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"But I Didn't Mean It"
Minister: Rev. Laura Horton-Ludwig Date/time: Sat., Oct. 25, 4:30 p.m.; Sun., Oct. 26, 9:15 & 11:15 a.m. Description: In this Auction sermon requested by Jim Hood and Joan Lisante-Hood, we'll take up the controversy over the Washington Redskins team name. Should it be changed? We'll explore questions of intention, impact and meaning in the context of diversity and racism in our larger culture. Worship theme: Intention Religious Exploration: Gr. K-6 begin in the Chapel. All other classes start in classrooms. Music: Sunday – Chorale
"Samhain, SAH-win, Summer's End"
Worship leaders: Kandi Mitchell, Susan Bennett and the Women's Ritual Council. Date: Sat., Nov. 1, 2014, 4:30 p.m. Location: Sanctuary. Description: This service celebrates the Pagan holiday associated with Halloween and All Saints Day, and marks the final harvest, when feasts, bonfires and stories traditionally usher in the coming winter. We will lift up our ancestors and ring in the Celtic New Year with ritual, music, storytelling and reflection. Monthly theme: Mirrors. RE: No RE during Saturday services.
"Faith Matters" blog
Step up, step forward
by Rev. Jennifer Brooks. UUCF is a vibrant faith community that resonates with commitment and hope: Commitment to UU values. Hope for the future. And now is the time to step up so that UUCF can step forward. In June this congregation adopted a budget with a $48,000 deficit. Yes, a deficit. Uncertainty in the wake of a beloved minister’s departure, on the heels of a wonderful music director’s departure, put a crimp in the Annual Giving Campaign. Pledges didn’t quite match up with aspirations. Yet the adoption of a deficit budget was an act of faith – a vote of confidence in UUCF and its future. An overwhelming majority approved the budget based on deep-in-the-bones experience with this community’s vitality and strength. Now it’s time to step up. In a week we’ll launch “Step Up, Step Forward.” It’s not merely a campaign for one-time, additional contributions to make up the budget shortfall, though that’s an essential component. After all, in a few weeks candidates for parish minister will be looking at UUCF’s submission to the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) Transitions Office. Among other things, they’ll be checking to see whether UUCF is on a sound financial footing. So there’s an immediate and urgent need for additional contributions that will allow the Parish Minister Search Team (PMST) to present a balanced budget. But there’s more. Step Up, Step Forward is also the theme for our one-year transition. Over the remaining 10 months, it’s crucial that members commit themselves visibly and energetically to the future of this congregation. A balanced budget is important – let’s put the best foot forward – but members must also empower themselves to partner effectively with a new parish minister. At the start of a transition, people worry whether the unknown incoming parish minister will be OK. But UUCF has a great PMST who will sift through a pool of some of the most talented ministers in the UUA. The real risk facing UUCF is not that it won’t attract a terrific new minister. The real risk is that the minister-congregation partnership won’t thrive. So, how does UUCF prepare for success? Under these circumstances, the single most important determinant of the success of the minister-congregation partnership is the work the congregation does during the transition. So as UUCF launches Step Up, Step Forward, we need full congregational participation in the transition tasks ahead. First up is the history project: use the online form , write on the timeline in the Sanctuary, attend the Nov. 1 neighborhood dinner (RSVP here) and keep an eye out for follow-up. This and other transition projects will carry UUCF successfully into its future. Step up. Step forward.
Putting a face on immigration
by Alexandra Dixon. This summer we saw heartbreaking images of children crossing the border from Mexico into the US and heard stories of violence, poverty and despair. It is estimated that 70,000 children will cross the border this year. More generally, every year about a million people come to the US seeking a better life. I am proud to count myself among that number. My story started in Bogotá, Colombia, where, in 1982, I was born with a disability called spina bifida. My mom is Colombian and my dad was American. They met when mom was in graduate school at Columbia University in New York in the 1970s. They fell in love, married and moved back to Colombia where mom had good job opportunities. When I was born with this disability, doctors told my parents, “Look, we really don’t know what we are doing here. We normally let these children die because they are so expensive to keep alive. We recommend that you take her to the States, where children with this disability are surviving into adulthood.” My parents said, “Okay, great! But where?” The doctors replied, “Chicago, New York, DC and a little town in Utah called Salt Lake City where they have a good pediatric program.” My Dad was from Salt Lake City so we moved there and I lived there until I was 4 years old. Then mom and I moved to the DC area and we have been ever since. My immigration story is similar to many people’s stories because we came to the US for a better life. I am fortunate that my dad was a US citizen so I was granted citizenship upon birth. And I am proud of my Colombian heritage. This country has provided me with many opportunities I know I wouldn’t have had in Colombia. As part of a larger discussion on immigration UUCF will be a host site for the Greater Washington Immigration Film Festival, Oct. 24-26. We will show two films, “Amreeka” and “The Distance Between Us.” Both films will be shown in the Chapel at 7 p.m., Friday and Sunday evenings, respectively. I invite you to come watch these free films and afterward to discuss the many facets of immigration. Get your free tickets here.
Parish Minister search updates
The PMST needs your input
Sep. 22, 2014. The PMST is still hard at work and our plans are starting to come together. We continue to get positive feedback about the quality of the candidates we might attract. Our excitement has grown as we consider our potential for new levels of Growth, Connection and Service. Please share your perspectives and opinions It is now time for all of you – UUCF members and friends – to share your thoughts and preferences. We are eager to hear what you have to say. For your convenience, we have set up four ways to connect with us. This can be as formal or informal as you would like. You may participate in one or all of the following. Online survey. UUCF will conduct an online survey to solicit opinions and perspectives from each member/friend whose email address is on file with the UUCF office. On Sep. 28 we will send an email to each of you with a custom link allowing access to the survey. The survey will remain open until Oct. 19. If your email is not on file, but you would like to receive a link to the online survey, please email Mary Foster. Small group discussions. Ten open forums (small group sessions), allowing significant interaction and personal engagement, will be held Sep. 28-Nov. 1. These one-hour facilitated sessions will focus on four questions that draw from your personal experiences, highlighting the best of what has come before and your highest longings for what is to come. To see dates and times, please sign up here. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond within one week confirming receipt of your message and thanking you for your thoughts. Speak with us in person. Each member of the PMST now has a UUCF name tag with a dark blue border allowing you to easily identify us at UUCF activities. We welcome your thoughts and perspectives. Please share your photos and anecdotes As we prepare the website that provides a snapshot of our congregation to prospective ministers, we are looking for compelling photos, videos and quotes that concisely convey who we are – the depth and breadth of our congregation. If you have items that really speak to you, please email them to email@example.com or discuss the ideas with us in person. Ideas might include social justice events, RE activities, worship images, engagements with our community, UUCF grounds/facilities, social gatherings, etc. We will not be able to use everything, but we will archive everything we receive in the UUCF office for future use. Our ideal is that everyone associated with UUCF will provide input. The more you are involved in this process, the more likely we are to find a parish minister who fits us and our preferences. We look forward to hearing from you. Best Regards, Debbie Boehm-Davis (chair), Bob Hatfield (co-chair), David Addis, Kathy Birnbaum, Meghan Crowley, Michael Liggett and Kathy Smerke-Hochberg firstname.lastname@example.org
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