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13 September 2012 @ 01:40 am
I think I broke my brain this evening. I certainly broke my will. Write a paragraph delete, write delete delete... Hm.

Mum and I did the horses for my grandmother today. I was there to 'tell her how'. "So we'll do the barn," she said on our way up to the barn; she saw the fenced-in pool and added, "and then we'll skinny dip!"

'Telling her how' meant I refilled the horses' water buckets and kept the horses from crowding us when Mum walked the hay in instead of throwing it. Mum did the stalls by getting out much of the poop, but I'm a perfectionist so I spread out the shavings and swept the walkway in each stall. Thankfully Mum did most of the poop-gathering out in the paddocks; there didn't seem to be too much. I had a feeling 'telling how' would end up more hands-on than expected.

But then we hunkered down in our birthday suits by the pool and had a chat until she warmed up enough to enter the chilly pool. We threw little floaty sharks at each other (she splashed me, the wench), got in, swam around a bit, got in, and dried off in the sun. She dove in one more time before we left. It's not really much of a wonder that people claim to understand me better upon meeting my mother--same with my father, really, once they get him talking (we're both observe-first sorts of people; my mother is not).

It was nice, anyway, and I got a shocking amount of sun for my usually shade-and-nocturnal-hours self. Mum asked me, "Why don't you skinny dip here on your own?" "Because it's sunny."

Had a Worship Committee meeting at the congregation in the evening. I noticed as soon as New Minister Rebecca entered the room that she doesn't shave her legs; I don't know if it's shallow of me that endears me to a person immediately, but at least in the slick-and-shaven States it does intend to apply a shared interest in at least putting up with not living by at least one societal norm. Doing so in a public way tends to imply some sort of guts.

She and another committee member couldn't stay long since Our Whole Lives, the Unitarian Universalist sex-ed programme (very thorough; I participated in 2004), had its mandatory parent introduction night. I think Minister Rebecca was just going there to do Ministery Things--or maybe she's OWL-trained, I don't know. (I did go over to the training pages, so since I've been talking about getting trained as an OWL facilitator for years I may really look into it.)

The meeting went well. I made Minister Carol and the others laugh a bit. I'm glad I finally discussed a point I'd been thinking about since General Assembly in June: inviting people not to stand for hymns sometimes, in solidarity with those who cannot or who find difficulty/pain in standing. (There's always the "please rise in body or spirit" but for the most part everyone rises in body, and it can make a person feel pretty invisible or pressured to stand even if it might be painful.) I mentioned the possibility for inviting people not to stand every once in a while--especially since Minister Carol herself is in lots of pain these days and finds herself having to sit often--as a form of disability awareness. Minister Carol loved the idea and thanked me for bringing it up because she'd been thinking about it. (Plus, she's pleased every time I bring up anything from General Assembly since she had been planning to attend but couldn't. That and I'm the only consistently active raised-UU young adult in the congregation and she's had her eye on my doing more UU things for ages and missed me during college, so she was glad I made it to my first-ever General Assembly of Unitarian Universalists.)

I didn't enter the meeting with any ideas for lay-led services--I'd forgotten they exist and I've never been on this committee so I didn't know what we do outside of summer services--but I had an idea while I was there and mentioned it as we were discussing ideas. Again at General Assembly there was a vote for a new world-wide "Congregational Study/Action Issue" (CSAI; I never remember that initialism) and what got voted in was Reproductive Justice: Expanding Our Social Justice Calling (yay! I voted for that!). The complete text (but not the study guide/curriculum, which is due 1st November) is here.

Anyway, I mentioned that especially with it being an OWL year (every other year) and this getting voted in as the CSAI, I wondered if it wouldn't be the right time to have a lay-led service about having a liberal religious voice backing reproductive rights--and how our sex-ed education (OWL) impacts what we respect and demand (contraceptives, consent, the right to choose, the right to support). One of the strongest ideas behind choosing Reproductive Justice as the CSAI was how clear it is that, with the Religious Right going full-force against it, there needs to be a united voice from the Religious Left saying that no, not all religious people have to follow that--and we don't. So far UUs haven't really joined up with the "united" bit, which is disappointing. So I mentioned all this and the possibility of incorporating the new CSAI curriculum (when it's written), a liberal religious voice, and the voices of those involved with the OWL programme (current/ex-participants and facilitators).

Minister Carol again loved the idea. For a second I could see the clear "please just become a minister" look she and Minister Ann sometimes give me, but that's a story for another day. Looks as though this will be a springtime (March--Women's History Month!) lay-led service. For today I'm glad that, despite being new on a committee and despite being the youngest voice, I was willing to speak up with my ideas. I'm also glad--and a bit relieved--that it was received well.

(Ah, sometimes my life feels like a gen-O(ld)L(ady)B(rigade) Harry Potter fic. A coven of amazing older witches with so much prestige to their names and so many positive adjectives to their character while I'm the new green-behind-the-ears witch trying to figure out how my feet and mouth can work at the same time, wondering how they could possibly stand listening to a word I say. It's nice to really feel, once in a while, that I truly can be a young witch in the coven and still be valued, even if there is a bit of laughter and some sympathetic groans/winces at my fumbling about this Life thing looking for my feet. It's also a comfort to know that, one of these years, I'll be the witch who oh-so-recently found her footing and can now help the next one along to do the same. My life, in Harry Potter terms... *Proud geek.*)

Now I've got to help Minister Carol with some of her services (easy-peasy stuff--reading "opening words" and introducing hymns and stuff), speak with her about the "25 years with the congregation" article she wants written, get the senior youth involved with the Intergenerational Halloween Night, start working on a good youth programme for the year, look into OWL training, and start researching who might be interested in speaking at this sort of a service. I'm tempted to invite my old OWL instructors even though they're in Pennsylvania now--perhaps they'd enjoy saying hello to the ol' congregation.

The church year has definitely started up again! Yay! After feeling brain-and-body-dead much of the evening, I'm now energised by writing this energy. Of course I am, because 1.40am is just the right time to be energised... *Shakes head at self.*

Oh! I realised I never posted anything real about the sexuality service I ran over the summer or the sermonette that I wrote and read. Would anyone be interested in that at all, or should I give it a miss?
minervas_eule: MHiU: hat patminervas_eule on September 13th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
I always love to read your reports about your activities in your congregation! It is so interesting to read about your experiences, comparing them to Antje's, who also gave her first sermon at a protestant congregation last Sunday (and was very proud it was received so well.... they all think she'd be a great minister, but, well, she is catholic and will study catholic religious education - at least that is what she will start with.... I would not blame her if she would decide to convert one day).

I so can't understand your "it is sunny!" explanation :-)) I have a tan most of the year, because I use every chance to expose my skin to the weather ;-) ... it stimulates the "happy hormones"
Kiwi Crocus: Hair || Green braid.cranky__crocus on September 13th, 2012 06:36 am (UTC)
I think you're honestly one of the main reasons I share my congregation activities, honestly! I love reading about yours, so since I've been back from England and involved in my congregation again, I wanted to start writing up mine again! I was more open about it in high school, less so in university--partially because I wasn't as involved, being away and all. But my congregation and religion are definitely homes for me. Many UUs have the motto "time, talent, or treasure" for what a person can give to a congregation; I don't have much treasure, so I try to give my time and talent!

*Grins.* I'm glad that you won't blame her if she converts--many parents do! (Actually, a number of UUs I know consider themselves "Recovered Catholics" because they were different--often sexuality-wise--and the Catholic church did not take well to it. I personally have a great fondness for many nuns, which means that while I could never be Catholic myself [my belief system doesn't align] I respect the religion. Especially the nuns, for standing up for themselves and the issues they believe in!)

So pleased to hear she gave her first sermon, too! I think I gave my first sermon when I was 16, back in high school; every year we have a "senior youth service" that the senior youth directs. The tradition for a while has been to have a topic, a series of "sermonettes" (short sermons various youth who volunteer) and skits (small plays that give a lesson of some sort). I gave sermonettes (longer ones, closer to sermons, to balance the shorter sermonettes of others) during my sophomore and junior years of high school (16 and 17); when I was 18, in my final year of high school, I took on more of a director's role--but I interpretively danced to one of my good friend's sermonettes! It was a hoot and a half. Since high school, I've given a number of sermonettes and sermons; I'm not sure I could remember them to count. I definitely enjoy that part of the ministry (directing a service and preaching), and the pastoral care/counselling too, but I'm not quite up to learning all the theology yet. I also don't think I'd want to be a congregation minister (as in, called to one congregation); I think I'd seek to be a community minister, living and conducting my ministry outside of one congregation--perhaps with things like non-profit work and activism. But, again, that's a long while off; I'd have to get through seminary first and I'm not going for that at the moment!

I think it may stimulate the "happy hormones" in my head--go science--but there's something about it that also makes me feel icky. Just the sensation on my skin, and it saps my energy like nothing else. Too much time in the sun also tends to make me break out in cold-sores; I'll have to watch out for those in the next few days. I no longer tan, either--I just burn. Seems I'm no longer meant for the sun! I used to love or at least tolerate it when I was a girl.
therealsnapetherealsnape on September 13th, 2012 09:42 am (UTC)
Actually, yes, I would be quite interested to read your sermonette (love the word!).
Kiwi Crocus: HP || Hufflepuff || Dancing Plants.cranky__crocus on September 15th, 2012 12:07 am (UTC)
Thank you! I coined it in high school when I realised "sermon" didn't quite cover what the teens wrote and spoke, hah. The other term I coined that has become popular in my congregation was "being caroled". For some people, caroling may be joyful holiday singing to annoy the Snapes out there. For us, one is "caroled" when Minister Carol "asks" a person to do something--and based on the fact that it is always the morally correct thing to do, and usually very helpful, and because of who she is...'yes' is often the only answer. Not many people can avoid being caroled.

I shall post the sermonette, then!
albalarkalbalark on September 13th, 2012 11:00 am (UTC)
I love your O.W.L. (!) curriculum - I'm passing it on to Miss M so that she learns that not all religions are made of evil when it comes to sex. I like, too, your comparison of your group to a coven of wise older witches, though I don't think you are as green about the ears as you see yourself - they seem to trust you with an awful lot. :-) And yes, I'd love to read the things you've written for your congregation.

I've been loving your stories about the horses, too. I volunteer at at therapeutic riding stable, and it never occurred to me that anyone be interesting in hearing that I spent hours shoveling manure - but you make it sound interesting. *g* I love the horses, and wish I could spend more time with them.
Kiwi Crocus: HP || Minerva || Time stood still.cranky__crocus on September 15th, 2012 12:12 am (UTC)
I (!) every time I remember that it's "OWL" too, haha. I took my OWLs! I did rather well, too, since I've been invited back every time it runs to be on the sexuality panel. (: (I'm the young lesbian who's been out all of her sexual life--and I'm willing to take on the sex questions that the adults shy away from, so I'm useful haha.)

As for the curriculum, I squeed all over the place when I went here and looked at the Table of Content. Some stuff has been added since I took it, which is marvellous. I really want to become an OWL instructor but of course it costs money to go get the training.

Yes, my religion is definitely not evil when it comes to sex haha.

Thank you for your comment about my 'coven' comparison! I imagine you're right in my not being quite as green about the ears as I think, but it's a difficult view to shift before I have more hands-on (or views-on, I guess) experiences with it all. And I'll be sure to post up the sermonette!

I had no idea you volunteer at a therapeutic riding stable! That's wonderful! I've wanted to do therapeutic riding for a while, but it's another big expense that I certainly can't afford. I do love being around the horses, though; I always have. I'm definitely interested in hearing about you and the horses--you've got some Willa's on your flist!