AUGUST 2018 – SHARING MINISTRY with Rev. Michael Hall

Rev. Michael Hall

“If the vision seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay”

—Habakkuk 2:3b NRSV


Last night I was at a Swamp Bats game when, rather unexpectedly several troops of geese lifted in flight and, leaning into their common endeavor, angled over the diamond, gaining altitude as they flew away. Though the Canadas were probably only going from one grazing spot to another, or over to the watering holes and river banks on the other side of the ballfield, I don’t think that I was alone in seeing it as a sign that the end—of Summer—was near. There was a collective reaction to the slow assent of the low-flying birds, from spectators and ballplayers alike; not quite a gasp, but an acknowledgement, a tip of the cap to the advance of time despite our desire to sync it with our own plans and timetables. The stadium announcer paused in his duties, the catcher made as if he had a shotgun to hunt them down with while the ump checked his watch to make sure it wasn’t yet hunting season.

I have been encouraged by all the outstanding and timely work that so many of our members and friends have been doing to keep ahead of maintenance issues, prepare the Education Wing for its new tenants, ready contracts, weed garden spaces, reserve rooms to interview musicians. Thanks to all of you who have helped and found ways to get involved.

I have also been fired up by dedication of the staff, the various committees, task teams and your Board of Trustees, that have already been meeting, making plans and dreaming dreams. The Board has formally met three times in July—as the Executive Council, in their regular Board meeting and once again last Saturday on a full day retreat facilitated by Regional Staff member Joe Sullivan. Bravo to those groups who see that there is much day-to-day work to be done and a bigger picture to be painted. Even in a season when sunshine and family time, gardening and swimming and cookouts hold sway, there is always need, and perhaps a little more elbow room, to consider our congregational life and the impact of our mission in the many communities we are invested in beyond 69 Washington St.

I think that sabbatical will be remembered as a very important juncture in the life of our shared ministry. It provided us with intentional and structured time to think about where we have been, and what we have done, in the six years we have been together. We have had time to consider our actions on behalf of others, our responses to troubles in our world; we have been able to measure our impact in the region; we have remembered the cycles of worship, the joyful memories and the losses and sad times we have shared; we have thought deeply about the tasks to be done and the roles people play; and through lens of sabbatical thinking strengthened our grasp of the principles, values and loving ways that form the covenant that binds us together. This is important work.

I believe that the vision we seek is already building, by virtue of the values we identified in 2017 and the mission we created together and approved at Annual Meeting 2018. I would even say that the vision is already in motion, emerging in the many ways we gather to consider how each of us, and all of us, represent our principles, embody our values and demonstrates how our mission makes a positive and sustained change in homes, neighborhoods and world.

In the six weeks left between now and in gathering—which really is a lot of time if well spent—I ask you to do three things:

  1. Take a look at our new mission and ask yourself what you are already doing to live it. A good mission represents who we are as well as where we wish to be, so it shouldn’t be surprising that you have been already working to strengthen community, to be compassionate with yourself and others and to commit to living in a way that heals rather than harms the world. Own this work, note your findings and share what you have discovered with me and your Board of Trustees.
  2. Think about what our stated values and the other words within the Mission Statement (such as “creating”, “working” and “fair”) mean to you and envision ways that you think would bring our church closer to a shared vision combining our mission, ministry and activities. What ways do you see the mission being apparent in all our expressions of church life: justice, service, fellowship, generous giving and resourcing the mission? What skills do you have to help us share in the responsibilities, preserve the building and grounds, connect with other churches and support our denominational goals and growth? Own this work, note your findings and share what you have discovered with me and your Board of Trustees.
  3. Make sure your committee or task team is discussing their role in living the mission and creating a vision from that mission. It is easy for us to think about living by a mission and staking out a shared vision—or avoiding such work—alone, or in the times between meetings asking for “congregational input.” As some in our congregation have noted we are not there yet, we have a mission but no clear vision(s) of what living the mission would look like. We have a number of people working hard and others who aren’t sure how to get involved. We have individuals with splendid ideas and no place to bring them. Be certain, we have work to do to anchor this mission, and it begins not only with individual input but collective expressions of “what if.” Consider ways that your committee can center your work on the spiritual principles and mission of the church. Put the mission statement on your agendas, take time for worshipful moments in your meetings, discuss together how your committee or crew can integrate the mission into its work and see how that changes your priorities and progress. Own this work, note your findings and share what you have discovered with me and your Board of Trustees.

I look forward to seeing our vision emerge. Through our patient and yet steady application of the work we have already done, I believe that we will begin to see how the mission lives in us and the how the vision already begins to write itself.

Yours in Faith, Hope and Love,

Rev. Michael


Board President Lucius Parshall – April 2016


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.


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.


Lucius Parshall

Adult Religious Exploration Book Discussion


“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 ( or Dottie (


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.