As I ease back into the familiar duties and routines of church after an enjoyable month of self-care, I can’t help but think about what has changed and what is the same around UUCasper. I’m happy to be ‘back to work’ in our lovely building and looking forward to talking about ways to enhance our welcoming and inclusive space.
My first meeting with the new board members and officers was enjoyably productive. The trustees and I followed up by participating in a leadership retreat put on by the Pacific Western Region’s staff who are experts in small congregations. Along with about 16 other UU congregations, we were guided into conversations about things like mission-based decision making and best practices in church governance and congregational health. Thanks to Board President, Karon Windle for making this happen and for the board members making time to participate.
The Programming Committee has been doing a great job planning services with interesting topics and ideas. Even though I haven’t been to many lay-led services this summer, I do check in and am hearing good reviews on our services, service leaders, and tech support. It’s because we have such a successful history of shared professional and lay-led services, that I am not surprised at how everyone, especially those new to preparing and leading a service, have stepped up and brought new perspectives and energy to our free pulpit! It’s a joy to be part of such a devoted, capable, and motivated team!
Along with the great job Delmos and his crew are doing keeping our building sanitized and sparkling, are the lovely flower pots and green grass. To drive up to UU Casper is to see a church that is loved, taken care of, and a source of pride for its members and friends – and its minister! And our lovely yard and flowery touches were on display at our annual Yard Sale in August – another smashing success! Thank you everyone for how much you care about and take care of our lovely buildings and grounds!
I recently spent some time reading through several obituaries of UU ministers and was reminded of how much a minister is needed to provide leadership and professional guidance to their congregation. As we begin a new program year facing another round of questions and concerns about things like membership, RE, non-Sunday programs, community partnerships – perhaps we should also include the question – what do you need from me, your minister.
To that end, the Pacific Region’s small congregations specialist, Sarah Schurr, will be in Wyoming in October and we are making plans for her to come to Casper. During that time, we will be able to do some follow-up to the first leadership retreat so stay tuned to see how UU Casper will be creating new and exciting adventures and best practices for the future.
Like all of you, I love UU Casper – our historical presence, our deep commitment to UU values, and a shared yearning to find a way to be able to hand this beautiful religious community to the next generation. This past year has given me a lot to think about and realize, it’s going to take all of us to have the conversations and make the decisions about what is next for our beloved community. See you in church!