September 2013 Ministers Column

Dear Ones:

Summer seems to be fading quickly and I am revving up for the new congregational year! I’m ex­cited—and certainly a bit daunted—in response to all that lies ahead of us this year. Most significantly, as I’m sure you know by now, we will be looking for a replacement for Vicki Merriam, our long-time Director of Re­ligious Education. Vicki will be retiring next June after more than three decades of excellent, dedicated service to UUS:E.

Transformation is our ministry theme for September.  I’m becoming aware that this process of search­ing for a new Director of Religious Education will transform UUS:E. Certainly having a new program staff person will bring many changes to our congregation. But that’s not exactly what I’m talking about. I’m talking about what happens when UUS:E members and friends get together to express and to hear what they really, really want from our religious education program. I think answering this question in conversation with each other helps us articulate our most deeply-held values and our best vision for the future of our congregation. When we talk about what we want from our religious education program, we’re talking about the ways in which we support, nourish and prepare our children—the ways in which we express our love for them as a spiritual community. Further, when we have this conversation, we’re talking about the future of our faith. We’re acknowledging that we want our faith to persist in the world, that we believe our faith has a saving mes­sage for a world that is hurting in so many ways.

And when we talk about these things, I believe we cannot help but be transformed. No, we aren’t trans­formed in a blinding flash like Saul on the road to Damascus. We aren’t converted to a new world-view in an instant. We aren’t born again. But in reminding ourselves about our most deeply-held values, in reminding ourselves about how much we care for our children, in reminding ourselves about the great need for a free faith in a hurting world, our spirits are renewed, our resolve strengthened, our voices clarified, and our faith deepened. In short, we are transformed.

So, I urge you to watch for ways you can be involved in this conversation. Sign up for in-home pot­luck meals at which we will explore together the future of religious education at UUS:E. Watch for an online survey. Come to the fall congregational meeting on October 6th.

I truly hope you’ll be part of the conversation. I truly hope it will serve as a source of transformation for you.

With love,

Rev. Josh