What a fantastic thing, being a Unitarian Universalist here in the Pacific Northwest! It's a church weekend; I'm off to a Religious Education Council retreat on Lake Wenatchee.
And my two younger boys and about one hundred of their age mates are going to Vashon Island for a Middle School Con.
The weather is supposed to be Pacific Northwest at it's best; a little chill at night, warm and sunny during the day with the tips of the leaves just beginning to show color.
My weekend is planned to envision just what we do next with our children and youth. In the three years I've been the Religious Educator for this church we've grown and stretched and morphed. In 2005 we had 23 kids. The count last spring was nearly 70. When the leaves fall, I'm thinking we'll be at 80. We still don't have a building and it looks like we never will, or at least not for years and years.
So, what do we do? This weekend I'm bringing four workshops using Appreciative Inquiry to deeply explore how we move ahead. But I really, really want to move to a ministry to and with families. I want to be there to transform our minstry and support parents and guardians, to make famliy really come first, to serve the greater life-changing bonds that are so important to our children and youth. I'll try to sit on my wishes and let the REC wish their own wishes.
Leaving the church with no RE Leadership on week three of the church year? Yeah, not my favorite thing, but the minister I serve with knows as much as I do about our programs, she's amazing. A past RE Chair is roving watching for needs or wandering kids, the teachers are experienced and know how to run great Sundays. The guest minister was our student minister long ago and will tell a great story, so there! They don't even need me. Which is just as it should be.
My weekend isn't just work, I've also planned two little interactive worship services with spaces for folks from the REC to plan two more. There are hike and hot tub slots. What I learned from Helen Bishop at RE Leadership school is that some of the best work happens over dinner and on the walks and while the dishes are being done. So if we toss some workshops, oh well.
My boys? Well their weekend includes a challenge course, a talent no talent show, dying hair (but if you've watched the rick-rolling video I posted earlier, you know that my youngest already HAS bright red hair) and so much great UU young teen bonding that they always come home buzzing with joy and radiating love and peace.
So, when we're all back together on Sunday evening, and the wrecked up car has a new hood, I have a hunch I'll be just so deeply grateful for my faith, and my church, and my community and my family. But then I guess I already am.