Jonalu’s Journal – September 2017

Welcome seems such a simple thing, but when you reflect on it, so many factors–large and small–go into it.

I hope my welcome to all of you–long-time members, new folks, and even those of you who have never stepped into this space–feels genuine and warm.  I know that not everyone is cut out to be a Unitarian Universalist–it’s a path of resistance to many cultural assumptions, a religious home that supports freedom of thought–which means we will not always agree, but we have to find ways to talk.  My hope is that everyone within driving distance of UUFM who is willing to take on the challenges of Unitarian Universalism will feel they are welcome in this congregation.

My welcome, as your minister, matters, but not as much as the larger welcome.  Everyone needs to welcome one another, include one another, and remember one another.  I know that when a task is held by a group rather than an individual, it’s harder.  Truly, though, every member has a responsibility to welcome others, to issue invitations, to offer support and to make friends of acquaintances.  We have some great examples of people in our Fellowship who always introduce themselves to people they do not know, learn about others through caring conversation and connect them with others in the congregation with whom they share interests or life circumstances.  We own this responsibility together.  The Board at its recent Annual Retreat talked about this as “creating a culture of hospitality.”  I invite you to consider how you might participate in that culture.

A particular area the Board wants to address this year is Pride in Space.  We set it as one of our goals this year.  While, with the guidance of the Strategic Planning Committee, we make important decisions about whether we will remain in our current space or expand it, we need to be proud of the space we currently occupy.  This isn’t just the job of the Facilities and Grounds Committees and custodian.  Everyone can pick up trash they see, make sure the stray coffee cup returns to the kitchen, clean up inadvertent spills, and participate in Work Days.  Look around our religious home and notice what needs to be done.  Is it in shape to welcome those who visit us?  If not, let’s shape it up.

If there are ways I can help you–or others–feel more welcome, let me know.  I look forward to learning along with you how we become the most welcoming congregation we can be.

In faith and freedom,    Jonalu

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