I’ve been taking the summer off from church.  Well, maybe not completely – I’ve partaken in a few services, had two Board meetings, and dealt with an issue or two that popped up during this time of relaxation.  Nothing major, though.  From my perspective, this past year – actually, the last two years – have been jam-packed and sometimes quite challenging.  For the church, the Board, and me personally.  So, I’ve felt that I needed, and maybe even deserved, some down time.

This time off has been restorative for me – easy days, with time to appreciate life, catch up on a few personal things, and even have a little fun.  The batteries have largely been recharged.  I find myself analogizing this time period with the summers I had as a kid, when the time off from school was a fun, stress-free, recharging period in preparation for going back to school.  I absolutely loved summer, but I was always, as they say, “really pumped” about going back to school.  I was caught up in the excitement of seeing all my friends again, anticipating whatever new experiences I might encounter, and wondering what my new teacher would be like.

Even as an old codger, I now have those same feelings.  It’s back to school (or, rather, back to UU Asheville) for me, and perhaps for you too.  It won’t be the same as last year; there is just so much new around us.  The pandemic is now under control.  We have learned from all the work we have done over the last two years.  Plus, we have a new “teacher!”  I’m over the moon with hope about how great Rev. Audette’s ministry will be.  We have the opportunity to re-imagine, rejuvenate, and possibly remake how we do church.  What’s it going to be like?  I am just so excited!  It’s gonna be great!

I’d like to think, though, that some wisdom not present in my childhood has seeped into my codger-hood.  That wisdom is to not let my expectations run completely wild.  In Rev. Audette, I believe we have found the ideal spiritual leader and Executive.  I have to refrain, though, from expecting miracles to happen.  Let’s not expect Rev. Audette to appear, wave a magic wand, and solve every problem anyone has, and be everyone’s absolute favorite minister of all time.

I really do believe it’s gonna be great.  But I also believe that greatness is gonna take time.  Rev. Audette formally starts August 1st – so it’s just around the corner.  Let’s be excited – there are solid and logical reasons to be so.  But let’s allow the great things to unfold in fullness of time, as we integrate Rev. Audette into our community and our lives.  Like the “school year” ahead, it will take lots of hard work, compromise, and more than a few mistakes to fully realize the opportunities that lie before us.  I’m up for that, I’m quite excited, and I hope you are too.

Clyde Hardin, President, Board of Trustees