Happy New Year, Everyone!
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? I don’t really. But what I often do is to reflect on one or two things I want to do differently. I guess that’s a resolution… This year, I hope to adjust my reaction to the frequency of changes that I expect will occur during the year.
Now, I’m open to change, and I sometimes seek it out. But the older I get, the more comfortable I have become with the way things are, even when change could yield new opportunities or enrich my life in new and different ways. Change is scary. It is uncomfortable. It is risky. Sometimes the pace of change is too fast or too many things are changing at once. It could feel overwhelming or it may not turn out the way I envisioned. So, this year I plan to get out of my head and leverage my coach and mentor more to gain different perspectives on the transformations that will occur.
Individuals aren’t the only ones that experience change. Organizations, like our church, do as well. We have a new minister. We have a new church administrator. We are attracting new and different people to our church – by the way, membership has recently topped the 500 threshold, putting us in the category of a “large” church – and this may trigger other changes. None of our changes will be easy. They will require us to be open and patient. But change will be necessary if we are to achieve our strategic goals.
As we transform, I believe we will need to talk to each other more in order to hear, understand, and appreciate each other’s perspectives. I would like the folks who like announcements during worship services to hear the perspectives of those who do not; those who think we should sell the church building and those who think we should keep it; those who want children during worship services and those who do not; those who think we are doing the right amount of social justice, or think we should be doing much more, and those who think we are doing too much. These are a few examples of our polarizing topics.
I plan to work with the UUA and District leaders to introduce the concept of “polarity mapping.” It is a tool for viewing solutions to problems and disagreements in a “both/and” rather than an “either/or” way.
And now for a few updates:
• The parking lot is almost complete. The final paving will take place in the spring. We continue to make progress on our parking lot lighting project.
• We got a lot of positive feedback about hosting the Providence Athenaeum’s program in December and we plan to do something similar with the Epic Theatre in the spring.
• We were unable to complete work on the Atrium glass wall this fall. That work will be completed in the spring.
• Later this month, there will be a Communications Summit to review the what, how, and why we communicate to you.
Happy 2019! It will be a busy year for the church and the start of some new journeys.
John Simmonds President