News – June 2, 2023
Dear Members and Friends:
This Sunday we hold our annual flower celebration. It is a special service. It marks the start of the summer season. It also provides us the opportunity to collectively celebrate the joy, beauty, and diversity found in both flowers and community.
There’s nothing quite like it. We invite everyone to bring a flower or bouquet--and have some for those who need them--and fill the sanctuary with glorious color.
The service is also one in which we celebrate child dedications and honor graduates. This year we will also be welcoming new members and recognizing the commitment of continuing ones.
On that note, I want to offer an appreciation for the commitment of our stewardship team. Headed by Peggy Harvey and Paige Powell, their diligent work in organizing this year’s pledge drive has resulted in the most successful campaign in many years. To date we have raised $610,172 in pledge commitments and we are still counting. If you haven’t had a chance to pledge yet--or if you are new to the congregation and would like to make a pledge--please visit here to do so.
I mention the pledge drive, in part, because this Sunday is the annual meeting. I will be presenting the annual plan of ministry alongside the budget. So, I am looking forward to discussing with you our exciting plans for 2023-2024. They are described in the 2022-2023 Annual Report. I hope that you will come ready to ask questions!
The annual meeting and the flower celebration are not the only things going on this month. We have the last in our spring series of conversations on Religion in Houston’s Pan-African Community scheduled for June 15th when Sadé and I will talk with legendary Houston civil rights activist Omowale Luthuli. Then the next day Rev. Scott and I will be cooking up a storm for our annual spaghetti dinner.
In worship we will be offering a service on joy--a topic picked by auction winner Susan Murphey--on Sunday, June 11th. On Sunday, June 18th we will be celebrating Juneteenth with a sermon devoted to the abolitionist tradition and ending the politics of cruelty. On June 21st Carol Burrus will be leading a service marking the arrival of the Summer Solstice. Then, at the end of the month, our Minister Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Dan King, will be leading worship.
Both of our services on the 11th and 18th will celebrate Pride Month. Also, in observation of Pride Month, we will once again be participating in Houston Pride Parade on June 24th. If you are interested in helping to plan and organize our participation, please email us at First UU Justice Council firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, I won’t be at the Pride Parade. Rev. Scott, Tawanna, Dr. Rocke, and I will be traveling to Pittsburgh that week to attend the Unitarian Universalist Association’s General Assembly. For me, the trip will mark the start of my summer travels. I will go from Pittsburgh to Oxford, England. I will be spending a week there as a guest of Harris Manchester College where I will be in conversation with a small group of Unitarian Universalist theologians from Europe and North America about the possibility of the university establishing a center for Unitarian Universalist studies. From there I will be traveling to Italy where Sadé and I will spend about a little bit more than a week on vacation. I will be back in the pulpit on July 23rd.
I hope to see you this Sunday and hope that you have a wonderful start to the summer.
Where are the Ministers?
Dr. Bossen will be leading services on June 4th, June 11th, and June 18th. On June 19th he will travel to Pittsburgh for Ministry Days and then General Assembly. On the 24th he will leave for Europe where he first, through July 1st, will be a guest of Oxford University’s Harris Manchester College and then be on vacation in Italy. He returns to the United States on the 12th and will be back in the office on the 17th of July.
Rev. Cooper will join Dr. Bossen on the chancel for the Flower Celebration Sunday and for the June 18th service. He will be away on the 11th.
He will be at Ministry Days on June 19th and 20th, and at General Assembly from the 21st to the 24th. He’ll be recognized for achieving Full Fellowship at the Service of the Living Tradition on June 22nd. He’ll return to Houston on the 25th to welcome Rev. Dan King to the pulpit.
From June 26th to July 9th, he and Conrad will be vacationing. He will return to the pulpit to preach on July 16th.
The Rev. Dr. Dan King will provide emergency pastoral care from the 26th through July 7th. We are still seeking emergency pastoral care coverage for the 8th and 9th and will update the congregation about it later in the month.