On a beautiful Saturday in mid-September more than 50 people (Board members, staff, and committee chairs) gathered at the Meeting House for a half-day retreat with Metro NY District Executive Andrea Lerner and her co-facilitator Rev. Peggy Clark for a Start-Up workshop. Whenever a new ministry begins, the District staff facilitate a conversation between minister and leadership in order to insure that every ministry begins with clear communication and clarity of expectations. Our group focused on the peculiar nature of interim ministry as well as the particular nature of this congregation.
I hope that many of the participants came away with a clarified understanding of the work I will be inviting all of you to do over the next two years. I was very grateful to come away with a clarified understanding of the history and culture of The Unitarian Church in Westport.
I planned to take extensive notes about what I heard and saw. But instead I mostly listened. (OK, I did do some talking as well.) The only notes I ended up coming away with were in the form of a list of words people used to describe this congregation and this membership. The words at the top of this page.
You could not ask for a better set of tools to work with during a time of intentional change. These characteristics will serve you well as approach the five developmental tasks specified in my contract which encompass the major work of the interim. The contract says that my job is to:
Assist the congregation in claiming and honoring its past and engaging and acknowledging its griefs and conflicts,
Recognize its unique identity and its strengths, needs, and challenges, Understand the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), church staff, and lay leaders and navigate the shifts in leadership that may accompany times of transition,
Renew its vision, strengthen its stewardship, prepare for new growth and new professional leadership, ready to embrace the future with anticipation and zest.
You will be hearing much more about these tasks as the year unfolds. Soon the Transition Team will be complete and we will be inviting you to engage with us in each of these areas.
Invigorated by the Start-Up, I am looking forward to all that we will do together. In the meantime, I hope every one of you has a chance to enjoy the unfolding of this beautiful autumn.
I am generally in the office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It is best to call 203-227-7205, ext. 12 and make an appointment if you want to be sure of my availability. Thursday is my sermon-writing/study day and I work from home. I will respond to emails. Friday is my day off; On Fridays you can reach me in an emergency on my cell phone 703-508-1336.