In the Interim: Reverend Terry Sweetser

Thank you for the honor of serving this historic congregation. Thank you for your loving work to sustain it. Thank you for daring to try and sometimes fail along with me. Thank you for seeking to find what really needs to be done and trying to do it.

Here’s what I know:
●     We have a dedicated core of members and friends who can and do pull off amazing feats: Rummage - Comedy Night, Carnival - on a scale beyond the imagination of much larger congregations.
●     We have committed leaders on the standing committee yes, but also in every nook and cranny of need - rentals, Sunday morning team leaders, fund raising, adult education, Camp Starfish, campus maintenance, and even into the corners of the kitchen on rotted tiles.
●     We have a talented staff - a remarkable music director who makes the organ thrill, the choirs swell and the minister look good; an engaging administrator who knows your name, helps you succeed and loves us toward wholeness; a willing sexton who battles snow, irons wax from carpets and does what needs to be done with a smile.

Here’s what I think:
●     We need more people to sustain us into the future.
●     We need to attract young families to have a critical mass for children and youth programming.
●     We need to continue innovative worship to make Sunday services more attractive.
●     We need to get the good word out more broadly about why we love this congregation.
●     We need to be more sticky with our visitors (find more ways to help them stick around).

Here’s what we’ve done:
●     Managed a significant staff reduction (loss of a full time religious professional).
●     Improved staff morale.
●     Increased Sunday staff support by have the administrator and Sexton present and supporting our Sunday programming.
●     Increased giving and reversed a downward trend in financial commitment.
●     Expanded social media outreach exponentially (doubled Facebook likes and reached 50,000+ people in a 3 mile radius of UUSWH).
●     Created a complete video archive of all Sunday Services for the church year (
●     Installed high speed wifi internet access throughout the campus.
●     Launched an acclaimed Ministerial Search Committee.
●     Embraced theme oriented worship that celebrates our unique community.
●     And so much more.

Here is a partial “To Do” List for Church Year 2017-2018:
●     Establish a data base
●     Call a new minister
●     Launch a new half time religious educator
●     And more!

Here are some interesting factoids about 2016-2017
●     Attendance has been relatively constant.

●     The demographics of our zip code are weighted toward our target audience.


Thematic Worship:

The Worship Concept for UUSWH in 2016-2017: has been: “A community of…”

UU religious community is a precious gift. Within it, we find values and questions that are rarely encountered elsewhere in our lives. Values and issues that push us, ground us and remind us who we most deeply are. Together we have asked: What do we find when we gather? And what can we share with the world?

Our monthly themes have been:

A community of…
September: Covenant
October: Healing
November: Story
December: Presence
January: Prophecy
February: Identity
March: Risk
April: Transformation
May: Embodiment
June: Zest

In our next church year we explore the question, “What does it mean to be a people of ...” Together we will ask what values and issues push us, ground us and remind us who we most deeply are?

2017-2018 Themes:

What does it mean to be a people of…
• September: Welcome
• October: Courage
• November: Abundance
• December: Hope
• January: Intention
• February: Perseverance
• March: Balance
• April: Emergence
• May: Creativity
• June: Blessing

September: Welcome
Relevant Dates: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Fall Equinox, Homecoming Sunday, Water Communion, Labor Day, 9/11 Anniversary, National Hispanic Heritage Month, start of school for many
Lectionary Highlights: Binding of Isaac, creation, jacob’s dream
Related Themes to weave in: diversity, belonging (welcome)

October: Courage
Relevant Dates: LGBT History Month, National Coming Out Day, Indigenous People's Day, National Hispanic Heritage Month, Halloween, Samhain, United Nations Day, AIDS Awareness Month, Autumn Equinox, Michael Servetus’ birthday.
Lectionary Highlights: Samuel, God’s manna, “I am” and the courage to hear God’s voice, Related Themes to weave in: sanctuary, calling, strength (dare)

November: Abundance
Relevant Dates: All Saints/Souls Day, Election Day (US), Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, World Kindness Day, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Adoption Awareness Month , Native American Heritage month, Alzheimer's Awareness Month
Lectionary Highlights: God speaks into the silence, Amos-”let justice roll”,
Related Themes to weave in: gratitude, sight, perception (feast)

December: Hope

Relevant Dates: Advent, Hanukkah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, World AIDS Day, Human Rights Day,
Lectionary Highlights: dry bones, fiery furnace, Xmas
Related Themes to weave in: renewal, possibility, anticipation (hope)

January: Intention
Relevant Dates: New Year's, Martin Luther King Day, Epiphany, Rowe v. Wade Anniversary, 30 Days of Love campaign of Standing on the Side of Love,
Lectionary Highlights: Nicodemus, Jesus cleanses the temple, water to wine, baptism of Jesus
Related Themes to weave in: attention, awareness, discernment, preparation, renewal, resolve, witness, (plan, prepare, commit)

February: Perseverance
Relevant Dates : Black History Month, Valentine's Day, 30 Days of Love campaign of Standing on the Side of Love , Ash Wednesday, Lent, Random Acts of Kindness Week, Groundhog Day, Lectionary Highlights: lazarus rising from the dead, man born blind, women at the well, transfiguration, foot washing
Related Themes to weave in: (keep going, persist)

March: Balance
Relevant Dates: Women's History Month, Lent, Spring Equinox, Purim, Passover
Lectionary Highlights: Pilate, Maundy Thursday, Peter’s denial
Related Themes to weave in: wholeness, humility (balance)

April : Emergence
Relevant Dates: Easter, Passover, Earth Day, Arab American Heritage Month, Siblings Day, Stress Awareness Month
Lectionary Highlights: easter, empty tomb, Paul’s conversion
Related Themes to weave in: (arise, bloom)

May: Creativity
Relevant Dates: Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Ramadan begins, Beltane, May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Jewish American Heritage Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, high school and college graduations
Lectionary Highlights: pentecost, ascension, paul in prison,
Related Themes to weave in: (create)

June: Blessing
Relevant Dates: Father's Day, Summer Solstice, Flower Communion, Ramadan ends, LGBT Pride Month, month of weddings and camps
Lectionary Highlights:
Related Themes to weave in: (bless)

See you in church!