The temperature was in the high 90s a good chunk of July. That’s when I started my first month at UUCWC, and yet my experience of formally joining this congregation as your Minister of Congregational Life, has me feeling as though I’ve come in from the cold. I have a new church home and it suits me well.
It might be easy for one to forget what a special place this is; easy to forget that most congregations are not this vibrant, welcoming, and ablaze with intellectually and spiritually curious folk. It’s easy to forget that the work of social justice is often handled with kid gloves rather than with high energy, courage and honesty. It is easy to forget that a growth rate of 30% is uncommon in these times. It’s easy to forget that Rev. Kim is one of a kind; a leader that inspires and challenges us, a leader so gifted that I learn from her each workday. It’s easy to forget that the staff here is top notch. It is easy to forget that this building, though in need of some changes, affords us inspiring worship space, comfortable meeting rooms and recreating space. I have enjoyed the serene grounds and watched butterflies in the garden with great joy. I am truly grateful for this place and for all of you.
You all have drawn me in. I joke that I am “speed dating” this congregation because I’ve met with many of you over coffee or tea in places like Pennington, Yardley, Richboro, Newtown, Ewing and Washington Crossing. Going over what I call the GW Bridge and tucking my mirror in reminds me that as I switch from Pennsylvania to New Jersey and back to Pennsylvania, sometimes multiple times in a day, I’m not crossing major borders but instead heading to another place that feels like home, another engagement with one of you who stands ready on either side of the river, with a smile, a hug, a story to share. Not all our stories are happy and upbeat and that’s a gift too because I like authenticity. A lot.
My duties here at the church fall under the umbrella of Membership and Leadership and I’ll be preaching once a month through December. Beginning the first of the year, I’ll be filling in for Rev. Kim as she takes a well- deserved portion of her sabbatical through May 1st. During that time, I’ll be preaching three times a month and, with the help of the Pastoral Care Ministry, providing pastoral care. For me, it’s all good. Work I love, with people I want to know better, with a staff that helps me learn new skills, in a place that feels just right.
I often look at a quote I’ve saved on my phone called “Choose Joy.” It goes like this: “Don’t wait for things to get easier, simpler, better. Life will always be complicated. Learn to be happy right now or you will run out of time.” (I read this often because I get cranky easier than you’d think.)
I’m finding joy coming in from the cold to a place where I can work on CREATING COMMUNITY, CELEBRATING LIFE, and CHANGING THE WORLD alongside people like you.