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Upcoming worship services
“River of Life”
Ingathering & Water Service Ministers: Revs. Jennifer Brooks, Laura Horton-Ludwig, Julie Price Service Date/Time: Sat., Sep. 6, 4:30 p.m., & Sun., Sep. 7, 9:15 & 11:15 a.m. Location: UUCF Sanctuary Description: These are UUCF’s all-congregation annual Ingathering and water services. If you have collected water from your summer travels, please bring it to pour into our communal container. Or, bring water from home so you can share in the water communion. Worship theme: TIme Religious Exploration: All-congregational services. No RE. Nursery care for infants to age 3 in Sanctuary building. Sunday music: Chorale
"Faith Matters" Blog
UUCF: A source of the waters of life
by Interim Parish Minister Rev. Jennifer Brooks. Labor Day is more than a national holiday honoring workers. It’s a milestone that marks summer’s end. As the final day of a three-day weekend, it’s the last slow inhale-exhale of vacation, relaxation and summer sun. After today, life changes (again). After today, school gears up and summer travels become nostalgic memories. Ingathering. It’s the word UU congregations use to describe the first worship services after Labor Day, when the summer is behind us and members, returned from their travels, reunite as a faith community. This year it means something else – the launch of a year of transition. So much is new. I’m new – the Interim Parish Minister. Pawel Jura is the new Director of Music and Arts. Rev. Julie Price is the new Ministerial Intern. There’s new furniture in the Program Building and new carpet in the Social Hall. There’s a new parking lot (or most of it, anyway). So much newness. So much change. But still there is Ingathering. Because, despite these changes, what’s important about UUCF is the community you’ve created together. This community gathers in newness and welcomes it. Each new strand, woven into the fabric of this community, becomes part of a pattern gleaming with light and warmth. But the obvious newness is not the only newness. Visitors bring their unique history and perspectives. Classes for children and adults offer new opportunities for insight and personal growth. Each returning member, after a summer of experiences, brings a slightly changed human being. It’s said that no one can step into the same river twice. The water is always moving, the riverbed always shifting, so it’s never the same from one year to the next, or even from one moment to the next. This beloved community is a river; it’s never the same, not just this moment but every moment. Nonetheless, the UU Congregation of Fairfax is and always will be a source of the waters of life. It’s deep when we need it to be deep. It’s lively and frolicsome when that’s what we need. It’s cool and invigorating when we’re tired and need to be refreshed. It’s gentle and warm when we need to be held. And despite change, visible and invisible, it remains a wellspring of love and purpose that helps all of us shape our lives with meaning. Ingathering. As we gather next weekend, look around at the people who make up this beloved community. See the faces: happy, thoughtful, grieving, yearning. Each may reckon differently with the loss or gain from changes that flow through life. Each, after all, steps into a different river. Yet here, always, there is a profound, life-giving current that lifts all boats.
by Ministerial Intern Julie Price Yesterday in the worship service, I began Together Time wearing two hats. One read, “Julie Price, Summer DRE Assistant,” the other, “Julie Price, Ministerial Intern.” I led Our Life Together, rang the bell and then left with the children to talk about the Chipko movement in India and go outside to hug trees around the campus. Today, the Summer DRE hat sits retired on my shelf, a reminder of two enriching summers with the teachers and children of UUCF’s Religious Exploration program. And this week I begin wearing my Ministerial Intern hat. I am nervous and excited as I anticipate what the next 10 months will bring for me. But mostly I am grateful, deeply grateful, that I have the privilege of learning how to be a UU minister with you, UUCF, as my companions and guides. Some of you may not be aware of another hat I used to wear, the hat that read, “Julie Price, ordained Baptist minister.” I have retired that hat too and it sits on my shelf, a reminder of a rich and complicated phase of my life’s journey. It’s a part of my journey for which I am indebted and grateful. But like many life journeys, mine has taken a bit of a unique turn and has led me to Unitarian Universalism. So as I put on the Ministerial Intern hat, I’d like to share with you some of the reasons why I am a Unitarian Universalist: • Because leading children outside to hug trees is an act of holy reverence for me. • Because when I am in UU worship, I almost always feel connected to something deep within me. • Because I’m angry about the ways that greed, racism, homophobia, violence and sexism pervade and devastate our precious web of life, and the Unitarian Universalist movement gives me the hope, vision and companions to do something about it. • Because I value diversity in religious community and think that humanists, neo-pagans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, mystics, eco-feminists and many others all have something really important to add to the conversation and the work of transforming our world. • Because for me, Jesus is my beloved teacher and I will always look to his life and teaching for wisdom, but I no longer find it helpful to call him Lord and Savior. • Because I plan to spend the rest of my life wrestling with how to understand, experience and speak about truth, transcendent mystery, goddess, god, the divine, the holy, ground of being, love, spirit of life and I need a community open and brave enough to hold my questions, my struggles and my experiences in love, not fear. • Because when I found Unitarian Universalism, it felt like I had found my people and I was home. Why are you a UU? What has brought you to UUCF and what keeps you here? I would really love to know. If you would be willing to share your story with me, please email or call me and let’s set up a time to have coffee, lunch or take a walk. I look forward to hearing about your journey and all the many hats you have worn too.
Parish Minister search updates
Parish Minister Search Team off to good start
Aug. 20, 2014 The Parish Minister Search Team (PMST) elected by you and appointed by the UUCF Board of Directors is already hard at work. Debbie Boehm-Davis will serve as chair with Bob Hatfield as co-chair. Other members are David Addis, Kathy Birnbaum, Meghan Crowley, Michael Liggett and Kathy Smerke-Hochberg. The team members represent a cross-section of UUCF with experience across the spectrum of congregational life. Collectively we have more than 122 years of combined UUCF experience, yet three of us might still be considered new members – the most recent joining the congregation in 2011. We’d love to meet you and hear your thoughts. We are following the proven approach, recommended by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), for how to find and settle a parish minister. We welcome your engagement and promise to keep you informed The PMST will be sharing news of progress (both successes and challenges) and will provide regular updates. To respect job seekers and congregations alike, the search process requires some degree of privacy. Within those limits, we want the entire congregation actively engaged. During this process, we want you to feel absolutely certain you have been heard. You are an important part of this process. We have planned several opportunities for direct communication, each beginning in mid-September. All congregation online survey. In-person forums (at UUCF, at the All-Congregation Retreat and at the Fall Adult Retreat). Interviews with the Board, CT, staff, lay ministers and affiliated organizations. Direct email to email@example.com. We will use these opportunities to ensure we understand and can represent UUCF desires during the search. Having your involvement and support is critical. If you are unsure of something, please reach out to us. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you reach out to us, we will do everything possible to respond within a week. Expect differences, but rely on excellence Those who have only known UUCF during the last nine years with Mary Katherine Morn may feel apprehensive about losing such an impressive minister. For those who have experienced more of our 60-year history, you know that our community is more than its minister and that each new minister brings unique talents and new gifts. The character of UUCF – each of us and the intentional community we continue to build together – is much bigger than one role within our ranks. But, we understand how important it is to find the right person to lead UUCF at this new moment in our evolving history. We have a lot going for us; our reputation is strong, our programs are vibrant and our community is impressive. UUA has conveyed that ours will be one of the most sought-after ministerial placements. Process and progress Our search process involves the following steps: Allow time for the congregation to gain distance from our last ministry and perspective for the future. Clarify who we are and where we want to go. Determine characteristics we want in a minister to help us get there. Prepare a congregational record and packet of data about our congregation. Work within the UUA system to invite interested ministers to apply. We expect several dozen applicants. Identify and personally engage the most promising candidates. Conduct interviews and reference checks. For a select few, the PMST will conduct a weekend-long interview including attending worship services they conduct. When the team believes we have identified the right candidate for UUCF, we will invite that candidate to UUCF for a “Candidating Week,” where he or she will lead two weekend’s worth of worship services and spend a week engaging with our congregation. Finally, the entire congregation will be asked to democratically vote to call the candidate as our settled minister. A transition team will work with the new minister to ensure a smooth start. If you’d like to read more about the process, click here. So far, the PMST has completed the following tasks: Formed a team. Held four face-to-face meetings; established meeting cadence. Conducted an off-site planning/team-building retreat, facilitated by someone who has been involved in two ministerial search teams and has guided 12 others. Established our schedule and milestones. Collected documentation from former search teams (Mary Katherine Morn in 2005 and Laura Horton-Ludwig in 2011). Met twice with Interim Parish Minister Rev. Jennifer Brooks. Met with UUA and Joseph Priestley District personnel. Drafted plans for the online survey, discussion forums, interviews and the process we will use to select the ministerial candidates. Defined 17 team roles/responsibilities and assigned task coordinators for each (based on interest and ability). We move forward with care, respect and love. We will make every effort to share the enthusiasm and excitement we feel as we move between “trapezes.” We have faith that these next steps will build upon the great history of UUCF and cause us to grow as a congregation. Best Regards, Debbie, Bob, David, Kathy, Kathy, Meghan and Michael email@example.com
Introducing the new PMST
Jun. 20, 2014 Dear UUCF Members, The Board of Directors is pleased to present your new Parish Minister Search Team (PMST). Over the next year, this group will be conducting the search for our next settled Parish Minister. At the Annual Meeting on Jun. 8, you elected David Addis, Kathy Birnbaum, Deborah Boehm-Davis and Kathy Smerke-Hochberg to the team. At the Jun. 17 Board meeting, we deliberated long and hard over the 20 remaining applicants to ensure we could assemble a cohesive team that would be able to look out for the diverse interests of the congregation. At that meeting we appointed Meghan Crowley, Bob Hatfield and Michael Liggett. The Board is grateful to all of the applicants for being willing to serve and for bringing a wide range of talents and backgrounds to this process. We believe our new PMST members have the skills and experience to find a great new Parish Minister for UUCF. The search process is based on guidelines established by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Our PMST will conduct its work according to these guidelines. One of the primary tenets for ministerial search teams is confidentiality. Until the PMST announces our new ministerial candidate next summer, the team’s work will be highly confidential. They will share their process with you as they go forward, but will not be able to share information about ministerial applicants. Please join the Board in congratulating and thanking our new PMST members for their service. Don Reagan, President On behalf of the UUCF Board of Directors