy) 28 Samuel WayNorth Andover, MA 01845-2844
Phila Slade (Artist and sustainer of local non-profits aka The Improvement Society) 21 Bradford St., North Andover, MA 01845-1103
Ruth Race (teacher and first female Chair of a Board of Selectpersons in MA) 1 Nichols Way, Apt 2106Groveland, MA 01834-1435

See you this Sunday at the Meeting House for the Bridging Service and Annual Meeting, with visits to the Sheep Shearing to follow!
Rev. Lee

P.S. The Board has granted me a two week leave following Annual Meeting; however I will still be on call for pastoral crisis or emergencies. The pulpit will be filled by the unique voices of the Rev. Wendy Page and the Rev. Tess Baumberger; many thanks to them both!