Hello Dear Heritage Friends,
To the questions, “Where’s The Other Bill?” or “Why is he so seldom at Heritage?” or “What has Bill Lyon been up to?” … here’s an update. It was less than two years ago that I shared with the congregation that I was working toward a Master of Divinity degree through one of our UU seminaries (Meadville Lombard). Here I am with one more academic year to go.
In the summer of 2022, I was enrolled in a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) through Hebrew Union College. That coincided with serving as a student chaplain at Jewish Hospital. It was a truly amazing and humbling experience.
During the 2022-23 academic year, I continued taking courses at Meadville Lombard while also serving as the Ministerial Intern at the UU Church of Lexington. That had me in Lexington on most Sundays where I participated in worship and church activities roughly 20 hours a week in total. I preached about once a month. That pattern will resume for the coming year.
Over the summer, I was “off” from my normal duties there. That allowed me to “sneak” back into Heritage a couple of times. It also provided for some very rich UU-related experiences over this past summer. Along with several of you, I attend the General Assembly in Pittsburgh. I was seen “bouncing” between my “three congregations” (HUUC, UUCL, and my cohort at the seminary). I also participated in the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association (which was a first for me). I was welcomed “with a rose” to their fold as a “Candidate Minister.”
Our family attended the Midwest UU Summer Assembly which I had been unable to attend for three years due to the pandemic and my chaplaincy work last summer. Then, it was off to Western New York for a week at The Chautauqua Institution. I attended courtesy of the UU Fellowship there as the recipient of their Chautauqua Award. Barb and I had always wanted to attend. I didn’t expect that my first time would be as a speaker/preacher. I served as their minister of the week and met many wonderful UUs from far and wide.
Then, in August, I attended The Parliament of World Religions in Chicago. First held in 1893 (during the World’s Fair), the Parliament has become considerably more diverse. Folks were there from all over the globe representing the depth and breadth of faith traditions. Each day brought unique spiritual experiences, deep dialogue, practical workshops, and inspiring plenary sessions.
As I head into my final year of seminary, there is a lot on the horizon. In addition to classes and the internship, I will be preparing to meet with the Ministerial Fellowship Committee this fall. If all goes well … I will then enter the “search” process. Graduation is expected in May. Depending on how the above go, I may or may not be serving a UU congregation next fall in either a “settled” or “contract” capacity.
It is an exciting time. And although I am not there often, I hold the Heritage family in my heart each day.
In Faith and Community,
The Other Bill (Lyon)