The work of congregational ministry is almost always rewarding, and sometimes the rewards arrive even in the detailed minutiae.
And sometimes the work is painful—often also in that detailed minutiae.
Today I had the privilege and burden of sitting first with staff and later with our Board of Trustees to make painful financial decisions on behalf of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia.
How fortunate I am to have such thoughtful and gracious partners in this work, making difficult choices with grace and responsibility.
Thank you, team. #UUCCTuesday
If you’re on Facebook*, you may have seen my post from a couple evenings ago, pasted above. I’m sharing it again here because it’s true and heartfelt, and I want all of you to see it, regardless of your social media status.
These are not the best of days on the executive side of UUCC—telling staff that they won’t get raises and might possibly be furloughed; asking ourselves about the reasons for such an anemic budget drive; inviting ourselves to consider the bigger picture (e.g., what’s the larger cultural context of which our fundraising challenges are a symptom?).
I feel like we’re in a bit of a DTR—Define The Relationship—moment as a congregation. (I admit to a bit of relief when I googled that term and discovered that it’s not merely a relic of my ‘90s young adulthood!) I suspect that most of us have had dreaded DTRs in our lives, whether in the traditional romantic relationship sense (“Do you want to be my exclusive partner?”) or in other relationships in our lives.
And it’s relevant in our UUCC lives, too. Does each of us—minister(s) and laity; leadership and members; staff and volunteers; children and adults—have the same understanding of what we’re doing here, of what is the mutual investment in our long-term relationship?
Of course the answer is “no”; not every one of us will ever share exactly the same expectations about what it means to be in religious community. But I also suspect that we need to spend some dedicated time in the coming year looking together at that bigger picture, defining and redefining the relationship so that expectations are managed, sustainability is reinforced, and satisfaction is abundant.
The conversation is beginning already, and in the next few days you’ll all be receiving details about the austere proposed budget for 2018-19. Please read that message when it arrives and be thoughtful about what this relationship means to you.
I don’t expect it to be particularly comfortable or fun, but I also wouldn’t choose this particular DTR with anyone but you. Thank you, team.
* If you’re a member of our UUCC community who is on Facebook and wants to connect with me there, I will accept your Friend request!