Two of the most important aspects of the relationship between a minister and a congregation are trust and communication. Really, those are lifted up in our connection from the very first. The search process is rooted in communication with each other throughout its many phases, and in trust that we’re being open and honest with each other as we establish and grow our relationship.
That carries through as we commit to each other and move forward together. It’s humbling, as your minister here at First Unitarian, to receive your confidences, stories, concerns, and hopes. The beauty, power, and pain of human living is one of the most extraordinary things to witness and support. It is part of what makes ministry so compelling, and such a privilege. This church is so full of commitment, energy, capacity, and care that pretty much every day something happens that reminds me how much I love being here with all of you, and how fortunate I feel that we are joined in this relationship of spirit and faith.
Of course, in choosing to accept your call, I also come to you in commitment and trust, believing in this ministry we do together. I don’t just love you, I believe in you. And while I’ll always do my best, that doesn’t mean everyone will always love everything that I do, or that the church does. This isn’t a surprise. None of us is perfect or wonderful all the time. And it’s never possible to please every single person all the time, and that’s okay. Especially in a large and thriving congregation with a wide range of programs and experiences, we don’t have to love everything that happens; we can choose to focus on what feeds our lives and minds.
But if there’s something I’m doing, or that we’re doing together, that you’re loving – or not loving – I trust you’ll let me know. It’s so good to hear from you about experiences and programs that are really meaningful or helpful. And it’s important for me to know if people are feeling unhappiness about something. A couple of you have come in to talk to me about a concern or frustration. I really appreciate that, not only because it gives me a chance to hear about it directly and to make sure I really understand your concern, but also because it gives me the best opportunity to respond in a way that can help improve the situation. I’m happy about how those conversations have gone, and the results they generated. As well, experience has taught me that when we check in directly with each other, understanding where each of us is coming from can also sometimes help us accept it if, in the end, we retain differing views.
As your minister, it is my job to serve the whole church, to do my best to nurture its strengths and capacities, to respond to current challenges, and help position the church for long-term thriving. There is a lot of good happening on many fronts in our church. And much is beginning or evolving. Making beginnings and moving through change can be hard in many ways, including emotionally and spiritually, especially in a large community. I’m here for all of you and I want to hear from you. If you’d like to get together and talk, our administrator, Nancy Forsstrom, handles my schedule. Please email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call her at the church (401.421.7970) and she’ll set up a meeting as soon as possible.
See you in church,
Rev. Liz Lerner Maclay, Minister
Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday