A confession to make: I’m not sure this is the best way to start out a new ministry at a church, but I wanted to tell you what I was doing for two weeks week after I got news I was the minister in Greeley this coming year. I would wake up, go to wash my face, look in the bathroom mirror, smile a particularly goofy smile, and, with Julie Andrews full throated in my ear, sing: “Getting to know you Getting to know all about you... Getting to like you Getting to hope you like me” Sorry to put that in your ear for the rest of the day; you can bring it up with me later this month when you find yourself in the checkout line humming The King and I. I put that silly little story out there to explain how genuinely excited I am to be with you this year. Rest assured, this summer I have been doing my homework as well: reading past Unifaxes, pouring over the directory, and starting to monitor the Greeley Tribune. All the while, anxious to get to the real work of ministry which is to greet and walk with the people. All of the work is purely intellectual until we meet this month. I know you have read a bit of my biography, but I’ll share a bit more. I went to high school in Champaign, IL where the University of Illinois is located, so I know a bit about how the towniecollege dynamic in a community works, and what a remarkable time of year this is, with students coming back taking up the good parking spots and freshmen coming in wide eyed and hyperactive, this being their first time away from home. Perhaps a little more: I have spent most of my life in Colorado, in Littleton as a child, in Boulder as an undergrad, Denver as a young adult and on the Western Slope in Grand Junction in my thirties - the urban, suburban and smalltown parts of Colorado. I think this gives me an appreciation for the unique character of every community here and an understanding that Unitarian Universalism, with its congregational nature, looks different, is practiced differently and serves different needs depending on where a congregation is. This is true not only in the West versus the rest of the country, not only in Colorado versus the rest of the Pacific Western Region, but in every Colorado town. While I will continue to live in Boulder due to family commitments I have, I am excited to be focused on life here in Northern Colorado and excited for
you to show me the flavor of Unitarian Universalism here in Greeley. As we begin a new year, I’m excited to help working on the projects to grow the church and stabilize the finances, but I’m also hoping to build on our educational and social justice programing and expand our church’s voice in the community. I’m excited to hear the plans of our church leaders and learn of the efforts and experiences of our staff. Finally, I am looking forward to creating some really great Sunday services that are both comforting and challenging to current members of the church, welcoming and intriguing to newcomers, and energizing and inspiring to all before the week of work and life that follows every service. Although I am part time, I want to make myself available to members of the congregation as much as I can. I will be at church every week, but my office hours will be flexible so I spend more time with congregants and partner organizations than sitting alone at a desk. To that end, I am using an online calendaring service that you can schedule as you need: https://calendly.com/revaaron. If there is a church group or partner organization that has a monthly meeting you want me to be aware of you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My first official service will be the ingathering and water communion on September 9th. I hope you can make it. Water communion is a beautiful metaphor and a wonderfully endearing ritual for coming back together and pledging ourselves to our joint work. It isn’t a bad moment to bring that friend you’ve thought about inviting either. Yours in Faith and Fellowship, Reverend Aaron Norris
From the minister
A reflection on our theme each month.