I signed off my musings last month by saying how excited I was about our shared ministry and where we were headed. As we just ended the sixth month of our church year, I find myself continuing to be excited. As a new minister here, I really couldn’t be more impressed with this community and the enthusiasm that has been shown. You are definitely a people of resilience. Things have not always broken your way, and yet you all keep showing up for one another. As we finish our month of Loving, your actions are perhaps the greatest testimony to our community. Not that we are a perfect community, but that we continue to be an engaged one, a loving one and therefore a more perfect one.
Over the last few months, we’ve been lucky enough to be introduced to the Woerner family who travel a great distance to be with us on Sundays. It can’t always be easy getting everybody packed up and ready to go, but this family does it often to be part of our community at services. I’m always impressed when they arrive, being a father myself and knowing what it takes to have that kind of organization in the morning. In February, Angela wrote on one of our social media platforms that the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greeley was “open, honest, accepting, loving.” I can’t think of a better description for our community to be, to aspire to be and to continue to be. If we remain the kind of community Angela calls us while remaining dedicated to our mission as a congregation to grow spiritually, live meaningfully, and help heal the world, we really can build the kind of transformational community that I charge us to be at the end of every service.
In our church year, we have had two great collections of themes so far: first with Calling, Responsibility, and Justice and then with Family, Community, and Love. This month we will begin a new series with Nature, Environment, and Cycle. In the first month of Nature, I hope to see you all on my two Sundays, but I am also excited to hear our Board President Julie Miller’s kickoff exploration on the theme and more about Kim Womantree’s service on Pagan Spring. At the time of this writing, I also wait with baited breath for our mystery guest at the end of the month.
Finally, as we slide into the second half of the year, we will have more opportunities to recommit ourselves to our vision in a couple of concrete ways. Showing up is always a big one; your presence on Sundays is the single best thing that you can do to show support for the church community, but also take advantage of the learning opportunities and community events at other times as well. Also, if you haven’t already done so, consider becoming a member. The Unitarian Universalist Association recently changed their rules so that congregational dues are no longer pegged on a per member formula but rather as a percentage of the congregation’s budget. As a community, there is no longer any downside to having more members join the church. Talk to me or one of the board about membership if you are even thinking you might want to join. Lastly, as a community we have the opportunity to contribute financially. We are lucky and thankful to have some extremely generous members and friends in this church. Already this year, we have crossed the threshold of pledges collected from last year’s mark. This means that any further pledge money collected this year, including additions to the current pledges, are being doubled at the end of the year by the anonymous donor. That’s really great news for our church.
I spoke last month about how Love spreads between the imperfect reality of the beloved and the perfectible aspiration of the beloved. We started the church year in September with a great deal of hope that we would have something of an awakening. That hope first budded and now has really begun to come into fruition. Our hope is not yet completely ripened, but if we continue to strive, stay committed and excited about what is possible, the kind of love I described last month -- that love we feel for this community -- will help us continue to realize that hope. As I end most Sundays with you all, may we make it so, with the loving work of our hearts and our hands. Have a fantastic March and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Yours in Faith and Fellowship,
Rev. Aaron Norris