In the graphic of values that are proposed to replace our UU principles, love is at the center. That is what I experienced at my installation as the settled minister of Granite Peak: love was at the center. Together with congregants and guests, including my siblings and ministerial colleagues, and the Interfaith Choir, we celebrated our shared ministry of almost four years. I hope that you felt the legacy of the twenty-five years of dreaming and hard work that has brought the Granite Peak congregation to this place.
The seeds planted by our founders now have strong roots that have grown into a sheltering tree. As your minister, I feel that legacy in the way that people of the greater community value my presence. The front page article in the Prescott Daily Courier before the installation described that “despite challenges, Granite Peak UU Congregation has remained steadfast in its commitment to one another and its social justice commitments to the greater community.” For the symbol of the installation, Chris Hawthorne created beautiful artwork showing Granite Mountain with prayer flags. Chris, with his son, Gabe, walked up to the tower to draw the mountain from my perspective. Each day that I can, I walk up to that tower and listen to Granite Mountain and the trees of the forest that stretches below. In Chris’s artwork, the listening and the holiness of the mountain are represented by the prayer flags.
A Buddhist practitioner once told me that meditation was a “listening” prayer. Those words shifted my perspective on prayer. Instead of sending out all of my desires, I listened to what was there. My time listening to Granite Mountain prepares me to begin a day as your minister. In our shared ministry, I want to lead you, not where I want to go, but towards our shared dreams and goals. Do you have a place to listen each day?
I have been listening to the survey the Committee on Ministry, with the expertise of Sarah Mahler, sent out to you in February. In that survey, the congregation expressed happiness about what is being accomplished and a desire to beautify the sanctuary. I hope that you wholeheartedly join in the efforts in April to discover what kind of beautification we will be able to do.
At the installation, we covenanted “to walk together in community, never shying from conflict or joy.” Our past upholds us and our future stretches before us. It is time to reflect and dream! I wonder: How have these past years transformed us? Who are we as a community in 2023? What is important to us? Who do we want to be in ten years? In twenty years? What are our wildest dreams for Granite Peak UU Congregation?
May our celebration on March 23rd be the beginning of a new era of action, joy, and celebration under the sheltering tree we have become.