Board Reflection for July 16, 2023

Jennie Stone, UUCCH Board President

Good morning! My name is Jennie Stone. I am a middle-aged light-skinned female-presenting person whose pronouns are she/her. I have layered salt-and-cinnamon hair, glasses, and am wearing my favorite blue sundress because, even though the sun isn’t shining outside, it is shining in my heart.

I want to publicly say how grateful I am to be given the opportunity to be your Board president this year. I feel the weight of this responsibility because I care for you all and this church so much. I pray for openness, flexibility and clarity as I work with this amazing beloved community.  

We – the Board and you – have a lot to do together this year…search for a new minister, search for a new Director of Lifespan Faith Engagement, continue the work of building governance structure, and learn how to live into our new covenant. This is important, foundational work for our congregation that will position us to be able to carry out our mission to Learn, Value and Serve into our next ministry and beyond.  And all this is in addition to our more “routine” activities of caring for our staff, our property, our congregation and the larger world. What exciting opportunities to build for the future! 

I am also grateful to have attended General Assembly last month. The messages I heard there ran along two themes. One, we need to wake up to our changing times. We cannot “DO” church in the same way we did it 14 years ago when I first joined, or even 4 years ago pre-Covid. People look at the world differently now. And two, we are not alone in considering how to adapt to this changing landscape. As I moved among thousands of people from hundreds of churches, it was clear that every other UU church in the country is adapting too. We can talk to these other churches in a variety of ways, share ideas, harness our collective energy. 

We just received a letter of appreciation and a certificate from the UUA thanking UUCCH for being an Honor Congregation. Look for the certificate on the wall in Unitarian House. This represents our congregation’s understanding that we need one another, and, in the words of Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, “our values are amplified powerfully when we support one another.”

Being President of the Board is an honor because it represents a trust that I hold very dear. But I am just a placeholder. There have been presidents of UUCCH going back to before I was born, and there will be presidents long after I die, all going well. What’s important is that I was willing to honor that legacy and be open to sharing that responsibility. What will you be open to? What wisdom will you share? What hurting will you reach out to heal? What is love calling YOU to do? We are on the threshold of important change! Root yourself in our UU values and let’s grow together toward a beautiful future.