First off, CONGRATULATIONS! To your Intrepid Search Committee who presented you with such a worthy Candidate; to all of you who showed up to the Candidating Week events and were impressive as well as impressed; to all who were able to be present and who voted without reservation to claim Rev. Laura as your choice to lead you into the next phase of your journey as a UU congregation.
The work we have done together over the past two years has been steady and without much drama. You have demonstrated a capacity for flexibility in trying new things and for claiming that which is most central to your values as a community. You have grown in your UU Identity and have adopted a vision that will open you and your new leaders to untold possibility.
On May 11 at the Annual Meeting, you will be asked to vote on an annual budget that will stretch past previous use of congregational resources. This year’s budget is bold and not in the least about sustaining MSUS as you have known yourself to be as a congregation. This vote will potentially change everything. Last year at the Annual Meeting the question was raised, “Is this sustainable?” Some of you will want to ask this again. And again I will say that this is not about sustaining. It is about risking for growth; about investing in the future; about saying “Yes!” to the vision you have set for yourselves. This is far from fool hardy. Your Board of Trustees deliberated long and hard and is aware of the need for careful management and vigilance going forward.
Some of what this budget supports is the direct result of your decision to call a full-time minister. There will be adjustments in staff hours to continue the effort to more appropriately support full-time ministry. There will funds necessary to support the celebration of your 50th Anniversary as a congregation and for the installation of Rev Laura. Please take time to read your Annual Meeting materials when they arrive.
Your support is needed. Here is what you can do. To every extent possible, you should endeavor to fulfill your 2015-16 pledge and to make a good faith pledge for 2016-17. You are part of a community and everyone understands that personal resources ebb and flow. Your pledge is a personal promise and not an enforceable contract and no one will ever fault you for holding back in a hard year. And…to the extent that the use of your discretionary income reflects your most deeply held values, MSUS might well hold an important place in your family’s ongoing conversation about use of resources.
If you are not able to pledge, please consider ways in which you might support fundraising efforts on behalf of your beloved community. Volunteering to run or work for the annual Auction or craft sale; finding ways to provide service that might otherwise need to be purchased. You can also help by serving on a committee or task force that supports the growth in membership that will both serve and be served by extending your Unitarian Universalist spirit.
As I write this message the spring wind is blowing and the many shades of green are dancing outside my window. I feel the edge of spring in the outside world and feel as well that awakening in the life of MSUS. May it be so.