The news of Perry’s announcement – that he is leaving the position of Director of Religious Education – hits hard.
He has conscientiously, effectively and lovingly served our children, their parents, and our congregation for five years. He has been a great partner to me – we’ve enjoyed working together: telling stories to the children, collaborating about our program of religious education, working with parents and teachers, working with a wonderful staff and sharing our personal lives.
His leaving is a huge loss to me, both personally and professionally.
The reason he’s leaving is dismaying: he and Sarah have separated and plan to divorce, after being married here on October 9 in the presence of family and friends as well as hundreds of congregants of all ages. I was honored to officiate as they exchanged their vows and expressed their love and commitment to one another.
Just as their wedding was very public, the ending of their marriage affects the congregation and staff, as well as their family and friends. But most of all it is painfully difficult for each of them.
What was celebrated as public must now be respected as private.
Perry concluded that the privacy he needs cannot be found here, so, after lots of anguishing soul searching he sought and found a comparable position with another Unitarian Universalist congregation. Early in the process I tried to convince him to stay, but I realized it was for rather selfish reasons – I was only making it more difficult for him. He made what I now believe to be the appropriate, necessary decision. I must honor it, even as I wish it could be otherwise.
Perry’s announcement of leaving was followed immediately by Lily Rapaport’s announcement that she has accepted a position of Director of Religious Education at another UU congregation. She, too, will be leaving us in June.
Like Perry, Lily has been a wonderful partner in ministry to our high school youth. She brought a high quality of professionalism to her work, balanced by a wonderfully warm uniqueness of character, combining a variety of talents, interests and skills which she poured into her work. For three years she has been an inspiring member ofour staff. I’m glad for her but sad for us.
We’ve known for several months that Jamie Forbes, who served nine years as our DRE and then, for the past five years, as our Youth Outreach Coordinator, will be leaving in June as a result of budget-balancing.
The Board and staff are faced with decisions about religious education staffing: should we continue with the same positions, finding folks to fill them, or are there alternatives we should be looking at with fresh eyes?
Perry, Lily and Jamie will be with us through June. We need to find ways to express our deep sense of appreciation for each of them, even as we find ways to continue our important work.