DECEMBER 2017 – REV. MICHAEL’S MOMENT & 2018 SABBATICAL INFORMATION

“When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge.”  — Tuli Kupferberg

December is a beautiful month of holidays and holy days and gift-giving; when people of many faiths gather to celebrate “light” in its many natural and symbolic meanings. In December, folks the world over honor and rejoice in the return of light (Yule, Solstice, Pagan), the light of enlightenment (Bodhi Day, Buddhism), the light of restoration (Hanukkah, Judaism) and the hopeful light of a New Year (Ōmisoka, trad. Japanese). Perhaps it is fitting that in this month full of joy, sincerity and giving, that we are also building up our own light here at KUUC, and celebrating all that we are and can be as a community.

In the following pages, you will read about many important programs and initiatives, some of them a long time coming. They are just breaking out from the shadows now, and soon will bring new light, clarity and purpose to our beloved KUUC. We are in the final two months of having a new mission and vision for our church; and on December 10th we will take another giant step forward in that process. On December 31st we will begin a new edition of the magical, Multi-Generational “Month of Sundays” program. In January, we will celebrate the “Joy of Community” through worship, fellowship activities, field trips and outreach. Also, if you read on, you will be able to see how far along we have come in planning the first ministerial sabbatical at KUUC in 30 years!

These plans are worthy of celebration. They not only mean that we are going forward together, but each a clear sign that we are breaking patterns: the lack of a united vision or inspirational mission; the emphasis on situational, and often crisis-driven thinking; the years of deferred maintenance and inability to plan a campaign for our capital needs; the many short-term and interim ministries.

I do see a new world emerging in this old church—I am excited about it, and I hope you will begin to see and get excited about it too. I am certain that our shared ministry is truly becoming shared—which isn’t always easy terrain for the congregation, the professional minister or the rest of the staff to negotiate. I see in the sabbatical not only time set aside for my study and renewal, but more so an opportunity for all of us to reflect on and rejoice over all that we have done and what we are capable of doing together. I am not so much the starry-eyed dreamer to think that all of this will be easy, that it will come without hard-

work, occasional confusion, or even hurt feelings. There will be changes that we all need to acknowledge and even mourn. We won’t always get our way as we are “Building a New Way.”   What we will be is stronger and clearer about the direction of our shared journey. I promise you this: if we all generously participate and not hold back, and commit fully to each other, the result will not be some foreign, unrecognizable wilderness—which is always a fear in times of change—it will be the church you know becoming the gift you will give to “people you will never know.”

Yours in Faith and Fellowship

Rev. Michael 

 

THE SABBATICAL PLANS ARE SHAPING UP NICELY

Rev. Michael and the rest of the Sabbatical Committee have been hard at work preparing the sabbatical our minister will be taking from February 1, 2018 through June 30, 2018. On November 20th our Board of Trustees approved the Sabbatical Proposal the Rev. Michael worked on with the Sabbatical Committee, (which includes representation from the Worship Committee, Personnel Committee, Staff and the Executive Council of the Board of Trustees). Rev. Michael also developed an exciting Worship Calendar (see below) that eventually filled each of the 20 weeks that he will be out of the pulpit!  Here is what we can share with you right now as there are still logistic and education brochures that are still in the works:

  • The Rev. Olivia Holmes has agreed to serve as sabbatical minister! Rev. Holmes has a very focused portfolio and fewer hours in five months than we have come to expect from Rev. Michael in one.
  • Rev. Holmes will be primarily responsible for leading worship 1x/month, supervising and evaluating the staff, and reporting to the Board of Trustees monthly. She will also be available for pastoral visits on a limited basis.
  • Rev. Michael’s sabbatical will focus on three areas: a study, renewal and new learning.
  • As much as we might wish to contact him about church business and as much as he might wish to attend Sunday worship at KUUC, there will be little contact with him around professional matters and only by certain identified people under particular and urgent circumstances.

Here is the Worship Schedule for the sabbatical:

FEBRUARY 2018

Feb. 4: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

Feb. 11: (Reserved, Speaker TBA)

Feb. 18: Rev. Dr. M’ellen Kennedy (Springfield, VT)

Feb 25: Judy Saunders 

MARCH 2018

March 4: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

March 11: Rev. Patrick McLaughlin, (Manchester, NH UU)

March 18: Rev. Sara Hayman, (Ellsworth, ME UU)

March 25: Rev. Sandra Whippie

APRIL 2018

April 1: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

April 8: Young Adult Group

April 15: Rev. Mark Glovin

April 22: Rabbi Amy Loewenthal (Congregation Ahavas Achim)

April 29: Music Sunday

May 2018

May 6: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

May 13: Rev. Sylvia Stocker (Brunswick, ME)

May 20: Kali Frye

May 27: Rev. Hank Peirce

JUNE 2018

June 3: Hazel Erdoben

June 10: “Gratitude Sunday”

June 17: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

June 24: Summer Services Begin

 

We hope you are as excited about this as we are!

Rev. Michael & The Sabbatical Committee

(Content Team) Dottie Bauer, Larry Dachowski & Tom Julius

(Logistics Team) Jill Hall, John Lowry, Ann Shedd & Rachael Walter

  

 

Board President Lucius Parshall – April 2016

SPEAK UP SO I CAN HEAR YOU!

The season is upon us once again. No, not that one. Our church is again entering the time when we are all asked to pledge to the church that has served us so well, so it will be there to serve those yet to come. Those congregants that have been paying attention over the last few years know how this works.  We put off pledging until the end of the campaign, then await the unveiling of next year’s budget that reflects every penny pledged—and not a cent more. Then we squirm and eventually rise to the occasion.

I’m proud of the financial restraint that our board has displayed over the course of this fiscal year, but our bricks and mortar are suffering. We were fortunate enough to avoid dipping into the reserve funds that the congregation allocated at our last general meeting, but we were also blessed with some very light heating expenses. Plans change, sometimes for the better.

Our congregation is getting older, so is our larger community. As America becomes more secular we watch the churches close around our community. I don’t think that Unitarian Universalists need to suffer this same fate. Peter Morales has made an eloquent case for us in his “A Religion for Our Time” video series (try that in your YouTube search window).

In the next year all of us will be asked to engage in creating a common vision that will carry the message of Unitarian Universalism into our local community. It is my fervent hope that this is not yet another exercise in wordsmithing, but a real communication of what we offer that sets us apart from dogmatic congregations. This vision is needed to lay the foundation for a new generation of congregants who will continue the work of making our liberal faith relevant.

I’m getting older, and I have a request. Will you please SPEAK UP SO I CAN HEAR YOU! I’m ready to increase my pledge by 5%, I’m ready to increase my involvement by 5% and I’m ready to work towards our common vision, 5% harder. That’s how it comes down, committing our time, treasure and talent to growing our congregation.  You may divide this pie differently, but in the end I’ll still be asking for 15% more. It’s what we owe to ourselves, and those who will follow.

Peace, Lucius

Reverend Michael’s Moment – April 2016

Bend down—and there it is: No need to wrest it from others. With the Way, in complete agreement— The mere touch of a hand is spring: The way we come upon blooming flowers, The way we see the year renew itself. What comes this way will stay…  —Ssu-k’ung T’u, (837-908), The Twenty-Four Orders of Poetry

Finally, it has arrived! One would think that such a mild winter as this would have been more patiently endured and easily gotten through—especially when compared to the ferocious cold and record snows of last year. For me that was decidedly not the case. With each tease of mild weather my heart soared and with the least suggestion of icy winter’s return it withered. I found that I was looking forward to, no longing for, the return of spring more than I ever have before. Maybe you felt that way too?

Why should this be? Who knows.

Perhaps such longing was the product of less light in the day. I know that many people lack concentration or are troubled by sadness and fatigue during the winter. Perhaps we felt compelled to stay inside and keep to the work at hand, winter’s shadows deepening the feelings of responsibility that come with maturity. For me, it may have been that the concerns of aging were finally creeping in, and with them wariness that under each fresh dusting of snow, hidden ice and a sudden fall waited. As the years pass, each turn of the wheel is more precious—as it should be—and witnessing the unveiling of another spring is not to be taken for granted.

In retrospect, I realize that I was simply impatient for the return of the lark and leaf—for the return of the spring in my step that comes with this season. I deeply missed playing toss on the lawn and listening to the muddy squish, swish-swish of my boots as I tramp around Goose Pond. I looked and looked for signs of budding, the reemergence of color, the return of the light and now, with April, I have my reward!

I won’t regret this impatience for spring, and neither should you. In this case impatience is simply a sign of health; of how much we love life, all life and the beautiful, cool, (never cruel), up-springing April.

However, I do want to extend this apology to winter: you are also lovely and not to be taken for granted. Enjoy your time away winter! We’ll see you again come December!

With Heart and in Hope,

Rev. Michael

Board President Lucius Parshall — March 2016

A recurrent topic with the Board is in the interpretation of the KUUC vision. This has been reflected in the House Meetings, and will hopefully be further developed with help from the district level over the next few months. I cannot express enough gratitude towards Talu Robertson, who has joined the board to serve out the remainder of our Past Presidents term.  Rachael Walter has been plugging away with the Worship Cluster, and D’vorah Kelly can always use more help for several openings on the Fellowship Cluster. Susan Chamberlain has agreed to coordinate the fundraising events that many of you are involved in. Feel free to discuss any fundraising ideas with Susan.

Thank you to all committee heads that have submitted their budgets to John Lowry. He is already well-underway in creating next year’s budget.  Mark Meess and the building committee has been developing a solar panel project that would further lessen our carbon footprint. It seems that several projects are underway, including plans for the space in the R.E. Wing. Take a moment and share your thoughts on these initiatives, or anything else concerning our common vision, via phone, email, and I’m usually around on Sunday mornings.

Peace, Lucius

Board President Lucius Parshall – February 2016

The tinsel’s packed away for another year, but I was honored to be part of our Christmas Eve service. I’m often a sucker for things traditional, and the Christian overtones connect me with my own youth, for better or worse.

Since joining KUUC, I’m trying to do this free and responsible search for truth and meaning, but it can’t happen in a vacuum. I test new ideas against what I once believed as true. This makes me embrace my roots, and honor my traditions, if only on a personal level. I thank each one of you for teaching me tolerance both for myself and with others.

I also think on Liberalism’s Big Tent. If we are a welcoming congregation, where are the liberal Christians, where are the Eisenhower Republicans? Pete Seeger said that, “It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.” I think that Pete was right, but learning to talk has to be hand in hand with respect.

This month we have begun a new policy, you may have noticed. We have a designated point person who each week is identified from the pulpit during announcements. That person is charged to be available to visitors. These visitors are seeking, but often leave without finding or even identifying what they are seeking. The best we can do for them is to listen. One of the tag-lines that the Communication Committee came up with was “KUUC–Where all your answers are questioned.” We need to go beyond saying that we are a dogma free congregation and live it.

The history of our Liberal faith has placed us ahead on so many issues. It is a position that I am loth to surrender, and do not wish to let go due to complacency. We have a good thing, and expanding our base is good for our community and the world. I’m ready to clarify our vision and work together to strengthen our congregation.  Please share your thoughts and ideas to help make this happen.

Peace,

Lucius Parshall

 

Board President Lucius Parshall – January 2016

As most of you should know, with Michelle’s recent move for work (Congratulations Michelle!) my elected status was accelerated. While I already miss the guidance of Michelle, I’m excited to take on a new role in promoting our liberal faith.

Someone recently asked me to put the word “liberal” in context. I said I was using the term liberal from an intellectual perspective rather than political. I look over our principles, and I wonder how many conservatives and theists that may stumble upon our church would agree with my use of the word liberal. Are we the “big tent” church, or have we been galvanized by a too tight interpretation of our own liberalism? I think on our third principle, “Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregation.” Does this happen with each person that comes through our door? I can’t say, but I’d like to hear your thoughts.

Now I’ve promised Rev Michael that I’ll leave the sermons to him, but I do believe that we have a good thing here within our faith. Good for our community, and worth preserving. We all need to nurture our church not only spiritually, but also financially. While I believe that where there is no vision, the people perish, having a heated sanctuary to gather together in has to be right up there as well. I also see solid financial footing is the foundation upon which our vision resides.

Over the next few months I hope to be examining all of our resources and ask if we are putting them into best practice for nurturing our vision, and sustaining our future. I will truly welcome your thoughts and suggestions on this matter that concerns not just our current congregation, but also those potential congregants who have yet to participate. It seems to me a natural way in which to live out faith.

Peace,

Lucius Parshall

Adult Religious Exploration Book Discussion

BOOK DISCUSSION: THE CONVERSATION

“The Conversation: A Revolutionary Plan for End-of-Life Care” by Angelo Volendes, MD, will be the focus of an Adult RE book discussion in January/ February 2016. Book discussion sessions will be co-facilitated by Nancy Brigham and Dottie Bauer, and will be scheduled for several Sundays after church with specific dates yet to be determined.

Please contact Susan in the office if you would like us to order a paperback copy of the book for you. DEADLINE for requesting a book is Monday, January 18, 2016 (MLK Day). If you have any questions, please contact Nancy (npbrigham@gmail.com) or Dottie (dottiebauer@gmail.com).

CALLING ALL QUILTERS!

Beginning in early February the vision of next year’s raffle quilt will begin to formulate in the hearts, minds and hands of those who wish to be part of the effort. The proceeds from quilt, which will be raffled off at next year’s Green Sale, supports both the Community Breakfast program as well as KUUC. If you’d like to join us in 2016 please contact Hazel so we can determine a schedule that will accommodate all.  Next year’s quilt will be a hand-quilted project sure to delight and dazzle.  We invite you to consider joining us as many hands make for light work.   Contact Hazel at 499-6162.