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Pillar and Cloud

Like many of you, during the winter holidays I like to reflect on the year gone by, and to make plans, or at least dream some dreams, for the upcoming year.

And wow, what a year 2018 has been for me personally. I successfully completed my internship in Lincoln, Massachusetts. I was granted preliminary ministerial fellowship by the Unitarian Universalist Association. I was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister. (It is taking me some time to get used to the Rev. title!)

And I found you, the Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation. Actually, in some ways I think you all found me, and I merely found my way here by driving across the country through the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains.

This has also been a year of considerable change for the congregation. It was very hard to say goodbye to Rev. Karla. You have worked hard to form a vision of what you are looking for in your next called minister. You have weathered my arrival on the scene with fortitude and love.

It is hard to believe, but my ministry here is already almost half way over. In the short period of time I have been here you, the members and friends of the congregation can look back on some real accomplishments:

You have hired two new part-time staff coordinators.

The Faith Development Committee has made substantial progress in re-vitalizing the children’s faith development program.

The Pastoral Care team, one of the congregation’s most important features, and sometimes I think, perhaps the least visible, has faithfully provided rides, made hospital visits, sent cards, and prepared and delivered meals to members in need. (FYI, the worship service on Sunday, February 10 will be devoted to pastoral care.)

The Social Justice Ministry Council has sponsored yet another successful Empty Bowls event and, more recently, an outstanding LINC experience.

Six new members signed the membership book during our service on December 2, 2018.

Thanks in large measure to the efforts of the Worship Committee, attendance on Sunday mornings has been increasing.

I am deeply indebted to all of our staff for helping to make the first few months of my ministry here so enjoyable and worthwhile. Patti, Lena, Noelene, Cassie and Miriel, thank you!

As I look ahead to the new year, I am looking forward to continuing my own professional journey in a different location in the second part of 2019. In the meantime, though, I am also looking forward to helping the congregation prepare for the arrival of its next settled minister. This will include reviewing the current list of committees and other governance items, guiding the congregation in designing a new path to membership for new members, and helping to facilitate a congregation-wide discussion about the role and priorities of the Social Justice Ministry Council, and the selection of our Seeds of Support recipients. And many other things.

In a few short weeks the congregation will also be having its annual stewardship drive. This will be an opportunity to reflect upon the various gifts the congregation brings into each of our lives, as well as into the community at large, and the part that each of us plays in fulfilling our covenant and our mission.

These are exciting times for all of us, as well as times of uncertainty and anxiety. Despite the challenges from within and without, I am confident that Granite Peak will continue to grow in numbers and in strength in the year ahead.

A few days before I wrote this column, something woke me from my sleep in the wee hours of the morning. I was hot, and decided to go out onto the patio outside my bedroom to get some air. I looked up at the night sky and saw a shooting star streak across the sky.

The next day I read that a meteor shower had been predicted for that night and the night before. I don’t know whether my waking unexpectedly and seeing the flash of light in the sky was an omen or a coincidence, but I am thinking it was the former.

May that star lead us all into the future. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

Rev. Terry