My younger son, Henry, will turn ten years old this month. I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. I remember during my second or third month here as your new minister nervously standing before you to share the news of my (unexpected) pregnancy, and the warmth and joy with which you received it, as well as the care and love you have since shared with me and my family.
If Henry is turning ten, then it must mean that I am finishing up my tenth year as your parish minister. In the same way, I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed. I continue to be grateful and honored to serve my call here at First Parish.
Larry Peers, my clergy coach, asked me at our meeting this past week what now, ten years in, is the “generative work” of my ministry. When I first came, my main work was listening: listening to your hopes and dreams; listening to where we needed to do work of healing and work of celebrating. Then, we worked together on articulating a congregational covenant: naming the ways we wanted to walk together as a Unitarian Universalist community of faith: honoring and celebrating, nurturing, caring and being present, bearing witness through service, and being good stewards. Now I see the generative work of my ministry as walking with you in discerning what it means to intentionally be Unitarian Universalist: as individuals and as a congregation. To embrace, to celebrate, and to take seriously Unitarian Universalism not only as a religion that can and does make a difference for good in our world but as a religious identity that we can deepen and grow into in meaningful and powerful ways. This theme has underlay much of what I have witnessed this year: conversations in various committees about their work, particularly in the Standing Committee, the RE Council and the Membership Committee; conversations about our building and how it serves us and hinders us in living out our UU covenants; reflections from folks on their experiences in New Orleans, the Mothers’ Day Walk for Peace, the Pride Parade, and other moments of bearing witness; deep caring for one another in a year of many pastoral crises—embodied by the rides given, the visits made, the meals delivered, the cards sent, the prayer shawls woven, blessed and given out; in your generous response to the pledge canvass and the dedication of the canvass team; and the piloting of the “Intentional UU” program, offering new members mentoring by long term ones.
As we prepare to close out our “regular” church year and begin our summer worship schedule, I look forward to continuing to listen and engage with you about being intentional about our Unitarian Universalist faith; how we can live it more deeply and meaningfully. With plenty of fun and joy, as well as thought and commitment. And I thank you again for another wonderful year, with gratitude for the last ten, and hope and anticipation for the ones to come.