When I was in Divinity School, I probably learned more about theology and ministry at the weekly “Dean’s Tea” on Thursday afternoons than I ever did in the classroom. There was something about the relaxed, informal social setting and the sharing of a beverage — truth be told, there was probably more wine consumed than tea — that encourages the exploration of ideas and the formation of community. That’s the theory, anyway, behind the “coffee with the minister” meetings we’ve been having on Monday afternoon of the long weekends when I’ve been in La Crosse. Attendance has ranged from three to twelve, and new connections have been made among the participants.
I recently re-connected online with a Swedish UU ministerial colleague of mine, and we somehow got to talking about the Swedish custom of ‘fika.’ Apparently, it’s an artificial word created by simply switching the syllables of the Swedish word for coffee to create a verb describing the daily practice of taking time to enjoy a cup of coffee, preferably with a friend or friends. Fika is practiced “religiously” in largely secular Sweden. According to my friend, Barbro Hansson, ‘having coffee is a ritual where the meeting and the social exchange are the focus, a way to socialize together with one or more people. In the Swedish fika culture, common accesories are cinnamon buns, sponge cake, and various types of cookies.” (all available, by the way, and Java Vino’s). I guess my love of coffee comes from my Swedish ancestors, then! If you haven’t yet taken the opportunity to gather with fellow UUs for the enjoyment of ‘fika,’ here’s your chance!
We’ll find a big-enough table at Java Vino’s at 2:00 on the 22nd. All are welcome to attend; feel free to come and go as you need. They even serve tea, I’m told!