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September 2019 by The Reverend Joel Miller

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It’s great to begin my time here with the Unitarian Church and see the very crowded parking lot in the past few weeks! And I see that the church has a shortage of parking spaces. Fortunately, the Starmount Insurance Company across Goodwood Avenue is happy to have us park in their lot on Sundays. Please, if you are able, park across the avenue on Sunday Mornings. I ask that folks who can’t safely cross Goodwood on foot (like families with young children or who need more time to walk) to have priority using the church’s parking lot. As a follow-up note: Please do NOT park in the Doctors’ Office lot behind the church. We do not have permission to use it.

One of the first things I had to do when I moved here 4 weeks ago was to get cooking. Food is complicated for me because I have celiac disease. Celiac is an immune response to a protein in wheat, rye, barley, and other cereal grasses. The immune response to wheat is especially strong – so strong that my grandmother died from it. So I can’t eat at potlucks. If someone takes the spoon from a dish with noodles, for example, and uses it to take some of the salad, I cannot eat the salad. I have discovered a precious few restaurants where the chefs have enough training to avoid the “cross-contamination” between the many foods where wheat hides and the food that is safe for me to eat.

You may notice that it’s my habit to offer a handshake in greeting you. I also am pleased to give hugs. If you like hugs, let me know by offering both hands.

The Annual Operating Budget Campaign begins in late September. I’ve found a delightful way to kick-off a stewardship campaign is with small group meetings with the Interim Minister. These Stewardship Kick-off Meetings will happen in members’ homes and at church. They will be scheduled for different times, including Saturday mornings with childcare, evenings after work, and weekdays. Signups will begin in September during coffee hour after services.

I will be at these kick-off meetings, and I’m interested in learning about how you became involved in the church and what you love most about it. And we’ll hand out pledge cards at the meetings, but we won’t ask you to make a pledge at that time since these are the kickoff events for this stewardship drive. More details will follow in September.