Winter means many things, including cancellations due to snow and ice. Robert Burns wrote, “The best-laid schemes of mice and men / Gang aft a-gley.” Yes, our plans in winter, and all the other seasons, often go astray. ‘The branch that doesn’t bend will break.’
The Special Project Choir’s presentation planned for last Sunday has been moved to January 6 at 11 a.m. which is the Feast of the Epiphany, or ‘three kings day.’ The Committee Fair Sunday, planned for January 6 will happen on January 13.
The Reverend Peter Powell’s sermon planned for 9 a.m. on that snowy December day will be re-scheduled and I’ll do a sermon on January 6: ‘Epiphanies, Large and Small’. So it goes—we juggle, we bend, we change, we go with the flow—or the freeze, as it were.
The ministers serve ex-officio on the Board of Trustees, which means we can talk and listen but we have no vote. Last week the Board made an important, complicated decision to purchase property on Sheila Lane. Real estate decisions are never simple. I listened, and I spoke my mind and felt heard, and I was very pleased with the process—the manner in which the decision was made.
Our Board Chair, Allan Wieman, created a climate of openness whereby everyone felt heard and respected. Of course there were differences of opinion—we Unitarian Universalists have no corner on that market, but we are known to place a high value on our individuality. If you had been at that meeting you would have been proud of your Board, as I was.
The final vote at the meeting was split, just as the congregation’s vote to buy the property was split on September 23, but the Board was united in the most important sense of that word. Indeed, the process of exchanging differences of opinion conspired to unify us as we gave substance to ‘our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love and to help one another.’
I’ve been getting holiday cards and notes in the mail and want to express my appreciation for your thoughtfulness. I got one today that included a quote from Marshall McLuhan: ”There are no passengers on this Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” He was famous for saying ‘the medium is the message,’ which fits in nicely with the above discussion about process. The process is the message.
The glue that holds us together is trust, and the level of trust we feel in one another is directly proportional to the degree of openness we feel. It’s all about transparency. Building genuine trust takes time. It means moving through the discomfort of our disagreements. Instant trust is as thin as the ice on Farmer Giles’ Pond.
As we ease our way into a New Year, I offer my best wishes for yours to be a good one, filled with new insights, inspiration, manageable challenges and meaningful rewards.
I look forward to continuing our work together.