January 26 Minister Moment

Happy “normal” week (maybe)? With so much anxiety in our nation and so much expectation in our community, it’s time to appreciate the normal. School days actually happen, the government functions … well, as it normally does, and weather temperatures are in the Norfolk-normal range.

I am in town, but just finished a three-day long Zoom video-conference with ministers across the country. They were mostly in Florida for a big minister training, and I attended by remote video feed, which meant I sat in my office staring at the computer screen. (Come to think of it, that’s “normal” these days too.)

Video conferencing using your Internet connection is now incredibly easy. Recently I used SKYPE, and was disappointed that I had to remember my log-in name, and figure out how to get connected with the folks I wanted to talk to. Zoom is simpler; you click on a link, and it may prompt you to download extension software on your PC or MAC or Android or iPhone, but then it just connects.  

We have used it for quick conferences with the Caring Team, with the Personnel Committee and with the Board. I especially see it as useful for parents, as we could simply open a video discussion room some evening and folks could log in and get a bit of community time. Like Facebook, but face-to-face. After kid-bedtime may be a good time to plan events … no babysitter, no travel.

Sure, video can be useful. E-mail is clear. Facebook is exciting and I love the cat pictures. But none of them really takes the place of getting together, maybe sharing coffee or a meal. Being together is how beloved community grows. Tonight– Friday, UCN hosts a “Dark Nights” Coffeehouse at 7 PM. This is one way to warm up a cold winter night. Next Friday is “Fabulous First Friday” a good chance to get social and watch the kids play games, and the next (Feb 9) is our Employee Appreciation Dinner–all in our social hall.  See the online calendar at ucnorfolk.org for more.

Last month the Board passed a resolution for us all. We are planning to start sharing our facility with a new owner this winter/spring, and when we do, there will be a tendency to say “we can’t do that?” but the board wants you to know: “UCN is dedicated to continuing and appropriately increasing programming during the transition, even if it requires costs such as space rental. Reasonable additional expenditures are a part of the cost of moving.” Already we are planning one event using a room in a nearby church.  And some meetings have moved temporarily to homes or Panera or other off-site locations. We will have full access to the building on Tuesdays and Thursdays even through to our move. Let’s say “we CAN do it!”

Thanks to Lisa Kilczewski and Martha Shore for their parts with the ritual and story for all ages this Sunday, and to Rev. Mike Morse and his partner and writer, Sea Raven, for their words on end of life choices and the Final Exit Network (FEN.)

This week’s service will be the continuation of November’s service, appropriately titled “We Need One Another, Part 2”  And then, on February 4th, we have “The Promise and the Practice of Our Faith,” a service examining our UU past and future.  See you in Church!

Oops.. I’m running out of space: thanks to NEST volunteers, Winter Meeting attenders, singers, marchers … and everyone else!

I love you all,

Rev. Charlie

PS: alas, reading the New York Times I see that “normal” means another week with school shootings.  We have work to do building a beloved nation.   Amen.