Like many in the congregation I’ve been a big fan of the Encountering Our Ancestors worship services that Rev. Steven Epperson researched, wrote and directed over many years.
It was a very rich experience for me to research Dr. Sheilah Thompson’s “life and times” and share in the 2020 service.
Ever since Steven announced his retirement I’ve wanted to get a group together to continue learning together about our Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian-Universalist ancestors and to carry on this tradition. This offering was a unique one from Steven who was a historian, as well as a minister and was adept at writing scripts. If we happened to get a minister who wanted to be involved, well, that would be great, but imho unlikely.
There are many options for how the “performance” part would be presented in future–in collaboration with the minister and worship service. The research, writing and learning would be put to good use whatever form is decided on for the sharing with the congregation.
Steven gifted us with his significant and substantial work and it may be that over time, we would find the resources to organize, copy-edit, publish his work, perhaps with additional materials by UCV members and youth. Perhaps even to video-record performances to share with other UUs and congregations.
I envision us meeting (whether in person, video conference or just an email exchange) monthly over the coming year. We would start out very organically by sharing our interests and being very flexible about participation and contributions. For instance, some people may be interested in the role of being cast as a performer to deliver a script written by someone else; others may be interested in doing research. Many possible roles are possible.
Even though other than the actors, Steven did all the rest himself, I think we need a team. As an educator and lifelong learner I also want to make it explicit that a key outcome is the learning along the way. While the focus of the Encountering our Ancestors service might provide a goal, I believe there will be many conversations along the way that will be rich within themselves.
Does this sound interesting to you or your family or Coming of Age pair?
For now I am “calling the circle” as a first step in creating a UU Multigen History Club.
Note the Coming of Age journal includes lists of Unitarian, Universalist and Unitarian Universalist ancestors. We could start exploring that list and seeing how many of those people already have a script created by Steven.
We might as part of a video-conference do readings to share with each other. Costumes and wigs encouraged but not required.
I’m hoping we can continue the discussion on a SLACK workspace.
Here’s a link to a questionnaire on our Breeze database to gauge interest.
Or just send me an email telling me more about your interest: why you’re interested and, if you know already, what aspects of creation are likely t be the focus of your contributions.
Here’s a link about documentary theatre, that you may find of interest.