May UCF News!

From Rev. Michelle

Dear beloveds,

At last the day is here. May 8th is when we will find ourselves in the new sanctuary. Indeed, you’ll have seen some (perhaps fumbling) worship services streamed from there already, by the time you receive this newsletter in your inbox.

It will not be perfect. Not all the art will be up on the walls; there may be too many chairs or too few chairs; there may or may not be Coffee Hour; we may or may not be wearing masks. But we will, at last, be together. We will relearn how to be together, work on those rusty social skills that have deteriorated during the pandemic, catch up after too long apart. We may—dare I hope—even sing together?!

Whatever shape it takes, we will rejoice! We have waited for so long and worked for so hard to get to this point. We will express our gratitude to the New Building Team and the Furnishings and Finishings subcommittee. We will thank the current Board and Boards past who steered us through the pandemic. We will inaugurate a new Board to lead us through what remains of the interim period. We will have a child dedication. We will have many, many important conversations about who we are and where we’re going.

(We will not complain about color choices or missing items in the kitchen or the landscaping. Fixing problems comes later. The first step is: joy.)

For now, let’s rejoice. Let’s fill this new building with a joyful noise. Let’s pat ourselves on the back. Let’s throw parties. Let’s wear that new-building smell out, because at the end of the day, it’s not about the building. Or rather, it’s not just about this building. It’s about what we’re going to use this building for. It’s about how this building will serve our vision and mission.

Despite everything, we still have so much to celebrate. I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone—in person!


Rev. Michelle Ma

From Board President, Melva Kearney

Hello my friends! Happy May!

It is my pleasure to return to my role as Board President after a 2-month long medical leave. During my absence, I received many heartfelt best wishes and remain touched by the outpouring of love and support. I couldn’t be more grateful to be among the goodness of our people.

These two months has taken my spirit on a roller coaster ride. I had a bit of a scare when a mass was discovered in my belly. Then, I underwent a second shoulder surgery to repair mistakes made by the first surgeon. Now, after 6 weeks in the sling, I have minimal use of that arm, but feel confident my strength and range of motion will return with 6-9-months of physical therapy. Positive thoughts and hard work are the key, right? I look forward most to being able to create beautiful pies and cakes again. I miss it so much.

Like everyone else, I am so happy to finally have our Certificate of Occupancy for our new digs on Bridges Street. Every time, I drive by our new campus, I see a memorial to the UCF spirit. First, I see a memorial to the trust our forebears placed in us to wisely use the endowment fund they created to build a new facility. Second, I see a memorial to the years of hard work and generosity of members of the current congregation. Third, I see a memorial to our collective hopes and dreams for UCF’s future.

I remember, as part of the entourage viewing the Bridges Street property for the first time, how excited I was at the possibilities. Before that day, we questioned whether finding a suitable location was in the cards. Yet, when we did, nothing slowed the collective press of our hearts, hands, and minds to make our dreams a reality. The entire congregation stepped up in a multitude of large and small ways, working in symphony with one another. Every committee, every team, and every individual played their parts in harmony with all the others. Because we all worked together, we all succeeded together. Congratulations to us all!

Now we are approaching the day we will occupy our new UCF home for worship services for the first time. Soon, it will provide a home for the dreams our hearts have held inside. On that day, let us all enter our new sanctuary with gratitude for our forebears, for each other and for ourselves. Take a moment to look around at your brothers and sisters and know that together you have entered a place with history, a place of communal accomplishment, and a place of possibilities. You are home.

All the best! Melva

Board of Trustees Business:

Making plans for first in-person service in the new building on May 8, 2022.

Planning for the Dedication of the new sanctuary and the Rev. Sally B. White Center.

Addressing possibilities for weekly cleaning of the facility. Planning details for the Annual meeting on June 12, 2022.