October 2013

 Conflict. Competition. Choice.

I've spent some time with these words the past couple of weeks. I've had cause to examine each as they are related to the programs that are mainstays and programs that are popping up and are offered to the Congregation. You see, we are growing. Not only in visitors, children attending Religious Education, and those interested in membership.

This growth is more subtle. The needs of the Congregation are growing. I've observed that in the past programs have been reserved for Thursday nights or that the standard programs are offered on certain days. I've also observed that any program offered outside of what we are accustomed to causes a little confusion and concern. It may even cause some anxiety when there are two or more programs being offered at the same time on the same day. We worry that programs are in competition with one another and in our minds we label this as conflict.

Our Third Principle guides us to encourage the spiritual growth of others. I take this further and see that principle guiding us to take responsibility for equipping one another to explore and deepen our spirituality as well as offer the tools needed to live out our Unitarian Universalist values. In this mindset the programs available to us in our Congregation offers us choices on how we will equip one another. As we grow, not only in numbers, we will each require something different to nurture our spirit or appeal to our sense of wonder and justice. As we grow we will require more tools and more ways to assist one another to access those tools. So programs become choices. We are able to choose which tools speak to us and engage accordingly. It is wise for us to have diversity in the kinds of tools or programs we offer in order to meet the need for connection, access to that which moves us as individuals, and programs that feed our individual sense of belonging, intellectual interest, and search for truth and meaning.

I invite you to lay down the notion of competition and conflict and pick up choice. We don't have to do it all and we can continue to schedule carefully. Choice will surely equip us to live and learn in ways that speak to us and outside of "this is the way we do it." We are challenged to consider that which will move us toward who we want to be as a Congregation. We have so much to offer those seeking a Congregation. Let us lay out these offerings outside of the box that brings us comfort and prepare a magnificent buffet from which we and our guests can choose and move toward wholeness. We are growing. Let us prepare for the journey.

Blessings, Rev. CJ


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