The Beauty of Collaboration: Hospitality at UUCM

From Rev. Anya Sammler-Michael , Senior Co-Minister

Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place.”   —Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

Many in our congregation have remarked that Connection Cafe is blossoming under the leadership of Nicole Gray and John Lytle. Witnessing their efforts, I can attest that they have given countless hours, planning, baking, and coordinating to ensure that all of us are greeted with warmth and hospitality on Sunday mornings. Growing up in a Unitarian Universalist congregation, one of my fondest memories derives from the hospitality hour after the service, and the table that always (to my consistent joy) held bagels and cream cheese. I wonder, if this hospitality didn’t exist, if I would have found my way into the Unitarian Universalist ministry. I did partially finance my seminary education by catering… but that is another story! 

Collaboration is necessary to ensure a vibrant Connection Cafe and many groups, teams and committees have contributed to the Connection Cafe experience. Gratitude for these offerings is immediate and the interactions around the table are quite beautiful to watch. To support these volunteers, Nicole and John have ensured that it is relatively easy to host a Connection Cafe and that each team receives recognition for their service. Still the most challenging aspect of Nicole and John’s work has been soliciting Connection Cafe volunteers. 

If you agree that hospitality is an essential duty of a faith community, and if you agree that collaboration is the best way to ensure hospitality at UUCM, then I invite you to celebrate the new Connection Cafe plan: 

Each committee, team, and group at UUCM will be signed up, in advance, to provide a Connection Cafe. Each will be contacted multiple times, initially, with months of lead time, and given the opportunity to swap with other committees, teams and groups if their date proves untenable. The remarkable truth is that if every committee, team and group participates we can cover every Connection Cafe of the congregational year! Please review the calendar ( and reach out with questions or comments. 


Collaboration is beautiful, UUCM!