For all that is our life! by Rev. Andrew Clive Millard
“Love is the spirit of this church, and service is its law.
This is our great covenant: to live together in peace,
to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.”
When Unitarian minister James Vila Blake wrote those words some hundred and twenty years ago, he captured in just a few phrases what he saw as the essential character of the congregation he served. From my vantage, though, the Blake Covenant, as it has since come to be known, applies just as well to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of the Peninsula.
After all, this is a congregation that is what we make it. Our members are both our volunteers and our supporters. Service and support, in whatever forms make mutual sense and to whatever extent is reasonable, are the expectations of membership. For it is through such contributions of time, talent and treasure that we help one another by loving this community into reality together.
As such, we benefit from many opportunities to thank all those people who contribute in so many ways. Sometimes that thanks is more formal, such as when we recognize our religious educators or our musicians or our elected leaders on Sunday mornings around the end of each church year. Sometimes the thanks is more personal, such as when an e-Flame article acknowledges someone’s efforts in a particular area. Sometimes the thanks is more social, such as when we post pictures on Facebook of our members helping the homeless with food and shelter or publicly standing up for our religious values. And certainly there are always opportunities to directly thank one another, for their service on a hospitality team, for their efforts in organizing an event, for their thoughtfulness in checking in, or for their helpfulness when asked to help.
But once in a while, we are called to express thanks to someone who, in both the forms and the extent of their service, has gone “above and beyond”, someone whose contributions to our congregation have been faithful and whose commitment to our mission has been unwavering. It is with a glad heart, then, that on Sunday morning I announced that we were taking time in services to recognize and thank Pat Yaros.
We thanked Pat for her service as Treasurer to the Fellowship, year in and year out, for well over a decade. Most of what she did was behind the scenes: keeping our books, processing pledge payments, managing the support of our Share-the-Basket partners, and keeping our congregation’s leadership informed of the state of our finances. She never asked to be in the limelight, of course, but if we saw her at the auction or some other church event where money was involved, we could see how hard she were working — not to mention how long she stayed behind after services most Sundays to count and process the collection. At the end of December, Pat stepped down as Treasurer, and even then worked hard to make sure that the many reins she was holding were being safely transferred to other capable hands. UUFP President Alan Sheeler declared Sunday to be “Pat Yaros Day”, and we thanked her gratefully, for going above and beyond in her faithful, committed service to our Fellowship.
What opportunities can you find to thank a few of the many people who bring so much to our congregation and help make it what it is?