Hello friends –
Over the course of the last year our congregation has been embarking on a process to select a name which best reflects our present reality and our highest aspirations as a spiritual community. At our best, our name should describe who we are and inspire us to our best collective selves. This name will serve ourselves, and our friends and neighbors who may not have met us yet, but who want to understand quickly who we are and how we describe ourselves.
Last spring the Board of Trustees appointed a Naming Committee and tasked them with designing and implementing a process by which we can agree upon and support our name. The Naming Committee has done a remarkable job designing an iterative process which solicits names from all who wish to propose one and then, through a series of weighted voting steps, comes down to one name the majority can accept. As per our Constitution, that name must be voted in the affirmative twice in order to change it in the Constitution and otherwise.
The Committee has been hard at work. There is a station in the foyer of the sanctuary that explains the process and provides a place to suggest a name, and a webpage devoted to the naming process that includes a document that outlines the history of these efforts and answers frequently asked questions. This “FAQ” document lays out the voting process, and shares submitted names. The website shares a video of the summer service many of us participated in, in July, where we not only heard “This I Believe” testimonials, but also spent time discussing in small group and circle fashion what is important to each of us, and how we think about the words we like to describe ourselves.
And now – we are nearing the deadline for submissions! This Sunday, September 18th, is the final day to submit a recommendation for a name for TUCW. During the service we’ll hear very briefly from the Naming Committee, and they’ll be inviting people to stay after the service in the sanctuary to answer any questions folks may have about how the weighted process actually works and what they need to do, when, to participate fully.
The Committee is also is planning two ZOOM meetings to provide more information and an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about name submissions and the voting process. The ZOOM events will be held Thursday, September 15th and Wednesday, September 21 from 7:00-8:00 PM. The ZOOM link is HERE. Meeting ID: 838 2753 2380 Passcode: 558581, and can be found in SOUNDINGS, on the picture here, and on the website. You can’t miss it!
I want to express my deepest thanks to the Board for raising this as a strategic issue for us as a congregation to take on, and especially to the Naming Committee for all the hard work they have put into this process. As the Committee reminds us: “Choosing or changing the name of the congregation is an important decision. The process will help shape the congregation’s vision and image while accommodating the differing views of our members under one umbrella. The name will be emblematic of who we are and it will also reflect our identity, spirituality, and how we represent ourselves to the community and wider world.”
In my ministerial career, I have served two congregations who changed their names while I was there; they believed it was important to accurately reflect who they were to the outside world and amongst themselves. Your Board understood that considering a name change for us was an important step to take as we look to our future and define who we are and how we can best serve the larger community. Now, collectively, we are engaging in the hard work to accomplish this task.
We are human, many of us come from different faith traditions, and we certainly carry with us different points of view on many things – this TUCW community included! – and many of us have special attachments to one name or another. Yet for all of us, this will be a continued opportunity for growth and learning: reaching consensus, if not flat out agreement: an “I understand and I can live with that even if it’s not my favorite” kind of engagement and spirit. This is what being in loving community is all about, my friends.
Thank you, all, for the deep care you all take as we consider our name and embark on this process this fall. And don’t forget to submit your ideas for names by Sunday; read up on everything on the website, and join us – on Sunday in the sanctuary or on ZOOM either this Thursday or next Wednesday nights.
Blessings, Rev. John