Bob Perry, our Youth Advisor for the past eleven years, has made a tremendous contribution to the high school youth group. During those years a lot has happened in his life—he and Candice were married, he completed graduate education to prepare to teach, he got a job at Eagle Hill School where he’s been teaching for a few years—and he’s eleven years older!
We owe Bob a significant debt of gratitude. His decision to move from the youth room into the sanctuary on Sunday mornings has not only opened up the Youth Advisor position, but it has prompted important discussion about the future of the youth group and youth programming in general.
Leaders in the high school group are planning a special service for Saturday, June 4 at 8 p.m. It will include the ‘rubbing of the hands,’ which is the youth group’s version of applause. You’re invited to ‘put your hands together’ for Bob.
Our seventh-grade Neighboring Faiths class is working on their presentation for the annual religious education Sunday service on June 5 at 10 a.m. (Remember that we go to one service in June, July and August.) The seventh graders have had a rich experience visiting neighboring congregations, including Jewish, Catholic, Evangelical, Buddhist, and a Native American sweat lodge experience. They’re looking forward to telling you a little about it, in their own way.
The committee working to hire a Social Justice Director has begun the actual search for someone who will lead a program to fulfill our mission ‘to act for social justice by empowering individuals and the whole congregation for social witness.’ It will be a half-time position, paying $30,000 to $45,000, depending on experience and leadership skills.
This position is made possible through a generous gift from Jan Park. We have no doubt that her generosity will inspire all of us to get more involved in meaningful, hands-on social justice work as well as ongoing financial support. The initial start-up grant will support the position for four or five years, by which time it will have become rooted in our soil.
In addition to hiring a Social Justice Director, the committee is working with the Social Action Committee to map out a plan to expand SAC into a Social Justice Steering Committee to work with the new director, one another, and all of our members—including the young people who are involved in our religious education programs. Commitment to social justice is an essential part of anything deserving the name religious education.
Speaking of work for justice, our Habitat For Humanity group has formed a new coalition with seven other congregations and plans are under way to build another house in Bridgeport next spring. You’ll be hearing more about it, soon.
This is an exciting time for our congregation, and a very gratifying time for me as Senior Minister of this dynamic, challenging band of traveling souls. I’m glad you are part of it. Thanks!