“Nourish beginnings, let us nourish beginnings.
Not all things are blessed,
but the seeds of all things are blessed.
The blessing is in the seed.”
– Muriel Rukeyser, 1913 – 1980
Embracing Possibility – this is our Soul Matters theme for the month of September, which is perfectly fitting as we anticipate returning to the beautiful UCV Sanctuary with upgraded sound and lighting equipment along with refinished floors and brand new chairs, offering countless possibilities for gathering in new ways.
Embracing possibility is also the way we enter this second year of transitional ministry together.
This transition period of three years in-between settled ministers is a special opportunity for UCV to rediscover itself and plan for the next chapter of its future. This is a pivotal and exciting period of exploration, reflection, and preparation for the church to look at its entire system through the lens of the five developmental/ transitional tasks, which are:
- History – Reviewing how the Congregation has been shaped and formed; encouraging and hearing all of the stories about the Congregation’s past, as the foundation upon with the present rests; and embracing the rich variety that makes up the Congregation.
- Mission & Identity – recognizing its unique identity and its strengths, needs, and challenges; Defining and redefining sense of purpose and direction; clarifying the faith community’s identity and core values; working to develop, update, and revitalize mission and vision statements; and reviewing strategic and tactical plans including stewardship and the financial health of the congregation
- Leadership – clarifying the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), church staff, and lay leaders and navigating the shifts in leadership that may accompany times of transition; Reviewing the membership needs and its ways of organizing and developing new and effective leadership; providing opportunity for individuals and the Congregational organization to examine the types of leadership needed for new leaders to emerge, and for seasoned leaders to recommit or to refocus their gifts.
- Connections – making appropriate use of CUC, UUA, and other outside resources; Discovering and revitalizing all the association, interfaith, and community relationships a congregation builds outside of itself; and re-assessing old links and considering new ones.
- Future – Developing congregational and pastoral profiles that position the congregation for its next ministry, including a healthy and honest assessment of the other focus points so that the congregation can turn its energy toward proactive decision-making for the future.
Embracing possibilities means being open to new ways of thinking and doing things, to letting go of old ways and patterns. This is especially important as we engage in conversations about the proposed 8th Principle to move forward with our commitment to dismantling racism and colonialist culture in our UU institutions and as we go deeper into the hard work of anti-racism within ourselves as individuals. Culture change is hard and sometimes painful work. We are blessed to be in community with one another in these complex times. Let us be aware of how our words and actions may impact others and remember that we are all one family, one body, so please be gentle and kind with one another.
UCV has adopted a new organizational design that streamlines the work of the congregation. Embracing and creating possibilities for new leadership to emerge bringing fresh ideas and energy while celebrating and sustaining the foundations built by many generations of dedicated members. This is an exciting time to be here at UCV.
Change is inevitable, and it is so often met with resistance, which can manifest in different ways. Resistance is usually about fear of the unknown, of letting go of what is familiar and taking a risk. Something must be lost so that something new can happen. The pain of loss is real and part of our ongoing human experience. The joy of new beginnings is also real, so let us celebrate the start of this program year together as a community by embracing possibilities to shape UCV’s future for coming generations.
From the CUC (Canadian Unitarian Council) website:
Seven principles guide our choices. Six sources nourish our spirits.
Five aspirations help us grow.
As Canadian Unitarian Universalists, we aspire to be:
Deeply Connected: We strive to foster healthy relationships amongst and within UU communities, with the broader world and with all life.
Radically Inclusive: We strive to create hospitable, diverse, multi-generational communities.
Actively Engaged: We strive to work joyfully for a just and compassionate society, experimenting with new forms of community.
Theologically Alive: We seek to be ever-evolving in our understanding, open to new knowledge.
Spiritually Grounded: We seek transformation through personal spiritual experiences and shared ritual.
Friends, may we grow together towards these Five Aspirations, embracing the possibilities to nourish our spirits and heal our world.
Rev. Lara Cowtan