June 30, 2019
Dear PUUF friends,
I am writing this on Sunday to tell you again how much I have enjoyed our time together. It’s been almost seven years since I joined PUUF and 6 and a half years that I have been serving as your minister. It has been a wonderful time for me and, I hope, for you individually and for PUUF as a community.
We have done some good things together, I think, and I want to share with you what I consider to be my legacy. It’s not a last will and testament, of course, because you will take things from here and will make decisions about what to keep and what to let go of. But I hope you will consider my suggestions and make decisions that will serve the entire congregation, from committed nontheists to spiritual, pagan, and Christian members, long timers to newbies and visitors.
Together we’ve created satellite groups in Tillamook County, Astoria, South County, and the Peninsula. These have been social groups that increase the amount of time PUUFers can spend with each other and they will, I hope, continue as social groups with a point person who stays in touch with our new Vice President as liaison to committees. As new folks come into the congregation, perhaps she and the PP’s (point persons) can make sure they are invited to group gatherings and added to the group roster for reminder notes and updates. These reminders and updates can also be published by the Monday eMail, if our webperson is informed in advance.
Together we’ve created teams and work-arounds to make the PAC more effective for Sunday services. The PAC isn’t perfect and probably never will be, but we have made it a welcoming space as best we could and have grown because we have sufficient space to meet on Sunday morning for services. We’re cramped in the Green Room, but social hours still seem to be pretty successful, thanks to the hospitality mentors and those who provide wonderful refreshments!
Together we’ve produced several excellent fundraising events as part of our commitment to the Partners for the PAC: Skamokawa Swamp Opera, Darrell Grant and the New MJ group, the Shifty Sailors, and two Pete Seeger Tribute Concerts. PUUF will need to produce one more before the calendar year is over—just saying.
Together we’ve gotten more and more involved in the social justice arena of UUism: we are now a major partner in the PRIDE festivities in Astoria/Clatsop County, increasing our participation from just walking in the parade to having a booth, to having a special PRIDE service and, this year, co-hosting the annual PRIDE barbecue and potluck, plus a special Pizza in the Park event just this past weekend. We’ve sponsored and supported the Perez family, as they struggled with their husband and father’s detainment, a situation which I will continue to monitor. With a newly organized Social Justice committee, I hope you will continue this pattern of outreach in the name of Unitarian Universalism and PUUF’s goodhearted community.
I hope you will continue to use a “Gathering Affirmation” at the beginning of Sunday services. It doesn’t have to be the same one I’ve introduced, but the good thing about this small gathering ritual is that it immediately tells visitors something important about PUUF: that Love is our guiding principle, that we show our love through service, that we make a promise to each other that we will be together in peace, that we will be loving in our search for truth, and that we are committed to each other’s wellbeing. You can find other possible affirmations in the back of the hymnal, if you’re ready to find a new one. But it’s important that newcomers know right up front who we are and what we stand for.
I hope you will continue to find work-arounds for deficiencies in the PAC. Though you may eventually decide to look elsewhere, rest assured that the ownership of the PAC, when it is sold by the college, will be a local, community-minded group or person who is committed to keeping the PAC as a community resource and will not evict any current Partners. This is a requirement that the PAC board makes clear to every interested buyer. This decision should be finalized by October 2019. There are currently four interested community members or groups who are considering bidding for the purchase.
I hope you will consider creating teams for Sunday greeting and any other regular duties, similar to the Sexton team, the Hospitality Mentors, the potluck Set-up group, etc. That way, you wouldn’t need to pass the volunteer clipboard around every Sunday, which can be a distraction during the opening parts of the service.
I hope you will continue to be welcoming to visitors and to newer members; this is often the “make or break” moment for new folks who come through the door. If they don’t feel welcome, they may not come back.
Until you have found your new minister, I will continue to be available for emergencies such as deaths or other crises. I will always love you and am grateful for your love in return. We’ve done good things together and we will continue to do good things for the North Coast community, as individuals and as a UU congregation. I wish you the best in the future!