Board of Trustees Listening Sessions – Check Your Calendars

The Board of Trustees will be holding listening sessions on September 29 and October 27. Sessions will begin after worship service at 11:30 AM and run for two hours. Childcare, food and drink will be provided. Questions will be raised and responses will contribute to the Board’s planning for hiring our next minister. We will be sending an invitation for everyone to sign up for one or the other session but wanted to give folks a chance to consult calendars and commitments.

From the Board: July/August 2019

As our tiny blue-dot home passes the summer solstice, I am thinking of calendars. For over five-thousand cycles, this day has been marked by the sun apparently “rising” over the heel-stone at Stonehenge.  Although Copernicus’ heliocentric  heresy has morphed into Hawking’s history of time , this solstice remains one of our most easily marked points in our recurring journey around our sun.  Here on land held sacred by the first people before us and fifty cycles since we sailed a shiny ship to the moon,  we mark the beginning of our church fiscal year – July, 2019 to June, 2020. And, like those before us, we make plans.

During four months of congregational conversations (“Planting Possibilities”) in 2017 we refreshed our vision, mission and ends statements. At that time, looking forward to the completion of our new building and wondering how we would use it to realize our highest and best, we listened to each other’s stories. We shared our personal “spiritual journeys” in coming to this time and place. Some of us had come from families of UU congregations. Many of us had come through disaffections with other religious traditions. All of us carried baggage from our travels. Like Caesar’s legions before their battles, we set down our baggage (he called them “impedimenta”) and took inventory. We found words and metaphors which had served and/or wounded us.

We lifted up these powerful words. We embraced our ambivalence about them.  Our hope was to desensitize ourselves to words that can impede our ability to join others in solidarity for shared values and action. Continue reading →

From the Board: June 2019

The UUA Soul Matters topic and theme of worship for the month of June relates to beauty; the written material in the curriculum is rich and inspiring. It starts with asking: “What does it mean to be a people of beauty?

UU minister Sean Parker Dennison writes, “The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility. What we believe is beautiful we will not wantonly destroy.”  With this we are reminded that beauty does more than soothe and heal. It demands. It calls. It creates commitment. It doesn’t just say “Love and appreciate me.” It says “Protect me! Fight for me!” It steps out in front of us and points to a precious world that needs our help. It paints a picture of new ways of living and declares, “Follow me there!” It’s not just the thing that nurtures our activist efforts. It is the reason we take to the streets. (p.1)

Last Sunday at church, I sat beside a woman who looked familiar, but I did not know her name. After the service, we sat and talked, and she introduced herself and said she had been coming to UUCM off and on for many years, but that today was the first time she had attended a service in our new building. Continue reading →

From the Board: May 2019

The theme for May is “curiosity” – a strong desire to know or learn something.  When I read this definition, I thought I could see an immediate connection between curiosity and open-mindedness. I had to see whether others found a similar connection.

The website, SelfGrowth.com’s, contributor Rikky Maas observes,

When you’re curious about something, you keep an open mind. Being curious is a state of wonder, in which you look for answers about the unknown. Asking questions about things is the direct opposite of judging things. Imagine how much kinder the world would be if everybody went ‘Ah what’s this? How does that work? What can this do?’ instead of ‘I like this, I don’t like that, that’s stupid’.

When you’re curious, you’re okay with not knowing. You embrace a certain insecurity, and it takes strength to do so. It’s much easier to hide behind fact, opinion or thought, whether false or true. You have to be okay with being vulnerable. It takes tremendous courage to show yourself unknowing. It takes courage to have no belief to hold on to. Continue reading →

From the Board: April 2019

The theme this month is Wholeness.  As I was assigned to ponder wholeness, I got stuck.  What is it to be whole?  What is it to have holes?  What does it mean to be whole?  I know I do not have any unneeded holes or I’d be leaking, so I must be whole.

One of the biggest things I appreciate about being part of our congregation is that it is a place where we can ask questions.  It is expected that as individuals, we do not have all the answers.  Collectively, we are much stronger, smarter, and able to see more possibilities while forming our own point of views.

As you may know, I spend a lot of my chosen church time with the youth.  I knew I needed their help to answer my questions about wholeness. So I asked Star and Devon about what is it be whole and of course, their answers were quite insightful. Continue reading →

From the Board: March 2019

A journey (Oxford English Dictionary) is an act of going from one place to another or of traveling for a specified distance or period of time, a march, a ride, a drive, etc., or a combination of these; an excursion or expedition, especially to some distance. Figuratively: referring to the passage through life.

With this figurative sense of journey, UU’s are welcomed into our congregation. Membership does not require belief in some authority’s articles of faith. Membership is extended with an invitation to share the story of your personal spiritual journey. We wonder about how we have come to this time/space; what values have drawn you here; how are you realizing your highest and best. Continue reading →

From the Board: February 2019

I am one of those rare Unitarian Universalists who grew up in a UU church. One of the most vivid memories I have is going through the Our Whole Lives program. The first gathering was a day of trust building so we would be comfortable talking with each other about uncomfortable subjects. While one person climbed up to a platform about six feet off the ground, the rest of us all stood across from each other with arms bent at the elbow and palms up to make a zipper pattern. Collectively, we would catch the person as they fell backwards from the platform. A perfect way to show how we can support each other and trust that everyone will keep you safe….until you drop the first person….Luckily, she was uninjured, and we got the hang of it as we each went in turn. Like many things in life, earning, giving, and receiving trust is a learning process.

Our relationships to and within UUCM are often described in terms of covenant where promises are made between individuals, between the board and congregation, and between various groups within the community. Trust underlies promises. We make a promise, and the person or group we make it to trust that we will keep it. Inevitably, a promise will be broken, and that will damage or break the bond of trust. Often, it is possible to rebuild trust. Life is a process and we all make mistakes, break promises, and learn from that experience. Sometimes, the harm is too great, and the covenant is broken.

I’m writing this coming out of a day-long leadership retreat in which we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of our UUCM community. Continue reading →