There are so many things I want to share with you! I struggled to come up with what my first newsletter column should address. We have much to share to really get to know one another and to find the ways to work best together.
Upon reflection, it seems fitting to start with the Top Ten Reasons I wanted to come to UUFM:
10) The chance to return to my fellowship roots. My first UU membership (other than the Church of the Larger Fellowship — if you don’t know about it, check it out; it’s the UUA “church without walls”) was in the Bull Run UU’s, a lay-led start-up group that formed in Manassas, Virginia, in the 1980’s. Later, I joined the UU Fellowship of Greater Cumberland (Maryland), the congregation that ultimately ordained me in 1993. The first congregation I joined that had a full-time minister (James Reeb UU Congregation), I was the minister.
9) The demographic growth in Manhattan brings great opportunities for expansion.
8) The university provides a chance to offer vital campus ministry.
7) The Flint Hills. As I told a friend, “I’ll be living in the part of Kansas that isn’t flat.”
6) The beautiful building and grounds. I remembered the loveliness of the place, especially the circle chalice window and the walk up the hill, from preaching here once in 2011.
5) The very balanced age breakdown within the congregation, a good ratio of children to adults and a variety of adult generations in leadership.
4) The commitment to doing things well that shows in attitudes about process, in the new video, in the building, and in so many other ways.
3) The history of positive relationships with ministers and the overwhelming backing for the move to full-time ministry, including the willingness to support it financially.
2) The readiness to consider the role of spirituality in the life of the fellowship and of its members.
1) The focus on the minister’s role in outreach and justice work in the community.
These factors create a most opportune connection between the fellowship and me, between you and me. I am as pleased to be here as you seem to be to have me. Thanks to all for the wonderful welcome I have received. My hopes are high for our work together.
In faith and freedom,