The Greek philosopher Heraclitus has often been quoted as saying, “Change alone is unchanging.” That is, life is permanently in flux. As we enter this month of considering our expectations, we need to remember the permanence of change. Sometimes, we go along as if everything will stay the same and are startled when change happens. Other times, we march forward, determined to create change, and it doesn’t go in the direction we expect.
When I do premarital counseling with a couple, I often remind them that they cannot enter a marriage expecting to change the other person. By and large, personality characteristics persist. On the other hand, they can’t enter a marriage expecting that the person will never change, because inevitably, people do change. We just can’t predict exactly what that change will look like. They may change careers, find new hobbies, go into therapy, or go back to school. The ways a person might change are endless.
Nor can we predict perfectly how the stock market will go, what the weather will be next week, or where war will next break out. We can make educated guesses. Some experts may even hit the nail on the head–occasionally. Certainty in the future remains elusive.
What we can do about changing circumstances is to clearly communicate our own intentions, so that we can–together and independently–make the plans we need to make.
As many of you know, we at UUFM are engaged together in Developmental Ministry. Unlike a ministerial call, which is the typical arrangement between ministers and congregations in the UUA, Developmental Ministry is based in a contract of specific and limited duration. A call, on the other hand, is open-ended and lasts as long as both parties are satisfied with it. Our current contract ends in August, 2021.
I have decided at that point to retire from ministry. I have informed the Board and staff of this, and wanted to share it openly with the congregation because you need this time to determine UUFM’s next steps in ministry. All options are open currently–to re-enter Developmental Ministry (goal-based, limited time commitment), to get an Interim Minister (another short-term, one- to two-year option, designed for transition), or to enter search to call a minister indefinitely. The Ministerial Search Process requires extensive work around what the congregation is looking for in a minister, and requires 18 months to 2 years, which is why I needed to be clear now about my own plans.
In the meantime, we have two years to continue to support one another and reach out into our community, sharing UU values and principles. I don’t know exactly what UUFM will look like at the end of that. I am eager to see what changes we create and experience together.
In faith and freedom,