Love Notes: Mid Year Update

If you’ve been in my office, you know that the whiteboard on the wall lists the strategic priorities for Ministry for our 2017-18 fiscal year.

 

Here’s a picture:

2017-18 Ministry Priorities

Our fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. Each year we define strategic Ministry Goals and Board Goals. Usually I would give you an update on progress toward the Ministry Goals during the Chalice Light Gathering on December 3. However, I’ll be co-leading Path to Membership to welcome and inform potential new members. So I thought I would offer an update here. The Board will update you on their goals during the Chalice Light Gathering.

A new Internship Committee is formed with Tessa Davis at the helm. Tessa, Cathy Edwards (from the Personnel Committee) and I interviewed and selected our Ministerial Intern for 2018-19.  We had nine candidates apply. We narrowed it down and interviewed three. We selected Christopher Watkins Lamb who will begin working with us September 1, 2018. We are thrilled!

 

Six folks attended a day and a half Pastoral Care Associate training in early November. The training was excellent, and in late January, you will hear more about the Pastoral Care Team and how it supports the Caring Ministry, me and all of you.

 

The Personnel Committee and I hired Ellen Saunders Duncan to be our Campus Ministry Coordinator. We introduced her to the congregation on November 12. She is working 10 hours per week on this powerful ministry to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Colorado, bringing a UU presence to campus.

 

The Fall session of Adult RE was packed with opportunities to deepen faith. In retrospect, we probably had too many options, and as a result had to cancel a few. No failures, only lessons learned. Our main focus for Adult RE this year is opportunities for spiritual practice. There are two meditation groups (daytime and evening) which are not only serving our congregants but also the neighborhood. We have used Next Door to “advertise” them, and three people are coming regularly now. Tai Chi started in November, and the Sky Room is full of people moving mindfully.

Janen and Debra have started the new Children’s Choir (the UUnicorns). If you were at church on November 19 you were showered with joy as they sang “Everybody Belongs.”

 

Here’s a picture of 13 of our 16 Religious Education teachers serving our children and youth. (Reed Bailey was there and took the picture).

RE Teachers

These folks are amazing! Their dedication and energy is helping our RE program grow. Janen does a great job of nourishing this team and cultivating their ideas. Justin has gathered input from high school students and parents about our programming for that age group. Teens are weighing in and helping create the program that will serve them. The middle schoolers are at church, making it their home away from home, every Sunday and on multiple weeknights a month. Their excitement is infectious.

 

The Longmont UU Presence is doing great things! Here is an excerpt their most recent quarterly report submitted to the UUCB Board:

 

The contributions ($4,000) from our root congregations (UUCB and BVUUF) provide payment for hiring Emily Conger (Ministerial Coordinator) and rental for our monthly community gatherings at Intercambio.

 

In August, we began the church year with a special community gathering, a Soulful Sundown Service and Picnic at a local park. It was jointly planned by our root congregations (BVUUF and UUCB). Many attendees went to the vigil for Charleston holding our banner.  Attendance: 60+

We are hosting regular community gatherings on the second Sunday of each month, 3:00–5:00 p.m. (This is growth from last year when we had three community gatherings in February, April, and June.) Emily Conger leads the planning of all community gatherings and leads alternate community gatherings. Our community gatherings include non traditional worship elements. General attendance includes people who are already affiliated as Unitarian Universalist. Most attend one of the root congregations; some don’t identify with either congregation, including two young adult families who are lifelong UUs. September attendance: 20-30. Our goal is to increase attendance of  non-UUs.

We have six ongoing monthly/weekly small group events for people to connect with each other: Fourels (A group that gathers for lunch.), Happy Hour, Book Group, Insight Meditation, Poetry and Contemplative Reading, and Wine and Spirit.

Our communication team continues to refine our monthly newsletter process and content, as well as maintain our presence on Facebook and Meetup, and publicize in the local paper.

In July, a smaller group of the steering committee met to refine the LUUP identity and purpose. This work is supported by UU Pacific Western Region staff, the Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong and the Rev. Tandi Rogers. They have suggested materials and ideas for us to explore. They generally join a portion of our monthly steering committee meetings via ZOOM. Our goal is to have the small group prepare a draft for the steering committee to review in January. As we consider other important topics, such as funding and outreach, we are continually reminded of the importance of devoting our efforts to this work.

The steering committee is reading Salsa, Soul and Spirit, and four members of the committee attended the Intercultural Competency workshop in September.

We collect an offering at each of our monthly community gatherings. We share half of the collection with organizations that support our values. In August and September, we collected $325 and we shared $162.50 with  Black Lives of UU and Transgender Foundation of America.

 

One of my ministerial colleagues visited a few weeks ago and looked at my whiteboard.  She said, “I love how UUCB sets big, audacious goals like dismantling white supremacy.”  We laughed, and I said that I should be more specific. We’re dismantling it within UUCB as a starting place, hoping we’ll be able to take it beyond our walls as part of our faith practice. And yes, here at UUCB we do set big audacious goals!   

 

The Worship Ministry Team, Board, Personnel Committee, Membership Ministry,  Communication Ministry, Religious Education Ministry, Racial Justice Ministry and Sanctuary Now Ministry are all working intentionally to examine any hints of white supremacy culture or LGBTQ exclustion at UUCB. These groups (and others, too) are working intentionally to implement multicultural transformation and LGTBQ inclusion. As I’ve said many times already this year, no one at UUCB is a white supremacist. But our entire society is built on characteristics of a white supremacy culture (read more by clicking or going here: https://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/White_Supremacy_Culture_Okun.pdf

 

You have already noticed slight changes in our worship here and there: varying formats; permission to clap and move (or not); other ways of engaging our senses; readings from People of Color especially Frances E. W. Harper who we are featuring this year; resisting cultural appropriation; music and messages that honor the head and move us to heart. Here is a UU World article that describes much of what we are considering: https://www.uuworld.org/articles/othering-and-belonging   

We are working intentionally to balance new ideas with providing familiar elements that have had meaning for a long time.

 

The Personnel Committee is working with Boulder census data to arrive at hiring metrics that ensure diversity.

 

You can tell by the inserts in our Order of Service and the monthly newsletter articles that the Justice Council is working very well together, communicating to the rest of us what’s happening, and considering the intersectionality of the issues.

 

Climate Action Ministry (CAM) continues to lead and inspire us to deepen our relationship with the Earth, home of our interdependent web of life. I have been touched deeply by their recommendations to dive into books and practices that honor all of creation.

 

The Sanctuary Now Ministry led us in a thorough and meaningful discernment process to become a Sanctuary Host Congregation.

 

I continue to participate regularly in the Together Colorado Boulder Clergy Caucus – an interfaith group advocating for justice. I also attend the monthly gatherings of the UU Faith Leaders Council on Racial Justice.

 

Believe or not, this is just the activity related to our strategic priorities. Every hour, every day, every week there is so much more going on in this church.  We are truly living our mission.

 

Each week I hear comments about how warm and welcoming or congregation is. That is not a committee or ministry team task – that is the culture we’re creating based on every one of you. Thank you!

 

And love to each of you,

Rev. Kelly

 

PS – Books that I mention in sermons can be found by clicking here.