From the Minister's Study

From the Minister's Study - April 2019

We are a community that gathers around shared values, and lives into those shared values through covenants. Covenants are living documents that reflect the promises we are making to each other about how we are going to be with each other. And, because of this, most of the covenants we make as Unitarian Universalists are behavioral.

We have a congregational covenant, for instance, spearheading by the Shared Ministry Team a few years ago. Copies of it are hanging in the sanctuary foyer and in the Pine Tree Room downstairs. We regularly enter into covenants as a congregation with people who are serving in key roles: our Board of Directors, our Faith Development guides, our Pastoral Care Associates. We also have covenants with the parents and guardians of the children in our community, when we dedicate ourselves to them, and with the folks who join our congregation as members. You entered into a covenant with me, as your minister, when I was installed last October. Covenants are about relationships, and relationships are key to who we are and the choices we make as UUs.

Read more: From the Minister's Study - April 2019

From the Minister's Study - March 2019

You’re going to be hearing a lot from me and others this month about our pledge drive, during which we ask for your pledges in order to be able to create our budget for the next fiscal year. And it’s important to remember that our annual budget it not just a series of numbers with some words next to them. A congregation’s budget is a moral document that lays out how we are living into our purpose, with each other an in the larger community. What those numbers, what your pledges translate into is the support of our entire community.

Last Sunday, when the children and youth were asked what they needed to survive, they answered “love” and “truth”. We are teaching people how to care deeply for each other and be good listeners; how to help facilitate and guide safe, loving spaces for learning about ourselves and each other; and also what worship is about and how we create it, over and over again. We are also a fair and equitable employer that lives into a vision of economic justice. All of that is just a taste of what your pledges bring about every year.

Read more: From the Minister's Study - March 2019

From the Minister's Study - February 2019

This month our ministry theme is Truth & Lies. In today’s culture, in which gaslighting and numerous logical fallacies are used to harm and divide people at an alarming rate, this is one of the most important themes we as a community can think about and engage. Towards that end, I want to share with you a story shared online by Ria Megnin:

One of my friends told me about a powerful lesson in her daughter's high school class this winter. They're learning about the Salem Witch Trials, and their teacher told them they were going to play a game.

Read more: From the Minister's Study - February 2019

From the Minister's Study - January 2019

When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone, when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks, the work of Christmas begins: to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner, to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart. 

~ the Rev. Howard Thurman

In the mythic storytelling that many of our congregations do in our services on Christmas Eve, we include the part about the magi travelling across the land, following a star. What’s glossed over in our worship celebrations is that in the original scripture, it doesn’t happen the same night that Mary gives birth. The magi arrive twelve days later, giving us the twelve days of Christmas and the celebration of Epiphany in early January. For those of us who also use the orthodox calendar, the entire holiday of Christmas and Epiphany is happening right now in the month of January.

Read more: From the Minister's Study - January 2019

From the Minister's Study - December 2018

While all North American UUs have seven principles that guide our choices and six sources that nourish our spirits, Canadian UUs also created five aspirations that help us grow. Back in October, I told you that I’d be writing about each of these. This month, our aspiration is Spiritually Grounded: “We seek transformation through personal spiritual experiences and shared ritual.”

December is quite the month here at FUUW for exploring how we can each move on a path seeking spiritual grounding.

Read more: From the Minister's Study - December 2018