News – January 6, 2023

Dear Members and Friends,

Welcome to 2023. I hope that your New Year’s celebrations were joyous and fulfilling. Mine certainly were. We spent them at home, sharing old traditions and making new ones, before traveling to Big Bend for a few days of camping.


The New Year is a time for beginnings. In keeping with that spirit, our theme for the month is Sprouts. As we gather together for worship we will be considering the opportunities for growth and rejuvenation that lie before us, as individuals and as a community.


January marks the mid-point of my developmental ministry contract with you. As such, it will also be a time for assessing how well our work together has poised First Unitarian Universalist to thrive in the foreseeable future. To this end, the Board has put together a Developmental Ministry Review Committee. They will evaluating how far along we are in answering the five questions that we designed to help you prepare for your next settled ministry. These were:


“What kind of a church do we want to become?”

“How can we have a healthy relationship with our Senior Minister and with the UUA?”

“How can we increase diversity in our church and work to dismantle white supremacy?”

“What is our vision for and commitment to multi-site?”

“More people should be here with us – how do we engage them?”


They will share their evaluation with you later this spring.


At the same time, the Mission, Vision, and Covenant Committee will move towards the completion of its work, which is an effort to answer the first question. They met on January 4th and will be meeting again on the 11th to finalize their proposed texts. You can view and comment on the current draft here They will make a presentation at the Board’s January 18th meeting. If the Board approves the text it will be put before the congregation for a vote on March 6th. In the meantime, we will begin using the proposed covenant in worship. Living with it for a few weeks will allow us to decide how well it reflects the commitments we make to each other before the vote.


This month and next I will also be completing the draft of my manuscript on contemporary Unitarian Universalist theology. I will be in and out some for study leave and Rev. Scott will be in the pulpit a bit more than usual. At the same time, I will be offering at least two opportunities, one in January and one in February, for you to read and comment on portions of the manuscript. Look for more information about them in an upcoming newsletter. I am really excited to share with you what I have been working on!


One of my New Year’s resolution is to begin to include poetry again in my newsletter columns. It is a small resolution and reflects a way that I can share my own spiritual practice of reading poetry, which I think of as a form of scripture, with you. So here’s a well-worn fragment from Helen Hunt Jackson. It ties to the potential that lies latent within each day, and is reflected in our month’s liturgical theme:


Only a night from old to new;

Only a sleep from night to morn.

The new is but the old come true;

Each sunrise sees a new year born.