From Rev. Micah C. Ma
It’s a new era. We’ve hung plaques and art on the walls; we’ve paid a few utilities bills; we’ve sung in the choir; we’ve thrown a party (and what a party!). We’ve settled in. And now many of us are wondering:
What’s next? How do we tell people who we are? How, now, do we grow?
Before we get to the how, I like to ask the why. Why do we want to grow?
Is it because this is America, and bigger is always better? (Perhaps true of airplane seats; not necessarily true of bombs or cars.)
Or is it because we have something wonderful we want to share with the world? What, then, is that wonderful thing? How does it benefit others to partake of it? What is so great about Unitarian Universalism, that we believe others should be Unitarian Universalist? If we can answer these questions, then we know how to talk to others about our faith and our fellowship. You might then say to your friend or neighbor or coworker, Have you heard about Unitarian Universalism? It’s the religion where we practice creating peace, and we draw wisdom from religions all over the world to learn how to do it. Or: Have you heard about Unitarian Universalism? It’s the faith where we believe that all people have inherent worth and dignity, and we work to create a just world where that’s actually true.
You might describe Unitarian Universalism and this fellowship differently from the examples above–and that’s fine!
Unitarian Universalism is multifaceted, and that’s part of what makes it wonderful.
Now, some of you reading this letter might be new. It’s possible this is your very first Coastline, and you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, I don’t know how to answer these questions; I’ve only been to two worship services! In which case: Welcome! I hope you’re enjoying yourself. And you can help us answer some very important questions, such as:
How did you find out about this community? What do you like about us? What would you tell your friends about us? How do you think we should show up in the community?
Because we’re making something new, and to become something new we need new faces and new ideas. And as Unitarian
Universalists, we believe everyone has something to contribute, whether you’ve been part of this fellowship for 35 years or 35 days.
- Welcome with open minds and tender hearts all who come to this place
- Encourage and affirm each other in our lifelong spiritual quest
- Take responsibility for the growth of our Fellowship through active participation and generous support
- Celebrate the gifts we bring and share
- Hold one another in the face of challenge
- Honor the diversity of our experiences and ways of being
- Speak and listen with respect
- Forgive ourselves and each other and begin again and again in love
From Board President Susan Fetzer
The Dedication of the Rev. Sally B. White Center was the highlight of August at Unitarian Coastal Fellowship for me! It was so good to see and to hear our beloved Rev. Sally, to see her daughter Nafis again, and to learn about Rev. Sally’s new home in her retirement in Greensboro, NC.
UCF’s devoted and committed New Building Team met on August 23 and will give its final report to the Board of Trustees on September 8. The New Building Team, the Furnishing and Finishes Team, and the Landscaping Team have done an outstanding job! Be sure to say thank you when you see one of these team members! It’s been a long journey to get to this point, and we are all enjoying our new church home at 2900 Bridges Street. These teams are passing the baton to the rest of us and there’s a lot to learn—maintaining the building, managing the tricky door locks, and mastering the intricacies of the audio/visual system, among other tasks.
September will be exciting, too! On September 10 at 10am, the new sanctuary and social hall will be dedicated. The committee is inviting many who have been instrumental in the construction and funding of the building. Local dignitaries, churches, and civic organizations are also being asked to attend the event.
Even though I don’t like to think about it, hurricane season is here. I have been getting things ready at my house. Now, let’s get our church home ready, too. Please check your email and click on the link to the Breeze Form to volunteer to make checklists and get the building and grounds ready when a hurricane warning is posted. I have heard that the church-wide email went to some promotion and spam boxes so please check there or email me and I’ll send it to you. What can you do to help UCF after a storm—can you clean up? Do you have a shop vac, dehumidifier, or a pickup truck? Please check the volunteer form and the Board will use this in future years. I’ve received several emails and will be contacting volunteers.
The Board and Leadership Council are planning a Fall Retreat on September 24. We will be discussing planning for the interim ministry extension, moving toward the adoption of the 8th Principle, development of leadership and volunteerism, Safe Congregations policies, among other topics. Working with members and friends of the Unitarian Coastal Fellowship is one of my great joys! This fellowship is a source of strength for the work ahead, and I look forward to reconnecting with all of you in person this year, meeting new people who are seeking a spiritual home, and welcoming new families.