FEBRUARY 2018 – REV. OLIVIA’S MOMENT & 2018 SABBATICAL INFORMATION

Dear Members and Friends of KUUC:

What a profound honor and joy to be coming back to KUUC, after 10 years, to serve as your Sabbatical Minister from February through June! What an honor to be trusted by your Board and your Minister to serve you well in this time that Michael is away. I am thrilled, excited, and deeply curious.  My heart and my brain keep coming back to the wonderful thought of T.S. Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration,

and the end of all our exploring will be

to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time

You were the first congregation I was invited to serve when I moved to New Hampshire in 2007.  Since then I’ve served our congregations in Concord, Nashua, and Peterborough, NH., and Burlington, VT; all as an Accredited Interim Minister.  I’ve also served on our NNE District Board, and on the UU Ministers Association Board.  I’ve learned and grown; made mistakes and learned and grown some more.  Our mistakes are always good teachers if we allow them to be so.

In a service 10 years ago, the KUUC congregation and I honored both the trials and triumphs the people of this church had weathered since the congregation was gathered in 1824.  Two of the original 12 members were women; yet it is their husbands who were listed on the Founders Plaque.  That wouldn’t happen today, I said.

On January 24th, 1895, some 800 people “squeezed themselves into the new Unitarian church building, 69 Washington St.  This building.  Did you know just 6 members of the congregation made the decision to purchase the land under our feet?  No vote, no discussion with the congregation.  Just 6.  That wouldn’t happen today, I said.

Did you know that the controversy over that decision of 6 led to the creation of a Board of Trustees fully empowered to act in behalf of the church by election by the entire congregation?  Conflict happened, compromises were made; and members through the years have kept this beautiful sanctuary open for worship in this faith of exploration, deliberation, and spiritual awakening, through good times and hard.

What should we honor now, 10 years later?  What are you proud of?  What are you working on that gives you joy?  What will you do with your core idea of mission:  commitment, compassion and community?  What is the vision, the inspiration that moves you toward this beautiful core?  I am excited to think of having these conversations with you over coffee or when we break bread together.

Know that my key roles as your Sabbatical Minister are twofold:  to ensure the staff feels supported by a supervisor who is working with them to field questions or challenges that come up, and to ensure you that you have a minister you can trust to be on call for you, should you need or want a pastoral call.  I delight to be singing with the Keene Chorale at the church on Tuesday evenings this semester, so I will be at church in afternoons most Tuesdays.  My cell phone is 603-554-2294.  Please feel invited to call.

I am excited to see the stellar group of clergy and lay people, UU and beyond, who will speak from your pulpit through the spring.  Michael invited you to use this time as a sabbatical time for you as well as for him; I know your souls and spirits will be well nurtured on Sunday mornings.

On my first Sunday leading worship with you, February 4th, I want to hold up the legacy of one of my heroes, Nelson Mandela, who taught us all never to underestimate the power of one single person to change the world for good.  Each one of us has that power within, if only we dare to use it.

Thank you all for sharing this sabbatical gift with me.

In faith, Olivia

Rev. Olivia Holmes

KUUC Sabbatical Ministe

Sabbatical Minister:

During the sabbatical period, Rev. Olivia Holmes will serve as the Sabbatical Minister—providing up to 160 hours of total coverage. The duties of the Sabbatical Minister will consist of the following:

  • Creating and leading worship once a month; the first Sunday of February, March, and May, the second Sunday of April and our annual Flower Communion service on June 17th.
  • Making regular contact with staff for the purposes of providing supervision and evaluation. Rev. Holmes will complete the final evaluation for each staff member based on their job description, professional goals and mid-year review (which will be completed by Rev. Hall prior to his sabbatical).
  • Rev. Holmes will, conduct pastoral only as much as her limited hours allow and provide a report of her activities.

SABBATICAL WORSHIP SERVICES

FEBRUARY 2018

Feb. 4: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

Feb. 11: Rev. Kevin Jagoe (Brooklyn, NY)

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

Feb 25: Judy Saunders (KUUC)

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 (Keene, NH)

APRIL 2018

April 1: Kali Frye

April 8: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

April 15: Rev. Mark Glovin

April 22: Rabbi Amy Loewenthal (Congregation Ahavas Achim)

April 29: Music Sunday (KUUC)

May 2018

May 6: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

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

May 20: Young Adult Group (KUUC)

May 27: Rev. Hank Peirce (Reading, MA)

JUNE 2018

June 3: Hazel Erdoben (KUUC)

June 10: “Gratitude Sunday” (KUUC)

June 17: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)

June 24: Summer Services Begin

 

  

 

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.