I’m writing this week about our church’s interim work this fall. But I can’t get to that work without thinking about how difficult these times are. Mexico’s severe earthquake. Yet another terrible hurricane that is devastating Puerto Rico as I write. Terrible famine in Yemen. Wars against Muslims in Burma and against democracy in Syria. And the U.S. president is a catastrophe for our country and for the world.
These are difficult times. We come to church to survive difficult times and help others do the same. But we also come to church to keep our attention on a healthy future for all. The world needs First Unitarian’s ministries.
And that’s why you and I are doing this interim work together. Even as First Unitarian continues to do its vital ministries, you and I are also preparing our church for a rapidly changing, difficult world.
Right now your Board and I are working on the interim tasks that prepare our church for its ministries in these times. I am working with our church’s staff to update procedures and practices and welcome new staff members. I am (finally!) bringing together a team of members that will lead our church’s development of effective conflict skills -- a process called “Healthy Congregations.” And I am working with the leadership of First Unitarian’s Social Justice Council as we continue our church’s initial steps toward being a multicultural spiritual community.
First Unitarian’s Board is working on Policy Governance. The goals this year in developing our church’s governance skills are that decisions made on behalf of the congregation be both transparent as well as represent the congregation’s goals and values. The Board is also asking “powerful questions” as it does this work. The overarching question, recommended by consultant Laura Park, is: “How can we govern to liberate the energy and creativity of our church to awaken compassion, transform lives, and bless the world?”
These are big efforts, and accomplishing them will take an endurance past this interim time. But these will empower our church to adapt to the challenges of ministry in a rapidly changing and difficult world.
You are, as individuals and as a spiritual community, much needed for the difference you make.
I am grateful to come to church and be, for this short time, a part of your important ministries.