The Reverend Millie Rochester
Whenever I‟m asked what aspect of ministry most attracts me – and it happens frequently – I have to say, “Simply being with you.” Whether on Sunday mornings or between Sundays, the opportunity to be present with you is what I treasure most.
Some of these occasions are pure delight, such as when we collaborate to create the wedding ceremony that best reflects a special relationship, or discuss a child's Dedication, or you choose to share happy news or exchange ideas with me...Some occasions are powerful in a different way, such as when we plan a memorial service, or you take me into your confidence to share personal experiences or feelings.
I was reminded of this when I recently led an Adult Programs series, Articulating Your UU Faith – another example of delightful interchange. As we exchanged impressions and ideas, the conversation turned to Sunday mornings.
I‟m always interested in knowing what draws members and friends of the congregation to church, and I know that the attractions are not the same for everyone. Indeed, your reasons may vary from week to week: the music, whether blending your voice with others or listening; the fellowship of like-minded folks; or perhaps the sermon topic piques your interest. But what if the announced title or theme or speaker is all you notice and they don’t appeal to you? Do you decide to stay home? Go somewhere else?
I hope not, for you can be sure that some element of what is offered on Sunday morning will make a difference. Maybe you will look out the window just in time to see a deer stroll across the yard; maybe the spoken word will seem to precisely address your needs; or a piece of music will stir your soul. Maybe – and this is the thought that captured the imagination of that class – maybe your presence will make a difference for someone else. Maybe your face is exactly the face someone else needs to see; your voice the sound someone needs to hear; maybe your caring presence embodies the compassion someone desperately yearns to experience. Our lives are so often lived in silos, feelings and thinking separated from one another. Church is one place where we can fully integrate our whole selves, where we can laugh and cry, sing and speak, listen and be heard. It all comes together on Sunday mornings, but of course those are not the only opportunities, as that class I described demonstrates. Notice the opportunities, for they abound! I look forward to being with you and to hearing about your experiences, whether or not I am directly involved.