From the Minister
I was hesitant when your Board and Council of Ministries members asked me to contribute to this annual report. In this report, you are saying to each other and to the future, “Here’s what our congregation did during – and with – the precious 12 months from last year’s annual meeting through this year’s gathering.” Part of me felt that the single strongest statement I could make affirming that this is your congregation, not mine even though I am your called spiritual leader and, under our governance system, acting chief executive, would be to keep my voice out of this.
But because I serve you, I will honor this request in two ways. First, some advice about perspective:
Your annual report will be incomplete. Enjoy it for what it is above all else – a declaration that CVUUS accomplished a lot of things that matter to those who participated and will matter to those who come after us. This is only the second year the congregation has done this kind of report. You are still getting the hang of it. Inevitably, many reasons for gratitude, celebration, and honesty about challenges encountered will get cursory treatment or no mention at all. Moreover, a year is a long time and you are a diverse group. Even the most fabulous annual report will fail to do you justice as history.
Second, let me write something in the spirit of a chalice lighting for this report. Whenever we kindle a chalice flame, we head into a potent spiritual space where words, silence, matter, and energy are inseparable. One thing I have done is to bring the words of Rev. Theodore Parker, a boundary-breaking 19th century Unitarian minister, into our worship in a revised form that I have often asked you to say along with me as a chalice lighting:
Let us have a congregation for the whole person:
truth for the mind,
good works for the hands,
love for the heart,
and, for the soul, faith in the Spirit of Life which, like lightning in the clouds,
shines brightest when elsewhere it is the most dark.
You have answered this prayer in countless ways in the past year. May you find them recorded in this report. Where you don’t find them, may you recall them anyway as you read what you do find.
I am more grateful than ever that you called me to be your minister in April of 2012. You continued in the past year to challenge and invite me to grow with you. You indulged my experiments and came up with some of your own. You comforted me in times of loss and let me comfort you. You took my efforts to offer guidance seriously without substituting them for your own responsibility to decide for yourself what you believe and what you want for CVUUS. I was excited about our future together in that joyful moment when you called me. I am just as excited about our shared ministry going forward from today.
Blessings be, Rev. Barnaby