Greetings Greetings, You recently received a large email (many attachments) with all the info needed in preparation for the Annual meeting on June 13, right after worship service. There you’ll find the Annual Report with reflections on the year, how we did in meeting our goals, and other highlights.
Here, only some musings.
“…TO THIS WE COVENANT.”
Each week we covenant to the values of love, the quest for truth, service, peace, freedom, fellowship. We covenant to uphold the 7 Principles as well. It’s hard to explain to my non-UU friends how the covenant part works. We’re a voluntary association of individuals who collectively pledge our resources: skills, money, and time. We hire beloved staff to help us be the best people we can be. And since we realize we can get ‘more’ of our mission accomplished by working together, we make a covenant, a set of promises to each other. More love, community, spirit, and justice, achieved largely because we have tried to keep our promises.
In April, seven East Shorians attended a UUA workshop on breaking covenants. We heard that unlike rules, which are imposed, or guidelines, a covenant is co-created and owned by those who hold it. Our spoken covenant is largely given to us, not created. And while we embrace these concepts, they don’t tell us how to behave with each other. In the workshop, we discussed how breaking a promise erodes self-esteem, and how keeping a promise builds trust.
Now would be a good time to spotlight the behaviors which do help us be our best selves. We can share how we want to treat each other. Starting small, naming polite email practices and moving on to more weighty matters. One of the presenters said a church is where we grow our hearts and a covenant is how we grow our hearts. So your new Board will start working on a covenant for ourselves at our retreat later in June. The Staff Leadership Team already created one at the Board’s request, to integrate the new members of the team. It could be our turn next. As Mia Mingus puts it, “What if we started with the small things and built up our skills for the big things? What if we remembered that addressing the small things between us helps prevent the big things?”
We will have plenty of chances to share our different perspectives on East Shore’s past, present and future in the months ahead. Defining where we are and where we want to go is part of calling a minister. I look forward to those chances to practice keeping the promises we’ve made and shared. For how we welcome each other is how we also welcome the stranger, the visitor, our next minister, and even ourselves. As Paula Cole Jones said in her sermon last month, ‘the work will teach us how to do it’.
I’m looking forward to that prospect.
Yours in faith