I write from the warmth of my office in mid-February. Three feet of snow still cover the ground, and it is unspeakably cold outside! I suspect even the cold weather lovers among you are warming to the idea of spring! I am hopeful that by the time you read these words in early March there will be some glimmer of warmer days on the horizon!
Later in March we will launch our 2015 Annual Appeal. For those of you who are new to UUS:E, the Annual Appeal is our opportunity to reflect on the value of UUS:E in our lives and to make a corresponding financial pledge for the coming fiscal year. Because the vast majority of our operating funds come from the financial gifts of members and friends, this is the most significant fundraiser in the life of our congregation. I urge all of you to begin thinking about the role UUS:E plays in your life. Then, if you haven’t done so already, please sign up for one of the Annual Appeal potluck dinners. (Sign-up sheets will be available following Sunday services in March.) And as always, if a steward contacts you to meet about your pledge, please respond to them as soon as possible. They are volunteers and we deeply appreciate their work on behalf of our congregation’s financial health.
The twenty-fifth person who sends me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org or leaves me a message at (860) 652-8961 and tells me three things they love about UUS:E will get a breakfast, lunch or dinner on me!
Many things about UUS:E excite me as a minister: opportunities to preach, to teach, to provide a pastoral presence to people in crisis, to engage in social justice organizing and actions, to conduct rituals to honor life’s milestones, and much more. But two things stand out to me right now which make me feel overjoyed about UUS:E’s future. First, although we are beginning to wind down our interim religious education year, we are still just beginning to implement ideas to strengthen our religious education program for children and to build a more cohesive and life-giving multigenerational community. I am convinced that as we more fully integrate people of all ages into all our activities, we will benefit as a community. Our children will benefit from having greater access to the wisdom and life experience of adults of all ages. Our adults will benefit from having greater access to the energy, creativity and passion of our children. Having such a multigenerational community in my life is of immense value to me and my family.
Second, while our new Music Director, Mary Bopp, has only been with us three weeks at the time of writing this column, I can already see that she will help us continue to build a vibrant and inspiring music program at UUS:E. Mary’s knowledge of music, her willingness to take musical risks, her desire to work with people of all ages and abilities, and her skill as a pianist make her a joy to work with. Having Mary join our staff to guide us through the next era of music programming at UUS:E is very exciting to me. Having a vibrant and inspirational music program is of immense value to me and my family.
These are two of the reasons I plan to make a generous pledge to UUS:E in the coming Annual Appeal. I hope you will pledge generously as well!