October: Religious Exploration

Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves.
We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!
~Humbert Wolfe

I love living in the Midwest, a place where each season is marked with distinct characteristics. Fall is my favorite. As the temperatures cool and the leaves begin to change, there’s a burst of energy- an expectant and optimistic excitement in the air.

That’s certainly true here at church! This past weekend, our congregation hosted the UUA MidAmerica Region’s youth leadership development conference (YLDC). Heartland District faith development director, Nancy Combs-Morgan said, “This is historic.” Forty people from five states gathered for an intense and content rich training covering subjects such as the consensus building process, how to lead a meeting, and anti-racism/anti-oppression. And I just have to say, the youth who participated in the conference are just cause for optimism and excitement.

We were also honored to host Tibetan Buddhist monks from the Drepung Gomang monastery in India. The monks worked with our children and youth, teaching them the art and tradition of butter sculpture. The excitement and joy in the fellowship hall was palpable, as the monks patiently demonstrated and explained and the children 
created their own sculptures and then immediately called for someone to look at what they had made.

A huge shout-out goes to Beth Misner, who coordinated meals for the YLDC, and her assistants, Jean Tyner and Audrey Smith. Beau Reeves, Robert Reynolds, Sarah Cannon, and Jenny Moss were our “twilight angels,” monitoring overnight to ensure the safety and security for all through the night. Youth and parents, along with assistants that traveled with the monks were on hand to assist the children participating in the butter sculpture 

For more information on the new regional structure and upcoming district and regional events, including adult 
volunteer training and upcoming youth conferences, please check out the new MidAmerica website, 

There is much to be excited about as we look ahead as well: the allchurch retreat, our first multi-generational service since the water ingathering, and of course, preparation for the holiday season. The October 
theme for children’s religious exploration is “relationships and our first UU principle.”

To conclude, I leave you with the paraphrased words of one of the YLDC youth participants, “I feel blessed to have grown up in this church, in this community where people care about how they treat one another and want to make the world a better place, where I’ve always felt valued and like what I have to say is important.”

See you in Church,


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