Minister's Column


  Pastor Kathy Rickey.jpg

Reverend Kathy Rickey  

 

Reverend Kathy is available by appointment on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.   On Thursdays, she will be available 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., except the third Thursday of the month.  Friday will be Reverend Kathy’s sermon-writing day, and Tuesday will be her day off.   Reverend Kathy's email: revk2rickey@gmail.com


A NOTE FROM OUR MINISTER:   The Summer Months and Hospitality

“Welcoming people to our congregations isn’t a duty; it’s a way to encounter                                                          the mystery and wonder of life.”   --David Rynick 

June, July, and August tend to be sleepy times for Florida residents. It’s hot and muggy, school is out, seasonal people have returned north, even the tourist industry slows down. Program-wise, things slow down a bit in our congregation, too. The choir is on hiatus while other committees and groups take a break. I will be on study leave for the month of July. However, that doesn’t mean that Sunday worship services will slow down. In fact, the Worship Committee steps into high gear and works hard to give you quality services on Sunday mornings throughout the summer months. 

Did you know that summer is also the time of year in which many people do their church-shopping?  Many people, many of them families, who are seeking a religious home or are seeking to change their religious home do so during the summer months.  Thus, we as a congregation must do our best to roll out the red carpet for visitors.  Remember “Be Our Guest,” that wonderful song from Disney’s version of Beauty and the Beast:

Be our guest,
Be our guest,
Put our service to the test.
Tie your napkin 'round your neck, cherie
And we provide the rest!

When I try to explain or embody this kind of hospitality, I visualize a concierge at a five-star hotel.  He or she is gracious and helpful to whoever approaches yet is neither overly familiar nor overly aloof.  A concierge accepts with an open curiosity and without assumptions people as they come.  Concierges in five-star hotels, particularly those international ones, cannot afford to make assumptions because of the wide variety of people they serve every day in terms of nationality, culture, language, and so forth.

Congregations and religious institutions are quasi-public places. These days there is an element of risk inherent in that fact.  However, we must also understand that even though a terrible foe might darken our doors, the risk is very, very low such an occasion will present itself.  By and large, our congregational life is a safe one; with the precautions we take on Sunday mornings, we can have confidence that potential friends, not foes enter our premises.

For our congregation to be hospitable, we must all practice hospitality.  David Rynick, quoted above, sees hospitality as a spiritual practice — one which calls us to be open to possibility, to be willing to engage in an encounter with another human being who is unknown to us yet who can surprise and enlarge us by their presence.  This requires both our courage and our faith.  Only until we can embody this kind of hospitality, will we become a truly diverse congregation. Let us practice hospitality this summer.                                                                                                                                                     

    Yours in faith,                                                     
                                                                                                                                  Rev. Kathy                                                                                                                                                                           

Following the 1968 UUA General Assembly most African-Americans left our congregations over what became known as the Empowerment Controversy.  For a summary of these events, I encourage you to read “Not Our Finest Hour.”  Rev. Kathy Rickey