by Rev. Dr. Stephen H. Furrer, Developmental Minister
Developmental ministry is a program intentionally structured to help a congregation strengthen its human systems and institutional infrastructure; i.e., to tighten up unclear lines of responsibility and accountability and to help the various activities and programs become more vital and appealing. It’s a five-year program because these efforts cannot be successfully accomplished quickly; they take time. The many changes ESUC has gone through in the last five or six years have also created, for many, feelings of instability and anxiety about the church’s future. It’s my feeling that stability can be rediscovered, infrastructure strengthened, and institutional pride returned—and I don’t think it will take five years. But it will take more than one or two years. And we will have to work hard the whole time.
In any case, I’m glad to be here and looking forward to all that lies ahead. The recommended developmental tasks that church professionals encourage congregations to attend to during developmental years make sense and have many beneficial effects. They also require all of our attention and good will. I promise to do my part. As we kick off this month I’ll begin focusing congregational attention on our work together in the coming years while sharing my particular sense of the path ahead of us.
Regarding me: I’m a sixth-generation Unitarian Universalist who grew up in the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, an Eagle Scout, a theater lover, and a pretty good athlete. I became radicalized by the ’60s, the influence of my offbeat Aunt and Uncle, and seven years living in Berkeley. I have been in all 50 states, read widely, and have suffered through my share of wounds and losses over the years. I’m glad to be joined by my partner, Carol Allen; both of us are delighted with the house we bought and now occupy in nearby Renton. I believe in hope, in invention, in imagination, and in setting it all to music whenever we can. I also believe in the kind of transparency and straight, simple-dealing that defined my Mid-western youth. And most of all I believe in our Unitarian Universalist movement, its churches, members and mission—and in the bright future we can and will build together.
Yours in abiding liberal faith,