On Wednesday, September 8th from 7:00-8:30pm, UU Justice Ministry of NC is partnering with All on the Line to host a Redistricting Workshop for UU congregations in Western NC.
In the coming months, politicians in the North Carolina legislature will redraw the maps for Legislative (NC House, NC Senate) and Congressional (US House) districts because the US Constitution requires that US voting districts be redrawn every 10 years, using the updated population information from the U.S. Census count. The process is a little complicated, but the outcomes will have a huge impact on our system of government and the lives of people in our state for the next decade.
During this workshop we will:
- Learn about the redistricting process in North Carolina.
- Get the tools and training we need to effectively contribute to the redistricting process.
Sunday, August 15, 2021 Live Zoom
Rev. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
Unitarians and Universalists have always been considered heretics because we choose our faith, not because we are simply contrary or rebellious. “Heresy” in Greek means “choice.” Unitarian minister Jack Mendleson wrote, “Tragedy and death stalked those who first laid the foundations in Europe that was to bear the Unitarian and Universalist names.” Unitarians were given that title because of a carefully reasoned choice to say “No.” to the doctrine of the Trinity, and Universalists were called, “the no hellers” because of their belief in Universal Salvation.
The last time I wrote the blog entry for the Board of Trustees was just before the pandemic began to rage in earnest, and not long after Rev. Mark Ward announced that he planned to retire (for the first time). Not being clairvoyant, I had nothing to say about the pandemic; so I went straight to the issues of transition. Having been active in the UU movement for many years, I had seen three separate ministerial transitions, up close and personal. To briefly summarize that blog entry, I was trying to say that my experiences gave me faith that, while the ministerial transition was going to require work on our parts, it would reward us with a growth-inspiring, re-invigorating and exciting time for UUCA.
Fast forward to today… The pandemic raged, calmed a bit, raged very wildly, then calmed greatly as vaccinations rolled out, and now is raging wildly again, mainly amongst the unvaccinated. Our beloved Rev. Ward stepped up and took one for the team by “unretiring,” and then ably guided us through that scary, uncertain time. We’ve now said our goodbyes to Mark, and have welcomed Rev. Cathy Harrington, our new Interim Lead Minister to UUCA.
But “transition,” I believe, is still the watchword for UUCA. The pandemic has thrown us a devastating curve ball, so the transition to normal life (or maybe “new normal” life) remains much further off in the distance than we’d hoped a month or so ago. How do we as individuals respond? How does UUCA respond? On the ministerial transition front, Rev. Cathy has been on staff for less than two weeks, and the congregation’s work with her is yet to really begin. What’s life at UUCA going to be like with Rev. Cathy? Are we going to be okay? So, transitions still abound; and I’m compelled (or, constrained by my lack of originality) to write about it once again.
The angle I want to take today, though, is through an analogy. (Anyone who knows me knows I just love a good analogy…) In The Parable of the Trapeze, author Danaan Parry analogizes an acrobat’s leap from one trapeze bar to the next trapeze bar to how we make personal transitions. Perhaps you’ve heard or read this – I was introduced to it by a sermon at another UU church. While I recommend reading Parry’s actual words (follow the link above – a short read!) for the is the fullest and best description, the analogy roughly goes like this: You are swinging on a trapeze bar, tightly holding on, but basically comfortable dealing with your current life. Then off in the distance, you see another trapeze bar, and you just know that that is where you are supposed to go. It’s frightening thinking about making that transition – letting go of the “safe” bar you’re currently on, not knowing fully what the “new” bar you’re headed for will mean for you, and deathly scared of that period of time when you are in mid-air, not holding on to anything at all. Parry’s thesis is not just that personal transitions are like those periods between bars, but that those periods are incredibly rich, and even further hypothesizes that “[maybe] the transition zone is the only real thing and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void where the real change, the real growth, occurs for us.”
What a great way to look at our transitions at UUCA! And that goes not just for our own personal growth as individuals, but for UUCA’s institutional growth. Each of us as individuals will of course deal with the pandemic and the ministerial transition – as well as our own personal transitions – in our own individual ways. But if we all can embrace these transitions as true growth opportunities and can be brave about getting to that next bar when we know we just must go there, I believe that some great things will happen at UUCA in the coming years.
I, personally, am already excited about working with Rev. Cathy. I believe that the Board is excited as well. And I trust UUCA as a group to figure out how to deal with new and future pandemic realities. So, I’ve got the resin on my hands, and I’m swinging harder and holding tightly onto my current trapeze bar, and getting ready for that magical time when I leap off into the void. See you on the next bar!
Clyde Hardin, VP, UUCA Board of Trustees
Sunday, August 8, 2021 Live Zoom at 11am
Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister
It’s Rev. Dr. Cathy Harrington’s first worship service with UUCA. We’ll learn more about her and what her hopes and intentions are for this two-year interim period.
Let your joy be in your journey – not in some distant goal. –Tim Cook
It’s August, and I am excited to begin our time together as your Interim Lead Minister! As I have gotten older and wiser, my main goal in life has been to cultivate joy in my personal life and in my ministry. We have a lot of important work to do in the next two years as you prepare to call a new settled minister, but it has been my experience that there is joy, growth, and possibility in that work. There is room for fun, too. One of my first tasks as your interim minister is to get to know you as a congregation and individually. I’ll be delving into your history, spending time visiting your committee meetings (please invite me) and meeting with as many of you as possible. This can be done via Zoom or in person. I love to meet outside, sitting under a shade tree, or walking in nature. With the uncertainty due to the rise of the Delta variant, we will honor CDC guidelines to keep everyone safe.
The goal of the interim period is to answer three questions: Who were we? Who are we? Who do we wish to be? I look forward to getting to know you over the next few weeks. Someone once said, “We must go slowly, we have so little time.” There is often a sense of urgency and anxiety about getting the work done, but my job is to help you slow down and take time to discover who you are now and where you want to go. This is an essential first step that will inform the rest of our work together.
In a brief period, I’ve attended a board meeting, an all-staff meeting, a worship associates meeting and had individual and joint meetings with senior staff. Wow! I am honored to work with such a talented and dedicated team! UUCA is on solid ground with a bright and exciting future! But this doesn’t just happen without the support of the members and friends of a congregation. There are many reasons to celebrate your accomplishments and the hard work that brought you to this place. I would love to hear your stories about a time the congregation was particularly meaningful to you. Send them to me in an email if meeting in person isn’t feasible.
For you to know who I am, I will share a bit about my life’s journey and path to ministry in this Sunday’s sermon. It’s a lot of life so I’ll abbreviate a bit, but mostly I’ll share how I learned to face my fears and discover my purpose and direction in life.
My office hours are Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 10-2, but I will be available to meet by appointment at other times as well. Friday is normally my study day, and Saturday will be devoted to Sunday service prep and Monday is my sabbath. I want you to feel comfortable reaching out to me in times of need day or night. My cell number is 231-301-3177 and you may call or text me.
I look forward to hearing about your joys, concerns, and hopes for the future of UUCA!
Rev Cathy Harrington, Interim Lead Minister