LUNCH BUNCH:

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Monday July 1st at 6:15pm, Dinner and outside play.

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share.

DREAM GROUP: (Summer Schedule July 28th 11:30am, August 25th 11:30am in Room 201)

HARVEST FOR HUNGER: If you have a vegetable garden or fruit trees in your yard we need your help! We will have a cooler in Eliot Hall during coffee hour each Sunday for you to bring your excess fresh produce so that it can be donated to local shelters, soup kitchens, and families who have trouble putting food on the table. Contact Heather Drenckhahn with any questions:  More information also available at Harvest4Hunger.org 

MEDITATION WALKS:  No walks during summer schedule.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 9am during summer schedule, in the Parlor,
  • third Wednesday meetings:  No meetings during summer schedule

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday in Room 201 (Summer Schedule July 14th at 11:30am, August 11th 11:30am)

SANCTUARY:  You may have heard that we have 200 Sanctuary volunteers ... but in reality the number who are actively volunteering is more like 70 and they need YOUR help.  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have volunteers in Eliot Hall after both services ready to answer your questions and to help you engage or re-engage with Sanctuary.

  • VOLUNTEER:  To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary%C2%A0">https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
  • BACKGROUND CHECK: (New and Renew) Consent:   http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT">http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT  - $15 donation – All Sanctuary Volunteers need to get their background checks upgraded/renewed
  • SANCTUARY TRAINING: Complete the training survey to let us know what days/times work for you: survey is included in the Background Check Consent form linked above
        • June 30th: Noon, North Entrance - Booster Training
  • DONATE:  Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at:  https://slcuu.org/sanctuary-fund, To donate by check, make check payable to:  First Unitarian Church of SLC, and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note. You can also donate through the GIVELIFY app, just check the Sanctuary Family Fund..

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn

Welcome to Summer!

What a fantastic year we had in Religious Education! With the support of our teachers, parents, and staff we studied famous UUs, explored the Bible, fought Horcruxes, visited 7 different faith communities, and dived deep into identity issues. 

There are no words to describe the gratitude we all feel for our Religious Education Teachers. Our teachers are dedicated members of our First Church community. Week in and week out these incredible adults give of themselves to our youth and community. Thank you to everyone for working so hard to create a beloved religious education community. 

Lower School Teachers:

Carrie Black, Melissa Bond, Kevin Emmerson, Kira Kilmer, Kendra Smith, Raleigh Smith

Upper School Teachers:

Karin Baumgartner, Cooper, Jennica Davis-Hockett, Derek Gersdorf, Kris Lander, Ian Mitchell, Jillian O'Karma, Usha Spaulding, Kristin Quinn

We would also like to acknowledge these families who went above and beyond to volunteer in our classrooms more than the suggested times(3 times per child/year). As a cooperative program, without parent involvement things classes just can’t happen! Thanks to: Chaston Family, Liu-Rusay Family, Pino Family, Finlayson-Moore Family, Duchon Family, and the Fonnesbeck-Kratzer Family. 

And absolutely nothing in Religious Education would happen without the incomparable Lissa Lander. She is the glue that holds things in Religious Education together. Artist, teacher, and finder of things Lissa spreads joy and knowledge everywhere she goes. When you see her, give her a big high five and your thanks. 

I can’t wait to see you all in the fall!

In Peace,

Amanda Esko

Director of Religious Education

 

Family Fun Night

Family Fun night continues through the summer! We’ll be playing outside the first Monday of each month, June 3rd, July 1st, and August 5th. Join us for dinner and outside play during these long summer nights! 

OWL

Pay attention! Next year, 5th/6th and High School OWL(Our Whole Lives) will be offered. 5th/6th OWL will be held in the spring, during Religious Education classes. High School, will meet twice a month, on Sunday evenings. Please know that these classes do fill up, but priority is given to families registered and established in our Religious Education program. Questions? Email Amanda Esko at

Religious Education Calendar

Want to make sure you don’t miss our Halloween Party or a Sandwich Sunday? Here is the current Religious Education calendar for the 2019-2020 church year. While things may change as the year moves on, this is a great place to start!  {link to RE Calendar PDF}

SAVE THE DATE

welcome back potluck 9 15 19 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PLEDGE ROUND-UP: We’re at $537,665 or 97% toward our goal.  If you’ve been meaning to get around to it, now’s the time.  Knowing what we have to work with is extremely important as we begin to budget for the 2019-2020 church year. And thanks to all who have pledged to date! 

LUNCH BUNCH: June 2nd: Pride Parade-TBA or Desert Edge Pub & Restaurant, 273 Trolley Sq, 600 S 700 E, SLC

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Monday June 3rd at 6:15pm, Dinner and outside play.

RE TEACHER CELEBRATION: will be on Saturday, June 8th. RE teachers, look for an invite this week for dinner and an outdoor movie. Want an invite to this super cool party? We're recruiting teachers for NEXT year right now. Email Amanda at  for more information!

FLOWER COMMUNION: Sunday June 9th. Our congregation will celebrate Flower Communion once again, with one service - outdoors, if the weather's nice - at 10am. In this intergenerational service, members of the congregation will share flowers with each other. Please bring a flower to share - either from your yard, or from a florist. Extra flowers will be available for those who forget, but the flowers that you choose yourself are extra special!

CHURCH PICNIC SUNDAY JUNE 9th: The annual end-of-year picnic is almost here. This event is fun for all ages! We need some extra hands to assist Joe Herring with set up/grilling/clean up. We have reserved our usual spot - Mt. Olympus Pavilion at Sugarhouse Park at NOON. PLEASE bring your OWN reusable, non-disposable dishes (plates/cups/bowls) and utensils so that we can limit recycling and waste that we generate. Cost is $5 per person, $4 for children payable at the park (checks made out to First Unitarian Church or exact change if paying in cash would be appreciated). Please bring a salad/veggie/ dessert dish to share. There will be burgers/dogs/chips/drinks. 

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY:  Headed for Extinction and What To Do About It.  Adair Kovac from Extinction Rebellion Salt Lake will share climate science and evidence of ecological breakdown, and offer solutions through the study of social movements. Friday, 6/21/19 at 7:00pm in Eliot Hall.

ENVIRONMENTAL Ministry Book Discussion:  Note change in book!  A Call for Revolution: A Vision for the Future by the Dalai Lama & Sofia Stril-Rever.  A Landmark Message from the Dalai Lama: "This eloquent, urgent manifesto is possibly the most important message the Dalai Lama can give us about the future of our world. It’s his rallying cry, full of solutions for our chaotic, aggressive, divided times: no less than A CALL FOR REVOLUTION."  Leader: Vaughn Lovejoy ( Put "Book Group" in Subject Line.)  For our first gathering read Chapter 1(pp 1-27).  Mondays, May 13th to June 10, 6:30-8:30 PM, Room 218. Please enter the building by the North door.

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share.

DREAM GROUP: (Summer Schedule July 28th 11:30am, August 25th 11:30am in Room 201)

MEDITATION WALKS:  No walks during summer schedule.

Mindfulness Meditation CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 9am during summer schedule, in the Parlor,
  • third Wednesday meetings:  No meetings during summer schedule

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday in Room 201 (Summer Schedule July 14th at 11:30am, August 11th 11:30am)

SANCTUARY:  You may have heard that we have 200 Sanctuary volunteers ... but in reality the number who are actively volunteering is more like 70 and they need YOUR help.  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have volunteers in Eliot Hall after both services ready to answer your questions and to help you engage or re-engage with Sanctuary.

  • VOLUNTEER:  To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary%C2%A0">https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
  • BACKGROUND CHECK: (New and Renew) Consent:   http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT">http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT  - $15 donation – All Sanctuary Volunteers need to get their background checks upgraded/renewed
  • SANCTUARY TRAINING: Complete the training survey to let us know what days/times work for you: survey is included in the Background Check Consent form linked above 
  • DONATE:  Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at:  https://slcuu.org/sanctuary-fund, To donate by check, make check payable to:  First Unitarian Church of SLC, and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note. You can also donate through the GIVELIFY app, just check the Sanctuary Family Fund..  

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn

It’s summertime, and the living may be easy, but can anyone find a vacation escape that isn’t overcrowded? Where did all these people come from who fill our national parks? Getting in is like lining up for a Taylor Swift concert? You need to apply for a seat on a bus that will take you through the park. The great outdoors are apparently not great enough to accommodate the masses who want to pour into them. 

The beaches along both coasts are so crowded the fish don’t go there anymore. Restaurants in downtown areas need reservations two weeks in advance. Recently I got the last bed in all of Winnemucca, Nevada. Not exactly a hotspot for tourist attractions. Ten motels had no vacancies. I finally got to one where the clerk said he had one room left. After I said I’d take it, he asked: “Do you want to see it?” As new people entered the lobby heading to the desk I screamed, “no,” just give me the room. He did, and I’m still thinking about whether or not I should have seen it first.

Broadway theaters are so full they’re commanding 4-digit ticket prices. Our own Salt Lake Acting Company is running out of season tickets. You can’t get a camping reservation in a state park. Where are all these people coming from and why are they all on the move?

Last week I learned that it was so crowded at the summit of Mt. Everest, you have to wait hours in a line, standing chest to chest on an icy ridge just inches away from a several-thousand-foot drop. Mind you, this is the most challenging mountain to climb in the world, which had already seen ten fatalities just this year. Scrambling up the 29,000-foot summit where you better have a good set of lungs if you hope to breathe, people (literally) step over dead bodies to get to the top and take a selfie before heading down. If Mt. Everest suffers from too many tourists, I can’t imagine a place in the world to go for that luscious sensation of solitude. Experiencing aloneness is at a premium, but you better book early if you want to find it at a Zen retreat center for a week of silence and meditation. And all you do there is look at a wall. It’s probably too late to do that for this summer.

Don’t get me wrong. I like people. My professional life is about people. But there’s a time I look forward to in the summer to just get away from crowds, noise, smells, lines, and exorbitant prices. My refuge in Bolinas now has wall-to-wall surfers. Who told them about Bolinas? I can’t even run away to Kathmandu anymore without having to endure masses of people. I wonder, are they all looking for solitude? If so, where does one go besides hiding in a closet at home. 

So it’s summertime and the living is easy. But don’t count on going anywhere unless you are drawn to long lines. So you might as well come to church during our Summer Forum program. But arrive early for the 10:00a.m. service. I hear its filling up. TRG

You may have heard by now that Rev. Tom has announced his retirement to the congregation – he’ll be stepping down at the end of the 2020-21 church year. You may also have heard, if you were present at the congregational meeting in May, that I’ve chosen not to succeed him as senior minister. There are many reasons why I’ve made that decision, but the most important one for you is that I would not deprive you of a golden opportunity: to have time between ministers to pause, breathe, reflect on 130 years of religious liberalism in Salt Lake City, and really think about where you’d like for your church to go next. 

It’s important for you to know that your Board of Trustees has already been working on this for almost a year, starting with their board retreat last summer, when they invited consultants from Unity Consulting to come spend time with them, and talk about what a retirement transition looks like. The board developed a detailed timeline for events, including building a transition team that will help the congregation discern the kinds of ministry it needs now; building a separate search committee to find a minister who will be able to lead the congregation in that ministry; and in managing the daily operations of the church while this important transition is going on. 

There are so many new movements afoot in Unitarian Universalism, and so many possibilities for our work together. It’s hard to know what to keep and what to let go of when you don’t know what else is possible! The next few years will give us time to consider that together. What are the strengths of this congregation, upon which we can build? What are the gaps that need to be filled? What opportunities for justice making and faith formation are available to us, and to which are our gifts suited? 

One question I’ve been asked is: what is involved in finding and calling a new minister? Here’s a quick overview of that process. 

The UUA provides an online settlement system for matching congregations with qualified, fellowshipped ministers. Although every UU congregation is independent and can do whatever it likes in terms of inviting a minister to serve it, following the UUA guidelines for this process gives us enormously greater chances for success. The settlement system is also intended to provide transparency and fairness in hiring, for both ministers and congregations. 

When we have determined what we want in a new minister and are ready to begin the search, we enter into the UUA search pool. The Transitions Office in Boston maintains a list of ministers who are looking for a new position, and a separate list of congregations who are looking for a minister. 

Each congregation creates an online “packet” that prospective ministers can examine, which includes our vital stats (demographics, financials, etc.); our history (good, bad, and ugly); and our dreams for the future. Each minister also prepares a packet, including their theological orientation, career ambition, strengths and growing edges, and their own dreams for ministry. In January every year, the search season officially opens, with congregations and ministers able to see one another for the first time and begin the process of discernment. 

This process may sound a bit like online dating – and speaking as one who has been through it, it feels like that too! It is a process that requires vulnerability, openness and honesty. Therefore, it’s important that we spend the next few years engaging in vulnerable and honest practices as a congregation, so that we can present our best selves to the prospective ministers under our consideration, and so that we can find a minister who best suits our mission and vision. 

I’m so excited to begin this journey with you as your minister. I encourage each of you to spend some time this summer imagining the First Church of the future, where we have been, and what we have yet to be.

2019 SUMMER FORUM SERIES

Sundays at 10:00 am
June 23 – August 18
 
June 23 –  Rocky Anderson – “Challenging Human and Civil Rights Abuses in Utah”
Rocky Anderson is a prominent Utah trial attorney who served two terms as Mayor of Salt Lake City (2000-2008). He was a candidate for Congress (1996), candidate for President (Justice Party, 2012), past Board Chair of the Utah Chapter of the ACLU, and is Executive Director of High Road for Human Rights. Music by Nick Anderson & David Owens
 
June 30 –  Mary Dickson – “Hosting International Students: The Joy of Opening Heart and Home to Strangers”

Mary Dickson is a writer and producer for public television. Recently retired as KUED’s director of Community Relations for over 20 years, Mary Dickson is known for her weekly program “Contact.” She is writing a book about her experience of hosting college-age international students in her home for many years. Music by Nick Anderson & David Owens

July 7 –  Satin Tashnizi and Nora Abu-Dan – “Islam and Islamophobia”

Satin Tashnizi graduated from the University of Utah in Political Science, and is bilingual in Farsi and English.  Nora is a native of Utah and her parents are from Palestine. Nora is a University of Utah graduate in Economics and Spanish. Both currently work for Goldman Sachs. Persian music by the group Jannan.   

July 14 – Cami Collett – “Prepare for Your Care: Starting the Conversation About Being Mortal”

Dr. Cami Collett, M.D., M.P.H., family physician and faculty at St. Mark’s Family Medicine; longtime member of this church’s congregation.  Cami presents workshops on this topic in the community.

July 21 – Thomas Huckin and Elise Lazar – “Move to Amend: Getting Money Out of Politics”

Retired University of Utah English Professor Thomas Huckin and Elise Lazar are activists representing Utah’s Move to Amend Coalition. 

July 28 – Utah Congressman Ben McAdams – “Update: Being a Democrat in the 116th Congress”

Former Mayor of Salt Lake County, Ben McAdams was elected in 2018 as a Democrat to represent the 4th District of Utah. Music by Ric Nobis

August 4 –  Howard Berkes – “28 Years and 31 Days: An NPR Correspondent’s Career”

Recently retired NPR reporter was based in Salt Lake City for 40 years.

August 11 – Thomas R. Smith – “Encounters with Mary Oliver: One Poet’s Reflections”

Thomas Smith is a poet, educator and writer visiting from River Falls, Wisconsin-  http://www.thomasrsmithpoet.com/ As someone who knew Mary Oliver, Thomas will reflect on lesser-known aspects of Mary’s work that reveal her struggle for personal healing and a reckoning with the geopolitical forces that threaten peace and the fabric of life on our planet.

August 18 – The Final Two General Election Candidates for Salt Lake City Mayor

Winners of August 13 primary election for Salt Lake City Mayor prior to November 5th will speak and answer questions.

End of Year Update!

We're about a month out from the end of the church year, which is BANANAS. The next few weeks are busy, and I wanted to take a minute to highlight a few things.

Lower School

-The last day of RE will be on May 19th. We will be having a RE talent show! This is not something, big, or stressful, but simply an opportunity to share our gifts with one another. Does your youth have a magic trick, song or dance they want to share? Be sure to come that day! 

-We resume 1 service at 10 am on May 26th. Childcare will be available until RE begins again September! 

-June 9th will be Intergenerational Flower Communion. Please plan on joining us, then going to the Church Picnic in Sugar House Park!

Upper School

-High School- Final payments for the Alabama Trip are due May 26th. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

- If you have a senior, Bridging will be on May 19th during the worship service. Please email Amanda at and let me know if your youth is participating. Thank you to everyone who already has emailed me!

- 6th/7th grade-Please start thinking about someone to be a mentor for your youth next year in Coming of Age. See my email sent this week for more information. 

I love how busy these last few weeks are! Please reach out with any questions, concerns, or great ideas!

In Peace,
Amanda Esko 

Director of Religious Education

RE Teacher Party!

Our RE teacher celebration will be on June 8th. RE teachers, look for an invite this week for dinner and an outdoor movie. Want an invite to the super cool party? We're recruiting teachers for NEXT year right now. Email Amanda at for more information!

RE Teachers Needed!

Do you love being UU and hanging out with awesome youth? Do you have a love of creating, playing, and learning? Join us next year as one of our RE Teachers! We need teachers across the grades, from kindergarten on up. Email Amanda Esko at for more information!

Youth Collaborative Art Project

This year, the Lower School youth embarked on an art journey. They created seven canvases. These canvases were a collaborative project completed by the children in our Religious Education program and their teachers. Each canvas represents one of our Seven Principles; the third canvas includes our Six Sources which give us inspiration. In addition to learning the principles and sources, our kids experimented with concepts and techniques in art with talented members of our congregation. These included photography, colored pencils, graphic design, watercolor, and crafts. In addition to being fantastic kid art, they are also a helpful learning tool when the words are set to the tune of “Do Re Mi.”  We want to say thank you to the entire congregation and especially the teachers who stepped up to help us this year. Please visit the canvases on display in Little Chapel!

RE 2019 wall art pics

In Peace and Gratitude, Amanda and Lissa, RE Class of 2018-19

 

Easter Egg Drop

What a fun Easter! This year, instead of a traditional egg hunt, we discussed the fragility of our planet, in regards to eggs. It’s our job to protect our planet, and on Easter, we worked on protecting our eggs. Eggs were launched from the balcony in Little Chapel. To the delight of all involved, most of our eggs survived!

2019 easter egg drop pic 12019 easter egg drop pic 1


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QPR: QUESTION, PERSUADE, REFER

Please join us for a very important Family Fun Night on Monday, May 6th at 6pm. We've invited trainers from the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition to join us and lead us in their QPR training. From their website, "QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer -- 3 simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help."

As always, we will start with dinner. This month, however, we are going to start dinner early at 6:00 pm. Unlike most months where we can be a little more flexible with dinner, dinner is going to be cleaned up and put away by 6:40, so the training can begin at 6:45. Thank you all for respecting our trainers time by arriving on time and eating promptly! Older, mature youth are encouraged to attending with a parent (7th grade and above) are welcome and encouraged to join. In order to plan for dinner, we are asking for people to register in advance. Click Here to Register Please email Amanda Esko at  you have questions or have dietary restrictions.

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love history – and so you can imagine how much fun I’ve had this spring teaching UU History, with my co-teacher Christine Ashworth. The best part about it (besides the enthusiasm of our students!) has been rediscovering the stories of some of our best-known ancestors in faith: William Ellery Channing, Olympia Brown, Theodore Parker, and more. 

It’s interesting to me how often we hear stories about our great ministers from history – and certainly, I feel that I, Rev. Tom, and our colleagues in ministry have impossibly big shoes to fill. But we rarely build religious education curricula around the great laypeople of our faith: people like Lucy Stone, Martha Sharp, and Clara Barton. Maybe someday I will make time to create just such a curriculum!

It’s such a useful exercise to imagine what were the values that inspired these historic UU laypeople to act for justice, beauty, or love, and to transform the world around them. I like to make a distinction between values and principles. Having principles is important – that’s why we have seven of them that distinguish our multi-cultural, multi-religious faith tradition. But principles arise out of values. To me, values are what’s important to me, even if my values remain unexamined and under the surface. 

In my household, my spouse values cleanliness, while I value togetherness. So I find that I just don’t have time to clean if I haven’t had time to relax with my family; while he finds that he can’t relax if things aren’t clean and neat. Neither of these values is really better than the other, yet we each find that we prioritize one over the other without giving it much thought. Working together, we find some balance in our complementary values – and sometimes we clean together, which means both of us are satisfied! But when we try to distill those values into principles, we can end up at odds. 

There’s never been a more important time for us to examine our values as people of faith and as participants in democratic institutions. I find that it’s very satisfying for me to support a local congregation, both with my time and with my money, because I value institutions that are truly democratic: owned by the members, run by leaders chosen by the members, and in which people have a say in what happens. The values that inform this support are democracy, equity, and participation. 

In our society, institutions like that are rare, and those that exist are under threat. Most institutions are ruled by much different values: profitability, efficiency, power, are some examples. 

During the next few years, our congregation will be weighing its collective values, and perhaps even examining some of these values for the first time. As part of that process, we may discover that some of our values seem to be in conflict. Do we value history, or forward thinking? Authority, or equality? Buildings, or programs? Of course, there’s no reason why, in each of these examples, we can’t have both – and indeed, we will have to find ways to have both, in ways that honor the needs of the whole congregation. Now is a good time to think about what you value, so that when the time comes, we can apply that knowledge to our community’s future planning. How do we want to show up in the world, and how can each of us be a part of that future? I am honored to be a part of it with you.

Vanity – Thy name is clergy…

Clergy shouldn’t really care that much about clothes, or do they? Somehow, the phrase “clothes make the minister” doesn’t really fit the image. The public doesn’t expect their clergyperson to make a fashion statement, but why not? 

Although most clergypersons don’t feel entirely free to wear styles that run contrary to the stereotype of clerical dress, (always black shoes), there’s a growing trend that allow clergy to put down their begging bowl and become fashionably hip.

Once fearful of resembling the styles of the rich rather than the meek, filthy materialism has become tantalizing for some who prefer their garb not reveal their professional identity. And it’s mostly about shoes; actually sneakers.

An Instagram account recently popped out called “PreachersNSneakers,” showing clergy wearing footwear so expensive that it could easily exceed what members of their flock would shell out for a few months rent or mortgage payments. Walking in the “path of God” while wearing a pair of blood-red Air Yeezy2s, a sneaker made in collaboration with Kanye West, can easily run the parson upwards of $5000. It begs the question: Can a clergyperson look too good? Congregations surely want their clergy to be comfortable in their attire, but is there a limit to footwear that bars no expense? 

As a wearer of sneakers myself, I have often been chided for wearing sneakers to church during Jazz Vespers. My footwear didn’t fit the expectations of even laidback jazz lovers. Perhaps I would have gained some respect had I worn a pair of Nike Air Fear of God sneakers going for $500 online.

The conversation about what walking the talk really means has received quite a buzz, but clergy prefer not to go there. Nor do they feel they need to account for owning a $1900 Gucci bag or a pair of pants running for $500. They may have received the call to serve God, but there was no stipulation as to appropriate or inappropriate attire. Where does it say you can’t do spiritual work looking good? 

When pushed by a confused public, however, to offer some explanation, these styling clergy will appeal to the need to relate to millennials. Young people, they maintain, are opposed to traditional worship and traditional dress codes. The clergy have thus traded in their suits for leather, and their footwear, well, seems to guarantee religion as “cool” for young generations. It all comes down to branding, and hip clothes, apparently, is the brand of choice for future worshipers. 

So, I have my eyes set on a pair of Yeezy Boost 750’s that run merely $700. I am told that “prominent pastors” wear them, so if you see me with the fancy footwear, I hope you feel proud of your minister rising to prominence. Or do most people carry a double standard for how clergy dress, precluding a little pizazz? Is it fair to deny a pastor’s penchant for luxury, and on what grounds? Should particular lines of clothing be prohibited for the clergy?

A robe used to make life a lot easier for everyone. The clergy never had to decide what to wear, and the congregation never rendered an opinion. But these days, religion presents (too many) options. Ultimately, how hip do you want your clergyperson to be, and in the decreasing membership affecting so many denominations, will the right pair of sneaker bring in a new generation? TRG

PLEDGE ROUND-UP: We’re at $469,121 or 80% toward our goal of $583,000. If you’ve been meaning to get around to it, now’s the time.  Knowing what we have to work with is extremely important as we begin to budget for the 2019-2020 church year. And thanks to all who have pledged to date!

LUNCH BUNCH: May 5 at El Chichauchau, 3926 Highland Dr, SLC, Utah 84124, 801-272-8091, www.elchihuahuaslc.com

FAMILY FUN NIGHT: Monday May 6th at 6pm, Eliot Hall, QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer suicide prevention presentation following dinner.

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY: invites you to a 5-week book discussion led by Vaughn Lovejoy.  We will meet in Room 218 on Mondays 6:30-8:30 PM 5/13-6/10: “A New Republic of the Heart, An Ethos for Revolutionaries” By Terry Patten. A vision to address our environment, economy, politics, culture, and to catalyze the radical whole-system change we need now. Patten shows how we can come together in our communities for conversations that matter and describes new communities, enterprises, and forms of dialogue that integrate both inner personal growth work with outer awareness, activism, and service.  Please come to the first meeting on 05/13/19 prepared to discuss pp 1-64, Chapters 1 & 2.  Please contact Vaughn Lovejoy at  to join the discussion or with any questions

ISSUES & ACTIONS GROUP: Utah Legislature 2019 and Political ActivismThurs, May 16th, Elliot Hall, 7-9pm – The Issues and Action Group will host a panel presentation by Elizabeth Weight, Carole Straughn, Melanie Hopkinson, and Mark Rothacher.  Liz Weight, representative in the Utah Legislature  HD31 -Taylorsville, will summarize some of the key bills passed and killed this year and how bills really become law or are killed.  Carole and Melanie were up at the legislature every day this last session and they will share their impressions, Carole will also discuss how you can build a relationship with your Utah and Federal representatives based on her experience in the Citizens Climate Lobby. Mark Rothacher, as a House District Chair for the Democratic Party, will talk about how to get involved politically, how to write letters to the editor, and how to be more effective on social media.  The goal is to share information on the recent Utah legislative session and on how to become more politically effective and involved.  Please enter via the double doors at the North Entrance.

ENVIRONMENTAL MINISTRY: We are pleased to announce a delightful evening of music photos on Friday May 17th, 7-9pm. "Canyon Echoes”, Parks of the Colorado Plateau, Songs, Photos and Stories by Art Lee.  As part of the program, 15 copies of Overdevelopment, Over population, Overshoot will be given to lucky members of the audience.  Please enter via the double doors at the North Entrance.

RE BRIDGING: Do you have a high school senior this year? Bridging will be on Sunday, May 19th during the 11 am service. Email Amanda at  if you would like your youth to participate.

SING A LONG: Join Jim Thornburg and Lori Shields for a Sing-A-Long, Thursday May 23rd 7-9pm in Little Chapel.

ARTISTS DISCUSSING ART: The last Monday of every month artists gather at 7pm in the Haven to discuss each others art.  The group is open to all visual artist, watercolor, acrylic, oil, mixed media, fused glass, and clay. Bring work to discuss or just come to listen. Bring a light refreshment to share.

DREAM GROUP: Meets the 4th Sunday, 12:45 pm in Room 201. (11:30 am during Summer Schedule)

MEDITATION WALKS:  Nature Walks along the Jordan River, every Tuesday 10am to Noon,  Meet at Arrowhead Park, 550 W 4800 S. Friendly dogs on leash welcome, 1 to 3 miles.

MINDFULNESS MEDITATION CIRCLE: 

  • Meets Sunday at 10am in the Parlor (9am during Summer Schedule)
  • An evening of Buddhist teachings investigating the foundations of mindfulness meditation. What is mindfulness and how might it be of benefit in our personal lives, alone and together as a community? We will consider how to cultivate a daily practice of mindfulness as taught by the Buddha and is practiced today. All are welcome. Come to the Parlor on the third Wednesday at 6:30 pm. For more information

MYSTICAL SPIRITUALITY: Meets the 2nd Sunday, 12:45 pm in Room 201 (11:30am during Summer Schedule)

SANCTUARY:  You may have heard that we have 200 Sanctuary volunteers ... but in reality the number who are actively volunteering is more like 70 and they need YOUR help.  Please engage or re-engage with Sanctuary, renew your background check, get caught up on training, and start actively volunteering at least once a month.  We have volunteers in Eliot Hall after both services ready to answer your questions and to help you engage or re-engage with Sanctuary.

    • VOLUNTEER:  To volunteer to become a Sanctuary Host, sign up at: https://slcuu.org/programs/sanctuary 
    • BACKGROUND CHECK: (New and Renew) Consent:   http://tinyurl.com/UUBCKT  - $15 donation – All Sanctuary Volunteers need to get their background checks upgraded/renewed
    • SANCTUARY TRAINING: Complete the training survey to let us know what days/times work for you: survey is included in the Background Check Consent form linked above 
    • DONATE:  Online donations to the Sanctuary Family Fund may be made at:  https://slcuu.org/sanctuary-fund, To donate by check, make check payable to:  First Unitarian Church of SLC, and write: Sanctuary Family Fund in the note. You can also donate through the GIVELIFY app, just check the Sanctuary Family Fund.

YOUNG ADULTS: A community of people in their 20's, 30's, or young at heart. See all of our upcoming events on Facebook: First Unitarian SLC Young Adults, or email us to receive notifications via email: , or you can reach out to Heather Drenckhahn