Every ending often involves a beginning and we have been deeply engaged in endings and beginnings. The search process involves a lot of excitement for the congregation. What it also means is another congregation will likely be entering an interim period. We are incredibly grateful to the staff and congregants of the Sierra Foothills Unitarian Universalists. We asked them to join us in a good good-bye, to lean into ‘all the feels’ as some might say. We were blessed by kindness and well-wishes for a successful ministry in the form of cards, music, a farewell celebration, and care. Some folks even helped us with boxes, packing, loading, and/or moral support for the journey. Our gratitude is bigger than we can express with words.
For those of you who have connected to UUSS after May 7, it might be helpful to you to know that this congregation engaged in an intense period of self-awareness and significant work during the interim. Rev. Margret O’Neall worked brilliantly with congregational leaders to make significant changes to governance, membership, and stewardship. While that was happening, the congregation elected a Ministerial Search Committee who worked diligently to find a new settled minister. Their efforts led them to choose us to present to the congregation as Candidates for Ministry. On May 7, the members of UUSS wonderfully voted to call us as their next settled ministers and we humbly and joyfully said yes!!! You can learn more about us on the website, if you haven’t read it already. HERE!
We have been on a steep learning curve with this congregation, this city and greater area, and our new home and office (where is the…????). We are trying to remember how important it is to also care for our own bodies, spirits, minds, and hearts. We carry the grief of loss-our former congregation and area collegial gatherings, proximity to our adult daughter and Lynn’s side of the family, Lynn’s dad who passed into the mystery in early August, and all that was familiar, including the relationships we built in the community/district/region and the landscape of CA. We carry the anticipation of the new and the joy of being closer to some of Wendy’s East coast family and a few of our friends, and getting to know the flora and fauna of NY. (Fireflies are so cool!)
Since August 1, we have also been working with the FABULOUS staff and lay leadership as we learn how church ‘works’ here. As your new co-ministers, we know there is much to learn about the culture in the congregation and in the community. We are asking lots of questions. We have fresh eyes to gaze upon the people, the relationships, the systems, the physical space, and the channels of communication and accountability that help (or hinder) UU Schenectady live most fully into its mission. How does this work? What is the policy about this? Who has the authority to make a decision? Does this fit with the mission? When does leadership say yes? When do we need to say no? Whose voice is missing from this conversation? Are white supremacy culture behaviors influencing this process/conversation/decision/policy/practice and if so, how do we change that? How does policy-based governance work now to bring forward the gifts and ministries that are most needed? People have been so open to our questions, often grappling with them too. Our gratitude is bigger than we can express with words.
In faith, anticipation, and joy,
Rev. Wendy and Rev. Lynn