The Transition Team met the last two Wednesdays, September 11th and 25th, in an effort to set goals and plan our activities for the coming church year. The primary objective is to lead parishioners in the self-reflective work necessary to articulate who we are as a congregation, who we consider our neighbors to be, and what we believe we are called to do as a spiritual community. By reaffirming the vision and mission of First Parish, it will allow us to prepare a foundational document for use by the Search Committee to be convened in May of 2020. It will also serve to convey who we are to candidates seeking to become our next settled minister.
The following is a rough outline of activities that we currently anticipate taking place throughout the year.
This Fall, to better understand where we came from and who we are today, we have already begun to review the history and roots of our two denominations with sermons by Rev. Jenny Rankin and Wendy Van der Hart of the UCC. Jenny will continue to refresh our memories from the pulpit on how transcendentalism affected the UUA as well as what brought our two churches together in 1942.
Later this Fall, we are planning to conduct a survey of our thoughts on our individual spirituality to further understand how First Parish addresses what we each seek from this community for our spiritual journeys together.
During the winter months, we plan to shift our focus to our identity as a congregation with discussions around core values. Possibly using the model of last year’s Listening Circles, we hope that sharing thoughts through conversations will lead to reaffirming or redefining our vision and mission as a spiritual community.
In the Spring, we will sponsor a congregational survey to garner feedback on what emerges from our work during the winter. This, together with the information gathered in the Fall, will form the basis of a congregational profile that will help a new Search Committee in their work to find the best candidate to walk with us as our next settled minister. Again, as Jenny Rankin has expressed so well, any ministerial candidate will want to know, “who we are, who are we being called by the divine to become, and who is our neighbor that we wish to serve?”
Respectfully submitted for the Transition Team,
- Ken Hurd