Why UUs Take The Summers Off
1. We've been doing this since the 1800's, when everyone spent their summers down on the Cape!
2. Small churches can't afford air-conditioning!
3. God can trust Unitarians to take the summers off!
4. 'Cause we like it that way!
Before I whipped this puppy into recycling, I wryly translated to myself:
1. Most members of this church are privileged enough to have summer homes, and if you don't have one and are sweltering up here, too bad for you!
(insert Simpson's kid "HA HA" sound effect here)
2. We don't feel like paying for air-conditioning because ... remember, WE'RE ALL PRIVILEGED AND HAVE SUMMER HOMES ON THE CAPE!
3. Church just isn't that important to us, and we don't need one another's ministry for three months out of the year! Also, we're superior to all those other hacks who need to keep praying and worshiping all year 'round. SUCKAS!
4. We don't want to change... or grow!
C'mon, say it. I'm listening. Let's say it all together:
"But PeaceBang, we all worship in different ways. I myself worship in the garden, and I worship by walking on the beach!"
Darlings, so do I. I'm every bit as Transcendentalist and groovy as you are, and believe me, I'm not complaining about my nine weeks off from preaching. I need it badly. But that doesn't mean we should all close the church and stop offering a ministry of hospitality and care to those who need it.
Closing the doors in the summer says loud and clear, "Church just isn't that important to us. It is not an essential part of our lives. In fact, we can do without it for months at a time."
Some of my laypeople and I were curious as to when this "ancient" practice of going on summer hiatus really began. People I casually asked pretty much figured we've done it forever, but a little bit of research revealed otherwise. In fact, it was only within the past three or four decades that the church shut down after Father's Day and kept its doors closed through Labor Day (now we have lay-led services twice a month, and I'm thrilled about it).
Blessed are those who keep church going even in the hottest months, who set out the programs and who pour the lemonade and who fan themselves patiently through the humid hymns and sermons. Blessed are you who welcome the seekers and who set out the folding chairs and who forego the beautiful Sunday morning in the garden or on the boat. And blessed are you, dearly beloved, who release your own ministers from duty in the summer months so they can attend church elsewhere as a worshiper, and to refill their own possibly dry wells of liturgy and poetry, faith, hope and pastoral empathy, and rest, rest, rest.