Thanks go out to all of the members who conducted summer services. The depth and breadth of the topics was impressive with attendance to match. We’ve rolled that enthusiasm into the new church year with our first month of services with Rev. Denise. It’s also been great to have some celebratory events that allow us to reconnect after 2 ½ years of various degrees of separation. Both the potluck on September 11th and the memorial for Martha Atherton were strong reminders that we are a close-knit community with a shared history that will transcend the forced interruptions that we’ve had in recent years. The fact that Martha’s luncheon was not somber but a joyful celebration of her life is just how she would have wanted it.
So now, the real work of a Church in transition begins. Just like in a school, October can be a busy but stressful month. The novelty of the new year wears off and the hard work begins in earnest. We have much to do both in terms of rebuilding our routines and connections as well as using this time with our Interim Minister to prepare for the next stage of our long-term future. As you look through the other articles in this issue of the Focus, you’ll see that there are multiple opportunities to get involved in dozens of areas. Each of us comes to Church to both receive the benefits of a shared spiritual connection but also to contribute to it. My hope is that each of you will choose an area that matches your talents and interests and increases your involvement. We all have great ideas for what Countryside can be, what it can do, but it takes people to carry out those hopes and dreams.
For its part, the Board will have several intensive activities this fall. Part of the UUA process for interim ministry is a weekend meeting with the Board, the Interim minister and a consultant from the UUA to plan the arc of the work for the next two years. We will look back at our heritage, try to take an objective view of where we are now across a number of domains and begin to make plans for our future. Part of the future planning definitely involves what we want in a minister. But we know that an even bigger part is who and what we want to be as a community. Countryside is a congregation of people who hold each other in covenant, regardless of what building we are in or who the minister is.
The work with the UUA is on top of the normal practice of a Board retreat to plan the current year. That will happen on a different weekend and be followed by a meeting with the Program Council (the collection of committees, activities and programs that drive our efforts throughout the year.)
There are also many efforts underway to increase our visibility and outreach to the community. This will involve events with community participation like Music With a Mission (November 12), articles in the press and greater use of social media. This effort to increase our marketing and visibility was expressed loudly and clearly in the meetings we had in the spring.
So now is the time to translate that enthusiasm into concrete actions. Pick an activity, share your gifts, contribute to the whole of the Church and continue on our path to have a great year.
~ Tom Dempsey, CCUU Board President
The Unsung UU
Years ago, there was an award for “The Unsung UU,” Candidates were people who give countless hours of service to CCUU usually behind the scenes. I’m not sure what happened to that concept, but I’ll try to revive it in my monthly column. There are so many potential people that if I tried to thank everyone, I might leave out a couple which would defeat the purpose. So, I’ll just lift up one per month. Knowing our penchant for acronyms, it will be the USUU.
For the month of October, it’s David Williams. For several years, Dave has been the sole person running coffee hour. He comes in early, stays late, and facilitates this essential Countryside function. When we resumed services after the long pandemic shutdown, Dave was both the greeter and usher. When he’s not doing service work in the building, he can be seen weeding and doing landscape work. On September 11, we had our first potluck in 3 years. Dave was one of the people who made it all run smoothly. David does all of this on top of his schedule teaching university courses.
As a community, we are mutually dependent on each other. I hope we never take that for granted. Thanks go to David Williams and the many, many others who make this place work.