This congregation is a community of communities, or a community of relationships. As minister, one of my most important tasks is to cultivate and strengthen relationships. This is especially true as I begin this year as the settled long-term minister for this congregation…and it is especially true as we all move forward (cautiously) into in-person engagement with other vaccinated people. I am making time in my schedule for individual meetings with people in the congregation to deepen our relationship and our understanding of one another. Nothing is more important than this. As we build trust and get to know one another, we can more effectively do the work of love and justice that we are called to do.
The other goal I see for myself is similar to the board’s goal of “nimbly responding to the realities of the pandemic.” Our worship services and, increasingly, other events are online now--and I don’t think that’s going to change. We join other UU congregations for worship and they join us. Our presence on Zoom allows people to connect from far away—and from nearby when health risks or personal choice lead them to do so. What does this mean for who we are, our purpose, and our place in the community? I think we are all discovering this, and my goal this year is to keep this conversation going as we figure it out together.
Divine Spirit, bless this new beginning as the calendar turns to September and the Fellowship year renews. May all of us embrace the possibilities of this year. May we move forward with a respect for the past, with the lessons learned from the past, but never clinging to the past. Let this day, this month, this year, bring the best version of ourselves: our best as individuals and our best as a congregation called to transform our lives and our world through love.
May it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
September 2, 2021