Summer is here in all its scorching Houston glory. For many, summer months demand finding ways to occupy children in creative ways. For others, the long hours of summer daylight provide extra time for projects and chores. For everyone who lives in Houston, summer is a span of time during which we are constantly seeking refuge from the relentless heat and humidity. Whatever we may be doing over the course of the next few months, one thing can be said for certain – it’s hot, muggy and buggy!
At HCRJ, summertime is a period that invites opportunities to regroup, reorganize and rejuvenate. In the office, June and July are when the vast majority of congregational program planning takes place. We begin organizing ourselves for the upcoming Holy Days, which always sneak up on us (by the way, honey will be available for order in the near future.) We begin preparing for the new religious school year (by the way, have you registered your children yet?.) And we take full advantage of the slower pacing that is associated with the “dog days of summer.”
The rhythms of our worship services in June and July reflect this kind of shift as well. In a spiritual sense, we use these slower paced months to experiment with alternative ways to engage as a worship community. In the past, we have spent time learning new melodies and have experimented with different kinds of sermon styles. This year, we will use our summer services to explore the issue of time.
Two years ago we took a survey regarding the timing of our worship services. The results of this survey suggested that a significant percent of our congregation would prefer services at an earlier time. Currently, we have the latest services in town.
This summer we will be holding all summer services at 6:30 to see how an earlier service (especially during our slow season) might positively or negatively impact Shabbat worship from week to week. We encourage all of our families with toddlers to attend our family Shabbat on the first Friday of each month as there will be no Tot Shabbat. Please make a concerted effort to come to a summer service, and let us know your thoughts.
Indeed, summer is a time for spiritual renewal in so many ways. The months pass quickly and the rigors of school and work kick into high gear again in no time at all. As you consider your summer plans, I hope that HCRJ will remain an ideal haven for you as you seek a sense of relief from the heat and humidity.