January UCF News!

From Rev. Ma:

Dear Beloveds,
Happy New Year!

A new year promises renewal, fresh starts, new beginnings. It’s the time of year that many people resolve: this year will be different. This year, I’ll finally lose weight. This year, I’ll do a better job of keeping in touch with loved ones. This year, I’ll tackle that project I’ve been putting off.
This year, I’ll…

There’s nothing wrong with New Year’s resolutions, just as there is nothing wrong with not having New Year’s resolutions. It’s about whatever works for you. I would just like to take this opportunity to remind you that Unitarian Universalism is a faith that originated as a reaction to Calvinism. You could say that Unitarian Universalists believe not in Original Sin, but rather in Original Blessing.

In other words, there is nothing wrong with you the way you are. You were perfect when you entered this world, you are perfect now, and you will be perfect whenever you depart.

That doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement! Few of us can look back on our younger selves without cringing: did I really think that haircut was a good idea? Or Wow, I can’t believe I held that opinion back then.

We’re all on a continuous journey of growth, whether that means learning a new skill, striving to be a better parent, or simply learning to accept things as they are.

Therein lies the tension that Unitarian Universalists must live in: how to see ourselves and each other as perfect blessings, while still acknowledging that there is room to grow. We must love each other and ourselves as we are, while also saying, yeah, but we could all use a little work.

So it is with the church as a whole, as well. There is nothing wrong with the Unitarian Coastal Fellowship as it is. It’s as perfectly blessed as any other. And yet: does our faith not call us into a spiritual journey? Does our faith not call us to change the world? Does that not start with changing ourselves?

May the turning of this new year give us the space to contemplate the nature of that change—and of the work to come.

~Rev. Michelle Ma

From Melva Kearney, Board President

Happy New Year, My Friends!

As we prepare to move onto our new campus, I think of all the small and large contributions it’s taken to accomplish this goal. Huge investments of time, talent, and treasure have poured from our community. I couldn’t be prouder to be part of it. At the same time, I wonder if there are any lessons to learn from this success that can improve my own ability to reach personal goals in the upcoming year.

Every New Year, I definitely start thinking about the past year and contemplate my personal plans for the future. I know making resolutions is useless; they’re like dandelion fluff that floats on the air. A week later, recalling them only causes me to kick myself for not following through. As is my way, rather than stewing in my juices, I sought perspective on how to be more successful this year and skip all the negative self-talk. Perhaps, my search will also inspire you.

Here’s something interesting: Our level of ambition and our method for setting goals is a massive part of who we are as human beings; they predict how we navigate our lives. Self-examination, in this regard, provides a prophetic snapshot of how likely we are to reach the goals we set. Still, it’s certainly encouraging that we have the power to actually change that prophecy.

Ambition comes from within. In fact, increasing one’s ambition level is key to self-care. How could that be true? If I’m enjoying a rerun of the British Baking Show, rather than keeping a promise I made to myself to get something done, am I neglecting my own self-care? Maybe I am. Because then I become overwhelmed with things and I’m kicking myself again. In the end, it sounds like having more ambition would be the key to treating myself better.

Then I see the actual shape of my goals is important. I learned that I must couple my personal ambition with the nature of our goals. Goals shouldn’t be ethereal or adopted because others are doing it. Goals must be personal and inspire us. If a goal is going to keep my attention, it must promise me that I can better myself, or somehow fulfill my purpose.
Also, if we limit ourselves to goals that we hope to reach “one day”, those goals will never keep us interested.

Having benchmarks is helpful to reaching goals too; they help us stay proactive. A timetable laying out the steps to reach a goal would help me stay organized and create a visual reminder of my progress. It would prevent me from saying that I’ll “never be able to do it”. Even breaking down the steps into miniscule pieces sometimes is advised. Attaining tiny pieces, one at a time, is better than throwing in the towel. It’s not failure. It’s just slow and steady.

In the end though, goal setting and working towards our goals is not a solitary sport. As a congregation, we have definitely learned to work together to reach our goals at UCF. It makes me wonder if depending on the support of my community would also help me accomplish more of my personal goals. Would their feedback and support bolster my success? I suppose if I shared my progress, I’m bound to feel more motivated. At the very least, it will teach me how to ask for help when I need it.

Thank you for the support you’ve given me in 2021 and thank for taking this little personal journey with me. I learned some helpful ideas. I hope you did too.

All the best! – Melva

Board Business:

To begin our service as the Safe Congregation Ministry Committee, we composed a Mission and Vision

Our Mission Statement is:

The Safety Ministry will develop and promote UCF safety and security in its relationships, facilities, and finances.

Our Vision Statement is:

The Safety Ministry’s vision is to identify needs, to develop policies, and to communicate the policies to maintain the security of the congregation and staff in order to foster spiritual, emotional, financial, and physical safety and security in relationships and in the spaces of the Unitarian Coastal Fellowship.