OCTOBER 2018 – SHARING MINISTRY with Rev. Michael Hall

Rev. Michael Hall

 

“There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear.” –from “For What it is Worth,” Stephen Stills

If nothing else, the first month of the new church year has been eventful. There was the enthusiastic and inclusive Ingathering Service and Water Communion, the beginning of the OWL (Our Whole Lives) program, the start of a new year for the Lunch Bunch, a pleasantly well-attended “Coffee with Minister” program and on, and on. In this issue of the Messenger you will find notices for a new monthly mid-week contemplative service, a request for you to “bring a friend to church,” an Involvement Fair and a new way for us to connect in an informal, in-person gathering suggested to me by the Committee of Ministry. There are good things going on at KUUC but much work to do:

  • Work to spread the wonderful word about this congregation and our Unitarian Universalist faith to people who are curious about them from afar or, having enjoyed a few Sunday services, now want to know how we live our faith between Sundays.
  • Work to clarify how we will integrate our newly defined values and Mission Statement into this shared ministry. How can we make sure that they have the greatest positive impact on our KUUC community and towns and villages in which we live?
  • Work to make sure that we are as well informed about the church—our staff, ministries and finances—as is humanly possible and ethically responsible.

Transparency is a word one often hears these days as it concerns the systems and quality of communication, both within an organization and emerging from it. Looked at one way, it refers to the intentions of an organization in how it defines itself and how it shares its mission. Looked at from a different perspective, transparency is more a judgment; on the availability, quality, or honesty of the communications received.

There is much to be done to improve our communications. We need to make sure that all of our members and friends have the information they need to stay current about what is happening at the church; to make decisions on the budget; and to create the kind of educational programs, public witness and community service opportunities for which we want to be known. We also need to do the work necessary to stay informed, each one of us— knowing that Board President Carol White, the Committee Chairs, Susan, Jill, Carolyn and I are available to help. When what you need to know isn’t be found in the Messenger, website, Facebook page, Member’s Table or on one of the bulletin boards in the church, please reach out to one of us.

It’s going to be a great year and we will make sure to keep you well-informed about it!

With Heart and in Hope,

Rev. Michael

 

 

 

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.