That’s what it feels like for me this month. My guess is that the events of the last few months are having an effect all of us may share. The politics, lack of civility, poverty, the fires that took so much, and the rain, can leave one feeling over whelmed and numb. What’s a person to do? Where’s the life preserver? How about a rock to help stay grounded? What or who can lift me up? I believe the answer is Unitarian Universalism and the community that is the UU Church of Ventura.
Our church is growing. You can see that on Sundays. The Sanctuary is filled with many new faces. Particularly evident are young parents and their children, and simply more folks of all ages. We are reaching people with our faith message of inclusiveness by drawing a wider circle. We are reaching people with our faith message of Justice for All, whether it be about uplifting the homeless or shining light on other human rights issues. We are reaching people through our efforts to improve lives and make a difference in the world.
You may remember a few months ago being asked; What are the ways we want to grow? It is one of the questions the Board has been considering this year. It was not intended to be a question about numeric growth but more about personal and spiritual development. Yet what we are currently experiencing is dynamic growth in numbers as a response to not only who we are as Unitarian Universalists, but also because outside events are so very troubling to so many. It tells us that people are in search of community. Which means another, different question, should be asked: How do we accommodate the growth we are experiencing?
At last month’s Board meeting we found ourselves in a “muddle.” This arose over the Vision and Mission work the Board is beginning. Our church has not done this work for many years. On many levels it seems this should be simple. But it turns out that it’s not. To me it feels like trying to hold vapor. So, what are we doing to move past our “muddle?” The Board recognized we needed help and decided to reach out to our contact at the Pacific Western Region, the Rev. Dr. Jonipher Kwong.
On January 20 the Board met with Rev. Kwong for five hours to get clarity on how to proceed. It was a very successful meeting. We learned Vision/Mission work will take many months to accomplish and it involves strategic planning. That led us to reviewing our current 5-year plan which comes to an end this year. The current plan is on our website and available for review. There has been much progress made and it presents a worthy vision. But it also means it is time to develop a new 5-year plan. When we do, it will be a formal process that involves everyone. In the months ahead, the Board will determine how that work will begin. In the meantime, as we move forward, please consider what you hold dear and love about the UUCV and what your hopes are for the future of this congregation. Feel free to let me know those dreams with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Living in Paradise,
Bryan Buck, President