A COMMUNITY CELEBRATING BLESSINGS | June 2022

How could the monthly theme be any more appropriate for this time in the life of the Unitarian Fellowship of Peterborough? I celebrate how this theme has come along to bless us all!
As I prepare to leave you, here’s just a bit of what I’m celebrating:
• A long, trust-based, and shared ministry
• The ongoing use of Community Conversations to further our understanding and decision-making (with much gratitude to the trained facilitators who lead these conversations)
• Your generous and ever-present contributions of talents, time and treasure
• Your consistent good natures and optimistic outlooks
• A relatively low-stress ministry with you, allowing for us to tend to the fire, rather than putting out fires
• Your vision and open-minded exploration of a long-term relationship with Beth Israel Congregation
• The many, many, many ways that you’ve taught me how to be the best minister I can be (and I’m still learning!)
• The really really really beautiful love that you show to one another as well as to the greater community. It’s boundless, and it matters.

Recently I was gifted with a poem by Wendell Berry, “A Song Sparrow Singing in the Fall”. In it, Berry writes:

Somehow it has all
added up to song —
earth, air, rain and light,
the labor and the heat,
the mortality of the young.

Indeed, somehow it has all added up to song. You are indeed blessings that I will carry with me, singing and celebrating as I go.

Remember that the world needs more people like YOU, so carry on being the loving, kind, thoughtful, justice-seeking beings that you are!

I love you,
Julie

Past Stone Soup Columns

where i’m going…

I was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a city north of Chicago along the west bank of Lake Michigan. And it is to that area that I now return, as I have signed an agreement to serve as interim minister with UU Church West (UUCW) in Brookfield, a western suburb. Being there will put me within an easy drive of family and friends, and I’m beginning to realize how important that will be in my life.

It would have been wonderful to have been able to share my news with you just as UFP was anticipating a similar arrangement with an interim minister, someone new and different who would bring a fresh perspective and leadership style. Of course, that may still happen, however delayed. But for now, I share of my upcoming adventure while holding some disappointment on your behalf.

Still, there is excitement on your horizon as well. The sea spread out before you is uncharted and vast. And you, of course, will be just fine. You are as strong, creative, and resilient as a seaworthy sailing ship. The months ahead will be an incredible opportunity to minister together with one another. You’ll be filling holes you didn’t know were there, making plans for things unforeseen, and venturing into new roles in a beautiful web of interdependent shared ministry. Adventures in learning and discovery will be yours. And, I’ll be cheering you on.

As for me, the month of July will be one of packing and making moving arrangements to begin at UUCW on August 1. I will wrap up this next month with you by celebrating the many many blessings we’ve shared. You, and this ministry, will always be a part of me…indeed, a BIG part of me. In the words of ee cummings, “i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart).” Always.

Your minister until June 30,

Julie

A COMMUNITY NURTURING BEAUTY | May 2022

Isn’t beauty just one of those things? One of those things we recognize but can’t put in a box?

Sort of like love, beauty is illusive and ever-present, known yet hard to define, taken for granted and blissfully indulged in. And, like love, beauty is something we seldom fully trust as inalienable, even though it is within and all around us.

In Galway Kinnell’s poem, St. Francis and the Sow, he writes that:

    … everything flowers, from within, of     
    self-blessing;   
    though sometimes it is necessary
    to reteach a thing its loveliness,
    to put a hand on its brow
    …and retell it in words and in touch
    it is lovely
    until it flowers again from within, of     
    self-blessing…

What a gift that would be, if we were to encourage one another to flower from within. And, perhaps this is something that I didn’t do enough as your minister, that is, to put my hand on your brow and tell you of your loveliness, so that you would blossom from self-blessing.

Let me say it here and now. You are lovely. You are beautiful. Trust that.

Still here if you need me,
Rev. Julie

Musings

When a minister leaves the congregation they have served, they commit to step back from their role completely, and including from social connections. As hard and strange as that can feel, this is to make room for what comes next, for both the minister and the congregation.

This practice is part of the ministerial guidelines for UU ministers; these guidelines exist to ensure that we all do our professional best to serve the thriving of our congregations and the UU faith. I have covenanted with my colleagues to do this.

Your new minister(s) deserve to build a relationship with you free from my presence or influence. And you deserve to find yourself before a blank canvas, ready to create a new vision for who and what this community is, without being limited or influenced by any of the ways that I have ministered with and to you.

These are exciting times, anxiety-producing times. You, and I, are in a period of transition, and have both embarked on a search process, discerning what we need and want for the next phase of our journeys. We’re going to be okay. Indeed we are going to grow and thrive in unforeseen ways!

Be assured that when I go, I will leave carrying you in my heart. Know that I have been changed and deeply moved by who you are and what we’ve been together. Nothing, including distance, can take away the deep connections we have built.

Let me know if you want to talk about this more.

Rev. Julie
April 26, 2022

A Community Awakening | April 2022

The first wonderings in our theme packet this month speak about awakening to life and your true self. The Soul Matters folks say it better than I possibly could, so I’ll say something about awakening to those things we’d rather ignore…

You know the feeling. The alarm rings, the day breaks, and everything in your body resists getting up. Or, the nagging list of chores and responsibilities keeps poking holes in your energy, and you feel like screaming. Or, the relentless messages about impending disasters fill your news feed, and you just can’t hear or read another word about it. There’s a constant voice saying: Please. Don’t. Wake. Up.

I’m here to tell you that ignoring it does not help. It doesn’t make us feel better. It doesn’t make it all go away.

Of course, the troubles of the world are too big for any one of us to solve, but the call of each day is only to do what we can. And that task is just the right size for each of us. What we’re able to do is all that’s required of us. So the call to awaken to what we’re ignoring does not require that we take it all on, or become overwhelmed, or be a superhero. All that is asked is that we stay in our own lane and do what we can. That’s all.

So wake up to that! Wake up to just enough to know what is yours to do or be. Wake up to doing what you can. Wake up to the reality that who you are, right now, is exactly what is needed. And is always enough.

It’s true, I’m telling you. You are the only one who can wake up to the life that is yours to live.

Here if you need me, 
Rev. Julie 

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