From the President is a feature that is being reinstated this year. I hope you will read the entire letter, longer than it might be in the future, especially because this is a particularly important and busy year.
We are so fortunate to move into our year with great energy and enthusiasm for all we have the potential for achieving—a strong interim process, a search for a settled minister, another year of being here for one another in beloved community.
The Rev. Stephen Cook joined us as our interim minister August 1. He will be with us through June. Together with the Board, Transition Team, and Staff, Rev. Steve will lead us through an interim process that includes, but is not limited to:
- Claiming and honoring the congregation’s past, healing its griefs and conflicts
- Illuminating the congregations unique identity: its strengths, its needs, and its challenges
- Clarifying the multiple dimensions of leadership, both ordained and lay, and navigating the shifts in leadership that accompany times of transition Renewing connections with available resources within and beyond the UUA
- Enabling the congregation to renew its vision, strengthen its stewardship, prepare for new professional leadership, and engage its future with anticipation and zest. (From In the Interim: Strategies for Interim Ministers and Congregations, edited by Barbara Child and Keith Kron, Skinner House Books) Rev.
Steve will let us all know his hours. He is working with the Transition Team, made up of Carolyn Cave, Lisa Cyr, Steve Rice, Polly Peterson, Mary Herman, and Jenn Chylack. We are grateful for their service in helping to implement the interim process for our congregation.
SEARCH FOR A NEW SETTLED MINISTER
Meantime, our Ministerial Search Team has begun the process of search, meeting together with Unitarian Universalist Association Consultant Debby Bergh, at the end of August. Debby met also with the Board. You will hear regularly from the Ministerial Search Team and the Board on the process. The Ministerial Search Team is Louise Grosslein and Jess Murphy, co-chairs; Janis Gray, Kiana Diggs, Sue Kelly, Charlie Atwood, and Carol Johnson. We are grateful to this team for taking on the important and large task of ministerial search.
OUR BELOVED COMMUNITY
And, as ever and always (thank goodness), we are here for one another in beloved community—especially in a time of change, of transition. To me, what beloved community means is that we gather with best intentions, prepared to support one another in times of joy and of sorrow, open to the stories we share, welcoming of a variety of approaches to how and why we believe what we believe, and knowing above all that we have the ability to make life a heaven on earth by our actions, by our relationships with one another and our world. To me, beloved community means being in right relationship with each other. At the Board meeting in June, we talked about what “right relationship” means. Again to me, right relationship is an active, mindful, respect-filled engagement with others, and a striving to exhibit behaviors that enhance the dignity and inherent worth of all: expressing sincere appreciation; allowing for human fallibility; dealing directly with each other; being creative in problem solving; maintaining a sense of humor; actively listening and clarifying what we hear; letting others have their say; respecting boundaries that may differ from our own; respecting confidentiality; refraining from harmful gossip about others; and speaking honestly.
The Board is tasked with the fiduciary leadership of the UUSA; that is, the Board is in an ethical relationship of trust with the congregation to shape the vision and long-term goals of the UUSA. The Board ensures that the UUSA is externally effective, internally efficient, and fiscally sound. The Board creates policy that helps ensure the Congregation’s mission—and this policy is subject to the Congregation’s approval.
We take this responsibility seriously. September 15, the Board will hold a retreat facilitated by Jackie Shanti, a lay-leader trained in leadership development by the New England Unitarian Universalist Association, our regional resource for trainings and consultation. We are excited to be able to use this time to clarify our mission and our understanding of each other’s working styles, so that we can best serve our congregation.
As we move forward, I want to emphasize that the Board is Us, and We are the Board. Each member of the Board is available to you to ask questions, share thoughts, express hopes. And at the same time, I am hopeful that the congregation treats the Board with respect and kindness as we all navigate this transition year. The Board is serving with the best intentions and with very skilled and good people that you elected.
Board members include myself, Lynne Latham (clerk, 2019), Peter Lacey (treasurer, 2020) and Bo Mack (president emeritus). Our At Large members are Fran Plumer (2019), Emily Shankle (2019), Rob Fuderich (2020), Rosie Cowell (2020), Jeanne Ballantine (2020), Susan Rice (2019), and Casey Flueckiger (youth representative, 2020). We are also fortunate to have Joe Flueckiger, who was president of the Board two years ago, serving to help build Board leadership.
As we enter our next year together, I hope the entire congregation will feel the positive energy and potential the Board is feeling right now!
A few notes:
- Congratulations to our Director of Religious Education, Rebecca Fricke, for achieving her credentialing as a religious educator! The time and thought Rebecca has invested in deepening her understanding of UU spiritual development is invaluable to our congregation. Thank you Rebecca.
- The Staff (Rebecca Fricke, Director of Religious Education; Brenda Miller, Music Director; and Lea Douville, Office Administrator ) will take Interim Ministry Training together with Rev. Steve over the next two months as an online course administered by the UUA. Their working text is In the Interim: Strategies for Interim Ministers and Congregations, edited by Barbara Child and Keith Kron, Skinner House Books, and is available from the UUA Bookstore if you are interested in learning more about the Interim Process. (You can also access online information here: https:// www.uua.org/sites/live-new.uua.org/files/documents/mpl/transitions/interim_opportunity.pdf and here: https://www.uua.org/careers/ministers/interim
Board Bullets from our clerk, Lynne Latham, will appear regularly in our e-newsletters to keep us aware of Board meeting work. Congregants can also read full minutes posted in the office.
Yours in faith,