Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

April newsletter highlight #1 — Senior Minister’s Message: A Big Step and a Bold Future


On April 6, our members vote on whether to authorize UUSS’ borrowing of up to $1.1 million to close the funding gap for our Building Project. A big step.

I don’t like debt! I pay my credit cards off each month (except when I forget). I don’t like construction and remodeling either. After two months of living in piles of papers after moving to the senior minister’s office, my friends came from the Walnut Creek church last fall to do an “intervention” for me. Call it a forced makeover.


However, the results have been worth it in my office (If you know the before and the after, you know what I mean.). I am confident the results of our Building Project will be worth it:

  • A bigger, brighter, welcoming space for all the spiritually progressive and spiritually hungry folks who will come looking for a place to belong and connect.
  • An energy-efficient facility, plus bike racks, and better drainage—putting our green principles into practice. The facility will be more accessible and safer.
  • More space so we can all meet together in a service and for fellowship activities.
  • A beautiful sanctuary to give spiritual comfort in times of stress or grief.
  • A larger profile in the region as a beacon of liberal religion and service to the local community. More facilities to support our social justice ministries.

Because I think the result will be worth it–and because I like avoiding debt–I am thinking about how much more deeply I can dig into my appreciated assets and increase my level of participation in the Building Fund. I know from conversations that many of you are thinking about that as well.

I know that not everyone can make a large gift. That is okay! We would never ask you to make a gift that you don’t have.

However, we can all be generous, so we hope that everyone will find a way to participate in a way appropriate for them.

Your moral support, encouragement, good questions and creative ideas also matter very much. Your presence here is what matters most. This is how we build the beloved community.

Thank you for your giving. Thank you for being part of UUSS.

Yours in service,



Senior Minister’s Letter of Inspiration for Our Capital Giving Campaign

This letter is going out on nice stationery in the regular mail to members, friends and supporters from Doug, my senior colleague at church. 

This is for our first capital giving campaign in a half century!

* * *

Last Sunday a couple introduced themselves to me. Their smiles were warm, their eyes were shy: “We haven’t been here before.” Typical of the several first-timers each Sunday, they were looking for a place to support their journey rather than tell them what to believe. They were looking for people who cared about them and the larger world, a community more interested in depth than doctrine. Our congregation is one of the few choices in this area.

As I welcomed them, I quietly hoped they would connect with several of you soon. Until then, the buildings might dominate their impressions. Looking through their eyes, it is hard to find your way into the congregation: the main doorway is tucked into a dark alcove on the back of the building. Once inside, it’s crowded: you have to push past many elbows to find a seat. The buildings are worn: they don’t project the caring in our hearts. And they leak energy: they aren’t earth friendly.

Ever since I first stepped onto our campus, people have said they yearned to improve our beloved community. We’ve started. We built a dramatic new entryway structure. We upgraded the kitchen, refurbished the library, created a community garden and freshened the lounge. These projects inspired us to look at the whole campus. Our Master Planners helped us sort out our priorities. A gifted architect created beautiful, practical options. We unanimously adopted a 50 Year Master Plan and said, “Let’s start!” For a tribe of independent-minded people, our unanimous vote was a Unitarian Universalist miracle.

We are in better shape now than ever to do what we’ve dreamed about for years. We have the momentum of recent improvements and shared vision. We have people and programming in place. Our spirits are high.

Now is our time to make it happen. Those who created our buildings over fifty years ago look back fondly at a time that transformed the congregation and their lives. A generation from now, the congregation will look back on us with deep gratitude for what we did to pass on a stronger, more inspiring home for liberal and progressive religion.

Now is our time to come together: it will take all of us doing what we can within our means.

Please reflect on the importance of the congregation in your life and in our community. Generosity uplifts the spirit and opens the heart. I will be grateful to have you as part of our Giving Campaign: it’s good to have you with us; it is good to be together; it’s good to spread our values to the wider community

I ask you to make an initial gift and a commitment to give during the next two years. Please be generous. Your gifts make a difference. They help us all to come together, deepen our lives and be a force for healing in the world.