From the Board: March 2022

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for March is Renewing Faith. This month’s post is offered by Brian Zais.

I have a not-entirely-undeserved reputation for being long winded.  My work colleagues have both complained (“Just get to the point, Brian!”) and praised (“I know when I read it, I’ll get all of the information I need”) the length of my e-mails.  I tend to follow the Aaron Sorkin school of expression: why use 10 words when 25 will do?  Using too few words just leaves the opportunity to be misunderstood.

I think this is common for UUs.  We’re a thinking church, after all, a group that doesn’t just follow some mindless rote dogma thrust upon us by someone over in southern Europe.  We get to think for ourselves!  And, boy, are we into nuance.  We live in complicated times.  While polarizing sound bites may be the norm of our political world, we thinkers know that issues aren’t black and white.  We need to understand and describe the context of the situation, the ramifications, and the benefits and drawbacks of our thoughts and actions. Continue reading →

UUCM Listening Sessions: Thank you for helping to shape the work of the church!

Fred Hulting, Board President

During November, December, and January, the Board held a series of open listening sessions that were attended by 45 members and friends of the congregation.  The purpose of these sessions was to gather input that will be used by the Board, Council, and Staff as they plan programs and initiatives over the next couple of years.

What did we hear at these sessions?   We heard that there is tremendous support for the church and its current direction.  You talked about the strength you draw from our community.  You praised the social justice work of the church and expressed a desire to see it make even more of an impact in the western suburbs.  And you said that you were proud of our church values and mission, and that you want us to spread the word and make UUCM more visible in the surrounding community. Continue reading →

From the Board: February 2022

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for February is Widening the Circle. This month’s post is offered by Betty Hartnett.

In June 2020, the UUA Commission on Institutional Change published the report: Widening the Circle of Concern. It is the result of the UUA’s attempt to grapple with racism within its own UU realm, using many tools including testimony, focus groups, collaboration, an outside audit, surveys and social science research tools. During February’s Soul Matters theme, Widening the Circle, we are called to grapple with racism in ourselves and in society, our communities, our country, and our world.

As I reflected on this month’s Soul Matters theme, I began to think about how circles around groups or communities form. Do they form automatically when a group of people live near one another or when they share certain beliefs or values or goals or history, or a combination of these? Are people even aware of the circle around them? Do people sometimes purposely make a circle impossible to penetrate? Continue reading →

COVID Updates for the 2022 New Year

With the positivity rate in Minnesota at the highest it has been at any point in the pandemic, we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to move to online worship and programming for the rest of January. Religious Education leaders are in conversation about how best to help students stay connected through virtual RE. Read below and view Rev. Lisa’s 1/12 Mid-Week Video Message for more details. 

For the past two years, we have been guided by the values of safety, inclusion, and consent in our COVID policies for our congregation and community. We have followed the science and the recommendations of the CDC and MDH. While we have rejoiced in the ability to offer an in person option and to pursue hybrid church, we must also consider the changing context around us in light of our values and care for one another.  Continue reading →

From the Board: January 2022

Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. The theme for January is Living with Intention. This month’s post is offered by Becky Halat.

In July 2020, I started a yoga practice. I’ve found some amazing body-positive yoga teachers on the internet, and have enjoyed practicing from my home over Zoom. It’s been a wonderful gift to be able to relieve stress and move my body intentionally and joyfully with the help of these professionals. And I’ve found that yoga helps me live with intention, which is January’s theme.

If there ever was a time to live intentionally, it’s now. Every time you do anything outside of your home, you have to consider if it’s worth the risk. Am I putting myself, my family, or my community in unnecessary danger through this action? And how can I mitigate the risk as much as possible without going overboard? Continue reading →