On the Path

July 2024
by Rev. Bill Gupton, Senior Minister

It is a little-known fact that, for many years – generations, in fact – Unitarian churches, particularly in New England, where American Unitarianism was born and first flourished, were closed for the summer. That’s right; church actually took the summer off. Never mind that babies were born, people died, marriages were celebrated, people lost jobs or got new jobs or had to put mother into a nursing home or moved, themselves, into a new house or a new relationship… People’s needs for care and compassion and community are not tied to a calendar, or a season.

Yet the strange practice of closing church for the summer was quite prevalent in Unitarianism, and later Unitarian Universalism. For a few years, in the late 20th century, Heritage Church even tried it out – closing for the month of August. When I arrived at Heritage in 2002, in fact, some longer-term members still found it strange that we had Sunday services in August. But I’m sure glad we went back to 52 weeks of church each year. Certainly, overall attendance goes down a bit during the summer, as people take vacations and kids are out of school. Certainly, everyone deserves a break – including yours truly, and the other staff at Heritage – but we can, and do, arrange for church life to continue unabated when we are inevitably, for a few weeks a year, “out of the office.”

This month, I will be away. At times, Laci and/or Martha will also be away. The Choir takes the summer off. But, we continue to hold Sunday morning services, have group meetings and programming, and take care of our building – as well as one another. That’s what a community does. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I look forward to seeing you again in August – the month that, just a generation ago, HUUC was closed! In the meantime, stay safe, stay cool (literally), spread the Love that is the spirit of this church – and remember to collect some water for our annual Ingathering Sunday Water Ceremony on Aug. 25. Love ya!

Rev. Bill