As a congregation, we have gone through a great many changes since Reverend Julia retired in 2013 and they haven’t been easy. Now we have yet another Interim Minister, Reverend Gretchen Woods. We know this means continued change as she is with us for only two years, after which we’ll experience yet more change with welcoming in another new minister. This time a settled minister whom we hope will be with us for many, many years.
Are you tempted to shut down to get through the next two years until we’re on a new road with our next settled minister? Please don’t. We need each and every one of you. This interval of time between our prior settled ministry and our next is a time for deep reflection and learning to ensure that we have clarity about who we are, what our mission is both inside and outside of our walls, and what we need and want in our next minister to help us create this.
Rev. Gretchen brings a wide array of skills, knowledge and experience to her Interim Ministry with us. “A full tool belt of options”, as she has said. She is here to offer guidance in this process of reflection and discernment about who we are, what our skills and strong points are, and areas in which we need help to strengthen and/or rebuild. If we take advantage of all that she offers, we will have a better understanding of who we are as a congregation and what we want in our next minister, as well as improved skills in making our search.
Rev. Gretchen has led us in two “Tree of Life Story-telling” evenings, where we’ve explored our UUFRC history from its very beginnings. Doing this has helped us understand how these experiences have embedded themselves in our church DNA, affecting us even now. We’ve had a workshop in “Building Healthy Community” which helped define healthy behaviors and gave us resources for going forward, and we’ve had two “Listening Circles” to share stories of the difficulties the last years have brought. Sharing our truths while others listen has been healing, and has created a deeper understanding of what others have experienced and how it has affected them.
These are only the beginning of what Rev. Gretchen brings beyond her sermons each Sunday. They are tools for all of us that will bring benefit not only for our congregation, but for our lives as a whole.
We create this congregation. YOU are a part of this congregation. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here for two weeks, two months, two years or twenty or somewhere before during, or beyond this. The point is, you are a valued part of this community, and to be the best we can be means participating and availing yourselves of what Gretchen is offering us.
Please read the newsletter, look for postings on the Adult RE bulletin board, the Minister’s bulletin board, the Connections Committee bulletin board, the Order of Service, the Yahoo announcements, and the Sunday verbal announcements to learn about upcoming workshops, classes, and gatherings to come. Plan to participate in as many as you possibly can. It is worth it!!!
Gratefully yours, Cindy