Steven provides Program Ministry services to UU Santa Fe―learning, small group ministry, connecting, and justice-making support. He has served congregations large and small in the East, Midwest, and now here at UU Santa Fe.
Parts not installed cost nothing and create no maintenance problems.—Thomas H. Keating, GM General Manager
At the turn of the last century when the car industry was emerging, cars started out looking like, well, wagons. It was what we knew; what felt somewhat familiar. Very quickly, imagination took hold and there followed a wildly creative design period. All kinds of weird and wonderful contraptions materialized. Gradually, captivating designs that met our needs and expectations came to market. Orthodoxy and convention became evident. The modern car emerged.
Enter the Pandemic. A Black Swan event if ever there was one. Well, well. Here’s UU Santa Fe, highly functional, solvent, purpose-driven, even growing its membership--preaching from the mountain top as they say. And then, This. We quickly pivoted (some would say remarkably pivoted) to embrace a new digital gathering paradigm—livestream worship and online gatherings of all sorts. Not surprisingly, this virtual church experience feels strongly familiar. Like what we knew. It should, we were intentional that this new alternative church experience be recognizable—chuck wagon church.
One way or another, the Pandemic is here to stay. Our church community will not be going back to the way it was. Gone. Forever. The “digital combustion engine” is here to stay. And while much of our lost past is worth grieving, much that is new is worth embracing. How will we enter the inevitable “wildly creative design period?” What kind of weird and wonderful responses to this new reality will we try? What can you add to this equation that adds meaning to our reality? How will you help move us on from chuck wagon church to the spiritual food truck of our future? What might that future be like?
Let your imagination go. As we continue to gather, we will reimagine a new spiritual community for ourselves. And it will be amazing. Wait and see. See you online.
Mike has served UU Santa Fe in many capacities, currently as co-lead of the Ministry Team, and as a long-time member of the Family Program Steering Team.
How did Squeaky Get The Name Squeaky?
"Squeaky" is the nickname given to Deodoor (pronounced "Theodore", "d"
and "th" being the same sound in Squeaky's native language) Whiel by us
because Squeaky comes from the planet Squeaquol in a distant galaxy. We
find this funny because we can then refer to Deodor as De "Squeaky"
Whiel. Squeaky finds this funny too, although not for the same reason.
We also call Deodoor "Squeaky" because that's what Squeaky's language
sounds like to us. (It's actually more akin to the click-squeal language
What does the rest of Squeaky look like?
Squeaky's body has three segments, one atop the other somewhat like a
totem pole, and is septilateral i.e. has seven-fold symmetry. The bottom
segment has seven legs, each with two knees and seven long toes. The
middle segment had seven arms, each with two elbows and seven long
fingers. The top segment has seven specialized sensory limbs that are
fused into a slender neck and melon-shaped head: one ends in a wide
mouth edged with tiny white nubby teeth and a purple tongue; one ends in
a reddish-purple nose with three nostrils; two end in pointed orange
ears; three end in globaluar eyes, two pointing forward and one
backwards. (Squeaky's people evolved among sneaky predators, so the
third eye was for keeping watch for any that tried to sneak up from
behind.) Between the eyes is a patch of wiry bright orange hair-like
fronds that Squeaky's eyes can retreat into, which is Squeaky's way of
Squeaky's body is covered with a soft grass-green fuzz that is more
similar to the fuzz on a bee's body than mammal fur or hair. Against
this green background Squeak has alternating stripes of darker green and
Is Squeaky a he or she?
Squeaky's people have seven genders: aia, gur, ko, nah , qui, tum, and
yeb. Squeaky is at the moment an aia (Squeaky's people's bodies
change genders several times in their lives, which makes for complicated
family reunions), which is the closest analog to the Earth gender "he,"
so we refer to Squeaky by the pronouns "he," "him," and "his." Squeaky
does not mind this; in fact aia finds it somewhat shocking that a
species with so few genders as us can make such a fuss over what gender
a person is or considers themselves to be.
Squeaky's people's reproductive cycle is correspondingly too complex to
easily explain, and it is all rather personal anyway. Suffice to say that
Squeaky was not born nor hatched, but budded from aia's Nahlt (which
is a nah fulfilling the closest equivalent to a human birth mother).
How did Squeaky get here?
Squeaky's arrival on Earth was quite accidental:aia's spacecraft
crashed in the playground of UU Santa Fe. It was a gentle crash as
spacecraft crashes go, more of a plop than a bang, but the hull and
interior machinery were damaged beyond repair. To prevent the government
from discovering the wreck and imprisoning and subjecting Squeaky to who
knows what terrible fate, we (the members of UU Santa Fe) stripped off
the hull and pulled out the machinery and hid the whole lot in an
undisclosed location--leaving the structural skeleton as a jungle gym in
the playground. We have been giving Squeaky sanctuary since because
aia is an illegal alien.
Squeaky has declined to explain how and why aia was so far from
aia's home world, and we haven't pressed Squeaky about it: aia will
tell us when aia's ready.
What does Squeaky do around UU Santa Fe?
Squeaky enjoys being a part of the Treehouse stories segment of the
Sunday services. Aia noticed that some inattentive people were putting
trash in the donation bins, so aia took on the job of removing said
trash. Aia has become fast friends with Steven Mead and Rev. Gail
Marriner; they have long discussions about life, the universe, and
What are Squeaky's future plans?
At night you can find Squeaky sitting at the top of the tower with a
telescope trying to sight aia's home world's star. Someday aia hopes
to go home. We have made a covenant with Squeaky to help aia do that,
and to keep aia safe until then.