This will be my last newsletter message to you for 2023. As I wrote in my annual report, this has been quite the year, with much to celebrate and much to reflect upon. While there will always be challenges and circumstances when you begin to wonder what or how you will face them, if you call up the memory of someone you have great regard for who has passed on, or a teacher from whom you learned a lot, and ask for their wisdom to direct you, you can settle into the long line of others who have come before. Remember you are not alone. You were never alone. As Unitarian Universalists you are part of a great cloud of witnesses who have asked the same questions, faced the same dilemmas.
This year ahead will bring many gifts to you as a congregation of faith. You have set in place terrific visionary leaders who see clearly what is possible in this community when the mission is to create the Beloved Community. If you set the goal as bringing in new people only because you think a bigger membership is better, you may be missing the point. Our faith calls us to draw the circle wider. Ask “How can we help serve others who are in pain, in need?” For neighbors who’ve never heard of UUCNC: how can you build a bridge of welcome? Some are here seeking safety, asylum, who don’t know English. Some feel isolated, rejected because of their identity or gender. SUNY students from far away might like a meal together, a chance to meet others—what about a Drop-In Dinner night, a pot of soup, some bread, a lovely table set?
Okay, I’ve done it again! I guess by now you’ve figured out that I believe that the way you will grow is by finding out what the world around you needs, and use your gifts of welcome and love, your skills and talents, to build your vision, execute your mission.
The saying “if you build it they will come” is true, but only if includes others in the construction party.
In our UU tradition, and as part of my covenant with other ministers, it is customary for departing ministers to allow for the new minister to begin, unimpeded, in their ministry with you. At this point, the future is unknown about a new minister for UUCNC. However, to avoid confusion and disappointment, and to honor good boundaries, it is important to respect this practice for one year, after which we can reassess.
In the meantime, you will remain in my thoughts, in my prayers. I have so many lovely memories of my time with you. When I need to recall those who have inspired, challenged and guided me in my life, you will be there for me!
I remain, in faith, gratitude and LOVE,