Welcome to September and another exciting congregational year! I don’t know about you, but for me there’s a sense of “coming home” this time of year. There is, for me, comfort in the familiar rhythms of a new school year, and our more “formal” worship service format beginning. Many of us, I know, are returning from travels- whether physical or metaphorical. Much like returning home from a journey, there is both a sense of excitement with the new and comfort with the old.
Like many of you, I, too, have been traveling this Summer both physically (to our General Assembly in Kansas City) and metaphorically. I would love to tell you all about General Assembly, but I’d rather spend these precious moments with you talking about my metaphorical excursion.
Those of you who attended the conversation I led at UUFS on August 12 will have some idea of what I’m talking about. That Sunday you entered with me into a conversation about “vision”- and a most stimulating conversation it was!
To be clear, I’m not talking about a “vision statement” or a “mission statement”, though these may be a part of it. We have a mission statement crafted some years ago. It appears at the top of each newsletter and bulletin, and on our website: “The mission of the UUFS is to encourage the spiritual and personal growth of one another, and to do all we can to better the world in which we live”. I am deeply grateful to those intrepid folks who crafted it with great care and thought.
There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with it, certainly, but it does seem a bit…timid.
Over the Summer I have become convinced that the time has come for a new vision- one that is a bolder, dynamic, and that speaks to who we are (or at least, who we WANT to be!). So my metaphorical journey has me asking: Who DO we want to be? Who do we serve? HOW will we serve? When someone considers UUFS, what do we want them to think of us? How do we want to live, both as individuals and as a community? What will we strive for, both as a community and as a presence in the larger community?
On August 12 there were lots of great ideas generated. But as I said then, that conversation was only the beginning of what I hope will be an on-going and much larger conversation. I will be asking our Board of Trustees to consider these questions, and I invite you to do so, as well.
Let’s talk about it, then let’s DO something about it!
In a sense, some members of our beloved community have already started. Over the Summer some wonderful ideas have been “percolating” among us, and I know that I, for one, am looking forward to sharing those with you as they unfold.
Here’s one of them…our “Marketing Committee” is now the “Development Team”! They have been and will be looking at ways in which UUFS can truly make a difference in our community (and also get our name out there!). If you’ve been to one of Salisbury’s “Third Friday” events, you’ve seen one of their many project ideas. Stay tuned for more information about this great team- the ideas they’ve been generating are wonderful! Many thanks to Ron Pagano, Beth Wolff, Dick White, and Shelly Wetzel!
Oh- and by the way, if you’ve got an idea, or would like to work with this team to develop new ideas, please see Ron, Beth, Dick or Shelly. I know they’d love to have you join them.
Another change (which probably will not be obvious, which is why I’m telling you about it!) is that we’re using a new “worship theme” program. It’s called “Soul Matters” and it was developed by UU’s for UU’s. It has TONS of suggestions, resources and fresh new ideas for our Worship Team.
We’ll also be highlighting one of our 7 Principles each month. So our speakers will have their choice of considering either one of our Principles, or the Soul Matters theme for that month.
To give you an example, our Soul Matters theme for September will be (not surprisingly) “Welcome” – so our speakers might look at what it means to be welcoming. But another choice, should they desire, would be to consider our First Principle and speak to “the inherent worth and dignity of every person”. We will attempt, as best we can, to tie the Principle, the Soul Matters theme, and what’s actually happening all together thematically. So in September we’ll be having our traditional Ingathering Sunday on Sept 2, on Sept 9 our friend Beth Ohlsson will be visiting us, on Sept 16 we’ll be looking at gender and equality issues, on Sept 23 will be our “Peace Sunday”, along with our traditional “Potluck for Peace”, and then on Sept 30, Matthew Peters, the Director of the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center, will be visiting us. I’m sure you’ll agree- this all ties together nicely! Please join us-we look forward to seeing you.
So welcome home, fellow travelers! May our journey together this year be one of joy, beauty, wonder, justice, hope and, above all, love.
Wishing you peace and blessings,