Unitarian Universalism draws from six sources, and among them is my personal favorite: “Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science.” I’ve always admired the steady, incremental growth of knowledge that flows from open-mindedness and experiment. Applying that attitude to decisions I’ve faced has led to a life I could never have predicted or planned, but have found richly rewarding.
Perhaps that’s why I’m not just optimistic about this time of change in our church, but also a bit eager to see what comes of it. We’ve embarked on a great experiment. Its aim is to discover how we can retain what has been so wonderful about this church throughout Rev. Marc Salkin’s ministry, and build on it to create an even stronger, more welcoming, more effective home for the liberal religious community of Northern Colorado.
Of course, change can be disconcerting, uncomfortable… scary, even. When those feelings creep up on us, there are some tactics that can help:
- Try to understand the goal. Talk to a minister or board member about it why we’re making the change that’s concerning you. The inspiration for the change might have come from common practice among other churches like ours, or from a suggestion by another congregant, or it might be intended to address a particular inefficient or awkward practice Rev. Keyes, Rev. Haley, or a member of the board has noted.
- Share your perspective. That same minister or board member can listen to your feedback on what’s been changed, and make sure it’s conveyed to the rest of us on the board and ministry team. This kind of feedback from the congregation is crucial to our work as representatives and stewards of the congregation.
- Give it a chance to work. Try to remember that it’s all an experiment, and no experiment is complete without the crucial task of observation. It may turn out to be a surprising success – or perhaps we’ll go back to the old way of doing that particular thing, if that seems the better course. But we can’t know whether a new idea will work for our congregation without giving it a try.
- Stay engaged. It’s my central goal as the board president this year that the core of what makes our church so important in our lives – the feeling of community, the shared principles, and the experience of working together to further the reach of love in our world – will remain unchanged as we explore ways to grow into our potential. Each of you is a part of that vision. I hope that, even when the pace of change is challenging, you’ll be able to trust in that future and your part in it.
And one final note: feel free to drop me a line if there’s a particular issue you’re curious or anxious about. Chances are it’s been on somebody else’s mind, as well, and I’d like the chance to address those questions here on this blog.
Thanks for your time, and I’ll see you on Sunday.