October 2015 Ministers Column

Dear Ones:

[Note: this column contains some gender-neutral pronouns!]

As many of you have heard me say in worship over the past few weeks, the Sunday Services Committee and I would like to make a shift in our Sunday morning ritual of sharing joys and sorrows. While we want the sharing to be robust, we also want everyone to feel they have an opportunity to do so. We’ve learned that some members and friends consistently opt not to share because they feel the overall ritual lasts too long. Thus, we are requesting that all those who share limit their sharing to one or two sentences. We feel strongly that sharing can effectively be done in one or two sentences. For example, “Please light a candle for my aunt who has been diagnosed with cancer.” “My child made the honor roll.” “My friend is getting out of prison.” “Thanks to everyone who helped with the fall clean-up.” There is no need—and truly no time—to provide the back-story. We recognize that this ritual is not a time for story-telling. We trust that if you share a simple sentence or two during the ritual, those who want or need to know the story behind your sharing will find you following the service.

On behalf of the Sunday Services Committee, I want to thank you for taking this request seriously. We feel it is the best way to insure that all those who want to share feel that they can share without taking time away from other elements in the service. If you have any questions or concerns about this change, please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of the Sunday Services Committee.

On another note, I’d like to remind everyone that UUS:E has a Committee on Ministry, selected by me and appointed by the Policy Board for two-year terms. The Committee on Ministry exists to support the minister in his/zir/her ministry. They provide valuable feedback to the minister about how he/ze/she is performing the regular tasks of ministry, and about how he/ze/she is achieving his/zir/her goals for the year. This year’s committee includes Sande Hartdagen, Bob Knapp, Liz Nelsen, Jeff Schlechtweg and Carol Simpson. You are encouraged to reach out to any of them if you have any questions about UUS:E’s professional minister.

Last spring the Committee on Ministry conducted a survey of the congregation regarding its appraisal of my ministry. Their report on the results of the survey is printed in this newsletter. I am profoundly pleased with the survey results. While people provided heart-felt criticism where they deemed necessary, the overall results indicate an ongoing affirmation of my ministry at UUS:E. I am deeply thankful for that affirmation—still strong at the beginning of year 13! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

With love,

Rev. Josh