January 19, 2023
Welcome to Camp VUU!
Last night I attended the Chandler Unified School District Board meeting with representatives of member organizations of VIP (Valley Interfaith Project) to support Chandler student requests for deeper work on the mental health needs of students and strategies to address them. They requested a place at the table in these discussions. With 45 supporters in the room and an eloquent and clear request from the students (given by Riana Alexander), the board is definitely paying attention and engaged in developing ideas about this. They are now planning a study session on February 8 which most of us plan to attend. I gave a short supporting speech as well. It was a moving experience, and an example of why we organize with VIP and prioritize this work in our budget and in our volunteer engagement. If you want to get involved, reach out to Barb Quijada [email protected].
This week our staff has been focusing on budget planning and considerations for the next program year, even though we are only part way through this program year. We also continue to be part of the oversight and planning of the current and future renovations. We hope each of you are also completing pledges and beginning to think about ways you would like to be engaged in the life of this congregation and re-building together. There are many things keeping us busy creating and supporting the programs, events and activities of a congregation returning to many of their previous interests, passions and commitments. To continue on this path we will need to rebuild both volunteer and financial capacity. Our renovations are running on-schedule and we still plan to be back in the sanctuary February 12. Of course that could change!
Camp VUU has continued to be a fun endeavor, bringing people into conversation with new friends and trying out new ways of engaging in spiritual development. Some of you have asked why we aren’t using accompaniment. The reality is that without a soundboard, the sounds which we create in the room create something too complex for the computer to translate through its single-source mic – resulting in sound challenges for people online (the mic will cut out as it tries to figure out which sound to send). In addition, the piano in the room hasn’t been tuned in a long time! We moved to singing a cappella to address the experience for people in person, but kept at least one recorded piece for people online. If you’ve attended online, I would really like to hear from you so I can better understand our tech challenges. We decided not to livestream, but will record the service and create an unpublished YouTube link we can share with members and friends who want to view it. The nature of Camp VUU makes it not a great digital experience for people who are looking for an online VUU service to watch for the first time. These decisions have been made with a team of Worship Associates and staff who have been meeting every week to debrief the last weekend and consider the needs of the upcoming weekend.
To that end, we have Mary Rothschild leading an adaptation of Lectio Divina in classrooms 1&2 (and online), Barbara Face returning with prayer flags and zen practices, a walking meditation (TBA), Amanda Schneider leading a meditation on planting seeds for the new year (we’ll provide seeds and a small contained to plant them in). I hope you can join us!
In gratitude, Reverend Sarah