Jan. 7, 2019.
It’s nice to have a little time off for reflection and this holiday season provided a little time. I often reflect about the role of UUCF in these times. What is our role? What is the best way for us to be an engaged community of faith? How can we provide spiritual and actual support for those in need? What is business as usual in these turbulent times? What shouldn’t be business as usual anymore? How do we use the resources of the congregation to meet the many competing needs, wants, preferences and desires?
All of these questions are considered in different ways at UUCF, including by our leadership, both professional and lay, and it makes me think about what congregational leadership means in today’s world. Of course, leadership is an entire field of study, but for us leadership isn’t about party politics or serving some constituency, leadership has to be seen through the lens of what we are – a religious/spiritual organization.
Why is leadership of our congregation a spiritual practice? In his book, “Serving with Grace,” Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom says, “Church leadership is a spiritual practice because the church is a spiritual institution. Churches are not small businesses, no matter how much they resemble them in some respects. And while it may be useful to think about them in these ways at times, it is vitally important to remember that they are also not social service agencies, schools or theaters. Our congregations are spiritual communities. Therefore, they should maximize their opportunities to see with spiritual eyes. At their best, churches can be – perhaps should be – a kind of spiritual total immersion environment. And just as total immersion language programs make no distinction between classroom time and non-classroom time, so too, congregations can avoid distinguishing between spiritual and non-spiritual things. From the pastoral prayer to the passage of a policy it’s all a school of the soul.”
This is an important thing to remember as we head into what is bound to be another year filled with political turbulence, a shifting religious landscape and endless opportunities for personal and organizational transformation. We are adding additional opportunities for worship. We have increased the number of covenant groups. We are providing new ways to connect through music and the arts. We will continue to engage in acts of justice, witness, service and advocacy. We will continue to provide quality Religious Exploration. As challenging as it sometimes seems, I invite us all to view this congregation, above all, as a place of spiritual sustenance with many different ways for us to stay connected to what is in us, what is between us and what is beyond us.