Dear Friends,

Time goes by so fast! Cold nights are upon us, the Community Kitchen

breakfast has started up, snow plowing and removal contracts are due,

the Greens’ Sale is around the corner, and the advent season is about to begin.  It seems just yesterday the Board of Trustees’ meetings ended before sunset and while leaves were still green on the trees.  However soon we will celebrate the shortest day of the year, and my term as President of the Board of Trustees will be half gone.  I am thankful for the opportunity to be of service, and for the chance to meet more of the members of KUUC.

As December closes in, see if you can warm yourself with community or commitment at KUUC.   There are opportunities to give and receive with compassion, joy, laughter and song

Be warm on these cold and shortening days

Anne Branzell-Spiegler, President







You may be asking, what happened to that “mission” process we started in the Spring? You may wonder if we will be able to make the January 31st deadline for the new KUUC Mission Statement and Vision.  Of course, in the swirl of plans, deadlines and responsibilities that are at the center of your own lives, you might have entirely forgotten about that “vision thing” we started.  Or it is quite possible that you dismissed it as a waste of time, something where you have “been there, done that,” at work or even—many years ago—at this church.

First, here are the answers to your questions: The Visioning Process that we started Spring is very much alive. Together we discovered our three core values—Community, Compassion & Commitment—and Rev. Michael test-drove them in several memorable services in September, October and November. The Visioning Steering Group (Rebecca Baldini, Susan Chamberlain, Mickey Cronin, Melinda Hildreth-Honkala and Rev. Michael) has met regularly to prepare for the final stages of this huge effort. Finally, with all of us doing our part, the new Mission Statement & Vision should be in place by the end of January 2018.

But we NEED YOU to finish this work so together we can START living the Mission and acting on our Vision!!  Please join us, after a “hearty coffee” hour on December 10th, for the last developmental meeting of the Visioning Process.

Homework for the December 10th Visioning Session: “3 Churches”

To help you prepare for our session on December 10th please consider the following ideas that Rev. Michael presented to our KUUC Ministerial Search Committee back in 2012. We believe that it still has relevance today. Think about the “three churches” that Rev. Michael outlined back in 2012 and then answer the two questions that follow. Bring your answers to the December 10th meeting, not because we will go over them but to help prepare and inform you for that day. The Visioning Steering Team welcomes your responses however, if you care to share them with us.

First consider the “Three Churches”:

In the course of reading our “Congregational Record,” in his discussions with the Search Committee, and later, with the congregation, Rev. Michael, identified for the committee and church leadership two things that he thought were very important. The first was the desire “to do something together,” as a whole church (both children and adults) in the realm of social justice work. This eventually led to the creation of “Month of Sundays” as a way that that desire could become a reality.

The second was an even deeper question of our congregational identity, a matter that would not be as easily gotten to—certainly not through a single program. It is the Visioning Steering Team’s belief that the products of how each of us—and all of us—consider the question of “The Three Churches” may help us finish the Visioning Process and develop our mission.

Rev. Michael said he couldn’t discern who we were, and what type of church we wanted to be, and threw out these examples for the Search Committee and others he talked with at Candidating Week to consider and act on. The first question is this: which of these three church models do you think most closely describes the church we are now, or have been since you started coming to KUUC

The Home Church:

By this Rev. Michael was speaking about a church full of kind, free-thinking and liberal spirited people that is welcoming, but more inwardly oriented. In this type of church, the congregation, most of whom are generous with their time and do good work in the community, try to make a difference in the world, by acting on their native goodness and the UU Principles. The church is a place that the people return to for community, and to be reminded of that goodness and those principles. The church is a little like a battery; renewing the commitments and spirit of its members.

The Activist Church: This kind of church can be found throughout the Unitarian Universalist Association and in other denominations. The focus here is to direct the mission of the congregation, and much of its financial and human resources, to Social Action work or Social Justice ministries. This doesn’t mean that there is no life within the walls of the church, or that Sunday Worship is arid. What it does mean is that even those things are directed to supporting one or more—but not every possible—Justice issues. These ministry may include homeless ministry, prison ministry, sanctuary church issues, needle exchanges programs, economic justice action or Civil Rights work.

The Incubator Church:

In this church, in many ways the vision is vision. Again, this church has good worship, a strong sense of welcome and it encourages growth and community building. However, the focus is one of generating and supporting ideas; worship, programs and initiatives that are supported by the current energy and thinking of people within church, but aren’t necessarily expected to be part of the church forever, or may never officially be church programs at all. The best examples of this type of church might be seen in efforts such as the Community Kitchen (which we housed for a time), The Monadnock Interfaith Project (which started at a “Month of Sundays” Brainstorming session), the Community Breakfast (which started as a KUUC sponsored one day a week service project, and is now a six day a week, lay-led, interfaith program which will be leaving our facilities beginning next winter), “Month of Sundays” (a continuing KUUC program) and the Monadnock Time Exchange (which had its “soft launch” at KUUC and with whom, soon after we became organizational partners) .

So, our second question is this: Which of the “three churches” would you want us become—without taking concern for how it is that we would get there? One could easily find illustrations for all three of these models in the long and remarkable history of our congregation.

Once again, please come to this vitally important meeting on Sunday, December 10th. We won’t waste your time and we will achieve our ultimate goals.

—The Visioning Steering Team


KUUC = Mission x (Compassion, Community, Commitment and Vision)

The Keene Unitarian Universalist Church is equal to its Mission times its Values and Vision