Reflections from Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout.

 

July 2016

July "Weaving Worship" from theresa rohlck, Worship Associate and Rev. Gail Geisenhainer, Senior Minister

This past December theresa received as a gift a little toy loom. The frame snaps together into a square, and it comes with a bag of stretchy colorful loops. You stretch the loops across, in one direction, then with a small crochet hook, weave other loops in and out, in the other direction. Once the weaving fills the square, it is time to tie off the ends and celebrate having created a multi-colored pot-holder. As she and Rev. Gail reflected on writing July's Weaving Worship for the newsletter, that loom and the brightly colored loops came to mind. 

Two guest preachers anchor the weave for July. Our Director of Worship and Music will speak about how we weave worship. Then, alongside our Senior Minister, we will enter into the conversation of how we intertwine the elements of worship through the Question Box model (send your theological questions to Rev Gail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Finally, on Sunday, July 31, we will tie off the ends of our weaving as we co-create the final service of worship with our 12th Senior Minister. After the service on that day, we will share a sheet cake and bid Rev. Gail and Celeste farewell on their trek into retirement. What makes worship for our Congregation is the interweaving of many voices. Your presence co-creates the weave. Come! Let us be fully present to one another!

 

June 2016

Rites of Transition

June "Weaving Worship" from theresa rohlck, Worship Associate

 June. Daylight now extends over 14 hours. Many, especially those on academic calendars, and families with children soon to be out of school, are experiencing the transition to new routines that come with the season. We too as a Congregation have shifted down a gear, back to one service on Sundays for the next few months; the Chalice Singers, Sparks, and Bells are all taking time away from intense rehearsals, to breathe in different rhythms.  Worship leaders rotate in and out and increased lay leadership on Sundays shapes our summer.

 
With June comes General Assembly (GA). As I prepare for my first GA at the end of the month, I find myself trying to articulate my own Credo, anchored in our Words of Affirmation. I am also reflecting on the fact that I never had the chance as a ninth grader to write a Credo, the way the ninth graders in this Congregation have been doing this past year. They will mark this Coming of Age transition on Sunday, June 12, when they will deliver their Credos from the pulpit, and we will listen and learn. I wonder, what would I have written when I was their age? What would you have written?

All are welcomed to engage in the moments of transition in the life of this Congregation. Come, listen, and learn, as we embark on summer worship together.

In May's beginning, our Congregation will ordain assistant minister Lindasusan Ulrich. By May's end, we will have begun our summer worship schedule of one weekly service of worship.

In early June, we celebrate our high-school graduates as they prepare the transition to their lives' next stages. The very next week, we devote worship to hear the emerging voices of our 9th-grade Coming of Age students in an annual Credo service.

And this year, the Congregation adds the retirement of our Senior Minister to a time of motion, of change.

This season brings a gift of opportunity to seek sources of new growth, to acknowledge the pivotal moments that change the courses of lives, to hone a vision before next steps. As we gather for worship in May and June, we offer our attention to the rites of transition-the many ways we celebrate, acknowledge, grieve, learn, re-focus, grow up in seasons of great change.

The Worship Planning Team at UUAA strives to grow a collaborative conversation of worship. Your visit, your return, your reflection, your voice is very welcome here.

Glen Thomas

 

Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout

UUAA Director of Worship & Music

May 2016

Rites of Transition

In May's beginning, our Congregation will ordain assistant minister Lindasusan Ulrich. By May's end, we will have begun our summer worship schedule of one weekly service of worship.

In early June, we celebrate our high-school graduates as they prepare the transition to their lives' next stages. The very next week, we devote worship to hear the emerging voices of our 9th-grade Coming of Age students in an annual Credo service.

And this year, the Congregation adds the retirement of our Senior Minister to a time of motion, of change.

This season brings a gift of opportunity to seek sources of new growth, to acknowledge the pivotal moments that change the courses of lives, to hone a vision before next steps. As we gather for worship in May and June, we offer our attention to the rites of transition-the many ways we celebrate, acknowledge, grieve, learn, re-focus, grow up in seasons of great change.

The Worship Planning Team at UUAA strives to grow a collaborative conversation of worship. Your visit, your return, your reflection, your voice is very welcome here.

April, 2016

What Do You Notice?
On the cusp of a season changing to another, I have made a practice of sketching verses in my journal to remember what I noticed in those days of rapid change. This spring:

Heavy coats find pockets of dry and rest.
Impatient tulips preview the purple they plan on wearing in a few weeks.
Gravel-peppered snow mounds (once resistant to snow plows) retire on the Huron to weave warm April rain.
Revival of colors you forgot the ground could make, blizzards translated into mounds of memory.
Another earthen resurrection.

Just as any Michigan spring, of course. Different from the rest.

How do you engage the practice of taking deeper notice? How do you strengthen your capacity for reflection? How do we hone these vital tools of living within ourselves, our community, our world? Let us learn from each other.

For April's worship, we focus the question: "What do you notice?"

Leading this month's worship conversation: Rev. Gail R. Geisenhainer

March, 2016

With ongoing covenants, focus can fade.
The need to re-build them arises.
In March, we craft worship with 'renewal' in mind.  

Leading this month's worship conversation:
Rev. Gail R. Geisenhainer, Senior Minister
Dr. Glen Thomas Rideout, Director of Worship and Music
theresa rohlck, Worship Associate
Lindasusan Ulrich, M.Div., Assistant Minister
YRUU (Young Religious Unitarian Universalists)
 
 

February, 2016

 
For February, we focus the practice of...well, practice.
Let's talk "Soul Food."

January, 2016

Our calendar calls us to help grow a new year.
Let us tend with care.

New hands weave wider our 150-year-old circle.
New covenants wait in last year’s learning.
New pilgrimage walks on the edge of the ancestors’ path.
New balance whispers wisdom in the wind just behind.

In January’s worship, we mind the practice of generations.
All of you is welcome here, as we gather once again.

December, 2015

The conversation of worship we called October
 reminds each of our hands to hold others, to focus on a religion of covenants.  

The worship we named November
calls each of our feet to step closer to love, to mind a pilgrimage of justice in this faith.  

Now, we walk with December, teaching hands and steps and voices wisdom from repose.

Now, with brief, lighted holy days, sprawling starry lullabies on ebony evening silence.

December is a Michigan sun reaching its rest, the next 
step in earth's ancient story of balance.

--- 

In December's worship,
we mind the practice of rest and balance.
All of you are welcome here,  
as we gather again for worship.  
 
 

November, 2015

I left the church at 7:15 this evening, hopped into the tiny sedan of a certain Melissa. I was intent on a slow dog walk at home; she, on an explanation. She apologized for the delay. She just couldn't find where I was. I made little of it, but Melissa was adamant. She was accustomed to knowing the city with confidence. She'd lived here for thirty-five years, she told me, driven a school bus for the previous twelve. Now an Uber driver, she baffled at just how unfamiliar the roads seemed to her once fall hit. "There's something about it getting darker at 6:10pm that just throws me."

I had just been filing papers in my office until I was sure 6:30 had come. I glimpsed the clock for confirmation of my masterful conductor-ly timing, only to discover I had overshot the mark by half an hour!

In solidarity and in seconds, we waxed the biggest questions we could fit into a cab ride:
  • How do familiar ways suddenly perplex us when the sun wanes?
  • How can you know a road for years, and with blackened skies, instantly not.
"It's certainly not easy," I offered.
"It seems, if you to drive in Michigan, you have to learn the whole state twice."

So often, those of us with the privilege of seeing eyes learn to lean on light
to see, to decide the next turn.  
  • What strength can be gained when present sight dims a larger vision?
  • What does a dark night's journey teach us about roads we thought we knew?  
  • How can we possibly handle unanticipated turns?
  • Where on earth would we even begin?
Together, throughout November's worship, we focus the practice of pilgrimage,
    weaving beloved community into our walks for justice,
growing wisdom to learn well at new corners,
to learn together,
to learn the road again.