During this past Sunday’s worship service, Rev. Mark Ward reminded us that he’s on his way out this coming June—for sure! Oh yeah. I almost forgot that. Well, here’s a somewhat different reminder, “We’re at a turning point.”
The phrase has stuck in my mind as I am reading a book called Turning Point right now. The book is not about changing lead ministers, though that is an obvious turning point all by itself. But rather it is a book foretelling the turning point of Unitarian Universalism itself.
Rev. Fredric Muir, a UU minister, has compiled a book of essays that lays out the Trinity of Errors, the Trinity of Promises, and examples of Living the Promises of Unitarian Universalism. Here’s a tantalizing peek; the Trinity of Errors is individualism, exceptionalism, and resistance to authority. The Leadership Development Committee will be hosting a book discussion of Turning Point: Essays on a New Unitarian Universalism soon. Watch for details.
OK, that’s two turning points, one for the ministry of UUCA and one for the actual future of Unitarian Universalism. But we’re not done. UUCA is also finally getting engaged in anti-racism work. The Board of Trustees, in conjunction with the Justice Council and its Anti-Racism and Immigration Justice Action Group, will be asking all of us to participate in discussions and actions that will change us as a congregation. Not sure how, exactly, but I’m definitely sure things will change.
That’s three turning points! At the same time! (And note that I’m ignoring the whole COVID thing.)
I bring this up now because it is all relevant to our search for a new lead minister. There are two decisions that will vastly influence UUCA’s future. Decision #1 is the choice of an interim minister. This is not quite as risky, but it sure would be nice if the MEMBERS OF THE CONGREGATION (yes, you) would provide some sense to the search committee of what direction this congregation wants to go in. First choice: Do we want to stay exactly the way we are? OR, Do we want to become an anti-racist congregation and change who we are in the process? (Technically, the Board has already embarked on that goal.) What other directions do we want to go in? How far “out” beyond our walls do we want to work?
Once an interim minister is in place, much more hard work happens as we, the congregation, work for clarity of purpose. In the very best case, by the time we get to the search process for our new lead minister we will be able to clearly articulate the vision of our future and will call a minister who is willing to help us head for that vision.
That’s your homework assignment right now. Take time (in those moments when you let your brain free wheel) to think about the congregation you wished you had joined. What promises did we keep, what promises should we still work to meet? Because when we get to a turning point, we need to choose.
Linda Topp, Director of Administration