“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
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:
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 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 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 6: Olivia Holmes (Sabbatical Minister)
May 13: Rev. Sylvia Stocker (Brunswick, ME)
May 20: Kali Frye
May 27: Rev. Hank Peirce
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