May 2018 – Rev. Diane Dowgiert
What a momentous time in the life of your congregation! Congratulations for all the hard work you have done, culminating with the call of Sadie Lansdale as your next settled minister. I am so happy for everyone! I look forward to seeing the ways you grow together in the coming years.
In the time I have served as your interim minister, I have had one central goal: to set your next ministry up for success. To that end, I offer you some tips on the care and feeding of ministers.
- Orient your new minister to her new surroundings. Do not assume that she knows how things are done at your church or where things are kept. It will take a while for her to learn things like who opens and closes the church on Sundays, how to get things on the church calendar, where the copy machine is, when the budget is prepared, what ACT stands for (Annual Commitment Time, known in other congregations as the Pledge Campaign or the Stewardship Drive), and why Sunday worship begins at 10:55. Help her to know and understand the who, what, where, when, and why of your congregation.
- Get to know your new minister, her gifts and skills, her personality and preferences. This, too, will take time. As you well know, ministers come in many varieties. No two are exactly alike. You have chosen her and she has chosen you – and – there is much you still have to learn about each other. Enjoy the process.
- Remember your larger purpose. Remember why it is that you have called a new minister. Remember your mission of connection, care, and creating loving community. A lot of time, focus, and energy has gone into calling Sadie. Now it is accomplished. Keep the momentum moving forward. Live into the mission you have chosen for yourselves. Believe it or not, this is what feeds a minister’s soul: people of faith taking seriously their call to bring more love, peace, and justice into the world.
- Pray for her. I know that the word “pray” doesn’t always fall easily from the lips of Unitarian Universalists. Know that Sadie will be praying for you, keeping your cares and concerns close to her heart. Praying for Sadie means that you will remember her human worth and dignity and that you will be partners in nurturing and caring for your congregation.
My journey with you is coming to an end. I have loved every minute. As a reminder, my last Sunday with you will be May 27, a time to celebrate all we have done together and to anoint a bright new beginning.
Grateful that the torch is being passed to a vibrant and capable minister with the gifts and skills to lead the way into the future, I pause in reverence before the good souls who make UUCG a beacon of hope in times such as these. Blessings on your way.
Yours in the interim,