Words are powerful. They are our primary source of communication. They express thought between people and, when chosen carefully, allow us to deepen our understanding of purpose, of emotion, of all that would otherwise be abstract.
We use words to define meaning. And so, it is significant that one word worked its way into nearly every discussion during the UUCRT Congregational Meeting held on May 15, 2016. That word was “ministry.” Ministry was used to discuss basic housekeeping needs as well as the structural form of how we think about the service we provide when we work in various groups at the UUCRT.
At the meeting, a motion was unanimously passed changing the names of all existing committees to ministries. This motion followed an open discussion that prompted comments worthy of repeating here. “Ministry raises everyone’s spiritual value.” “It takes the ho-hum out of work because it means what we are doing serves a higher function.” “Ministry ties in service to spiritual growth.” “Ministry helps us think of how we affect others.” Rev. Chris voiced his support for the change in terminology by reminding us that, as Unitarian Universalists, we share ministry with our minister.
Without a sense of ministry, many of the mundane tasks we do in fellowship have the power to burden us. One facet of congregational life discussed at the opening of the meeting is our practice of coffee hour. At first it might seem a rather mundane arena for such a lofty title as “Hospitality Ministry,” but think about how it supports our community. It is during coffee hour that we are given the opportunity to “deepen our connection” with one another; it is a gracious time when members, friends, and guests can relax and enjoy the company of one another while not having to worry about set up or clean up. It is a treat, which is why so much attention is being called to the responsibilities of coffee hour.
If all members and friends sign up for this duty, the responsibility is shared and everyone is given time to relax as well as time to work. Two simple solutions were discussed during the meeting to ease what has started to become an overwhelming responsibility for the few participating hosts and those who offer to “pitch-in” because there is no one else to help: 1) We need more people to sign up for service. The goal is to have eight people listed for each month. With eight names, the hosting group can arrange a schedule within the group so members might only need to serve two or three out of the Sunday mornings in a given month. 2) When it is someone’s turn to serve on coffee hour but they need to be away, they should arrange a trade with another person. It is easier to find a replacement when a person knows the favor will be reciprocated.
We invite you to spend some time in thought about the meaning of ministry in your personal lives and in your congregational lives. Ministry is at the very foundation of the principles we, as Unitarians, hold dear to our hearts.
Laura, Mike, Jane, Alan, Twila, Hollis and Mike