My name is Ed Fox and I am excited to be serving as a voting member of our church’s Board of Trustees during this difficult time of exploration into who we are now and who we want to be, where we are now and where we want to be, how we got to this place at this time, individually and collectively, and how we may, individually, collectively, intentionally, and lovingly, change our hearts and minds to re-establish this regional congregation as one that dwells together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and helps each other.
Our church is a collection of hundreds of individuals, households, and families all coming to this dear community at different times in our lives and spiritual journeys from a variety of shared and unique backgrounds and experiences, personal, emotional, and spiritual needs and traditions, assumptions, and expectations.
It is not easy for us to all agree on how to communicate, share, decide, commit, and work together to be the persons and the community that we strive to be. It is difficult, but not impossible, to be individuals and to be part of something bigger, for the greater good.
You know, it is all about relationships. Successful personal relationships require transparency, meaningful communication, genuine respect, compromise, commitment, and love. All living things require care, nourishment, the ability to grow and to change with the environment, and, often, help from each other. Church is a living thing bound by personal relationships.
Reverend Larry, Reverend Margret, the Board of Trustees, and many of you volunteers in the Zoomisphere have helped us appreciate that our church had an abusive and troublesome past. These events, the global pandemic, and the catastrophic fires and potential roof collapse of our church home, have seriously affected how our institution responds to difficult situations, pain, and tragedy. It has affected our relationships with the UUA, the calling and keeping of UU ministers and church staff, lay leadership, and one another. We know that UUCCH responds to crises, and when we do, despite good intentions, we often don’t address systemic causes or repair the hurt.
Constantly responding to crises is exhausting. How many of us are exhausted from the past 2 years of this isolating pandemic, the prior when the Sanctuary was braced from collapsing, and our 3 failed attempts to call or contract a minister to work with us? I know I am. That is why Reverend Margret is here working with us to enable us to see that “change is inevitable, but that transformation is our choice.”
Transformation is gradual and requires work, commitment, and transparency. I am here to exclaim this morning that we, like the natural landscapes that surround us, have been preparing all winter for transformation. Spring is coming!
The Board of Trustees is working with Reverend Margret and the Policy Work Group to learn how to address the systemic causes of many of our institutional crises and to repair UUCCH’s relationship with the UUA, our invaluable professional church staff, future church ministers, and each other. The Board is learning how other successful UU congregations sustainably organize and function and how they – their working committees and groups, their professional staff, and their minister–relate and operate together, on a daily basis, to become the spiritual community they strive to be. We’re learning from the organizational structures, policy manuals, and personal experiences.
Organizations, whether they are churches or sports team, need good policy manuals to achieve sustainable success. Honestly, our Board’s written collection of policies is not a good manual for a successful spiritual community of our size. That is why the Board is working to draft an update of the Board’s written (and unwritten) policies and to make them more transparent so that our church, our living thing bound by personal relationships, and its hundreds of individual members and friends, its Board, committees and working groups, professional staff and minister – all of which have varied experiences, needs, traditions, assumptions, and expectations –can better understand how to relate and operate together on a daily basis to become the spiritual community they strive to be.
Our church is also currently working on revising our Right Relations Covenant and developing plans for projects to re-fresh, re-establish, and re-grow this living institution for the 21st Century. We hope to re-open our renovated Sanctuary to worship together next month. Our difficult church winter will be over soon. I look forward to your continued support for and participation in our church’s transformation. Spring is coming! HALLEJUAH!
-Ed Fox, Board of Trustees, March 20, 2022
Watch Ed Fox’s Board Connection here.
Listen to Ed Fox’s Board Connection here.