By the time you read this, Kim’s sabbatical will be half over. I want to share with you an article I wrote when my first UU minister announced she was leaving. Kim is not leaving, but her sabbatical brings up similar feelings for me of loss and commitment to the congregation.
“I became a UU many years ago mainly because I liked the then minister at Unitarian Society of Germantown, Nina Grey. When she announced she was leaving to go to First Church in Chicago, I felt confused, sad and abandoned. I was anxious about the future of the congregation and I wasn’t even positive I was a Unitarian Universalist. I just knew I liked Nina!
I mourned Nina’s departure. The interim minister arrived and of course I didn’t like him, he wasn’t Nina! I know now that my feelings are part of the natural process of letting go of a former minister. …….
As the interim year progressed, I realized that the interim minister had a different, but still successful style of ministry. I also discovered that it was an exciting time to be in the congregation. …..
It wasn’t until Nina left that I began to understand what being a UU really means and what congregational polity, one of the tenets of our faith, is. The minister is not the “church.” The congregation is. The minister will eventually always be replaced. It is the members of the congregation that have made a commitment to each other to maintain a spiritual home, to work for a better world and to support each other. It is this shared commitment that makes our congregation what it is today and in the future.