Director

This summer at Wildflower our focus is on REST. 

We’ve got a lot of healing and restoration to do as a congregation. That’s hard to do when operating in overdrive. It’s also hard to focus on nurturing our relationships as a community when we don’t have the time nor bandwidth to.

What does rest mean? Here’s some guiding words from the book Rest is Resistance: A Manifesto by Tricia Hersey. She says:

Rest must be practiced daily until it becomes our foundation.

Resting can look like: 

  • Closing your eyes for ten minutes. 
  • A longer shower in silence. 
  • Meditating on the couch for twenty minutes. 
  • Daydreaming by staring out of a window. 
  • Sipping warm tea before bed in the dark. 
  • Slow dancing with yourself to slow music. 
  • Experiencing a Sound Bath or other sound healing. 
  • A Sun Salutation. 
  • A twenty-minute timed nap. 
  • Praying. Crafting a small altar for your home. 
  • A long, warm bath. 
  • Taking regular breaks from social media. 
  • Not immediately responding to texts and emails. 
  • Deep listening to a full music album. 
  • A meditative walk in nature. 
  • Knitting, crocheting, sewing, and quilting. 
  • Playing a musical instrument. 
  • Deep eye contact. 
  • Laughing intensely. 

OUR SUMMER CONGREGATION-WIDE READING LIST

  • We Heal Together: Rituals and Practices for Building Community and Connection by Michelle Cassandra Johnson
  • You Are Not Alone by Alphabet Rockers (picture book)

Both titles are available at your favorite online and local bookstores, the UUA bookstore, and the public library (including its Libby App). These are slow reads, to be read a little at a time, process, journal, reflect, and discuss with others.


OUR SUMMER ACTION: WATER

  • In the month of June, CYRE will be collecting supplies for our unsheltered neighbors. In early July, children and youth will assemble the supplies into packets that the congregation can give out to those in need of care. Here is the list of supplies that we are collecting if you’re interested in contributing!
  • Keep our community hydrated. Be it unhoused neighbors, service and utilities workers, pets, elderly, family, or friends, a cool drink of water is a summer kindness. We encourage everyone to keep spare bottles of water to share with the people and pets in our community as needed. (Bonus: freeze a few bottles to give away so you can offer a cool drink during a hot day or night).
  • Pick up trash whenever you are outside to help keep our rivers, lakes, and streams free of debris.

OUR SUMMER WORSHIP

Sunday worship services held at 11:45 am (Zoom link is available of our website’s home page):

JUNE 

Our worship services will explore the theme of JOY OF COMMUNITY. 

Our  Wildflower band’s music theme for the month is “Born this Way” by Lady Gaga (Orville Peck version).

  • June 2:  “Higher Love” a celebration of Queer Joy! We welcomed back the Extragrams for a Drag Church Service.  We’ll also read and be inspired by the picture book You Really, Truly Do Belong written by Gina Casazza and Illustrated by Lia Ampleva. With our potluck social in the Community Room, followed by our congregation’s annual meeting.
  • June 9 (on Zoom): “Part of the Whole.” What happens when we struggle to find our place in a community, to balance our individual journeys with the needs of the whole? Bettina Lehovec will lead us in an interactive lay-led service.
  • June 16 (blended): Flower Ceremony. Sometimes referred to as Flower Communion or Flower Festival, is an annual ritual that celebrates beauty, human uniqueness, diversity, and community. In this ceremony, everyone in the congregation brings a flower. We collectively bless the flowers, and they’re redistributed, with each person bringing home a different flower than the one they brought. Our flower ceremony coincides this year with the celebration week of Juneteenth. Joy is our human birthright and this month we celebrate the palpable joy felt in our Texas communities and beyond. We celebrate Black Joy as one of the beautiful flowers that makes our bouquet of Wildflowers complete.
  • June 23 (blended): Singing Bowl Sound Bath for the Summer Solstice. We celebrate this time of reflection, nourishment, and rest as guest worship leader Sandee Conroy aka the Singing Bowl Lady offers a chance to “be bowled” with a crystal singing bowl sound bath.
  • June 30 (on Zoom): The joy of our connection to the wider UU community, join us for a virtual watch party of the Sunday Worship Service of the UUA General Assembly (our denomination’s annual conference).

JULY AND AUGUST:

Our services will have a noticeably different feel for the summer, with an intergenerational focus centering our services on Time for All Ages and music to guide our personal reflections and connections to the themes of the month (TFAA and music are our summer sermons). 

You’ll also notice that some of the music and readings will repeat throughout the month, offering us a chance to deepen our experience with them. 

Our Zoom tech may also be a little different to accommodate for summer vacation and travel schedules, family needs, the heat of the day, and more importantly rest for the team. 

While we love variety at Wildflower, to make that happen means the worship team, mostly filled by volunteers, has a lot of busy, ever-changing work to do every week. (Did you know that there are over 20 roles/tasks needed every Sunday to produce our blended services?) We want to be able to function with a slightly smaller team, so that they have a little space to relax and be fully present enjoying the worship services for themselves. 

We’ll also pause our potluck and popcorn after services in exchange for popsicles and meaningful connections after Sunday services.

  • JULY: Our worship services will explore the theme of WATER. Our Wildflower band’s music theme for the month is “Happy” as performed by Pharrell. (Special water play after service on July 28.)
  • AUGUST: Our worship services will explore the theme of CARING AND SHARING. Our  Wildflower band’s music theme for the month is “Rise Again” as performed by the Urban Voices Project. (Special Back to School celebration on August 18.)

And SAVE THE DATE for the annual WATER COMMUNION held on Sunday, September 1.


In closing, I leave you with the wise words of the author and Nap Ministry Bishop, Tricia Hersey:

“You were not just born to center your entire existence on work and labor. You were born to heal, to grow, to be of service to yourself and community, to practice, to experiment, to create, to have space, to dream, and to connect.”

Tricia Hersey

I hope as we refresh and rest that this summer yields deeper relationships within our congregation, and that our nurtured spirits allow us to collectively heal and grow as a community.

Peace,

~ Simone

Simone Monique Barnes
Director of Membership and Spiritual Life
Wildflower UU Church, Austin TX

Milestone Sunday, May 19, 2024 recognizing the milestones of both our Wildflower church community, and the milestones of our 2024 Wildflower HS Scholarship recipients (open to graduating seniors of Travis ECHS).

Dearest Wildflowers,

The time has come for me to wrap up my affiliation as community minister for the church. Please join me at church on Sunday, May 19, so we can honor and celebrate our 9 years of ministry together — two when I was your intern minister and 7 as the affiliated community ministry — as well as milestones in others’ lives, such as graduations and retirements. May 19 is Milestone Sunday! I look forward to honoring and celebrating our time together. Please watch this video for more from me, and know I won’t be far away, since I will stay in relationship with the church via my leadership of the Texas UU Justice Ministry, my band Parker Woodland‘s music ministry, and my daughter’s role in the Wildflower youth group. It’s just time to make room for the next chapter for Wildflower — and for me to streamline my commitments for the sake of sustainability in my own life.

Thank you so much for these beautiful years of spiritual affiliation! I will have more to say and share on May 19th.

In love, justice and joy,

Rev. Erin Walter (she/her)

erin@txuujm.org

Rev Erin Walter: A message about closure for my affiliated community ministry

A note from Wildflower: Sign our group e-card to Rev. Erin Walter

If you would like to share words of gratitude, encouragement, or love with Erin, please do so using this e-card: https://www.groupgreeting.com/sign/fa347ded9783b69

This month our worship services explore the topic of CELEBRATION. 

Celebrations are important because they give us opportunities to:

  • Appreciate ourselves
  • Appreciate those in our lives and in our community
  • Take note of how far we’ve come
  • Make memories
  • Reflect
  • Be present
  • Inspire others
  • Find community
  • Mark the passage of time

Join us for our upcoming Sunday worship services held at 11:45 am (Zoom link is available on our website’s home page) and other community gatherings in May.

  • Sunday, May 5th, 11:45 am, (hybrid): “Joy of Joy.” Wildflower’s mission is growing spiritually together, spreading love, justice, and joy! Join us as we celebrate World Laughter Day with Laughter Yoga and other joy practices. We will also celebrate welcoming our newest members of the congregation. Stay afterwards for our popcorn social in the Community Room. (Speaker: Simone Monique Barnes)
  • Wednesday, May 8th, 7 pm (on Zoom and Livestream) DRUUM Public Worship Service, “Choosing Joy! Living with Intentionality and Purpose.” Discover how a joyful heart can be your sanctuary, even when spirits are tested. A celebration of resilience, purpose, and the healing power of joy. (Guest Preacher: Rev Ali K.C. Bell, Director of Music: Saunder Choi, Liturgist: Rev. Carol Thomas Cissel.) Wildflower is one of the sponsoring congregations of this public worship of DRUUM (Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries). For the Zoom link or Livestream, RSVP on DRUUM’s website https://www.druumm.org/events/
  • Sunday, May 12th, 11:45 am (on Zoom): “Celebrating Transformation on the Path” On this day, we look to Buddhist teachings and practices as a source of inspiration and celebration, as many Buddhists observe Buddha’s Birthday (also known as Vesak or Wesak) this month (Speaker: Sarah Riehl)
  • Sunday, May 19th, 11:45 am (hybrid): Milestone Sunday! On this day we gather together to celebrate the many milestones of our community, such as graduations, recipients of our scholarship program with Travis ECHS, career milestones, and much more. Want to share a milestone with the congregation? Complete this form. (Speaker: Simone Monique Barnes and others). Stay afterwards for our potluck (and bring your favorite dish, entree, or snack to share)
  • Sunday, May 26th, 11:45 am (hybrid): We celebrate joy with our guest preacher of the day, Rev. Krista Weber Huang

During our social hour after services on the 1st and 3rd Sundays in the Community Room, look for our new table talk conversation starters prompts, to help spark meaningful conversations on the theme of the day.

And, speaking of celebrating our community, our 2nd offerings this season will focus on deepening our connection and relationships with the youth, educators, and families of our neighborhood and the Travis ECHS community.

We will also have a special offering for DRUUM (Diverse & Revolutionary UU Multicultural Ministries), which we support as a congregation, which aids in their good work, public worship, and much needed good trouble in our world.

Lots to celebrate!

In closing, the vibrations are still resonating from last month’s service celebrating the music and message of Prince, which was so rich with the diverse gifts of the congregation and the community, with LOVE being our master plan (love, not dogma, policies, politics, nor anything else that divides us; only love), and amplified by the many other iterations of love that we uplifted in April, I leave you with these simple, yet wise words of the Purple One:

“Instead of hate, celebrate.”

Prince

In joyful celebration,

~ Simone

Simone Monique Barnes
Director of Membership and Spiritual Life
Wildflower UU Church, Austin TX

Congratulations on your achievements! From infants to adults, we want to celebrate you! Our Milestone Sunday Service will be held Sunday, May 19th, 2024, at 11:45 am.

Please let us know about important milestones for which we should recognize you or someone else.

We want to celebrate your graduations, moving up ceremonies, retirements, awards, and more. Please submit this form by Sunday, May 12, 2024.

(Note: During this service we will also recognize our three Travis ECHS scholarship recipients!)

Wildflower will be welcoming our newest church members on Sunday, May 5, during the 11:45 am CT worship service!

Are you interested in becoming a member? We’d love to support you in your journey and pathway to membership. Questions? Let us know at membership@wildflowerchurch.org

(For those who complete their new members orientation after May 5th, our next New Member Ceremony will occur in the fall/winter 2024.)