One of my favorite parts of any Sunday is standing out on the church portico welcoming folks as they arrive; long time members, newcomers, friends, and families. I love seeing you rush in from the rain and saunter up those stone steps, squinting a little when the sun is brilliant and beautiful. And every single Sunday I'm grateful to watch the teachers arrive. If you're out there on the portico you can tell who's teaching that day because they come with bags. Tote bags with flower pots or fruit salad, special scissors or duct tape—whatever the lesson calls for that they've brought from home or bought for the kids in their classes. Curriculum binders poke out of their canvas shopping bags and purses and back packs. Their own children sometimes come carrying the sample of the craft for the lesson that they put together that morning or the night before to show the other kids how it's done. They come with serious faces, concentrating, going through mental check lists of this, that, and the other thing that they need to prepare to be ready for the children when they come.
At the end of the year we say thank you to the teachers and other volunteers, as we should. And many of us try to say "Thank you" literally whenever we can. But one thing that's missing is having a special way to appreciate our volunteers throughout the year. That's why we will be honoring an "RE Volunteer of the Month" starting in November.
Anyone can nominate someone for the RE Volunteer of the Month. Nomination forms will be available at the RE table after church each Sunday, or you can email me directly with your nomination. Be specific. Tell us why you think your nomination has gone above and beyond in the service of Unitarian Universalist Religious Education.
I hope each one of you will take a moment to say a word of thanks to someone in the congregation who is growing our church from the inside. I cannot wait to read the wonderful things you'll write about your fellow congregants. I hope those of you who volunteer in Religious Education will be given a glimpse of how deeply we all value your work. Thank you, each and every one.