Minister’s Musings Among the Mountains – Week of June 26

Several of us from Westside UU Congregation just returned from the UUA General Assembly that happens every year in a different city. This year it was in New Orleans. A special thanks to Jill Fleming, Steve Burrows, John and Viveca Monahan, Cecelia Hayes and Cynthia Westby for attending workshops, asking lots of questions about the UUA, and being voting delegates.

My role at GA this year was to be co-lead chaplain with an African American colleague. We had been concerned that General Assembly this year might be a very intense gathering given all the issues that have come up in the last year. It was actually a very calm gathering of over 3,000 people.

Jill Fleming and I will be talking about GA this Sunday but not in a boring ‘this-is-what-we-did-at-the-convention” way. Westside Seattle is part of a much larger movement in direction for liberal religious communities in America. More on that this Sunday.

I will be leaving on Monday for Eugene to spend a bit of time with Debra and family. I’ll then be driving to the East Coast and back in order to visit family and friends but also to listen to the voices of America. I will likely start a new blog and post it on Facebook.

Someone asked me a couple of years ago why ministers get so much vacation time. My contract has language that includes 8 weeks of vacation time. Other (settled) ministers have a variation that’s ‘four weeks of vacation and four weeks of study leave’ in their letters of agreement.

Why so many weeks? The main reason is that we generally get one day off each week during the church year. My day off is Monday. Most people with full time jobs get a weekend or two days off each week. I have just Sunday evening and Monday. The ‘church year’ is 30-32 weeks for the minister to be present on any given Sunday. That’s roughly 32 days that I don’t get off. Those days then become vacation days.

One important difference between settled (‘permanent’) ministers and transition ministers is that we interims move every year or two as a rule. July is usually when that happens and so we always leave that block of vacation time open to move.

This year I am not moving so therefore a road trip without a truck or moving cats seems very relaxing.

I hope all of you at Westside have opportunities to take some respite time from work, parenting or caring for others. I very much appreciate the opportunity to take this vacation thanks to you all. I also know that some of you don’t have the means or flexibility to take a paid vacation. I hope you can spend some time on the water or in the mountains of the Northwest to gain a measure of the relaxation you deserve.

The Wednesday meditation group will continue as usual downstairs in the social hall at 7 pm each Wednesday.

Happy summer to us all and may it be filled with blessings.


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