Pastor - Michele Townsend Grove
Michele Townsend Grove, our half-time minister, is a Unitarian Universalist religious educator who has expanded her portfolio to include worship and congregational leadership. Michele moved to Galena in 2021 with her family and found the Unitarian Universalist Church of Stockton through the reference of a dear friend. Michele has worked in United Methodist and Unitarian Universalist churches for more than 30 years including congregations in Delaware, Washington, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey and Illinois.
Michele is married to Andy Townsend, a retired dentist who is currently working to restore several properties in Illinois and West Virginia. Michele and Andy have a daughter who is a sophmore at Galena High School.
When Michele is not working with the UU Stockton congregation she is consulting with other Unitarian Universalist congregations, teaching courses in transitional leadership, gardening and playing games with her family. Michele also admits to being a big fan of Marvel movies and Star Trek.
If you would like to reach out to Michele, please email email@example.com. Michele looks forward to getting to know you!
Pastors Perspective September 15, 2023
Happy New Year!
I know it seems early. According to our calendar, we will not celebrate the new year for almost 4 months and January 1, 2024 seems far away. But for the Jewish community, the New Year begins tomorrow. And tonight, the celebration begins!
Tonight, Jewish families and communities will gather to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. It is a day of prayer, festive gathering and eating. Then, ten days later is one of the Jewish High Holy Days: Yom Kippur. Between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Jews reflect on all the people they have wronged over the past year and seek forgiveness. Yom Kippur (Monday, September 25th) is a day of fasting, prayer and atonement. It is a great way to start a new year – looking to make a fresh start!
This may not be a celebration in your household, but we can do a couple of things during this time:
- We can hold space in our minds and hearts for our Jewish neighbors (those who are near and those around the world). Think about them and send well wishes. For their sacred celebration is meaningful.
- Reflect on how we can all be a people of forgiveness. How do we seek forgiveness and reconciliation? How do we give it to others? We have a lot to learn from communities that have ritualized forgiveness and atonement.
Much gratitude to you all.
And Happy New Year!