From Rev. Micah:
I’m back! Yes, I had a wonderful time at General Assembly–even with the news about Roe v. Wade that occurred that Friday. It was good to be in the company of other Unitarian Universalists as we affirmed our dedication to autonomy and sacred choice. We have seen this moment coming for years and have been working in the background to see how we can be helpful. There is certainly a place for churches and congregations in this fight, as moral compasses and confidential sanctuaries.
Afterward, I was glad to spend some time in California with family and friends–and also with myself, as I alluded to in my previous letter (see: June Coastline). The process of gender transition means getting to know myself again and separating what I know about myself to be true from what society has told me is true. I’m grateful to have been able to do some of that in the place where I was born and raised, with family and friends to help me along (and give me space when I needed space). That allows me, now, to reintroduce myself to you:
Hello! I’m Rev. Micah C. Ma, and I’m so very glad to be here. I use they/them/their pronouns, though he/him/his pronouns are also okay. (Ex: “This is their office!” or “They’re in Jacksonville for an appointment this afternoon.”)
You may worry about getting it wrong. That’s okay! I still get it wrong on occasion. I spent almost four decades giving a certain name when I ordered coffee, and sometimes it still slips out. If you get my name or pronouns wrong, just apologize and move on. (Ex: “She is–I’m sorry, I mean they are my minister.”) Nobody needs to beat themselves up about any mistakes. We have more important things to focus on.
And we do have so many important things to talk about! Now that we’ve had a few months to settle into our new building: who are we, now that we’re no longer in limbo? What are our plans, now that we’re starting this new chapter in the life of the congregation? Who do we want to lead us there? This is such an exciting, liminal time for the Unitarian Coastal Fellowship, and I’m so happy and grateful to be part of it. There’s so much we can do together, and I can’t wait to get started.
I love going to the new buildings at 2900 Bridges Street every week for worship services and meetings. There’s always something new to see—the little things that will make these buildings our comfortable place are appearing. What have you noticed? I have seen a board for our name tags, a beautiful table with drawers in the foyer, new racks to hang things in the pantry, the hearing assistance devices, the new bulletin boards. Outside the building I see the native plants, the gravel parking that allows water to drain away, the charging stations—all tell the community who we are and what we care about.
I am looking forward to more changes soon. On August 14, there will be a dedication of the Sally B. White Center and then a Ribbon Cutting for the new sanctuary building in September.
In the next year, UCF will continue our work. As UCF starts the second year of the Interim Ministry with Reverend Ma, I look forward to re-certifying as a Welcoming Congregation, to discussions of the Eighth Principle, to preparing for the search for a settled minister. After more than 2 years meeting virtually, we will find ways to be together again, to nourish our
spirits, to listen to and to be heard in our community, to minister to a diverse community, to establish social justice, to protect the environment, and to have some fun while doing it.
We have built the building, now we have the space to build the future.
The Value of Volunteerism
Does it feel to you as if you’re gently and gradually rejoining society after almost 3 years of COVID quarantine? Sure seems that way to me! Much is the same out there in the world, but much is also different. One thing that’s different for many of us is the activities we used to enjoy. For me, most of those are gone, but new (and often better) ones have been substituted. One of these for you may have been your volunteer activities. Now’s the time to think about new ways to contribute your gifts and talents to the big world out there!
As you journey back, please consider UCF as a volunteer opportunity. Our Fellowship can use your skills across a wide range of contributions, and volunteering is a great way to make new friends or get to know people you’ve met better.
Volunteering opportunities include:
-greeters for Sunday services
-setting up for services
-religious education (adult & children)
-social justice activities
-coffee hour & food service
-writing and editing for our newsletters
-serving on committees
-organizing & maintaining our new space
…..the list is almost endlessd
We have many wonderful UCF volunteers, but we can definitely use many more! Contact Barb Thomas (email@example.com) or Linda Rudd (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re interested in volunteering – it could be one of the most rewarding new activities you’ve embraced. By the way, all UCF committee meetings are open to all members. If you’d like to learn about the possibilities, check the monthly calendar in the Coastline or in Breeze for dates and times.