Communications from our Coastline Newsletter this Month
From Rev. Michelle:
This is, historically, an inward time. The harvest is in; the days grow cold; the nights grow long. There is a season for everything, and this is the season for rest.
There is, for sure, still work to do. There’s always work to do. There’s pies to be baked, clothes to be stitched, laundry to be done, books to be read, children to be soothed. There’s always the work of welcoming, peace-making, teaching, learning, justice-making, growing. There’s always bills to pay, food to purchase, a roof to be kept overhead. There’s always more to do.
What, then, of rest? In a society that glorifies the grind and the hustle, rest is a guilty pleasure snatched in between tasks. Or: in a world that has commodified the concept of “self-care,” the idea of rest is used to sell us face masks and adult coloring books.
Yes, you should take care of yourself. Yes, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. Yes, you should not set yourself on fire to keep others warm. You’ve surely heard that all before.
And consider this: if we are in the business of healing the world—which I believe that we are—that begins with healing ourselves. After all, are we not also part of the world? And rest is an integral part of healing ourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. A broken foot will never heal if you keep walking on it; nor will a broken soul.
So: rest. Heal. Restore yourself, whatever that looks like for you. Take ten extra minutes in the shower. Play with your cat. Meditate. Book yourself into a hotel room for one night and order room service. Go for a long walk. Turn off your phone for the afternoon. Watch a funny movie. Write in your journal. Take a nap. Make an appointment with your therapist. Sing. Text a good friend.
Whatever you do to restore yourself, don’t feel guilty about it. You need it. We need it. We all of us, collectively, need one another to heal.
Rev. Michelle Ma
From Board President Melva Kearney
Hello My Friends! Happy December!
As you might imagine, especially of late, the Board spends most of our meeting time making decisions regarding our new campus. Nearly all require us to deftly juggle our common UU values, our financial solvency, and the congregation’s hopes and dreams for the future. We also remain aware that these decisions should not be made quickly just for sake of expediency. We know they must be based on collecting and analyzing all the relevant information first. The very wise Stacey Abrams said: “To make a good decision, you actually need to think about it, the contours and the consequences”. Finding the contours and consequences requires that Board members ask the obvious questions, as well as seeking and discovering the not so obvious ones. It may take a while to think about and research any given issue to discover everything needed to fully understand it. That is certainly true for me.
To provide the best service to you, the congregation, I can’t skip making this effort and actually find comfort in it. I hesitate to compare myself with anything “old”, but when it comes to making decisions for YOU, I’m kind of like an old coffee pot. I need to get all the information and let it percolate. As it brews and bubbles in my mind, I can better see all the elements I need to consider. I can then pour the contents out onto paper, preparing appropriate questions and comments to include in Board discussions. Yet, that is not where the responsibility ends.
Every Board decision must consider the congregation’s actual priorities. As UUs, we subscribe to a set of common values. Nevertheless, if I were to ask every member and friend to prioritize those values in a list from most important to least important, I would venture to guess I would receive about 50 different iterations. For some, harmony with the earth would top the list and children’s religious education would be at the bottom. For others, congregational polity would be first and harmony with the earth would bring up the rear. My point is that the Board must make priority-based decisions while, at the same time, knowing not every person agrees with the importance of that particular priority. Our congregation’s priorities are not even close to forming a simple established list. As UUs, we know this is the case and accept our differences.
Still, disappointments may arise, and even hurt feelings, if a decision is considered “wrong”. Is there a way to minimize disappointments or eliminate them altogether? Perhaps, that should not be the goal. After all, feelings are real and are best acknowledged. Highlighting our 5th principle is key: “The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.” Therefore, in some cases, the best way to acknowledge feelings about a particular issue is for the Board to listen to the voices of interested parties on a particular issue as another part of the decision-making process. At the same time, all of us must avoid confusing a decision that does not go our way with winning or losing. At its best, the right to express our conscience is about every interested party understanding the contours and consequences of each issue and eventually revealing the decision of the majority. It’s not a perfect system, but it is the fairest.
UCF’s unanimous votes for each of the current Board members at our Annual Business Meeting means that the congregation has put their trust in this Board to make decisions based on our common UU values, our financial solvency, and the congregation’s hopes and dreams for the future. At the same time, the Board is trusted to continually listen to your voices to help us examine and understand the real-time and real human feelings about the decisions we make. The Board works for the congregation, while also being members of the congregation. Without a doubt, each of us is invested in the decisions we make for UCF and the people in its community. We are humbled by the trust you have placed in us.
All the Best!
Board of Trustee Business:
- On October 30th, the Board and the Leadership Council met for a retreat to discuss the information gleaned from the Constructive Conversations with the Congregation. Proposals were heard and common findings were discussed. Each committee chair also discussed how these Conversations affected discussions in their respective committees.
- The Board has voted to act as the Safe Congregation Taskforce, at least for now, as we create policy to address building safety policy. Part of that decision has resulted in creating a Mission and Vision Statement for the taskforce.
- The Board continues to pay close attention to expenditures proposed for the new building and for furnishing it. We have agreed that, although we have a line of credit at the bank, we want to avoid using it if at all possible. We agree that avoiding bank debt, as leaders, we are providing a much-needed service to the congregation.
- Consistent with our goal of preparing the leaders of our congregation, the Board has voted to fund leadership training for 2 members. Tom Wentworth and Linda Rudd have volunteered for this training.
All other business has focused on details and expenditures for our new campus.