All of us are interesting combinations of things, lovers of opera can also be professional
wrestling fans, etc. One of the contradictions that makes me me is that I am both super prepared for things months and months away, and walk into meetings barely prepared.
One of the areas of perhaps over preparation is regarding the upcoming events of any given church year. It probably is an expression of some underlying control issues, but I love the idea of walking into each September having the church calendar set. This means that from spring to summer I can obsess over finding the right balance of upcoming church events. Honestly, I can find it a bit addicting.
In the way I like to think about it, every church year should have a balance of a few new exciting events or programs, a predictable number of core things we have done for years, and the at times painful pruning of a few of our historic programs that have come to feel more like chores than joys.
I felt like our calendar meeting on August 6th after church was an expression of this. I found in our discussion and my sketchy notes, essentially our resume or syllabus of programming for next year a good balance of both programs that express both our Roots and Wings. And it wasn’t just Sunday, from sitting around picnic tables on our camping trip, to the more
formal Community Calendaring events that have and will continue to take place, we have been discerning, proposing, and discussing what to offer both ourselves internally, and what might serve and/or attract the surrounding community.
Of course we have our predictable activities that regularly fill up the calendar. Even some of these are new. Such church events, programs, or offerings include…
Our weekly Sunday Services,
the roughly monthly pagan solstice services that are hosted and coordinated by our CUUPS group and Trek.
Our “Gibb” Community Lunch that Bob and Deirdre coordinate every 2nd Sat of the Month
The Sunshine Gals lunch that traditionally happens every 4th Sat of the month
Our Adult-Ed Theology Discussion group that was taking place every 1st and 3rd Sat of the month, but from September on will happen only on the first Sat of the month from 10-11:30 am
A new autobiographical Writing Group that will take place both in person at the church, and as a hybrid format on the first Mon of the month from 10-11:30 am
Starting in October Teresa will add to our adult-ed offerings a Book Group on the 3rd Saturday of each month from 10-1130 a.m.
Since they are used for planning purposes, I have not listed regular committee or board meetings as part of what we offer.
Also, I have not listed any youth group events or outings, since they affect such a small portion of our community. However, if you are aware of a teen interested in joining a small group of kids, there is room for them.
As you read the above and below offerings, ask yourself “Does this or that event or program
serve us internally and/or serve or attract the surrounding community?” If you are able to add to that instinctive review how much it drains us and our resources to pull it off, even better.
What follows are the events and programs that will demand our attention in each specific month.
Sunday, Sept 3rd – Labor Day Service followed by broadly advertised Ice Cream Social
Sunday, Sept 17th - Church-wide social outing following the Service
Saturday, Sept 23rd – Our booth and Parade presence on Yankee Doodle Day. Maybe we get “partybandlowell.com” The horns band from Lowell Pride.
Oct 1st Sunday is an Indigenous People’s Day with a New Member Ceremony included. We are turning this day into Homecoming Sunday with a historic church tour and a possible display of Church Revere Silver. This service might have a connection to “Glicka.”
Saturday, Oct 7th afternoon a Gong Bath Meditation for a fee.
Fall-themed social outing “apple-picking or the such Sunday Oct 17th
Belly-dancing workshop will take place on Wednesdays from Oct 4th to Nov 8th
Sat afternoon Oct 21st from 3 to 8 pm we will host a Halloween party
Sunday Afternoon November 12th 4pm – 6pm Open Mic Night
Nov 20th is Transgender Remembrance Vigil
21st Tuesday 6pm Interfaith Potluck followed by 7pm Thanksgiving Service at our church
Sat Nov 25th 7pm a showing of (Chris’s) Movie “Fireflies” (Thanksgiving weekend)
Sat Dec 2nd Town Tree Lighting (Events at church are connected to tree lighting from roughly 4-9. These events have included us making hot dogs, and offering a X-mas ornament craft. Historically this has also been a Vender event earlier in the day, but we decided to forgo that for a potential lack of traffic and move vendors and soup to Dec 9th.
Sat Dec 9th. Holiday Fair Time proposed 10am to 2pm to parallel Santa’s pics Holiday Craft Fair Soup Making (Needs Discussion with past Sat Event)
Sat 16th Child Care/Children’s Evening offered for Parents Shopping Night 3pm to 9pm.
Dec 24th X-Mas Eve Service: 11pm start.
Dec 31st Cosmic Walk with Trek New Year’s Eve ceremony
Jan 10th Lunar New Year China Blue 7pm Efforts to connect to the Asian Community.
Possible MLK Breakfast Interfaith (Jeanne will speak with the Social Justice Interfaith group to determine their plans for next year) This traditionally has been held at the Congregational Church, but we could host it too.
Gospel Concert. Lisa O’Conner will work on a Gospel Concert sometime in January.
Traditionally Sara hosts a weekly Pysanky egg decorating workshop on all the Mondays of lent from 7pm to 9pm (Feb 19 thru March 26)
Lenten Lunches –3 Town-wide Interfaith events are traditionally held at the Congregational Church. We have historically been active participants in leading one of those services.
UU Mass Action Advocacy Social Justice Lobbying Day at the Statehouse in Boston. Possibly in March or April TBD
Pysanky Polish decorated eggs continue during Lent Monday until March 18
March is Disability Awareness Month and we/Joanie will host the movie “Crip Camp” on March 9th at 7pm
Possible Significant Canvass Dinner with Entertainment and outreach Belly Dancing, Bob Sings, Dinner w-a yet unnamed big speaker. Possible speakers have included Bob Glavin, LGBTQ, Cornell West, or ?
Monday, April 22nd Earth Day and Passover Evening (Trek)
green-up clean-up day we will participate in.
May 1st May Pole in the Center of Town 6:30pm with CUUPS, Morris Dancers with a reception. The pitch will include the history of Billericay, England having a May pole in their church basement.
Sat May 4th UU History Church Field Trip to Boston, 2023 UUA and historic highlights.
First Sunday, May 5th, Spring New Member Sunday.
Mental Health awareness month movie hosted by Lisa MacLaughlin on a Sat night?
Sat June 1st - Pride Flag Raising and intergenerational Pride event at church. In 2024, we decided to push for the town pride flag raising to be at 6pm in order to participate in Lowell Pride Events including “Glitter Blessings” which will take place in the morning on Sat June 1st from 10 to 2pm.
It was felt that our 2023 Juneteenth event was successful enough to attempt to repeat. Our event, perhaps an interfaith event would be held on Wed June 19th .
In 2023 connected to the Stonewall Anniversary (June 28th) Trek showed a movie. This year we decided to plan a LGBTQ themed dance/prom on Saturday, June 29th (6-9pm?)
Our Annual Meeting is scheduled for June 11th. Maybe we get partybandlowell.com” The horns band from Lowell Pride
June 20-23 is a Virtual GA - activities will be streamed at the church
In 2023 we returned to services in the Parish Hall. We had no discussion about how valuable continuing our Sunday Services were. So that remains an open discussion.
In 2023 we hosted what it seemed would be our first annual camping trip on the 3rd Weekend in July. I believe that minus bad weather had about 30 in attendance was successful.
There was real interest in getting/renting a First Parish booth at the Lowell Folk Festival which is traditionally held on the 4th weekend of July. I believe more real discussion/evaluation about how likely/worthwhile efforts to draw people from Lowell to engage with our church in Billerica is. But, Lowell has no UU Church?
The youth group has in the past hosted a Car Wash that we might consider.
I think the first Sunday in August following church is a good time to regularly schedule a Calendar Planning Day.
Talk about a mid-day, mid-week kids camp during the last 2 weeks of August/Summer.
What am I missing? What are we doing that doesn’t serve us or others?
I look forward to stepping into the next church year with you – full of the promise that changes will come. Some changes of course are in our hands. Others will not be. Some changes will be good, others may not be.
I hope that we will meet each new challenge as a loving community with a spirit of cooperation.
See you in church! Rev. Steve