Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


FEBRUARY 3, 2015

Dear Members and Friends,


• We’ve added 50 new members since May. Worship is deep, joyful and lively. Our Greeters welcome new visitors every Sunday—even at our temporary home.

• Our dynamic duo of ministers has yielded new surprises in our worship and programs. We can build on this progress by fully funding Rev. Lucy’s position at UUSS.

• Our music program is blossoming now, with a growing choir and amazing duets and soloists. Next year, we strive to fund a Choir Director position once again.

• The new Spiritual Deepening Circles have 100 participants. Adult Enrichment has brought more than 125 people together. Theater One has staged a great variety of plays—more now than last year, when we had a full stage and auditorium!

Religious Education volunteers and staff give generously of their talents and love to our children and youth. We seek to support UUSS families even better.

• Our talented staff works together with high spirits to support the congregation in pursuit of our UUSS mission: we come together to deepen our lives and be a force for healing in the world.

• Our Earth Justice Ministry, Kids Freedom Club, and other social-action groups have brought people together to learn, organize, serve and give of themselves.

Our pledges of monetary support make it all possible. Starting Sunday, February 8, members and friends will make pledges to the operating fund for the 2015-16 year.

Funding our UUSS goals for success in the new budget year calls for an average pledge increase of 10%. We know that hardship has affected some of our households, so we also appreciate that many others will stretch in order to make an increase larger than 10%.

In shared commitment, both of us will increase our household pledges to UUSS.
Your pledge is your decision. Pledges of all sizes are valued and appreciated.

What we ask is your generosity.

Generous giving makes possible so much within and beyond our congregation. Thank you.

We can keep this congregation shining in the coming year. Let it shine!

Yours in service,

Roger Jones, Senior Minister, and Linda Clear, Board President

PS—Please read the Pledge Form for 2015-16. Fill out your Pledge Form and bring it to the next Sunday service or mail it to the office at 2425 Sierra Blvd., Sacramento 95825.  Your monthly pledge of support will keep UUSS thriving… from month to month, from year to year, and from generation to generation. Thank you!


How to Remember Your congregation in Your Will


Many of our members have included UUSS in their trust, will or other estate planning documents.   This generosity ensures that your community will remain a strong presence of liberal religious values and spiritual hospitality in this region.

Share the following suggested wording with your estate planning attorney to add to your will or living trust if you would like to support the congregation’s mission, ministry and programs after your lifetime.  This information is provided by the UUA’s Office of Legacy Gifts.  Click the link for more information.   Here is the suggested language for a will.

“I give to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento, 2425 Sierra Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95825, the sum of $_____  (or _____ percent of the rest, residue and remainder of my estate), for its general purposes.”

No Small Reasons! (An explanation of pledging financial support.)

“Over the years in ministry, I’ve learned that no one comes to church for a petty reason.”

So writes Dr. Rebecca Parker, a UU minister and president of Starr King School for the Ministry.

I’ve learned this too.  People don’t call to make an appointment with a minister for trivial reasons. No person or family shows up here on Sunday mornings just to kill time.  Most of our visitors don’t seek us out unless something has set them on a search for belonging, for celebration, and for meaning.

Nobody joins this congregation—and nobody supports it, either—for trivial reasons.  I think of the volunteers:  trustees, committee members, Religious Education teachers, worship leaders, musicians, ushers, Ministry Circle leaders, Lay Ministry listeners, cooks, landscape caretakers, fix-up volunteers and others.

I think of the devoted members and friends who stretch themselves to support the congregation with generous financial pledges every year.  We are in the middle of our month-long pledge drive.  This year’s theme is “For the Good of the Whole.”

Many people think of their pledge in terms of a percentage of their income.  At UUSS the designation of Fair Share pledging is a pledge of 2% or more of adjusted grow income.  If you do this, please note it on your pledge card.

I encourage all Unitarian Universalists to aim toward giving, in the aggregate, at least 10% of their annual income to organizations that serve the greater good.   One of these organizations, of course, would be their church.  This is a suggestion for personal goal-setting.  It’s not a demand, but an invitation

I pledge 5% of my salary to UUSS and usually give another 5% to 7% to other institutions, causes, and charities.

Pledges to UUSS range from $10 a month to about $20,000 a year.  This is an economically diverse congregation.  This diversity is what it means to be part of a community.  Contributions of all sizes are valued and appreciated.

Some can afford to give more than others, and some less.  Indeed, some pledge and give more because we know others cannot.

Please know that if your financial situation should change (for better or for worse), it is quite appropriate to revise your pledge (either down or up!) by notifying the Office or one of the ministers.

If you would like to discuss your pledge or any aspect of church life, please give Doug or me a call.  We strive to earn your trust and to keep it.

Your pledge is your decision, so please choose an amount that feels right.  Give till it feels good.  Thank you for making a difference … for the good of the whole community.

Yours in service,

A Comfortable Church

Sermon for the Installation of Lucas Keith Hergert

UU Church in Livermore, CA                                                                           Sunday, March 7, 2010

I’ve served congregations for about 15 years.  Every now and then, someone says to me:  “I like this church.  I feel comfortable here.”  Often it’s been a newcomer who has said this, but sometimes not.  When they do, I smile and nod.  But inside, I think, “You do?  You feel comfortable?  Well, just stick around.”

I don’t say that, but I think it.  To me, a congregation is not a place for predictable ease.  It’s a place for relationships of depth and meaning.  Of course, in meaningful relationships, there will be times of comfort, and it’s worthwhile to remember them.  But any relationship of depth and meaning has its times of challenge.  And that is not a recipe for comfort.

For example, some day you might find yourself in a meeting of a committee, or maybe of the whole congregation, engaged in a disagreement of principle or perspective.  Sometimes in your life in this church, you might feel stretched and stressed –tired, frustrated or even a little crispy around the edges.

Someday you might find yourself so connected to this community that you cannot imagine how you ever got along without it.  You might find yourself making friends and then having to say goodbye to some of them when they move away, or when you do.  Some afternoon you might be sitting here in this room for a memorial service, recalling how a member touched your community and your life.

I don’t think predictable ease is what we are about.  Hope? Healing?  Love? Yes, yes!  Friendship?  Yes, we try to foster that.  Fun?  You bet!  Compassion… Inspiration… Transcendence?  I hope so.  But not comfortableness.

Our congregations are not hiding places; they are sanctuaries of renewal.  They are a place to forge stronger lives, a network to exchange caring and compassion, a home base from which to reach out in care, service, and witness to a hurting and hurtful world.

Unitarian Universalist minister and professor Thandeka writes that  “Our pastoral work as churches is the protection of souls, and the care of souls that need healing.”  Our social justice work is put our values into practice to change the conditions that break souls—the conditions in our economy, politics, workplaces, streets and schools—as she puts it,“to alter the conditions that produce broken souls.  We  work to stop the assault.”[i]

Marge Piercey, in her poem “To Be of Use,” writes:

“Greek amphoras for wine or oil, Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums but you know they were made to be used.”  In that spirit, I say: churches look nice but you know they were not meant to be museums or living rooms or bedrooms.  Given the topics that too often pass for important converstaion in our church meetings, and the ways we try to be all things to all people, one might think church is  a bedroom furnished with a king sized bed with a Tempur-pedic mattress or even better, a Sleep Number mattress, so everyone here can dial it to fit you just right.

The work of a religious community is not comfort, but transformation.  By transformation, I mean personal growth, joy, depth, and connection.   And by transformation, I mean promoting freedom and justice, healing human lives, and protecting the planet.  Transformation is not easy.  Transformation does not look easy when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, and it does not feel easy when we are in the middle of it.  It is not easy when a snake sheds its skin, and it is not easy for human beings and organizations.

It may be true, as the Bible says, that we human beings are the children of God, but we are also the cousins of reptiles.  We can think and reason more than lizards can.  We can feel compassion more than snakes.  We can, but we don’t always do it.  We have in us the remnants of a reptile brain—quick to jump to conclusions, quick to strike out if we feel hurt or afraid.  We’re prone to disappearing the scene when we feel some anxiety.  The reptile brain asks: “Should I eat it, or get away from it?  Should I shout him down, ignore them, go behind her back?  Should I subdue them with red tape, parliamentary procedure, or verbal pummeling?”

To be sure, our fight-or-flight instincts can be helpful in true emergencies.  But in human communitities, it’s better to make some explicit expectations about how we will live together.  Covenants make sure everyone is in the loop about how we will share the work, make decisions, and exchange feedback.  Covenants are promises about how we speak to one another and how we listen.  In church life, covenants outline what we expect of one another and of ourselves in the roles we take on:  member, teacher, volunteer, elected leader, called minister.  Covenants describe how authority is shared and assigned.  They say how we will handle disagreements or pursue reconciliation.

Our way of religion is  not based on creeds, not based on statements of belief that members must agree to in order to belong here.  Nor is our way of religion based on a culture of  comfort.  Churches will not thrive for long if they depend only on warm feelings, good intentions and easy familiarity.  Those things are nice when they exist, but a free and open church cannot live by them alone.    Our congregations live and thrive not by culture or creed but by covenants.  In congregations we live according to the the promises and pledges that we make to one another.

Today with your minister you make one of many kinds of promises that sustain and shape this community. I am happy for him and for you.

You have called a young minister with much maturity, talent, dedication, and faith.  He has the the potential to live out his vocation for many decades to come.  I am grateful that he is dedicating his life to this ministry and this movement.   Our heritage is full of stories about hard working UU ministers–some whose gifted, visionary and courageous leadership has been pivotal in the life of our movement and the life of our nation.

One of the stories is that of Thomas Starr King.  He was born into a Universalist family on the East Coast—a preacher’s kid.  Losing his father at a young age, he had to provide for his family, which left him neither time nor money in order to get a formal degree from a college or seminary.  But he sat in on lectures at Harvard, and was befriended by leading Universalist and Unitarian ministers in Boston:  Ballou, Parker, Emerson.  They mentored him and gave him opportunities to preach.  The Universalists ordained him at age 21.  He got an offer to fill his father’s pulpit near Boston, but he knew the elders there would always remember him as a child.  After Unitarian minister Henry Whitney Bellows asked a church in New York City to consider Starr King for its pulpit, it offered to call him.   Given his young age, however, the congregation wanted him to take  a year of course work.  He wouldn’t, and they parted ways.  Eventually, even though he’d never been to college, Harvard just gave him an honorary master’s degree. He was 24 years old.

Starr King began to serve the Hollis Street Church in Boston.  It was a part-time position, as the church had lost members over controversies about moral issues, including activism against slavery.

Though the church did grow in attendance and financial support, Starr King needed to supplement his income with public lectures, just as Ralph Waldo Emerson was doing.  His eloquence, resonant voice, deep thought and sense of humor made him very popular, but after 10 years of traveling around New England, he grew tired of it.  He wanted only to serve a church.  He had several choices in the East and the Midwest, but he felt the best call was to the Unitarian church all the way out in San Francisco.  He moved his wife and child to California in 1860.   Starr King conducted three kinds of ministry here:  pastoral leadership in the congregation, spiritual leadership in the wider community, and prophetic social activism in the state and country.  The church grew in size.  It drew people of deep values, with brilliant minds; people in roles of power and importance, and people who just wanted to be good neighbors, good fathers and mothers.

Outside the church, by writing and lecturing around the city and other parts of California, he promoted a more open religoius approach in society at large—the way many best-selling interfaith authors do these days.  In my city of Sacramento, two well-publicized lectures by Starr King led to the organizing of a Unitarian church.  As the national crisis over slavery grew, he became involved in electing Abraham Lincoln as president.  Then, the young state  of California was at risk of seceding from the Union over slavery.  By traveling around the state to give speeches for the Union cause, Starr King was the primary force for keeping California from seceding.  Then, during the Civil War, he aided  one of his East Coast mentors in founding the United States Sanitary Commission, which would provide first aid and medical care to the troops, many of whom were dying not from their wounds but from infections.  From a state with only 380,000 people,  Starr King raised over a million dollars—a quarter of the national total—to establish what would later be called the American Red Cross.  In only four years, he helped to change the course of our state and our nation.  Then he became sick and passed away at age 40.

I recount this history not as a promise that Lucas will be another Starr King, even though he did come all the way out here from Massachusetts, and even though Lucas also is spiritually grounded, talented, passionate and has a keen mind.   Nor is this history meant as a prescription to Lucas for a proper model of ministerial leadership.  I don’t want him to overdo it and do himself in.

We have many stories of great ministers, men and women now aged and many of them long dead.  Their legacies are so important.  Let us remember that great ministers began as young men and young women in ministry, where their gifts were vital and fresh and their wisdom already growing.  And let us remember that in our movement, clergy and congregation rely on one another.  They work together, and grow together.   Their accomplishments rest on trusting relationships—relationships based on covenant.   Again, I think of Starr King.  With his talents wedded to passion, with trust of congregation members and support of colleagues, mentors and friends, his best ministry was the one he was engaged in at any given time.

His ministry took place at a time of trouble and fear.  It was a time of political uncertainty and social injustice, of division and many kinds of violence.   Our religious values—and the courage to pursue those values—made a crucial difference.  The ministry that you and Lucas have begun is taking place at a time of trouble and fear.  It is a time of political uncertainty and social injustice, of division and violence many kinds of violence.   Our values and our courage can make a crucial difference, for us and for the world.

In summing up five centuries of the Unitarian movement in Europe and America, the historian Earl Morse Wilbur writes that the core values of our tradition are freedom, reason and tolerance—that is, tolerance for differing beliefs.  These core values were refreshed for me a few years ago by a person I met in Virginia.  I flew there for another Sunday-afternoon installation ceremony.   Saturday evening I went out to dinner with a few church members.  I heard about a church member who recently had run a campaign for Virginia’s state assembly.  He was a professor of environmental studies named Peter.  At the church service on Sunday morning, I saw numerous cars in the church parking lot bearing his name on bumper stickers, even though the election had ended five months earlier, and he’d lost.  I heard that he would be taking me to the airport Monday morning, but I didn’t meet him.  He was in the choir at the Sunday afternoon ceremony, but I didn’t meet him at the reception either.  I did meet his wife.  I asked her about the campaign.  She said it had been his first run for public office.  It had been a lot of work but they both got a lot out of it.  She said, for one thing, they showed that a Democrat could get 40% of the vote against an incumbent in a conservative district.  I asked, “Was he expecting to lose when he entered the race?”  “Oh, no,” she replied.  “Peter runs to win. We will always run to win.”

The next morning, I met Peter when he picked me up for the airport.  His car did not have his name on the bumper.  On the way to the airport, I asked him why he’d run for state assembly.  He said that one night he had gotten a call at home from a friend from church, who was in a meeting with two other leaders of the local Democratic Party. They were recruiting candidates for the election.  They told Peter they had chosen him.  At no time in his recounting the story did he use the term “sacrificial lamb.”  Peter was surprised at the request, and said he and his wife needed some time to consider it.  (For those of you who may be concerned about the partisan nature of this story from that UU church, I should explain that in Virginia the radical religious right has taken over the Republican Party.)
Peter told me that the weekend after that phone call, he and his wife had attended an afternoon worship service at another UU church in Virginia—a building dedication or anniversary service, perhaps.  The guest preacher there had not given a sermon, so much as a call to action.  In the sermon, the preacher said that the core values of the UU tradition were freedom, reason and tolerance.  Those values were the same ones that inspired this country’s founding, and those values are under attack.  He said that Unitarian Universalists need to stand up, speak out, get involved, and take those values back!  When Peter heard this, he looked at his wife.  He said:  “We’ve got to run, don’t we?”  She nodded yes.

Peter liked that preacher’s words so much that he used them in his campaign stump speech.  He also added justice to the list:  freedom, reason, tolerance and justice.  His opponent granted him only one debate, and it was in a rural area, especially conservative.  An audience member asked about civil marriage for same-sex couples.  The incumbent gave the familiar slogans about protecting heterosexual marriage by denying equal rights to gay couples.  When it was Peter’s turn, he said that his guiding values were freedom, reason, tolerance and justice.  For this reason, he said, he supported marriage equality for same-sex couples and opposed changing the state constitution.  For this forthrightness he even got a little applause.  And in the election, he showed that a liberal could get 40% of the vote against a strong incumbent even if he speaks the truth about what he stands for.

Peter spoke the truth about his values.  He did this because his UU movement supported him in doing so, inspired him to do so, and gave him the courage to do so.  Our congregations are not museums or cozy living rooms.  They are incubators of inspiration, courage, healing and hope.

Jack Mendelsohn is one of our elderly ministers distinguished by a long career of brave and inspired service.  In one of his many books, he writes that great ministers need great congregations; indeed, they create one another.[ii]

Most ministers don’t do ministry with an eye to what will some day be  seen as “great ministry” or what will make us and our congregations famous.  I trust that ministers, like most of us, would like to live in ways that are true to our values and to one another.   We seek support in speaking in words that are authentic and loving.  We seek the courage to stick our necks out on matters of principle.  We try to give encouragement and support to one another.

Most ministers don’t keep an eye on what will some day be seen as “great ministry.” That’s because if we are doing ministry for the right reasons, at the right time, with the right people, it is always great ministry.  May your ministry together be great in faithfulness to your covenants with each other, and great in courage and boldness.

May it be great in trust, courage, joy, and love. Amen.

[i] «Healing Souls, Healing a Nation,» by Thandeka, in A People So Bold, edited by John Gibb Millspaugh.  Skinner House Books, 2009, p. 73.

[ii] Paraphrased from Being Liberal in an Illiberal Age, by Jack Mendelsohn.  Skinner House Books, 1995.

Stewardship Campaign Testimonial!

All the Ways We Grow

Introduction:  Our Stewardship Campaign co-chairs for 2010-11 are Ginger and JoAnn.  On their shoulders rest the visions, goals, programs, dreams, and staff members’ daily meals for the next fiscal year at UUSS.  Seems like a heavy burden, no?   Yet they stand tall and proud—because they know they will have lots of help from many others—both in operating the campaign  and in giving generously!  Here is Ginger’s reflection about the ways she has grown through involvement in UU congregational life and the ways she has grown in commitment.  — Roger

Testimonial by Ginger Enrico, Jan. 3, 2010

I was raised un-churched, and I was always happy with that.  As an adult I attended various church services, but nothing clicked for me.  One religious element or another would always make it a “not me” experience.

Then one day when I was in my early thirties, I visited the UU church where I lived in Dallas – The service began with a reading of principles – about justice, equity, the inherent worth & dignity of each person, and the free pursuit of truth & meaning.

To see values dear to me printed in the order of service, to hear them recited in unison by the congregation jolted me.  I had no idea there was a church like this!  Those principles and the congregation’s covenant resonated with me.

I had not been searching; I had not been at sea. But this experience was so meaningful to me that it brought tears to my eyes.  That must be when I started becoming a Unitarian Universalist.

So what does it mean to be UU – to be a part of the  UU denomination? To be part of  this Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento?

For me, it means we have support and guidance from this institution and from each other – as fellow travelers – as we grow, as we serve, as we find our many ways, whatever they may be.

One of the most important things  it means to me is that we have a village to help raise our children.

In this stewardship drive we are reflecting on how we grow and develop here.

As I think about how I have grown, I think about the fact that when I was growing up, I didn’t learn much about how to work with other people to get things done, I didn’t learn much about working in community.

So when I started in church I needed an education!

It began in my first church home and it continues here. I’m grateful for the patient teaching I’ve gotten from fellow congregants, from ministers, and from staff.

I find working, being in community to be fun, to be hard, to be humbling, and to be rewarding.

And, over the years, as I have worked in Religious Education, and served on intern committees, and on planning committees I have sought to develop my spirit.

Here, I find support in the Spiritually Grounded Leadership course.  In that group we work to develop our spiritual selves and to be grounded in our leadership roles.  I think of it as developing and combining internal spirituality and external practicality.

I am most grateful though, for the development of my children as they grew up UU. That Dallas church and this UUSS church each provide a village to help raise children.

Now our grandchildren – Roy’s and mine – are going to Sunday school and to OWL [Our Whole Lives] in Texas.  I hope the members and friends there continue to be generous so our grandchildren can grow and flourish in a strong, vibrant church.

And I want the children and grandchildren here to grow and flourish in this church.

We UUSS members and friends have given generously here.   These are challenging times.  I think probably most of us are making less or have less than we did a couple of years ago.  Roy and I are no exception.  Yet this church needs more in order to hold its course and to be strong and vibrant.  So, Roy and I considered our pledge and decided we can raise it by 10% this year.

As you consider your pledge, please think about all the ways we develop, grow, and serve together here at UUSS.

Please think of the village that UUSS is now and the village it can be in the future – for the children and youth, for us gray-hairs and for everyone in between .

Thank you.

[Click to read more about this pledge campaign!]

Donations: Tax Deadline Approaches, but Don’t Get Taken While Giving!

The Tax Deadline Approaches:
Don’t Get Taken While Giving!
January Newsletter Column

You may be reading this as the Dec. 31 deadline for tax-deductible donations approaches.  Or maybe it’s the new year already, and you want to be intentional as you plan your philanthropic and charitable giving for the new year.  Of course, even without the tax benefits, many of us are moved to give and make a difference in the world.
No matter our personal circumstances or the amount of money and time that we can afford to share, giving to others is a life-affirming act.

Envelopes pile up on the desk and emails stack up in the in-box from many worthy causes–and some not-so-worthy operators.  My own giving guidelines are honed from reading broadly on the topic, web searches, volunteer leadership experience, and an early budget-office career.
I’ve also learned about giving from getting taken now and then.

My suggestions:

Give to what you know.  If you are volunteer for an organization–or if a coworker, close friend or family member is involved there–you will know if it’s doing relevant work, doing it effectively, managing money wisely, and not putting up its leaders in penthouses.  This is why I give the biggest chunk of my donations to this congregation, to the UU Service Committee, the UU Legislative Ministry in California, and to our two remaining UU theological schools– in Chicago and Berkeley.  When I know some of the staff, board members, or other volunteers, I have a better idea of what’s going on in an organization, and I can trust my money is being used well.

Give to what you value.  For example, I couldn’t imagine living in a community without a UU congregation or local Public Radio station, so I support them.

Give locally.  Most social change is forged and social services are delivered at the local level, not out of national headquarters. That’s why I try to give to local branches and chapters, rather than to respond to appeals from New York and Washington.  Every year at UUSS our members vote to select the Community Partner organizations with which we share our Sunday offering each week (such as Family Promise, the local SPCA).  I give in the offering basket with confidence that these were nominated and vetted by church members who have close knowledge of each organizations’ programs, staff and volunteer leadership, and who actually see the benefits of the work.

Give with awareness and intention  about what you’re gaining by giving.  Being reflective about what we get out of our generosity personally can help us avoid being manipulated by appeals to pity, guilt, urgency or drama.

Give after taking time to think about it.  Authentic fund raising professionals will respect your wish to take time to consider whether and how much to give.

Never give over the phone. That is, don’t give to solicitors over the phone (unless you are the one who makes the call to the organization).  Phone solicitors usually charge a large fee to the recipient organization.  Don’t give in response to an email unless you have an established relationship and receive regular emails from the organization.

Give to your own well-being.  Take care of yourself even as you strive to help others.  If you are paying high-interest finance charges, for example, work on getting those costs down rather than piling on debt. That will give you more financial security and more freedom to give in the future. Credit card companies don’t need your help.
Decide the total amount you can give in a year, either as a percentage of your income or your asset base or as a specific dollar amount withheld from your paycheck or drawn from your investments.

Of course, I barely follow that last bit of advice. Yes, I do set a percentage of my income for donations.  But when December rolls around, I realize that I can afford to give away more than I thought! This occurs to me as I reflect on the blessings of the past year and the blessings of my life.  When I pause to be grateful, it helps me to be generous.  And being generous makes me feel alive.

Happy New Year!
Yours in service,

Top Ten List: Benefits of Joining a UU Congregation — or at least this one



People have asked me about the reasons one would join

a congregation—the benefits as well as the expectations

of members. 

Here’s my list, in ascending order of importance.

Number 10: The wider world of the UUA (support and

advice to look for ministers, build RE, and raise money;; District Assembly and General Assembly; “World” magazine;

Skinner House UU books; Heritage Tour to Boston).

Number 9: Beacon Press, one of the last remaining

independent publishers, and a courageous one at that!

Number 8: Washington and Sacramento UU offices to

keep us abreast of key issues and to help us make our

voices heard by the government (of the people, by the

people, for the people.)

Number 7: Leadership development opportunities

through volunteer involvement here and at workshops in

the Pacific Central District, with our clergy’s support.

Number 6: Voting at congregational meetings. Influence

in building the future of UUSS!  Next meeting:  Oct. 18, 2009.

Number 5: Adult Religious Education classes for learning

and spiritual growth. Ministry Circles for building closer

connections with other members, special-interest


Number 4: The rare and precious opportunity for intergenerational

friendship—with people from one week old to 100 years old, and

fun events for all ages.

Number 3: The support of trained Lay Ministry listeners and other caring


Number 2: Pastoral and staff support—listening and

pastoral care; information to help you connect with

groups, resources or programs; weddings/memorials;

coaching of volunteers.  And I include  in my morning prayers

this congregation and those with concerns I know about .

Number 1: Regular worship services! Rain or shine, your

worshiping community is here for you every Sunday of the

year—not to mention special-event services and rituals.

Well, I ran out of numbers!

But I would add: “The inspiration of being part of a vital,

values-based spiritual community, which encourages us to

deepen and express our own beliefs and to put our beliefs

into action to make the world a better place.”

What would you put on the list that I left out?