Minister’s Column January 2019

To all UUS:E Members:

I wish to offer you my deep and heartfelt congratulations on reaching your fiftieth anniversary year. This is an awesome milestone. I am so pleased to be serving as your minister as we “enter, rejoice, and come in” to our semicentennial!

Our ministry theme for January is possibility. For me, this suggests a look toward the future. But I don’t want to think about it quite that way, at least not at the beginning of this celebratory year. Instead, I invite each of us to recognize that fifty years ago, the founders of our congregation were looking toward the future. They imagined a liberal religious, Unitarian Universalist congregation east of the Connecticut River, committed to spiritual freedom, reason in religion, and the search for truth and meaning. They imagined possibility after possibility. We, today, are the fruit of their imagining. We are the possibility they helped bring into reality. In truth, we may not be exactly what they imagined at the time. But that’s OK. Approximately 2600 Sunday mornings later, approximately 600 board meetings later (not to mention 50 Christmas Eves, 50 Homecoming services, fifty annual meetings, 4 settled ministers, hundreds and hundreds of people elected to leadership positions, and countless potluck meals), we are the fulfillment of their dreams!

I want to give a special shout-out and thanks to Anne Carr, a Member at Large on the UUS:E Policy Board, who graciously volunteered to lead the coordination of our celebration efforts. She has put together a great team of volunteers who are planning various events, Sunday services, a carnival in June, a gala celebration in September, and much more.

Over the course of the coming year, there will be a variety of Sunday Services that look back over the decades, that try to tease out the various legacies of those who’ve been part of this congregation. We will consider the big themes that have defined UUS:E, such as covenant, shared ministry, beloved community, sustainability, generosity, and caring. And come next fall, we will be taking our own look at the future. What possibilities do we imagine, and how do we start turning those possibilities into realities, such that those who are here fifty years from now will be the fulfillment of our dreams?

Happy New Year!Rev. Joshua Pawelek

Happy Fiftieth Anniversary Year!

With love,

—Rev. Josh