water

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