To My Beloved Congregation

It is with a sense of overwhelming gratitude and tenderness that I write you now to tell you that I will be leaving as your minister. I intend to continue serving through the period of my contract, which goes through June 30, 2018. I will always treasure the years that I have been with the UUCiA. There are no words to express how deeply I love you, and have felt loved by you. It has been an honor, a privilege, and a pleasure.

This is my ninth year as your consulting minister; though it has always been a part-time, year-to-year contract position, I think the commitment between the congregation and me has felt more like that of a settled or “called” ministry position. We have been, in my opinion, a wonderful match for each other. We have successfully shared ministry together, from creating a warm, nurturing spiritual community of all ages to becoming more involved in anti-racist initiatives that match the promise of our Black Lives Matter flag, including such nascent organizations as Merrimack Valley Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and the Merrimack Valley Interfaith Sanctuary Network.

Throughout the fall, I have been in discernment as to what is best for the UUCiA in moving forward. I have been impressed by the commitment of the fUUture Task Force and the Board in thinking through options for financial stability. I have been impressed by the engagement of the congregation in attending the information meetings and the Mid-Year Meeting as well.

I have been deeply touched that so many of you want to find a way to keep my time at three-quarters. I also feel that in some ways, the conversation about the future of the congregation has focused too much on keeping me as the minister, whether at three-quarter-time or half-time.

I strongly believe that the congregation needs to focus on its mission and vision beyond the question of who is serving as your professional minister. After much discernment, I feel that my continuing presence will distract and detract from the work that you need to put before you in the months and years to come.

The congregation needs to look ahead courageously and with hope and perhaps even an entrepreneurial spirit. I am choosing to leave now because I believe that the congregation will be in a better position to take a fresh look at its future with a new professional minister. I do not make this decision lightly, or without sadness. I am currently “in search”. There are some exciting possibilities for me, and I will certainly let you know what my next professional step will be.

Please know that I am very happy to serve as your minister for the next several months; we have enough time for a good leave-taking, and we also have a chance to have a meaningful second half of the congregational year. I am giving months of notice in part so that the Board and other lay leaders will have time to be in touch with New England Region staff as well as the Transitions Office at the Unitarian Universalist Association as you begin to think about the direction you would like to take in terms of professional ministry.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a wonderful congregation.

With love and in faith,

Rev. M. Lara Hoke

Posted in From the Minister

Sermon [audio]: ‘Behold, I’m Doing a New Thing’

The following sermon  was delivered on Sunday, February 5, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover by the Rev. Lara Hoke. The title of the sermon is: “Behold, I’m Doing a New Thing?”

Our sermon podcasts are made possible thanks to the support and vision of Susan Stott, long-time member of  the UUCiA.

The UUCiA podcast sermons can be played manually by clicking on the podcast player above. Or you may subscribe to our sermon podcast, which is updated two to three times monthly from September to May.

Instructions to subscribe with iTunes

Click UUCiA Sermon podcast to subscribe from the iTunes. For manual instructions see below:

Open iTunes, click “Advanced” in the File menu and select “Subscribe to podcast.” Copy and paste the podcast feed from below into the box and click “ok.” You are now subscribed to the UUCiA podcast using iTunes.

Podcast URL

You will need to insert the url below as you subscribe within your iTunes application)
http://uuandover.org/feed/podcast/

Posted in From the Minister, podcast, Sermons

Sermons archive: Listen to our podcast

Click here to see a list of sermons available in audio form.  If you would like a transcript of a sermon, please email Lara.

Posted in From the Minister, News, Sermons

Sermon [audio]: ‘The Light of Truth?’

The following sermon  was delivered on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover by the Rev. Lara Hoke. The title of the sermon is: “The Light of Truth?”

Our sermon podcasts are made possible thanks to the support and vision of Susan Stott, long-time member of  the UUCiA.

The UUCiA podcast sermons can be played manually by clicking on the podcast player above. Or you may subscribe to our sermon podcast, which is updated two to three times monthly from September to May.

Instructions to subscribe with iTunes

Click UUCiA Sermon podcast to subscribe from the iTunes. For manual instructions see below:

Open iTunes, click “Advanced” in the File menu and select “Subscribe to podcast.” Copy and paste the podcast feed from below into the box and click “ok.” You are now subscribed to the UUCiA podcast using iTunes.

Podcast URL

You will need to insert the url below as you subscribe within your iTunes application)
http://uuandover.org/feed/podcast/

Posted in From the Minister, podcast, Sermons

Sermon [audio]: ‘The Groovy, Far Out Spirituality of the 1960s’

The following homily  was delivered on Sunday, January 21, 2018 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover by the Rev. Lara Hoke. The title of the homily is: “The Groovy, Far Out Spirituality of the 1960s.”

Our sermon podcasts are made possible thanks to the support and vision of Susan Stott, long-time member of  the UUCiA.

The UUCiA podcast sermons can be played manually by clicking on the podcast player above. Or you may subscribe to our sermon podcast, which is updated two to three times monthly from September to May.

Instructions to subscribe with iTunes

Click UUCiA Sermon podcast to subscribe from the iTunes. For manual instructions see below:

Open iTunes, click “Advanced” in the File menu and select “Subscribe to podcast.” Copy and paste the podcast feed from below into the box and click “ok.” You are now subscribed to the UUCiA podcast using iTunes.

Podcast URL

You will need to insert the url below as you subscribe within your iTunes application)
http://uuandover.org/feed/podcast/

Posted in From the Minister, podcast, Sermons

Phone Bank and Postcards for Principles (PPP)!

Phone Bank and Postcards for Principles (PPP), Friday, January 26, 7pm:

Put your Faith in Action! Be sure to bring your cell phone! We will have a list of folks you can call about various issues related to your UU (or other!) values – fighting white supremacy, fair treatment of immigrants and refugees, working to help our environment and more. There will be “scripts” for you to work from as you make these calls; naturally you can use your own words, but the scripts will help get you started. Since we will be calling “after hours” for most offices, we will be leaving voicemails. We will have a postcard station so that you can send out written messages too. We will have snacks and beverages available for your sustenance. It should be social and fun! Please join us. Let Rev. Lara Hoke know if you have any questions: minister@uuandover.org. All are welcome! (Facebook event page link)

Posted in Events, Home Page, News

Wear your congregation proudly!

We’re hoping that every UUCiA member and friend orders at least one of these great-looking shirts. Get them for the whole family! Available in all youth and adult sizes, this  heavyweight all-cotton Hanes Tagless Tee comes in a navy blue with white lettering. Text on the front: “UUCiA: Kindness Is Everything” and text on the back: “The light of truth, the warmth of love, the energy of action.” The cost per shirt is $20, with at least $10 of each shirt ordered going to support the UUCiA. We prefer to order at least 50 shirts in order to qualify for the greatest discount.
Tell us today how many shirts you want!
We will check with you to confirm your requested sizes before we place the order on Valentine’ Day.

Imagine the dark blue sea of kindness when we organize group photos at 6 Locke Street and, next June, at the Cape Cod Retreat.

Thanks for supporting the UUCiA.

Posted in News

Cape Cod Retreat 2018

One of the UUCIA’s favorite traditions is the all ages annual retreat.

Members and friends of the UUCIA are invited to share a fun, relaxed weekend Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10 2018 at Cape Cod Sea Camps, on the shore of Cape Cod Bay in Brewster, Massachusetts. See our Facebook Group for many more photos.

Reserve Online Today

Activities include beachcombing, tennis and biking to evening conversation and a talent show. For many, the highlight is an outdoor worship service on Sunday morning.

What are the accommodations and how much does it cost?

The all inclusive per person fee includes 2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts in the dining hall and a  “catered” pizza and salad dinner at the boat house.

Parties of fewer than three persons who want a private room in the Health Center will pay a surcharge.  (Example: If a couple opts for the Semi-Private room in the Health Center dorm, they will most likely end up sharing the 4-bunk room with a another couple. Stepping up to Very Private will ensure they have their own room.

We have three lodging options:

Very Private The familiar “Health Center” is a heated dorm-style cabin with private accommodations (your family/party guaranteed their own room), bunk and twin beds; bathrooms and showers down the hall. No top bunks. $200 per person (includes 2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts and 1  pizza and salad dinner) 

Semi Private The same “Health Center” as above with semi-private (4-6 per room) accommodations, bunk and twin beds; bathrooms and showers down the hall.  $160 per person (includes 2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts and 1  pizza and salad dinner)

Less Private Just down the road past the Dining Hall is a “Convenience Cabin” that features all the facilities of the Health Center, but with  less privacy: All the bunk beds are in a large shared area. $130 per person (includes 2 nights lodging, 2 breakfasts and 1  pizza and salad dinner)

If you or anyone in your party prefers to not join us for any of these meals, please note that on your reservation form and we will deduct the meal costs from your total due.

Lodging and meal costs should not be an obstacle to anyone’s attendance. Financial assistance is available.

The weekend schedule:

Friday

People arrive at different times. (Room are available at 3pm.) Most of us go out to dinner at area restaurants. Two popular places are The Lobster Claw Restaurant on Route 6A in Orleans and JT’s Seafood, 2689 Main St, Brewster. Unload your gear and find people to go with to dinner. There may already be people at the restaurant.

8:30 to 9:30: We will socialize on the upper level of the Health Center. We will discuss and adapt the schedule at this time.

Saturday

8:00 – 8:30: Breakfast is served in the dining hall. They stop serving by 8:30am, so get there early! There’s a hot entree such as scrambled eggs and bacon, or pancakes and sausages, plus various cereals, fruits, toast/bagels/English muffins, juices, coffee, tea and milk.

9:30 – 2:00: Bike trip to Coast Guard Beach with lunch at Arnold’s Clam Shack or Hang out at CCSC at the beach, play tennis, walking, swimming, reading, conversation

5:30 – 6:30: Fellowship in the area near the Infirmary. Bring beverages and appetizers to share.

6:30 Dinner: In the boat house, we’ll enjoy a “catered” dinner that features pizza and a selection of salads.

The breakfast fare is typical camp food, but most families sign up for dinner plus the two breakfasts because these are good times for socializing and planning activities.

8:30 – 9:30 Talent show in the dining hall. Following the talent show, there will be games and conversation.

Sunday

8:00 – 8:30 Breakfast is served in the dining hall. See Saturday above.

9:00 Preliminary cleanup of cabins

9:30 Worship Service

10:30 We must be out of the cabins, but we can stay on the grounds for the rest of the day.

How do I sign up?

Please complete  the reservation form — you may submit your reservation and payment electronically, or print the form and send it with a check via snail mail.

Include a deposit of 50% of your estimated bill. If you prefer, you may send a check for the amount in full. I will return, by e-mail, a confirmation of your reservation and a final bill. Please make your checks payable to: Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover.

  • April 8: Reservation must be received with 50% deposit or, if you prefer, full payment
  • April 20: Final bill will be emailed
  • May 6: Remainder of payment is due
  • June 8: Cape Cod Weekend Retreat

How do I get there?

Sagamore Bridge to Route 6 (Mid-Cape Highway), take exit 10 (Rte. 124), turn left on Rte. 124 to Rte 6A, go approximately 2 miles and you will see Cape Cod Sea Camps (CCSC) entrance on the left. Go straight on the dirt road as the driveway turns right. The Infirmary is the first large building on the left side of the road, just after the parking lot. A copy of this schedule (see other side), a map of the grounds, and a sheet with room assignments will be posted by 5pm Friday on the Infirmary porch.

What do I bring?

CCSC provides pillows, pillow cases, and bottom sheets. Bring other bedding, sleeping bags, towels, toiletries, and a FLASHLIGHT. Bring athletic equipment (including tennis racquets and baseball gloves), games, bicycles, sun screen, and something use for sitting on the beach, if you would like.

What else do I need to know?

CCSC is open at 2pm on Friday. Check out of CCSC cabins is 10:30am on Sunday, but you can use the facilities all day.

Are there any rules?

Of course! Keep track of your kids. In particular, keep them off the stage and watch them in the water.

No gum. No pets. Smoking only in designated areas. No soda or food in the cabins. Keep off the sand dunes. No beer or wine on the beach. We can have beer and wine in the Infirmary area during Saturday dinner. Quiet from 10 PM to 7 AM. No fires or fireworks. Respect neighbors’ property.

Park cars in the upper lot. You may drive to the cabin to unload and load only. Drive slowly – 10 MPH limit.

Any questions? Contact David Grober at retreat@uuandover.org.

Still not sure if you want to join us?

Check out these highlights from one of our previous retreats:

Posted in Events, Home Page, News

Snow Shovelling Calendar

We need  folks to sign up for snow shovelling availability during the snow season. Availability on Saturday afternoons and/or Sunday early mornings are most critical. Please find a day and sign up here. [link]  or let Joan Ashlock at jashlock4@gmail.com know the days you are available and we will add them to the calendar.

Posted in News

Sermon [audio]: ‘Tidings of Comfort and Joy’

The following homily  was delivered on Sunday, December 24, 2017 at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Andover by the Rev. Lara Hoke. The title of the homily is: “Tidings of Comfort and Joy.”

Our sermon podcasts are made possible thanks to the support and vision of Susan Stott, long-time member of  the UUCiA.

The UUCiA podcast sermons can be played manually by clicking on the podcast player above. Or you may subscribe to our sermon podcast, which is updated two to three times monthly from September to May.

Instructions to subscribe with iTunes

Click UUCiA Sermon podcast to subscribe from the iTunes. For manual instructions see below:

Open iTunes, click “Advanced” in the File menu and select “Subscribe to podcast.” Copy and paste the podcast feed from below into the box and click “ok.” You are now subscribed to the UUCiA podcast using iTunes.

Podcast URL

You will need to insert the url below as you subscribe within your iTunes application)
http://uuandover.org/feed/podcast/

Posted in From the Minister, podcast, Sermons

Upcoming Events

Events are held at 6 Locke Street unless otherwise indicated. Questions? Is your event not listed? Please tell us! The deadline for newsletter submissions is Wednesdays at 6pm. See full calendar
  • February 25, 2018
    Sunday Service: Gathered Here

    One of Rev. Lara Hoke’s favorite hymns (though we haven’t sung it too often) is #389, “Gathered Here”.…

    More details

    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • March 2, 2018
    Pasta Pot Luck

    The Luisis provide the pasta; you bring salad, bread, beverage, dessert, we will gather at 6:30pm and start dinner…

    More details

    6:30 pm to 8:30 pm6 Locke St.


  • March 4, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

    More details

    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • March 8, 2018
    Board Of Directors

    Members and friends of the congregation are always welcome to attend Board meetings.

    Return to the UUCiA…

    More details

    7:15 pm to 8:45 pm6 Locke Street


  • March 11, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

    More details

    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • March 18, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

    More details

    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • March 20, 2018
    Book Discussion Group

    The book group meets on the third Tuesday of the month at various homes. All are welcome to attend…

    More details

    7:30 pm to 9:00 pmVarious Homes


  • March 25, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

    More details

    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street


  • March 31, 2018
    Private Event: Tenative

    Havurat Shalom annual 2nd night Passover Seder which is open to the community (at $10 per person; $30 per family).

    More details

    3:00 pm to 10:00 pm6 Locke Street


  • April 1, 2018
    Sunday Service: TBD

    From the Sunday after Labor Day to the third Sunday in June, our worship services are held every Sunday…

    More details

    10:30 am to 11:30 am6 Locke Street