Leader Letter

Subscribing congregations should share this letter with congregational leaders.  Being oriented to the month’s theme, and equipped to help others in the congregation get aligned with it, builds the whole congregation’s engagement with the theme.  Which, of course, means unity and energy for the community.

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Dear Friends,

When I was much younger, and searching for the first congregation I'd serve as a minister, I made a phone call to the elderly Minister Emeritus of a church I was interested in.  The church was near my hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee, and I felt a powerful call to serve the people and the region I knew and loved best.  But there was a problem: I was a Christian, and, by all accounts, they seemed to be largely Humanist.  Would they accept me?  Could I be me, as their minister?

  I broached this delicate subject with the Minister Emeritus, who was a well-known Humanist, steeped in Humanist thinking and a life of Humanist ministry.  He laughed out loud, and said that people at this church knew enough to think for themselves, that they weren't going to be put off if I came in and decided to be myself, whether that happened to be Christian or anything else.  I felt the tension drain out of me.  It was a relief.  But, even more, it was a blessing.  This old Humanist minister blessed me, offered me grace, and gave me words of encouragement when I needed them.

Now, I can't say that he understood the notion of "blessing" the same as I did, theologically.  But I can say he was kind.  He was generous.  And his words made an impact. In fact, I am still at that same church he told me about--the one where people can think for themselves.  And I think about his kind words often, as I think about my ministry here.  A few years after he gave me that blessing, my wife and I brought forward our first child, for a child dedication.  And, again, he offered his blessing.

  Maybe this is just what ministers do, this blessing stuff!  To receive the kindness, the words of protection--again, as a Humanist, he was not imposing any supernatural or even superrational meaning into it.  He was only offering the grace of his full, loving humanity.  And, you know?  I don't think it's only ministers who do this work of blessing.  I think it's any mindful soul.  I think it's anyone who takes a moment, to engage another person in a spirit of generosity, and of grace.

When in your life have you received a blessing?  When have you given one, on purpose?  What difference did it make?  This month, we're going to talk about blessings, and we're going to reflect on what they mean, and have meant, to us, in our lives.  Enjoy.  And, of course, blessings!

Faithfully,

Jake

Rev. Jake Morrill
Lead Minister ORUUC
Executive Director UUCF
Launchpad Partner