Dear People’s people,
One of my colleagues likes to joke that people are called to the ministry because God thinks they need extra supervision. While I might argue with some of that, there are times when I wonder if I am called to this work so you all can teach me the things I need to learn, over and over and over again. This happens in large and small ways. It happens in conversations about meaning, when you all tell me how you understand things and I gain new insights. It happens in committee meetings when I remember that I am the only one in the room paid to be there, that the rest of you are doing the work of the church because it matters so much. It happens in pastoral care, when you all try to make sense of the pain of life and show me what it means to live with integrity and courage.
One of the things that I have been learning over and over again in recent months is that we are better together than we are alone. Our ideas, our influence, our compassion, everything we do is better when we do it together. Whenever I start to prioritize doing things myself, I am reminded again and again that we are all in this together—and we are better together.
Here are some of the moments that I have remembered this. When we launched what we now know as the Widening Our Welcome process, I thought I knew what the best outcome would be—adding a service. Now, having heard ideas from many of you, I am not certain that that would be the best path forward for us. I have heard so many wonderful ideas about religious education, ways of worshipping, and how to reach people who might value what we have to offer, but aren’t here yet for various reasons. I know not everyone has had a chance to engage in this process yet—and I hope you will. Conversation tables are happening over the next few weeks.
I have learned that we are better together as we develop a new mission and vision for the church. Just over a year ago, many of you gathered to talk about your dreams for the church. After some fits and starts, a draft mission statement should be making its way to you in the next few weeks. I hope you will offer feedback and suggestions. The draft I have seen is poetic and powerful – and it will be made even better as we talk about it together. Thank you to all who participated in the workshops, the workshops facilitators, the writing team, and the board members who worked on this project.
I am also in the process of preparing for my parental leave – my baby should be arriving in mid-April. Again and again, the people I have asked to do more—staff, volunteers, area UU ministers who will come to lead worship – have said yes. Their willingness to do more reminds me that the work of our church is bigger than any of us individually, that we step up to support one another when support is needed. I am so grateful that you all are providing me with eight weeks of paid leave and yearn for a world in which every new parent is treated as justly.
Thank you for all the ways you remind me that we are better together.
See you in church,