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Desert Notes July 27, 2023

Love is our Doctrine. Service is our prayer. Justice is our calling.

Desert Notes July 27, 2023

As I write this, I am remembering all of the wonderful and challenging things that have happened since I last shared with all of you.  In June I enjoyed a trip to Boston with the Coming of Age Youth program at VUU.  I traveled with nine high school students and adult leaders Carl Anderson and Marci Beaudoin (Director of Faith Formation).  The trip included a Sunday service at Arlington Street Church, the Freedom Trail, United First Parish Church of the Presidents (where the Adams family is entombed), a visit to the Christian Science Monitor’s “Mapparium,” attending a one act play, a tour of the UU Urban Ministry, a visit to King’s Chapel and Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market, as well as a walk through the Holocaust Memorial.  We toured Harvard, reenacted the Boston Tea Party, went on a ghost tour, ate so much good food, and even went on a Duck Tour.  The youth had to manage their money–keep receipts, track their expenses, make independent choices–and figure out our routes using the bus, the trains, and walking.  At the end of the day we had presentations about UU historical figures that each had prepared and discussions about the day.  Marci and Carl have created a fun, diverse and rigorous experience and the participants were stretched intellectually, emotionally and even physically–we did a LOT of walking.  I am grateful they let me tag along.  

I came back for three days, had a game night with VUUers, and then left for Ministry Days and General Assembly in Pittsburgh, where I spent a week.  I sang in a choir led by one of our theomusicology leaders,  Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout.  I stayed with my close friend, Rev. Lydia Ferrante-Roseberry, whose congregation allowed me to serve as an intern ten years ago.  I attended worship and lectures and workshops as well as general sessions, where I served as a delegate (all ministers and faith formation/religious education leaders have access to serving as a delegate for the congregations they serve.)  I met with many old friends and beloved colleagues and enjoyed seeing some of our VUUers there, too.   I came home with new resources (books, songs, ideas!!), gifts, new friends, and a sense of gratitude for being a part of this denomination.  I am excited about our new UUA President, Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt, and I had a chance to thank Rev. Susan Frederick Gray as she completed her term as President.  For me, this was a renewing and connecting experience and I hope to share the fruits of this experience throughout the coming year together. 

On a personal note, this was a hard summer.  My father-in-law had two strokes at the beginning of the summer and found out he has lung cancer.  In these last two months he has moved from assisted living to hospice care.  John has traveled once to see his dad and we assume we will all need to visit again soon.  In addition we had some serious medical challenges in our family here in Phoenix that took a couple of weeks to resolve (more or less) and created a lot of stress.  We’re OK now, overall, but the financial and emotional toll is a reminder to me that our bodies and spirits carry trauma far beyond the events themselves.  We are each doing our best to make room for our own needs and recovery.

Finally, Sol starts school and Ally goes back to college soon.  The transition times are always the hardest for me–perhaps they are for some of you, too.  My schedule gets wonky with extra appointments and tasks and I feel like the ground beneath me is moving in ways that often cause me to make mistakes, lose track of important tasks and even conversations, and to feel some anxiety.  I try to remember to make space for these moments of change, and inevitably my desire to be engaged with people and projects and my capacity to keep up are sometimes compromised.  By mid-August many of these changes will be complete and my ship should right itself!  I am grateful for the grace and space afforded me during this time and I hope you will extend it to yourselves and to others in the same “boat” or similar waters.  As always, we move at the speed of trust.

In gratitude and anticipation,

Rev. Sarah