The Summer of 2003

by Mike Roberts, Church Historian

We are now well into Summer 2018. As you read this, you probably have already decided which fireworks show to see, where to do your picnic and whether or not the lowly Reds are worth watching. Members of Heritage UU Church were involved in such planning 15 years ago. What was happening in our congregation in the Summer of ’03?

The June topics for sermons were: Ralph Waldo Emerson; an explanation of the meaning of our flaming chalice; and campus ministry and UU (all presented by Reverend Bill Gupton), as well as a celebration of the summer solstice by Suzanne Epperson and friends; and, on June 30, a hymn sing led by Clay Pendergrass.

There was also a Town Hall Meeting on June 8, led by Board President Melissa Rockenfield. Some members attended a leadership training exercise in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Rising 9th graders joined with St. John’s UU for a Friday the 13th Lock-In. The Board of Trustees for 2003-2004 were announced as Chris Burroughs, Beth Coulson, Sara Curtis, Sam Gamble, Melissa Rockenfield, Mark Scheid, Tamara Smith, Neal Watzman and Garry Wilson.

Reverend Bill Gupton was on vacation in July and guest sermons included “Imagine There’s No Heaven: Some Thoughts from Salman Rushdie by Barb Rohrer and Sam Gamble; the summer picnic held at Woodland Mound Park hosted by Neal Watzman and the Heritage Men’s Group; and “No Place Like Home” by Peg Fay Feder. July’s book club selection hosted by Barb Barnes was “The Sparrow” by Mary Doria Russell. Donations were being accepted for a medical relief mission to Ecuador sponsored by the Lexington, Kentucky UU Church. Barb Rohrer represented our church on that mission. Workshops were being planned from the Welcoming Congregation Committee chaired by Kathy Nalepa.

For August, the Sunday sermons included “The Loose Leaf Bible” by Bill Lyon; “On Principle,” a look at our seven principles by Rev. Gupton; a report on the Boston General Assembly by Rev. Bill; “For Praying Out Loud” by Annie Foerster; and, “Letting Go Your Ticket,” a whimsical look at ticketless travel by Rev. Bill. The traditional end-of-summer water ceremony was held on September 7.

In August, Donna and Mark Buckley were hosting a Jimmy Buffett Pool Party as a prelude to the church’s first ever auction later in the fall. Also, Sam and Barb Gamble hosted a Roadhouse Barbecue on August 30th. Among actions at the Board of Trustees meeting, Sam Gamble was elected President and Keith Armstrong was appointed to serve as the liaison between the church and Anderson Township on the new bike path to be constructed next to our property.

While much good was being accomplished at our Newtown Road Church, world events were generally in turmoil during that summer. George Bush had declared major fighting was concluded in Iraq on May 1st but the fighting was only increasing by the end of the summer. Lance Armstrong won his fifth straight Tour de France under a cloud of doping accusations. NASA was struggling to overcome the Columbia disaster. Gasoline cost an average of $1.83 per gallon. Fifty million people were plunged into the dark in the largest blackout in U.S. history. And, finally, the Reds finished with 69 wins and 93 losses in 2003. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Image: Back patio view of Heritage UU Church