Saturday, June 23, 2012

Last week of my ministry at UUCWI

The days I secretly thought might never come are actually here.  Tomorrow is my last service with the congregation I've served for nine years, nine wonderful years with only a few bad moments and always the support of my congregation.

Only a couple of folks have been obstreperous in any way that needed attention, which I deem incredible luck, as my previous congregation in Portland was a little harder to deal with---and I was a rookie at the time as well.

If pain and trouble taught me anything then, it resulted in my having a better idea of which hills were worthy of defending; which battles are worth fighting?  which precious value must be preserved at all cost?

Knowing that so and so had scared a couple of people badly enough that they were uneasy about coming to church---that needed to be dealt with.  And because of the integrity of the people involved and the people I consulted for help, we did a pretty good job of sorting out the truths and letting go of the rumors which were at the base of the trouble. 

Knowing that another so and so had damaged the congregation so badly many years ago yet failed to understand or accept responsibility for the damage---that also needed to be dealt with when the person wanted to return to the congregation.  And it was dealt with fairly and kindly, thanks again to the help of others in leadership.

So tomorrow I say goodbye and recount some of what I've learned.  My theme song for ministry, all the years of it from call to retirement, has been the Sunday School hymn "I Would Be True".  That will be the theme of tomorrow's sermon.  Watch for it.


Miss Kitty said...

Wow. Amazing post, Ms. K. Thank you so, so much for your years of service. Even though I'm 2,500 miles away and have never set foot in your church, I still feel like a parishioner.

Hugs & love,
Miss K

Miss Kitty said...

Oops, sorry for two posts in a row--I'd also like to know how you & the congregation dealt with people who had caused a lot of trouble years before but didn't understand or accept responsibility for doing so. I've seen that at work in churches and volunteer organizations. The last volunteer group was especially troubled by such matters, and I left when I realized that even though they'd elected me to lead, they didn't seem to want to be led. :-(

Lilylou said...

I wish I had a solution to the problem you mention, Miss K. I have been particularly lucky with this group; they had been through a hard experience, as had I, so both sides of the equation were eager for peace. It took years of nurturing a spirit of collaboration and listening carefully to each other, looking for consensus and talking about how we felt about how things were going. It's hard to create such a climate without plenty of time AND people who want such a climate. Volunteers can be tough to organize; they all have their own agendas and motives. I think I was truly lucky in my life with these folks.

Miss Kitty said...

Thanks, Ms. K. You're probably right that with volunteers it's very different than with a congregation. Perhaps people's faith keeps them from acting as obnoxiously as volunteers might. Or not. I think back to all the pastors my grandmother ran off from her tiny little United Methodist congregation. :-(