We support women!! (Actually, everyone)

What’s possible in the near future? Will politicians recognize that everyone deserves quality healthcare or will they legislate that only some do? Keeping clinics open is a major struggle but achievable with your gifts.

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On March 24, supporters in Minnesota delivered 5,626 swabs — used for cancer screening and STD testing — to Rep. Erik Paulsen’s office. Each swab represented a Planned Parenthood patient in Rep. Paulsen’s district who relies on Medicaid to receive preventive care.

Shouldn’t women’s right to quality health care be at the top of the list in the United States? Please support our Share the Basket partner this Sunday with your gift or do it now on-line.

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Posted in Caring for One Another, Share the Basket, Social Justice | 1 Comment

Funds released!

If we just had the money, our committee could…”

advertThe UUFP Trustees have released some of the endowment funds for a worthy, interesting, and appropriate proposal. The guidelines state that projects should support the long term mission of Unitarian Universalism and our congregation.

This is a great opportunity to fund a special project that’s outside the Fellowship’s budget.

Here are the guidelines for writing your proposal.

We look forward to seeing your ideas!!

Judy, Roy and Mason

Posted in Endowment, Planning for the Future | 1 Comment

Down to the Wire

are you ready for a stellar finish-

Last July, who would have pictured the coming year? Some might call it turmoil or confusion.

But, as usual, the UUFP was ready. We responded by joining four million (4,000,000) others for a march to support women’s rights. We hung our emotions for the world to see with a Black Lives Matter banner. We’ve been a part of a climate science demonstration, Pridefest and we volunteer to feed those in need and support all of this with our dollars.

Last July, we didn’t know what the future held, but your pledges made sure that the Fellowship was ready. Now is the time to complete your current pledge so we can be ready for who-knows-what?

Please bring your check or cash on Sunday or, better yet, go online to give the Fellowship a great finish to an incredible year!

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Let Kids Be Kids Instead of Being Hungry

Thousands of local kids will lose their access to lunch while there is no school this summer. Your ten dollars (or more) will help change their world. Please do it now!

From Karen Joyner, CEO of the Southeastern Foodbank:

Let kids be kids

It’s the last day of school. While some kids across the Greater Peninsula daydream about summer adventures, others wonder if this summer will be like the last fewa time with no food in the fridge.

Without help from you and the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank, thousands of children in our community will miss meals this summer. They will get too little food to sustain their growing bodies.

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Your gift, which the UUFP is collecting, helps remove the grown-up worries for kids in our community. Every $10 you give helps fill a family’s pantry with 40 nutritious meals and helps get hunger out of a child’s mind.

On behalf of the children who will spend this summer just being kids instead of being hungry, thank you!

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Posted in Service to the community | Tagged

Our yearly countdown

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June signals the beginning of summer with the end of school, vacations and plenty of warm weather. It also marks the end of the UUFP year.

And what a year we’ve had! The odds are that you’ve participated in a social justice activity at least once. Whether it was riding on a bus or simply putting money in Sunday’s basket to support those who depend on us. This how you’re changing the world!

June is also when many of our members catch up on the financial commitment they made.

June is a great time to reflect, support and eat lots of ice cream.

And keep changing the world!

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Sunday Services (June 2017)

Services for June 2017 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula

theme: This, Our Hearts’ Own SongRev. Andrew Clive Millard

Services include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard unless otherwise noted.

June 4th: “Spiritual Fruits (not Religious Nuts)”

Life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.  We face challenges, often small and readily resolved, but sometimes large and much more difficult to overcome.  This is a fact of life, and it’s how we respond that makes the difference.  Do we let a challenge become a problem that unhappily blocks our way?  Or do we see it as an opportunity for growth and betterment?

We’ll also celebrate the Bridging of two of our high school seniors.

June 11th: “The Wholeness of Men”

Our society has become more accepting of same sex marriage, and it is starting to open itself to transgender and gender-fluid people as well.  In a time when we press for fair and equal treatment for everyone, does gender matter anymore?  Can a little boy simply grow up to be the best human he can be without being concerned about what it means to be a man?  Although we have made progress, gender continues to make a difference.  Our society still upholds a narrow definition of masculinity that can damage men, women and transgender people.  We will reflect on the boys and men in our families and in our communities and how we can help to broaden the image of manhood.Rev. Jennifer Ryu

The Rev. Jennifer Ryu attended seminary in Berkeley, California at the Starr King School for the Ministry, graduating in 2005.  She served as minister to the Williamsburg Unitarian Universalists from 2006 to 2015.  Jennifer is now completing a one-year chaplain residency at a local hospital and is affiliated with the UUFP as Community Minister.

We’ll also express our appreciation of our religious educators.

June 18th: “Songs and Stories”

The songs we sing and the stories we tell reflect both who we have been and who we want to be.  On our spiritual journey to find truth and meaning, our songs and our stories are like mile markers, telling us not only how far we have to go but also how far we’ve come.  They guide us in our search for our better selves and a better world, and they invite the like-hearted to join with us.

We’ll also express our appreciation of our musicians and singers.  Special music has been selected and will be provided by the Fellowship’s ChorUUs!

June 25th: “Hand in Hand”

A closing ritual that we have used for some of our UUFP activities is the sung verse “… so that we can do together what we cannot do alone.”  Let’s take a look at the many forms of this togetherness and the ways — both big and small — that it changes what we dare to do in our own lives and in the world around us.Jeffrey Hinkley

Jeffrey Hinkley is a husband, father, scientist, musician, peer counselor and teacher.  He has attended UU congregations in Maryland, Williamsburg and Norfolk, and has served the UUFP as Vice-President, committee chair, RE teacher and lay preacher.

Posted in Children's Religious Education, Sunday Services | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rain was in the air

Yesterday we had a fearsome thunder storm. Heavy rain and lightning—really fascinating to watch from my living room window. Later I read on Facebook that some of my friends got caught in it. Luckily, they made it to the safety of their cars or the shelter of a restaurant for an impromptu bite!

Lisa-LINK

But, then I thought about this woman who received help from LINK. Here’s her story:

Before moving to Virginia from the Midwest several years ago, Lisa—diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth—managed a housing development for seniors and people with disabilities. She enjoyed her work helping others, but wanted to move closer to family living on the Peninsula.

Lisa made the move to Virginia, but did not anticipate the difficulties she encountered finding employment and affordable housing. Not wanting to burden her family, Lisa eventually found herself homeless, living in her car, and on the steps of the PORT winter shelter program at a local church. Unable to sleep on the floor sleeping mats due to her disability, the LINK staff stepped in to help. “LINK was my life-saver,” Lisa says. “They were able to find an apartment for me, help me move in, and be self-sufficient again.”

Before LINK, that storm could have been more than an inconvenience or a funny story. It might have been devastating or even life threatening.

Long before I joined in 2000, the UUFP was collecting money for LINK on the third Sunday (tomorrow). Sometimes we may forget why until we read about Lisa and how she might still be living in her car had it not been for LINK.

The cash you place in the baskets tomorrow or the gift you make on-line right now to LINK helps change lives.

Posted in Caring for One Another, Share the Basket, Social Justice | 2 Comments

Sunday Services (May 2017)

Services for May 2017 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula

theme: As We Give We GainRev. Andrew Clive Millard

Services include sermons preached by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard unless otherwise noted.

May 7th: “Faith Over Fear” #UUWhiteSupremacyTeachIn

Like a majority of Unitarian Universalist congregations, we are shifting our regularly scheduled Sunday morning programs to participate in a teach-in on racism and white supremacy.  Our call to action comes from a growing network of UU religious professionals and and lay leaders from both within and outside congregations, led by UUs of color and white UUs working together. As Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism puts it,

“White supremacy” is a provocative phrase, as it conjures up images of hoods and mobs.  Yet in 2017, actual “white supremacists” are not required in order to uphold white supremacy culture.  Building a faith full of people who understand that key distinction is essential as we work toward a more just society in difficult political times.”

The greater part of each service will be devoted to small group sharing and deep listening.  This work to dismantle white supremacy, like anything else good and important, requires us to show up with our hearts and ears open.  Our collective vulnerability is transformative and powerful, and everyone is welcome to participate to the extent that they are able.  Whether stretching with us, being uncomfortable with us, or feeling affirmed in any decision to pass or step out if time for self-care is needed, this is the first step in work that will bring us into wholeness with the values of our faith.Jaimie Dingus

Jaimie Dingus will join Rev. Andrew to co-lead the teach-in. Jaimie is a longtime member of the UUFP and a first-year student at Harvard Divinity School.  She serves as Children’s RE Assistant at Arlington Street Church and is an active member of The Sanctuary Boston.  This Summer, Jaimie will serve as a chaplain intern at Essex County Correctional Facility.  For now, she is so grateful to be back home worshipping with the UUFP!

May 14th: “The Power of Commitment”

We often think we’d be able to accomplish great things if only one or two circumstances were changed.  Perhaps the most important change of all, though, is something that happens within us.  Let’s explore the power of commitment to shape our experience and to change the world.Rev. David Morris

The Rev. David Morris is the minister of the UU Congregation of the Outer Banks, in Kitty Hawk NC, having previously served congregations in California and Virginia.  He was a founding member of the Southeast District’s Anti-Racism Transformation Team and the UUA’s Council for Cross-Cultural Engagement.  We welcome Rev. David to the Fellowship in his first pulpit swap with Rev. Andrew!

May 21st: “Life Worth Living”

Arrested by the Gestapo in 1941, Unitarian minister Norbert Čapek gave a letter to his daughter, Zora, the day before his trial on the charge of treason against the Nazi regime. (Several of his sermons, promoting respect for the inherent worth and beauty of every person, were cited as evidence.) Norbert’s letter included a poem he wrote for Zora, meditating on the ecstasy of a life spent fighting for sacred ideals in spite of disappointments, cruelty and pain.Flower Communion

We shall celebrate the Flower Communion, created by the Čapeks, so please bring a flower (preferably with a long stem) with you.  Flowers are collected in vases before the start of each service, and then distributed during the service.

Special music will be provided by the Fellowship’s ChorUUs!

May 28th: “Thank You for Your Blessing”

Every year on Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have laid down their lives in service to our country.  Let’s look at the motivations of their service and the lessons we can learn from those who paid the ultimate price to serve this nation.
Walter Clark, former intern at the UUFP

Walter Clark is a graduate of the Meadville Lombard Theological School and has served as student minister in both Newport News and Richmond, VA.  He hopes to be welcomed into Preliminary Fellowship with the UUA in September and to find a congregation to serve in 2018.  Walter enjoys the full support of his wife, Wendy, and their two children, Willow and William.

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(n) white su·prem·a·cy

It’s all about the words, isn’t it.

I guess it’s part of our heritage to delve into the meanings of words. To parse the definitions and make absolutely sure everyone understands the author’s exact intention. Words are how we communicate ideas to each other, so to make sure our ideas are not misinterpreted, we carefully pick the right words. We do this when by-laws are written and amended. We witness this every year at general assembly when AIW’s are created. We participate in this every time we create a covenant in a small group. Like Stephen Sondheim, we are really Into the Words.

Lately, there are two words going around the UUA that are causing a lot of trouble:

White Supremacy

These two words are being used by BLUU regarding a teach in. After the recent issues regarding the hiring new leadership in the Southern Region, BLUU is calling for all UU congregations to discuss systems of White Supremacy on either April 30 or May 7. The goal is to bring awareness of how whiteness is valued over black or brown (or any other color) in our everyday lives. How we perpetuate that system without realizing or meaning to. This is a conversation that is extremely hard to have. It is hard for people of color because the oppression that is obvious to them is invisible to whites. It is a hard conversation for whites because the feelings of guilt that can arise may turn into defensiveness or depression. However, despite the discomfort this conversation brings, it needs to happen.

download.pngBut so many of us just can’t get past those first two words: White Supremacy.

It’s a term that coujures up images of the Klu Klux Klan, lynchings, Jim Crow and Nazi Germany. It is used to describe people who are everything Unitarian Universalists are against. It is for many white people, the worst thing they can be called.

So we don’t want to use it. Especially when describing part of our own lives.

I had the honor of attending the Southern District Spring gathering in Charleston, SC. It was great to be among so many leaders of our faith, see the three candidates running for UUA president, attend a great workshop on social justice and enjoy the hospitality of the Charleston congregation. However, the moment that stood out for me was learning about a monument, prominently displayed on the church grounds. It was made from a slab of wall from the original church. Their senior minister Rev. Danny Reed told me that it is quite likely the bricks were made and laid by slaves, that slaves literally built the church. Inside of the current building, the names and pictures of many of the congregation’s historical figures are proudly displayed.

But the names of the people who sweat and toiled to create the buildings are forgotten.

2017-04-08 16.20.19.jpgThe small and powerful memorial that sits outside of the Charleston church reminds us the church was created through an inhumane practice that is a very real part of our history. We love to talk about all of the good things in the past that made our denomination what it is today, but there are parts of our past that are not good. Just as we honor the parts of our past that moved us toward a better world for all, we must witness that part of that advancement was at the expense of lives of color. Until we come to terms with that, we will never be able to move forward on a multi-cultural path.

White Supremacy is part of our past. Our history is filled with land-owning white men who had the luxury of freedom that enabled them to work toward a free and responsible search for truth. White Supremacy is also part of our present. We see it in the disproportionate sentencing the black men receive over their white counterparts. We see it in the school districts, in voting regulations, and in hiring practices. There are plenty of highly visible examples.

But there are times where as white people, we don’t see it at all.

A friend of mine, who is a both a person of color and a UU told me of a time when she was visiting a UU church after moving to a new area. When she arrived she was greeted with, “What brings someone like you to visit our church today?” The tone was very friendly and genuine, but the underlying message was, “black people have their own church and aren’t UU’s.” I am willing to bet that the person who greeted my friend had no idea how his comment hurt her. That is the supreme part of White Supremacy. It is assumed as the default, the norm. It’s not intentional, it’s just the way it is.

And that is why we need to talk about it.

The inherent worth and dignity of all calls us to examine what is hurting others. If we don’t realize that the system we are a part of is hurting others, it is our duty to learn about the ugly underneath of our system and work to change it. Words are important, it’s how we communicate ideas to each other. So when a person of color is using their words to tell of us their pain, we need to honor their words and listen.

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Why Are You Here?

Why are you here?

I got that a lot when I first got here. Most of you knew that I had previously been an intern minister in the Richmond congregation, so why was I doing a second internship? There are a lot of different reasons why I wanted to do two internships, but all of them had to do with learning about congregational life. For those of you who are unaware, the Richmond congregation had over 600 members and the majority of UU congregations are around 100 to 200 members. While my time in the Richmond church was valuable, it was not going to prepare me for most UU congregations, so I needed to find another internship.

2016-07-12 15.44.03Enter the Fellowship of the Peninsula.

So here I am 9 months and 25,000 miles later and what did I learn? I made a list of things that I learned while I was here. I was able to come up with 10 things in about 3 minutes, which is good sign, but I want to concentrate on just three of those things. The first is that Relationships Matter. One of the biggest reasons that people look for a church is to find community, to find people who have beliefs similar to their own. Now, I am well aware of all of the UU jokes about how no two UU think alike, if you have 10 UU’s in a room, you’ll have 20 different opinions. It doesn’t seem that we have a common belief among us, does it? But how many of you, after visiting for the first, second or tenth time said to yourself, “These are my people!”? How does that happen if we don’t all believe in the same exact thing?

2016-07-24 09.56.54You talk to each other. You have these wonderful fellowship circles that allow you to respectfully listen to each other and explore spirituality in a brave way. (Notice I didn’t say a safe way, engaging big questions in never safe. But risks need to be taken if growth is to be had). The connections that I saw in groups like the Adult Forum and Earth Rising are strong. You take care of each other very well. These bonds are a large part of why this congregation is holding steady. You all love each other.

The second thing I learned from you is to never waste a good crisis. When I got here I heard about a flood that happened a few years ago and how so many people pitched in to get the sanctuary up and running again. I heard a similar story about a roof that needed to be replaced. A congregant told me early on, “we are really good at coming together in a crisis” and I got to see this first hand in November. After the election, there were a few people who worried about what was going to happen to the country. We opened our doors on Wednesday night and had a fair amount of people come to be in community with each other. Some came looking for comfort, but most came to be in community, to just sit with others and listen. Some brought food, because nothing says comfort like food. Some just stayed to help clean up and keep things in order. You all knew it was going to be a bad night and you showed up for each other.

2017-02-26 14.57.55.jpgIt is my belief that the election played no small part in the Black Lives Matter banner being raised. There was a sense of urgency after the election. That we needed to do more and the banner was a result of that. It is my belief that is the purpose of a crisis. It is a call for us to do more than what we were doing before. The hope is that what we do after the crisis will prevent another from happening.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned during my time as an intern is that vision counts. We had a vision statement at my last congregation that drove me absolutely crazy. It said “We grow in search of wisdom, care in support of community and act in service of justice.” And was abbreviated into “Grow, care, act” It was everywhere. On the order of service, on the stationary, on the website. It was mentioned in board meetings and small groups. After about two months I was sick to death of seeing, hearing and reading: Grow, care, act. When it was brought up in a staff meeting at some point, I made a comment about how sick I was of seeing it and one of the staffers said, “The point where you are sick of hearing it is the point where the congregation is just starting to hear it. It made sense. I was at the church 5 days a week and most congregants were only there for a few hours a week. It needed to be everywhere in order for people to see it.

Why did people need to know what the vision of the congregation was? Because everything a congregation does should point back to the vision, it should inform every decision a congregation makes. Over time I began to see congregants take in the vision and start to apply it to their board meeting, there social justice work, in worship and even in how office staff worked together. How does what we are doing now, fit with the vision of the church?

2016-09-17 14.36.03The vision of this congregation is as follows: “We believe in an individual and collective search for truth and meaning. A community where we commit ourselves daily to honoring the inherent worth and dignity of each person. In a constantly evolving world, we strive for social justice for all.” It took me a little time to find it on the website. It’s not on the order of service and I don’t think it’s written anywhere on the bulliten boards. That’s okay. To be honest, I think you all can create a better vision statement and I know for a fact that over the next year or so you are going to be creating a new one. While you are doing so, I want you to remember this, a good vision statement is the backbone of a congregation’s personality. It is their voice, their motto and their drive. It is a statement that points to who you want to be, to yourself, to the community, to the world. Be bold with this statement! Think big!

Now it’s my turn to ask you: Why are you here?

Why are you a part of this congregation? Why are you a Unitarian Universalist? What brings you in for the first time? What brings you back for the next time? I talked a bit about community earlier. How the need for community often brings people into a church. This specific community, UUFP, welcomes them into a spiritually diverse and creates tight bonds of friendship that can keep people coming back. So is that why you are here? It is the community what sustains you?

2017-04-08 11.01.34A few weeks ago, I went to the UUA Southern Regions Spring meeting, which is a meeting of lay leaders and religious professionals where they can discuss new ideas and workshop together. One of the events at this meeting was a debate between the three women who are running for president of the UUA. During the debate, one of the candidates spoke about how her congregation asked itself, “If our church were to disappear tomorrow, who would notice aside from us?”

Think about that for a second.

When I first heard that, my instinct was to go down the list of groups that this congregation works with and wonder if they would really miss us. If they could survive without us. What groups come to us, knowing that we support them? Who do we consistently champion?

Being in community is important, but Unitarian Universalism is more than just a community, it is a faith community. How many of you are familiar with James Luther Adams and the Five Smooth Stones of Liberal religion? In his essay, “Guiding Principles for a Free Faith” Unitarian minister James Luther Adams lays out five things that are vital for liberal religion to not just survive but to thrive. (Just to clarify, “liberal” does not mean politically liberal, liberal refers to being open to new ideas and willing to reinvent itself.) The five points that Adams lays out are: 1) Revelation is not sealed. The very basis for liberalism itself. 2) Consent in relationships. We are not coerced into being here or in being in relationships with others. You can leave anytime you like. 3) We have the moral obligation of justice. It doesn’t matter where that obligation comes from, what matters is that we have it. 4) Good things don’t just happen. If the arc of the universe bends towards justice, it is because we are the ones who are bending it. And 5) remembering that the resources needed to make that justice happen are within our reach. These are the five stone that give liberal religion its heft.

The first two stones are key to liberal religious community. By agreeing that there is more than one way to approach the divine, we are able to respect different spiritual paths. By entering into relationships with each other willingly, covenanting with each other, we are able to find ways of being with each other. When it comes to creating a respectful and spiritually diverse community, this congregation is an expert at this vital and necessary work, but if that were enough we would not feel an ache when we ask “if we were to disappear, would anyone else notice?” and we answer, probably not.

We are a community of faith, and part of our faith is to make to world a better place.

2017-01-21 17.18.41.jpgThe third stone that Adams speaks of is the desire for justice. I know for a fact that this community has a strong desire for justice. I was on that bus to Washington for the women’s march. I was here when you open the sanctuary up to people of color in the community as a safe space. I see Carey at that table of he on Sunday selling the t-shirt and getting you to sign up for bus trips and walks and blood drives. I know that the desire for justice is strong in this congregation. The question is how do we do it.

How many of you are familiar with the game Dungeons & Dragons? It’s a role playing game that became popular in the early 1980’s. People create characters based on a set of attributes and those characters then go on medieval adventures. Characters had six attributes: Strength, Intelligence, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution and Chrasima. In creating your character, you were given a certain number of points to divide up among those six. If you wanted to play a mage, you put your points into intelligence. If you wanted to be a fighter, you put your points into strength. Each attribute suited a different class better than the others. In order to be good, you focused on one area. If you split your points evenly along all six attributes, you would probably get killed pretty quick because you weren’t very good at anything.

You have a strong desire for justice, but your points are spread to thin amongst all of your attributes. Black Lives Matter, women’s justice, class issues, the environment, the list goes on. If you were to pick one cause that this congregation were to always show up for, one cause that you focus on and research and organize around. You will be able to effect some real change. Personally I see three issues that this congregation could very easily champion. Climate change is a huge problem and I know for a fact that many in this congregation are already personally invested in it. Black Lives Matter and racial justice are issues that concern this area of the state and there is a lot of work to be done there. Being so close to a large public housing project, work in income inequality would be able to take of very quickly. Any of these three are great causes to support, as are immigration rights, LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights. By making one of these your focus, you will be able to be a force in the tidewater area that is desperately needed.

I do want to make it clear, making one area your focus doesn’t mean completely ignoring the other issues. Going back to my Dungeons and Dragons metaphor, a good fighter concentrated on strength, but also had some points in constitution as well. If you decide to focus on climate change and a march comes up because a black man was killed by police under suspicious circumstances, you can still go to the march. Showing up when events arise is important and necessary, but by focusing on one area an being proactive about it instead of reactive will help make the world a better place, and our faith calls us to make the world a better place.

You see how that desire for justice that the third stone mentions leads so easily into the fourth stone, the need to create justice. Desire leads to action. That is why that new vision statement is so important, it calls you to action. If the first two stones are about faith community, the second to are about faith in action. That just leaves the fifth stone. The idea that everything you need to make the world a better place is present. As Adams says, “At the depths of human nature and at the boundaries of what we are, there are potential resources that can prevent a retreat to nihilism.” All of this is just a fancy way of saying one simple word. Hope.

Photo Sep 25, 11 10 31 AM.jpgI have spent 9 wonderful months with you. I have witnessed it firsthand. I know for an absolute fact that all of the people in this congregation have exactly what it takes to make the world a better place. You have the intelligence, the have the compassion, the heart, the resources, everything. Everything you need to make change in this world is already under this roof. I believe that you can do it. You give me hope. The obstacles that you have to overcome to achieve this are so manageable, you just need to believe you can do them. You just have to have faith in yourselves.

The biggest obstacle you have right now is space. You either need to relocate to a sanctuary that can comfortable fit 200 people (not members, people) or rebuild this one. You will not grow in this space as it is. You need more classrooms, offices, handicap accessible bathrooms, a gender neutral and family bathroom, a larger kitchen and a parking lot. Once you have more room, you will be able to have visitors come into this space without feeling claustrophobic and you will be able to host more events with more classrooms.

Once you get more members, you need to start warming them into leadership roles. It is said that in every congregation 10% of the people do 80% of the work. That when it comes time to electing board members and committee chairs, it’s the same pool of people everytime. It is my opinion that if a congregant is in a position of leadership for more than 5 years, they become burned out. Let them rest. Look for people who have yet to be more involved with the congregation beyond being a member and ask them what they like doing. Ask them to come to a meeting or even just to Skype in and listen to one. Attending committee meetings in your pajamas is a huge selling point, especially if you want people with young children to have a voice in leadership.

Lastly, this work of justice is not cheap. I know that the canvas just finished up and most of you have already made you commitments for the next year. Thank you. Having a reliable and steady source of income helps this church accomplish its mission. It is my belief that every single member of this congregation should pledge. 100% participation. This is coming from a guy who is actually earning a negative income and still pledges $500 a year to my home congregation. If you are on a fixed income, or no income or a negative income, I would ask that you make a pledge of one dollar a year. A gesture to mirror your commitment to this congregation. For those of you who are able to live more comfortably, I would challenge you to increase your pledge even more or consider making a considerable donation when the capital campaign to rebuild or relocate starts.

2017-04-23 08.25.59Why are you here? I think many of you started here in search of community, but you stay because you can sense that something greater that is ever present when we gather. You sense that there is something more than a collective of individuals. Something more than intellectual stimulation and warm coffee. Something the coalesces when we sing Spirit of Life, when we light the chalice, when we all hold hands at the end of service and stand as one spiritually, if not literally. You sense the potential to create something more than yourselves. Do you feel it now in this moment? That feeling is you. The feeling that together we are more. The together we have a faith that can make the world a better place. Do you feel it? I do.

I believe in you. You are blessing waiting to blossom.

– Joy

Walter Clark

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