SEPTEMBER'S PASTORAL LETTER
This month’s Soul Matters theme is “welcome” - which is traditionally understood as a quality of openness, friendliness, and hospitality that is afforded guests and visitors (whether or not they’ve been invited or expected, are passing through or sticking around for a good long while).
Reflecting on this theme as I prepare to take leave of this community has felt discordant - even as I know you are in the process of preparing to welcome your new ministry team. But isn’t that just the way of things? Hellos are invariably linked with goodbyes; before one season ends, we notice signs of the next one. There’s often a time of overlap. Ideally, it draws us to reflect upon and savor what will soon become memory, while clearing a path for what may be ahead.
In that spirit these past weeks Rev Tovis and I have been meeting with UUSM’s Pastoral Care Team: to assure a meaningful and healthy “leaving & welcoming process” for all of us. One of our goals is to formulate a new covenant affirming the primacy of the new ministry team and best practices for any future connections I might have with UUSM. (Stay tuned for updates about that.)
As I face the end of my time with you as contracted emergency Pastoral Care Minister, a time in which we grappled with the complexity of so much collective and personal loss amidst life’s ever-present large and small joys, I am moved to “welcome” the gratitude I feel for your trust and support, your resilience, generosity of spirit, creativity, and kindness.
It has been a blessing to serve with you these past 16 months and to anticipate the possibilities ahead, both for this congregation and in my own life. It is good to know that you’ll be welcoming a strong new ministry team. And that I’ll have more time, not only to tend growing family obligations, but also to develop my community ministry. I imagine our paths will cross again on this UU landscape and welcome that prospect.
Please do reach out (now) if you’d welcome setting up a time to share your reflections on our time together and to say a personal goodbye. Otherwise, I hope to see you all at the Water Communion service on September 10th, and then again on September 17th when I’ll be offering my parting reflections...in the newly renovated sanctuary!
If you would like to find out how you can be part of the ongoing vital ministry of Pastoral Care under the new leadership of Rev Tovis Page, or if you’re needing some support yourself, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org