Unitarian Universalist theologian Rebecca Parker reminds us that we do not create covenant, but that we inherit it, that we live into it, as it existed before us and as it will remain after we’re gone. Our church, this Foothills Unitarian Church, is that covenant. None of us, not you nor I created it whole and complete. We have inherited it, breathed our life into it, imbued it with our hopes and our dreams, sometimes with our disappointments, but always with our passion.
Rev. Marc Salkin used to tell the story of a defining moment in the history of this congregation when, in the 1930’s, the decision whether to fold as a congregation or to go forward was made by one vote, one person saying ‘yes.’ I believe that from that moment the culture of this congregation was defined by its willingness to say ‘yes.’ And just think for a moment where we would all be today had that one person said ‘no.’ I can’t imagine we’d be here today. Whether they knew it or not, that congregation was preparing for us – for you and for me – and for this moment now.
We are in the midst of transition once again, a time when all of our spiritual resources will be called upon, the first of which is love. We – you and me – are preparing now for the church of tomorrow. We are preparing for the church we will give to our children. We are preparing the church that promises hope to a troubled and increasingly disenfranchised world. We are preparing the church that has a powerful message of transforming love and affirming worth. It is a heavy chore, and yet I know you all, and I know you will undertake it with gladness and purpose and wisdom and love. For love IS the spirit of this church, and Yes is our song!
We, your Transition Team, have been in conversation and discernment as to what our particular purpose in this time should be. First, we believe that celebrating the history of Foothills Unitarian is absolutely essential, for if we have no appreciation for where we have been and what we have overcome, how can we possibly look toward any future? In that spirit, between now and January during worship services we will hear from representatives of seven decades in the life of this church, who will share what they found when they first wandered through those doors right out there. We’ll also be holding a couple events where we celebrate our whole history – all 116 years. These remembrances are the embodiment of this living covenant of congregation, that the doors were open at a time in their lives when it mattered. That there was a congregation that said, ‘Yes – we are here and you are welcome and invited to join us.’
In January and February we will invite ALL of you into a process of appreciative inquiry, during which we will share with each other what you find great about this church, and what keeps you coming, and what nourishes your soul, and what gives you strength. We’ll consider BIG questions such as what would be missing in your life and in our community if this congregation was suddenly to disappear. We are counting on you to say ‘Yes’ to this invitation, to help us as a congregation form a clear vision of who we are right now, and why our mission is so important.
The discoveries made during these inquiries will serve as the seedling information that will enable a new search committee to determine what our future goals are, and what are our needs in our next called senior minister. Clarity will be brought to our mission and our purpose, and as a congregation we will have a deeper understanding of who we are and what we wish to become. We may even get a glimpse of that future church, whose doors will be open, whose people will be welcoming, whose purpose will be healing, and whose clarion call will forever be Yes.
Lenny Scovel shared these words as a part of the worship service on Sunday November 9th, where the Transition Team was commissioned by the congregation to their work of the upcoming months.