Community life at Summer Institute revolves around twice-daily intergenerational services, Morning Worship and Vespers. In each, worship leaders create innovative ways to deliver inspirational messages including storytelling, vocal and instrumental music, multimedia presentations and more. Announcements at worship services – always informative, occasionally entertaining – are the primary source for updates and information throughout the week. For SI community members, worship services serve as daily touchstones.

Rev. Dave McFarland, Allegheny UU Church, Pittsburgh, PA
Rev. Dave came to what he lovingly calls “The OM District” in 2004, being called by Allegheny UU Church, a century old inner-city church in Pittsburgh, PA. After a brief career in banking, he served UU churches in Utah, San Francisco Bay Area (as interim following OMD’s Rev. Mark Belletini), and the greater Boston area, including the Provincetown AIDS Ministry that directly followed his MDiv at Harvard.

He brings a participatory, fun, music- and soul-filled spirit to worship, as some SI’ers experienced when he was SI Morning Worship Leader a few years back. “Maybe Worship ‘Leader’ doesn’t exactly fit,” he suggests. “I join with others, not least the entire congregation, in crafting story and song, word and silence to make the space for creating together the potential for an experience of what I, for one, am willing to call ‘The Divine’.” He hopes his husband and their two grade-school sons will be able to join SI mid-week.

Rev. Rod Thompson
The Rev. Rod Thompson grew up in Canton, Ohio, has degrees from Hiram College (1963) and Lexington (KY) Theological Seminary (1968); and received Ministerial Fellowship from the Unitarian Universalist Association in 1985.  He has served churches in Corbin, Kentucky, and the Panama Canal Zone, as a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Minister; and Unitarian Universalist Congregations in Kent, Ohio, Augusta, Georgia, and Adelphi, Maryland.  Between these two periods of ministry Rev. Thompson was active in sales, management, and sports broadcasting for radio stations in Ohio and Indiana, as a public school teacher, and as a Mental Health Counselor.  In 1998 Rod became the Ohio-Meadville District Minister, Executive, and Consultant, a position he held until 2005.  Since then he has served as an interim minister in Raleigh, NC, Wayzata, MN, Toledo, OH, Pittsburgh, PA, Las Cruces, NM and Greenville, NC.