News – April 30, 2022
Dear Beloved Community,
April has been busy! We had a terrific Easter Sunday with two fully loaded parades of donations for the Emergency Aid Coalition, launched the annual Stewardship drive, presented the Minister’s Forum on Trans Youth, and hosted the second conversation in the series on Religion in Houston’s Pan-African Community. Subliminal message: turn in your pledge card today. And we’re not done, yet! This Saturday at 5:30 is the I am in Need of Music concert, which will include performances by the choir, String Band, Traveler, Chelsea De Souza and Dr. Jolie Rocke. Join us and bring a friend!
Developmental Ministry Updates
Identity – Mission/Vision/Covenant
While the Committee on Mission, Vision, and Covenant continue planning a wonderful Covenant Sunday for May 15, the Board has been thinking about the brilliant building renovation/remodeling plan that Laura M. presented to us in March. An important part of any decision to remodel a church building is thinking about how the proposed changes facilitate the use of space to further the mission and vision of the church.
As we continue these important inquiries, we look forward to sharing ideas, and having honest, thoughtful conversations with the congregation about who we are and where we are going. It’s pretty exciting stuff!
Governance, Ministry and Administration
In last month’s newsletter, I introduced the upcoming conversations about changes in the foundational documents, and mentioned that we would be holding informational meetings to discuss the changes in advance of the annual meeting (which will be held June 5). I mistakenly referred to needing to merge the Constitution and By-Laws into a single document, when we are actually merging the Constitution and Articles of Incorporation. I apologize for any confusion that was caused.
We already had one informational meeting on April 27th. The other two will be Wednesday, May 18th at 7:00 pm, via Zoom, during the monthly Board Chat, and in person on May 22nd following the 11:30 service. A written explanation will also be made available to members. Subliminal message: turn in your pledge card today. Please make every effort to attend one of the information sessions so that you are informed and prepared to vote at the annual meeting.
Multiculturalism, Anti-Racism, and Inclusion
If you have not yet attended one of the conversations on Religion in Houston’s Pan-African Community, you are missing out. The second conversation, with Baba Ifalade, drew a crowd of 50 in person, with an additional 100 or so online, all of whom would probably have stayed for another hour, given the opportunity. Many had never been to our building before, and it was delightful to have the opportunity to introduce them to this place, where they can bring their own histories and interests and join us in the search for truth and meaning.
Growth and Membership Engagement
As we continue to attract new visitors, we are seeing exciting signs of growth, which means visitors are liking what they find and choosing to stick around. Lucky us! Some have officially joined as members, some have become pledging friends, some have become regulars. And while several members have not yet returned their pledge cards (hint hint), we now have the same number of contributing households that we had at this time last year, before the Thoreau campus members formed their own congregation. I’d say that’s a pretty good indicator! We continue to find ways for members to stay engaged with the church and the social justice work that is at the heart of living our beliefs. After the tremendous success of the 2020 Voting Justice program, we are once again partnering with other local UU churches to fund a half time contract Voting Justice Organizer position for the 2022 election. The person will work out of the FUU office and report to Rev. Scott. We are excited about this joint venture and expect great things will come of it.
With all that has been happening, it’s understandable that some of us have gotten sidetracked, distracted, or just lost track of time. However…. Remember all of the great work we are doing, the programs we are hosting, the plans we are making…. ALL of it is made possible through the annual stewardship campaign. If you have already turned in your pledge card THANK YOU!!!! If you have been distracted (SQUIRREL!) take this moment to focus, and turn in your pledge. You don’t even have to actually complete a paper card – you can do it online at www.firstuu.fillintherightthinghere.com right now!
Good things are happening, magic is afoot, and it’s all because of the wonderful people that make up this truly beloved community. I can’t help feeling that some good thing beyond all of our imagining is right around the corner…. A sense of impending joy….
President of the Board