Friday, May 04, 2007

In other news...

In a little while I'll hit the road for Vashon Island and my weekend there. This will be my next-to-last weekend with them and I need to say some important things in my sermon entitled "Visions for Vashon".

In four years, I've experienced their strengths and their weaknesses and need to pass along my recommendations for using their strengths and pushing past their weaknesses.

They are dear, lovely people, so I won't be too hard on them, but they do need to take some big steps to get out the UU message. Like many UU congregations, they are content to let people discover them and I want to ask them to take a look at how they might be letting themselves down by only meeting twice a month and being loathe to get very connected with off-island UU goings-on.

I went out and chopped thistles yesterday in an effort to get my thoughts distracted from my friend's harsh treatment of me. This morning, I am distracted by the pain in my hindparts from all that bending and chopping! Oh well, whatever works.

If you haven't discovered Jubilata in the Desert, read what she has to say on the topic of ministry and friendships. She has a slightly different experience than I do, because she's been in ministry so much longer, but her words ring oh, so true.

If you are in a congregation in transition (i.e., moving from one minister to the next), you will be enlightened by her post. Even if you're not, you will be enlightened.


Ms. Theologian said...

That was a great post by Jubilata. I'm really interested in this particular topic of workplace, friendship, transitions, ministry, etc.

I hope you post again on it in a month or two, if it's not too painful. It will be interesting to see how things develop.

Mile High Pixie said...

I wonder why Vashon Island doesn't have a charity fashion show and call it Fashion of Vashon. I also like words that rhyme (in my head, anyway).

How funny you and I are having parallel experiences right now. My friend that I've had to separate from sent me an email recently that leaves me feeling guilty and annoyed, so I went for a run this morning and clocked my 4.5 miles in record time...but now my hips and legs hurt. What we do to put our minds back on track.

ms. kitty said...

That's a great idea, Pixie, I'll pass it along. They do have an organization here called Vashon Island Pet Protectors and their annual fundraiser is the Fur Ball, with the slogan "Cough it up for VIPP".

LinguistFriend said...

Jubilata's post indeed adds another dimension to the issue of transitions of ministers.
I can now see better your concerns about the group from which you are separating. In terms of forming a cohesive group, it is a mistake to meet only at long (for a congregation) intervals.
It is a much more common mistake for the group to function in isolation. Half of the UU congregations I have come to know in recent years have done so, depriving themselves of sources of stimulation and strategic advice, etc. The younger and smaller the congregation is, the more crucial is that mistake.
Even in more established congregations, one can find resistance to progress and growth in unexpected quarters, where people are comfortable with the particular individuals and views with which they have been functioning for years. When a former congregational board president canvassed me recently, it was disheartening to learn that she herself was resistant to the congregational growth which would be necessary to support a minister, which she considered desirable. Almost equally disheartening was her emphasis on the non-intellectual orientation of the group. That could only be a statistical statement, of course, but since she is a sociologist, I suspect that she is correct.

ms. kitty said...

LF, would you say more about the "non-intellectual orientation of the group" and the sociologist you mentioned? I'm not clear on what that might mean.

LinguistFriend said...

In a discussion of where the congregation was going, I brought up its origin, which I had understood to come from a split of a group considering themselves humanists from a UU congregation in which Judeo-Christian traditions are still living elements, in a background way that to my mind is healthy. She (capable and reasonable, of UU family background) felt that the split had come about because of the personality of the minister whom she considered a martinet. And further, she felt that the focus of the resulting smaller local congregation was not towards intellectual issues (her phrase, perhaps one might have said theological), but more towards a reciprocal pastoral relationship (my phrase, abbreviating her comments). I would never suggest that such a relationship is not an important element in a congregation, but to my mind it is not distinctive and very incomplete as a focus for a UU congregation.

ms. kitty said...

That helps me understand. Thanks.