Saturday, 30 April 2016 00:00

The Reverend's Reflections - May 2016

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It has been a tumultuous couple of years for the congregation and for me, as well. And it has been exciting to help UUFCO begin functioning as a larger congregation, surpassing normal expectations of growth. We have accomplished a huge amount this past year. There is a great deal to feel proud of as more foundations are put into place, like the mission statement we’re taking on. Few people get to experience this kind of change and growth, and some of you will be experts able to help others in years to come.

On the other hand, the fast pace of change has caused stress, miscommunications, misunderstandings and missed opportunities for collaboration. I take responsibility for my part in these. I do believe that everyone has had the best interests of the congregation at heart, and also, that we haven’t had the capacity to deal with the new kinds of problems that arise when you are suddenly a new size of congregation.

In recent months, I found myself at the center of controversy. My contract with the Board offered us 3 choices at this midpoint. Even at the best of times, this is perhaps the most difficult kind of choice to make and congregations usually take many months to explore and understand the nuances of their shared ministry with their minister. We didn’t have this time and thus not this process of working mutually towards a decision. Without that kind of background, the contract decision became problematic. As the Minister, it is my responsibility to make it right insofar as I can. And so, I am removing this problem by deciding my path: I will leave at the end of my contract in summer of 2017.

It is a hard decision but one I’m at peace with, and I continue to have great joy in serving you. This ministry has challenged me and changed me. This past year has been very much about learning practical things like where the light switches are, and how to serve coffee, and what kind of staffing works. The work we have ahead will help develop a deeper understanding of how to relate to one another in this larger group. We’ll have at least two consultants, including Rev. Carol McKinley, to help hone our skills around working and communicating together. The Board, Shared Ministries, Leadership Development committees and I, have agreed to support one another through this work. I am pleased to be activating the Program Council, partnering with the Leadership Development Committee, and deepening my work with the Shared Ministries Committee. Additional support will come from one-on-one work with a personal consultant.

So yes, I’m sad that this ministry will end sooner than later, but I am excited about the time and work ahead. I look forward to this time next year with the dream that we all feel gratified for how we have grown together and that you will be anticipating your new minister with open eyes and joyful hearts. And I will ride off into the ministerial sunset, with abiding love and respect for you all. That is my wish, my hope. May it be so.

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