At last! Now is the time I have been yearning for since I began the life journey that would make me a Unitarian Universalist minister. Now, as I enter my second year at Chalice, the newness has worn off, and our time together can no longer accurately be called “the beginning.”
To be candid, I don’t really enjoy beginnings. Endings don’t float my boat either. No, it’s the middle part I enjoy, putting down roots, committing, deepening.
I’m so happy to look around on Sundays and to know many of you by name, to know some of the story of your life, to know your deep connections to one another. I’m happy to greet visitors and welcome new friends and members because I am confident that this community brings joy and friendship to those who enter. I’m glad to be doing rich, meaningful work with groups like the Board, the Worship Associates, and the Lay Chaplains.
Now is a time of deepening for our community as well. The disruption of ministerial transition that has occupied Chalice for the past four years—as your previous settled minister left, as the interim minister did his good work, and as your new minister arrived and got acclimated—is for the most part behind us. Yes, we are still getting to know each other. But in an ever-changing and growing community like Chalice, we will continue to get to know each other for years to come.
For those of you who have been at Chalice for a while, I invite you to stop and recognize that the community we are today is not the community we were even a year ago, much less a few years ago. We have new members, and many new visitors and regulars to meet and know.
For those of you who are newer to Chalice, I invite you to stop and recognize that our community is changed and enriched by your presence. Chalice is not a static group of people that you decide to join or avoid, a club you pay dues to in order to receive your designated benefits. Instead, Chalice is the sum of its parts (and more!), a gathering that was changed the moment you arrived.
The dynamic nature of religious community is both exciting and comforting to me. It is the nature of Unitarian Universalism—our living tradition—to grow and change. It makes sense that our congregations are characterized by growth and change as well.
With love and gratitude, Sharon