At the end of last month I went to the third annual ‘Nevertheless She Preached’ conference which was held in Austin. There were 5 Unitarian Universalists there, one Rabbi, a few men, a few lay persons, and the rest were all Christian female ministers. We had three worship services, three presentations, and two panel discussions, and a slam poetry evening. It was very much safe space, and very refreshing to be among so many women of faith claiming their voices. The voices were prophetic, pastoral, and sometimes radical.
I don’t get to Austin much, even though many people tell me I should and they’re surprised I don’t, and that I don’t live there. Since it’s often called Weird Austin I do wonder what that says about their opinion of me?! I guess really what they mean is that it is known as the most progressive city in Texas, so I would find my kindred souls there. We were at Trinity Baptist Church, where I was surprised for it to be the most ‘welcoming’ Baptist church I’ve ever seen, truly did not realize it could exist. Instead of the naming the types of people to welcome, especially GLBTQIA (I Intersex, A Asexual) and abilities, etc., people, they just say All People, All People, All People.
What most surprised me on this trip was the amount of homeless people. We were downtown and I parked near the Salvation Army buildings. There were so many people living literally on the streets in that area, and so many on 6th street. I wondered if the several churches downtown on Trinity Street had homeless ministries. I wondered about the Baptist Church saying All People, All People, All People.
The Sacred Space Team has their first meeting this Sunday after church with the architect we have contracted with, Brian Gibbs from the Arkitex Studio in Bryan. As we begin working together to create our new church home, I wonder about how welcoming we can be to ‘All People, All People, All People’. We had a big meeting a few weeks ago with the Greeting, Radical Hospitality, and Worship Assistant Teams. We are looking at how we can be more welcoming. Joe Daigle, Vicki Carter and I also look at the worship experience itself. We would like to bring more voices and variety into worship. We have three requests. If you could help in any of these ways, please be in touch with us. We really need a regular pianist/accompanist. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please send that info to Joe. If you who have children and youth know they would be interested in occasionally participating in doing worship, please be in touch with Vicki. I am interested in anyone lending their voice and opinions about worship – if that’s you, please talk to me. I would love to have a worship brainstorming, planning team.
I would also like to have help with adult specific evening or Sunday after church religious education. I am offering a monthly Covenant Group, and a monthly conversation on White Supremacy Culture. I also keep coffee shop hours on Friday mornings.
Nancy Deer and John Faber are working on having a better online presence, and looking at ways to have online participation. John and I are looking at ways to have more young adults participate in our church.
We are also starting a youth group, and had our first planning meeting yesterday. Please talk to Vicki Carter if you know youth who might be interested.
This is a busy vibrant church! Much gratitude to all who participate!
Keeping the Faith,