As the summer stretches out before us, so do the possibilities of garden flowers, walks in the park, lazy days in the sun, family picnics, camping trips, something sizzling on the backyard barbecue grill and lingering conversations with friends. We still have the daily demands of work, paying the bills, keeping up with our schedules and responsibilities, but we also have the added benefit of summer in New England. A tall, cold glass of pink lemonade goes a long way towards opening our mind to the delight of the moment.
“The real work of our hands and minds” is finding a meaningful exchange with others and our world at large. What is it that is most important to us and how do we find or make the time to ensure that it happens? If we’re not careful, days and weeks can slip by before we realize life is moving on.
Sit in a lawn chair this summer on the beach or in the woods and relish the experience. Something as simple as this can be a return to basic sanity. Life is too short to miss out on the beauty and wonder of simply being on this planet.
Enjoy your summer. Enjoy every moment.
A gentle rain is falling as I write this. It has been dry for far too long and I know that the gardens and farms will welcome the rain with open seeds! The miracle of Spring has occurred. Trees and bushes that were dead looking sticks a few days ago have suddenly burst forth with the yellow green of spring. Peepers and tree frogs can be heard in the woods and bogs. The mud of early spring has largely given way to firm ground. It is already time to mow the lawns for the first time this year.
The Earth must have heard us when we wove the ribbons of the Maypole and danced to the drums. We welcomed Spring and encouraged the Earth to wake up after it's long winters nap. Did anyone else notice how high the frost heave was about six feet from the front wall of the church foundation? I've never seen it that high before. Let's hope that is not a sign of a problem in that part of the foundation.
These signs also portend that the end of our regular church year is upon us. Our last regular service for the year will be on June 9th. This is flower communion, so bring flowers in to exchange with others. After the service we will have our annual Plant Sale. This year it will be open to the public, so be sure to tell your friends and neighbors!
In addition to plants, we expect to have some gardening tools, some seeds, some reference works on gardening and more! I know that Leigh and I plan to bring a whole box full of vintage Organic Gardening magazines to share with those who want them. For those who are interested, the Unitarian Universalist Crafters Guild will be hosting a booth at the outdoor farmers market in market square! You may contribute produce, or you may produce your own unique crafted items to offer for sale there! We want to make sure that the task of setting up, taking down and staffing the booth will not fall on just a few people this year, so we ask that you meet with the guild members and sign up to help out one or more Saturdays throughout the summer. They, and we, will appreciate it!
Like past summers, we will have barbeques and outings; croquet, bocce ball, horseshoes, volleyball; hiking, boating and other activities that we can all enjoy with others in and associated with our church family. Unlike past summers, this year we will also be having semi-informal church services throughout most of the summer! We are seeking volunteers to help provide lay-led services. These need not be long or elaborate. All that is asked is that you bring an idea that matters to you, and share that idea with those of us who come to the service. If you have never led a service before, this will also be a good chance to "get your feet wet" as a service leader in a small, friendly environment!
One thing that we ask that each of us keep in mind is that each year, the church typically has a drop in revenue during the summer. We have gotten by in past summers, but you may recall that this year's pledge drive did not generate enough income to see our church through the entire year. We have fundraising activities such as the craft guild booth, and an upcoming concert in the sanctuary, but these are not likely to produce the income needed within the time frame needed. Therefore, we ask you to give what you can to the church throughout the summer to help us get by. If you can only spare a few cents, thank you. If you have been blessed with greater income that you can spare, we thank you for that as well.
I wish you all a wonderful summer vacation time. Try to not feed the mosquitoes too much; don't get a sunburn, and be sure to come back safe and sound to be with us all again when we pick up our regular church year in September. In the meantime, see you at our summer activities!
GETTING TOGETHER FOR CRAFTS
During the fall, winter and spring a few members of the UU Crafters Guild have been getting together at the Church on Saturday mornings to hang out while working on their latest projects. Now that it's Farmers Market time, we'll more likely be in Market Square meeting with the public and selling our stuff.
If you'd like to join us or know people who might be interested, please contact Deb at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, you can find out what's going on by visiting the Unitarian Crafter's Guild yahoo site at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uucrafters/ or you can join the Yahoo group email list by emailing email@example.com.
UNITARIAN CONCERT SERIES
The CKS Blues Band will be performing a concert in the Unitarian sanctuary on Sunday night September 15th at 7PM. The CKS Blues Band is a powerhouse Blues/Soul & Rock organ trio. The group features Randy Ciarlante (The Band, The Levon Helm Band) on Drums & Vocals, Bruce Katz (The Gregg Allman Band) on B-3 Organ and Scott Sharrard (The Gregg Allman Band) on Guitar & Vocals. The CKS Band was formed in Sept. of 2011 and has since played the Bearsville Theater, The Brigg’s Farm Blues Festival, Helsinki Hudson, The Blue Note NYC, The Fredericton Blues Festival, Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble and many other venues and festivals to spectacular reviews. Their debut album will be released in the summer of 2013. Tickets will be on sale during the summer at York's Bookstore and Visions. For more information and samples of their music check out the band's website at www.cksband.com
FLOWER COMMUNION & COOKOUT
Our traditional flower communion service is Sunday, June 9th. Please bring a fresh cut flower to contribute to the communion basket. This Unitarian tradition originated in 1923 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Dr. Norbert Capek asked his parishioners to bring and receive flowers as a symbol of their shared life as a spiritual community. Please come and join us for this special service. Flashy shirts and splashy skirts are also encouraged for the festive and colorful occasion. Our cookout is at Dave & Linda's house in Monticello this year next to the beautiful Meduxnekeag River. Car-pooling, as always, is encouraged. Please bring something to add to the pot-luck and a grill will also be available. There will be swimming, extreme croquet, bocce, and horseshoes for those up to the excitement. Fun for all, but be sure to bring the bug dope!
ANNUAL CHURCH PLANT SALE
If you are looking for that special plant [vegetable or flowering] for your garden do not miss a chance to select from the variety we will have on display and for sale on June 9th after our church service. Many of these plants are from gardens grown by our church members so do not miss the chance to bring a bit of the church family home to your garden. The plant sale has the added aspect of supporting the church and when you buy a plant the funds go directly to the church.
If you have plants to donate to the sales you can bring them to the church on the evening before the sales or the morning of the sales. We plan to set the plants up on tables in the basement so the sales will go on rain or shine.
There will be a 10AM service offered in the parlor on Sunday mornings during the summer. It will be a twenty to thirty minute service that includes readings, candles of joys and concerns and time for quiet reflection. It will also depend upon the creativity of the service leader, so who knows... If you are interested in leading a summer service there is a sign up list in the coffee room.
Please click here for the currently scheduled events.
E-MAIL/INTERNET DISCUSSION LIST: UU HOULTON COMMUNITY
An email discussion mailing list is a tool for a group of people to exchange messages via email. Any subscriber to the list can send messages that are received by all the subscribers, creating an email-based group conversation. The UU Houlton Community Yahoo Group has been created for members and friends of the Unitarian Society of Houlton. We currently have 26 members. Please take a look at the webpage. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/uuhoultoncommunity/ If you'd find it useful and wish to join just click the "Join This Group" button. After entering your info, remember to click on "save changes" before leaving the page. You can contact Rev. Dave or Karen if you have questions or need further instructions.
OTHER UU ONLINE RESOURCES