What sustains us through changes? What carries us through life’s hard passages? What saves us?
These are the questions of the seasons of Passover, Palm Sunday, and Easter.
As the two of us prepare to leave professional ministry and this congregation, we are going through pages and pages, files and piles of papers. Among the pages are many treasures.
We are finding cards and letters of appreciation and encouragement, love letters from church members, colleagues, friends, and family. We read them and melt. The love and support of others has sustained the two of us through many changes, carried us through hard passages. Wouldn’t you agree, the love and support of people dear to you are saving?
We also find copies of rituals, weddings, memorial services, sermons, orders of service, poems woven into Sunday worship, prayers and meditations, songs, sharing the journey statements, and talks given by members. Shaping worth, making meaning in community sustains and saves.
Our files overflow with materials from Evensong, Chalice Circles, Thursday night programs, and so many workshops. We’ve saved notes we’ve taken from words spoken or written by members who have shared their truth, experiences, wisdom, and longings.
We have copies of words spoken at rallies and vigils, letters mailed to the paper and elected representatives, and photographs of members as they witness in the larger community for justice and love made visible.
Growing together to love ourselves, one another, and to embody love in the larger world is what life is all about. This is what is life-giving and -saving.
We have been so blessed to give our lives to Unitarian Universalist ministry and to this congregation. To have work that is real and to which one is whole-heartedly dedicated is a gift.
We wanted to have a real religious life and we have had one with you. We have been challenged and stretched. Our hands and hearts have been opened.
In 1841 Unitarian minister Theodore Parker expressed the longing for a real religious life in his sermon, The Transient and Permanent in Christianity—we want “a real religious life which shall pluck blindness out of the heart, and make us better father, mothers, and children; a religious life, that shall go with us where we go, and make every home the house of God, every act acceptable as a prayer. We would work for this, and pray for it.” Our prayer continues to be for our hearts to open and to live religious lives wherever we go.
With love and gratitude,
Barbara and Bill
So much is good and healthy at UUCB.
Good strong leaders serve on our Board of Trustees, our Coordinating Team, and chair committees and task forces.
Merrin Clough’s organizational skills and religious presence are bringing consistency and depth to the programs of religious education and family ministry. She is building relationships that will be on-going with the children, youth, parents, and teachers, and linking R.E. to the whole congregation.
As you have heard, the two of us are retiring from our ministry with UUCB this June. It is not easy for us to leave you. We have ministered here with you for 18 years. You are in our hearts and always will be.
We feel so grateful for our lives with you. We give thanks for our life’s work of working with words to make meaning and magic, of working with people, encouraging their possibilities—a life of worship, music, poetry and dance; of welcoming babies, wedding couples, lifting up the essence of lives in memorial services, and being with groups of people in laughter and tears; of people speaking what they know and listening to one another, young and old taking action together for the common good, sitting at bedsides, and being with family members as they say goodbyes. So many times, we’ve experienced church members and staff members speak the words that need to be spoken, do what needs to be done, and be with one another in ways that touch our hearts and bring tears to our eyes. What a gift.
In her Journal At 70, May Sarton wrote, “I sense that we may be newborn spirits at any moment in time, if we have the courage.”
Courage to each and all of us for who knows what the New Year will hold. Grace, be with us as we make our way. May we find beauty and love, perhaps in unexpected places. And may we give thanks for one another.
Since summer, you have raised over1 million dollars!! You are taking care of the great resources of this building and of its magnificent organ. As you gave, you have reminded one another of the importance of this church in your lives. You have committed to a church for yourselves and for those still to come.
The holidays are a time of a mixture of feelings—anticipation, joy, loneliness, connection, busy-ness, exhaustion, cynicism, commercialism, calm, love, and more. Practicing gratitude increases the possibilities for feelings of connections and joy. We give thanks for this community, the warm greetings, the deep sharing, the encouragement for all of us to be our best selves, the beautiful music, the hard-working staff, the dedicated lay leaders, the community of all ages, and the connections and actions with the larger community. Thank you for being part of the life of UUCB. May the gatherings of this community this month bring meaning and warmth to you.
Like an Advent calendar, we offer you these simple daily messages.
We’re going to print this out and keep it on our dining room table to make reading it part of our daily practice.
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