This has been an exciting year at UUI! We started the 2015-16 church/school year with a new full-time Director of Lifespan Religious Education, Susanne Hinson-Rieger, and it has been non-stop since! The Second Sundays program has been a wonderful addition to our programing. We have enjoyed sharing a meal and then participating in Youth groups, workshops, music making, and lots of fun as well as learning. Participation has been as high as 80 people of all ages! Susanne has re-energized the children and youth religious education programs, and each week, dedicated and enthusiastic teachers connect with our young people to learn and grow together. Adult programing has provided learning on racial justice issues, vegetarian eating, Big Questions, becoming a member, Mooncrafting, pagan rituals, and the monthly Forum.
Sunday Services have continued to be the highlight of the week. Worship Leader Jamie Hinson-Rieger has helped us celebrate what is “of worth” in our faith and our community. The music, art on the walls, the readings, and sermons have delighted us all, and attracted many visitors. We are looking forward to another great year under Jamie’s leadership.
Our facilities and grounds are looking great! Thank you to everyone who contributed towards the purchase of new carpet in the Sanctuary! This was the crowning touch to the renovations completed last year, and makes UUI a more attractive place. We look forward to the Social Hall Banners which are being created this summer. Attention has turned to the grounds, and lots of rejuvenation has started in the Memorial Garden, Labyrinth, fence lines, and trees. We are implementing a more environmentally sensitive approach to lawn care, and establishing prairie grasses and a bee hive (thanks, School for Community Learning!). Best of all, we have a part-time Facilities Caretaker hired to help with fixing things and keeping our facilities in good shape.
Our congregation is thriving—many new folks have jumped into community life at UUI in RE, Family Ministry, Ushering, Young Adults, choir, and social justice/outreach. We have eight people going to UU General Assembly this year, and several members have attended other training and regional meetings. Our feeling of being in community has grown through Dinners for Eight, Dinner Discussion groups, the Community Connections e-newsletter, Second Sundays, the Parents of Preschooler group, Pride Parade, and Racial Justice work. We have helped each other with life transitions and improved our ability to respond to specific needs. Everyone contributed to a successful Stewardship campaign, and we have been able to give our staff a well-deserved raise, and plan our budget for the coming year. We continue to attract new members and friends, and clearly have a program and a community that are fulfilling to many in central Indiana.
Social Justice work this year has focused on developing our relationship to IndyCAN. We are now a member congregation and can act as committed allies in the racial and social justice work going on in Indianapolis. We continue to serve students through tutoring programs, to witness at the Pride Parade, to offer Share the Plate donations to 12 different organizations, and to lead in Green Sanctuary efforts. I am so proud of the work our congregants do both through UUI and outside of church. We are truly a caring congregation!
Our Board of Trustees is looking ahead to the upcoming church year. At our annual retreat in July we and our staff will discuss ourgoals for the new year. Many thanks to the Board’s leadership and to all the countless volunteers who have dedicated time, talent, and treasure to UUI. Hats off to all of you!
See you in church!