Building Needs Task Force wants your feedback

At a session after worship on Nov. 18, 2018, our Building Needs Task Force presented information about the issues it is considering. The task force is seeking feedback from our members and friends. Click this button to give your thoughts to the task force:

Among ideas being considered are an elevator, new carpeting, more office space, more parking, an expanded sanctuary, a fellowship hall, a commercial kitchen, more classroom space, more storage space, and the possibility of relocating closer to downtown.

An interim report on the task force’s work was presented at the Annual Congregational Meeting in May. An updated report was given to our Board of Trustees at its Nov. 8 meeting. Read the updated report.

Nov. 11, 2018 – Service and Sacrifice

On Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2018, our worship topic was “Service and Sacrifice” – a time to think carefully about the role of sacrifice in the lives of our service members and in all of our lives. What does it really mean to serve our country? Listen to Joe Collins and Anja Eick about their experiences in the military.

UUCC to host Room at the Inn again Dec. 9-22

Once again we will be hosting the Room at the Inn cold-weather shelter for the homeless. Our turn will be from the night of Dec. 9 through the night of Dec. 22. We will need many volunteers to help staff the shelter effort. Click the button below to sign up for one or more shifts.

Other Columbia churches participating in Room at the Inn this year are:

  • Dec. 23, 2018 through Jan. 5, 2019 – Fairview United Methodist Church – 3200 Chapel Hill Road
  • Jan. 6, 2019 through Jan. 26, 2019 – Broadway Christian Church – 2601 W. Broadway
  • Jan. 27, 2019 through Feb. 9, 2019 – Missouri United Methodist Church – 204 S. Ninth St.
  • Feb. 10, 2019 through Feb. 16, 2019 – TBD
  • Feb. 17, 2019 through March 2, 2019 – First Baptist Church – 1112 E. Broadway

Read more about Room at the Inn.

Nov. 4, 2018 – Day of Remembrance

In the United States we have often conceived of Halloween as a frivolous time when children don costumes and eat too much candy. However in many cultures, this is a serious season for contemplating and respecting the memory of ancestors, folks dear to us who have departed – a time for honoring their memory and coping with grief at their passing. In her homily on Nov. 4, 2018, “All We Are and Will Ever Be,” Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored this more meaningful and somber aspect of the Day of Remembrance, explaining how love is essential even though it entails future loss.

New adult R.E. sessions on meaningful holidays start Nov. 27

Jan Weaver will be leading four adult religious education sessions on making the holidays meaningful. Come to any or all. Free childcare will be provided.

Getting What You Want for the Holidays – 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Nov. 27

The winter holidays have a lot of baggage, some cultural, some familial. Take some time to figure out what you want from the holidays.

Planning Your Holiday Experience – 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4

If things are going to change, you need to create new systems to support that change. Take some time to make a plan for how that change is going to happen.

The Only Person You Can Change is Yourself – 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11

The only way to really change things is to change yourself first. Take some time to reflect on what you might need to do differently for the holiday you want.

So It’s Not Going Like You Planned – 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18

Stuff happens. Take some time to prepare yourself for when things don’t turn out the way you planned.

Oct. 21, 2018 – Do the Monster Mash

At our “Do the Monster Mash” worship services on Oct. 21, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon and DRE Jamila Batchelder considered the idea of monsters in mythologies and in the minds of young and old alike. Listen to their thoughts as they explored how the visceral imagery of devils or demons can describe the experience of evil and help us grapple with evils in our world.

Web address changed successfully

In a process that started Friday morning, Oct. 26 and continued through Saturday evening, Oct. 27, our website address was changed from https://uuchurch.net to https://uucomo.org. Church emails also now use the extension “@uucomo.org.”

Many thanks to hostmaster Jim Hermann and UUCC friend Camden Daily, who did the technical heavy lifting to make the change. Jim is a UU in the St. Louis area whose server hosts a number of UU church websites including ours. Camden works in the computer technology field, and he and his wife and children recently began attending UUCC.

Re-directs have been set up so that if you forget and go to the old website address, you will automatically be sent to the current address, and if you send email to an old address, it will automatically go to the current address.

Our old website address was an inspired choice when our website was started many years ago (uuchurch.org was already being used by another church). However, “dot-net” domains were originally intended for use by internet service providers, and that has made our site an attractive target for hackers hoping to gain control of what they assume is an ISP because it would open the door to all sorts of spam and other online mischief. Our hostmaster Jim tells us that because of our dot-net domain name, our site experienced far more attacks than the many other sites he hosts. To date the security software on our site had protected us, but it was no absolute guarantee. Also, the volume of attacks occasionally slowed the response time of our site and other sites hosted on the same server.

For these reasons, Rev. Molly approved changing our web domain to uucomo.org. She also feels the new address is more descriptive of our church.

Please do not hesitate to contact our website administrator, Steve Scott, by email if you have questions or problems resulting from the domain name change.

UUCC helps make CROPwalk 2018 a success

UUCC members and friends donated to and walked in the successful 2018 CROPwalk to raise funds for hunger relief in Columbia, the United States and the world. The Church World Service event took place at Stephens Lake Park on Sept. 23.

At last count more than $18,000 had been raised. One-fourth of the money will stay in Columbia and go to various food pantries, St. Francis House and the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture.

Thanks to all who donated and participated!

– Allie Gassmann, Social Action Team

Among UUCC CROPwalkers were, from left, Leila, Allie and Walter
Gassmann, Peter Holmes, Sibylle Hoeschele and Wiley Miller.

Oct. 14, 2018 – Damaged by Privilege

In his sermon on Oct. 14, 2018, Jeff Ordway recalled how the privilege of being a white male, which might sound desirable, instead resulted in damage to his own soul and especially to others. The events of recent weeks, when we watched several women come forward at great personal risk to describe abusive behavior by a Supreme Court nominee only to watch as his confirmation sail through a mostly-male Senate, drive home the lasting damage done by white male privilege. Jeff’s personal journey witnessing and experiencing abuses and callous behavior among young white males demonstrates how these attitudes and behaviors are perpetuated. Trigger warning: The subjects addressed in this podcast may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Oct. 7, 2018 – Everyday Evil

Writing in the shadow of the Holocaust in the years after the Second World War, German-American philosopher Hannah Arendt said: “The sad truth is that most evil is done by people who never make up their minds to be good or evil.” At worship on Oct. 7, 2018, Rev. Molly Hough Gordon’s sermon grappled with the small ways people of good will can participate in evil in their everyday lives and how we can work to align ourselves with good.

Sept. 30, 2018 – Peace Must Be Dared

German theologian, pastor and anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: “There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared. It is itself the great venture and can never be safe.” On Sept. 30, 2018, Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored the mingling ideas of safety and risk in these times and in our lives against the backdrop of Senate testimony by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her unsettling experiences. After the sermon, we celebrated our long-time and well-loved church administrator, Kathie Bergman, upon her retirement.

Hello! – from Alexis

I’m excited to be serving as your part-time Intern Minister for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 church years as a part of my formation as a minister. I will be working with various groups and facilitating worship services every other month (or so) during my time with you.

The UUA requires ministerial interns to develop in a variety of areas, so my work with you will evolve and might not always look the same as the months progress. Thank you for the kindness many of you have already displayed in welcoming me into your community.

My social media policy is not to “friend” or follow members and friends of the congregations I serve, but I enjoy face-to-face interactions and appreciate it when people introduce themselves to me.

I welcome conversation and can be contacted via email to set up an appointment.

Start thinking about being a UU delegate

Our Denominational Affairs Team (DAT) urges church members to begin thinking about becoming a delegate to our UU regional assembly or the UUA General Assembly. We are entitled to send six delegates to:

  • The next MidAmerica Region assembly in St. Louis April 5-7, 2019.
  • The next UUA G.A. in Spokane, Wash. June 19-23, 2019.

Church members interested in being delegates should email Nominating Committee Chair Todd Iveson. The committee submits delegate nominations to the Board of Trustees, which selects delegates.

For more information or to join the DAT, email chair Steve Scott.

SAT retreat reaffirms commitment to courageous love in action

At its annual retreat on Saturday, Sept. 8, our Social Action Team reaffirmed our church’s and our team’s important role in being moral and values-based actors in our community’s and country’s social and political life, as well as in our work on behalf of our Earth. We are one of just a few faith communities that comes from a clear and progressive perspective in a state that is dominated by conservative views.

There are five important aspects of our social justice work:

  1. Direct service
  2. Fundraising (to support our work and those of partnering community organizations)
  3. Education (learning about issues, our role in them, how to effect systemic change)
  4. Advocacy and witness (e.g. through our work with Missouri Faith Voices)
  5. Community-building and deep connection (to sustain ourselves in the work, but also to create the world and kinds of relationships we want to see)

Our identified areas of focus and interest include economic justice, anti-racism, and diversity. We also hope to partner with the Green Sanctuary Team on areas of environmental justice.

To do this important work, we need as many hands on deck as we can gather. Please consider joining our team and one of our subcommittees. The SAT meets on the first Sunday of each month in the Library/Forum Room on the lower level immediately after the 11 a.m. service.

For more information, email new Social Action Team Chair Caya Tanski.

Sept. 23, 2018 – A Shelter for Every Storm

At worship on Sept. 23, 2018, our Sanctuary Team (Immigrant Ministry) explored how to create an expansive sense of what it means to offer sanctuary in these challenging times. Together, we considered how claiming our identity as a sanctuary congregation relates to creating deep connections, radical welcome and courageous love – not just for our immigrant friends and guests, but for ourselves as members of this sanctuary community. With the addition of a shower in the church, we now have made our building even more accommodating should a person or family need the shelter of our church as they pursue legal remedies to avoid deportation – the Sanctuary Team thanks everyone who helped make this possible.

Sept. 16, 2018 – Making Amends

Our Jewish neighbors, members, and friends observed the high holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement, Sept. 18-19, 2018. We all make mistakes. There is something reassuring about that – we have all fallen short, every one of us. Listen to the podcast of our Sept. 16, 2018 interactive worship service for all ages, in which we took the opportunity to contemplate what it means to make amends and acknowledge our failings and the importance of creating a community that continually recommits to our promises.

Board seeks committee volunteers

Our Board of Trustees is seeking volunteers to serve on the Audit Committee and the Investments and Endowment Committee.

Audit Committee: If you are looking for a way to serve the church that can be done indoors, takes about two hours a month, is needed every other month, and requires no prior experience, consider joining the Audit Committee. Members of this committee review the church’s financial records bi-monthly and conduct a more in-depth review once a year. Training will be provided. For more information, email Treasurer Patty Daus or board member Elaine Martin.

Investments and Endowment Committee: Volunteers who have experience in finance are preferred for this committee, which meets four times a year to discuss, research and make decisions on how our church can best manage its investments based on our UU principles. For more information, email Treasurer Patty Daus or committee Chair Pam Springsteel.

Sept. 9, 2018 – Sanctuary – An Altar in the World

“Loaded words” is our worship theme for the year, and September’s loaded word is “sanctuary.” Listen to our worship service on Sept. 9, 2018 when the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s sermon, “An Altar in the World,” explored what it is to create and experience sacred space, and sanctuary, in the world and in our lives.

Suzanne Clark is next Church Administrator

Suzanne Clark

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

I am very pleased to introduce to you our next Church Administrator, Suzanne Clark.

Suzanne has recently returned to Columbia after a number of years residing near family in Rochester, NY. She spent the last 15 years working at Temple B’rith Kodesh, a Reform synagogue in Rochester, where she performed administrative duties as assistant executive director. Congregational life and the rewards of working with a community were main motivators for her in applying for the position with us. She is looking forward to meeting everyone and adjusting to a new working environment.

Suzanne will start Monday, Sept. 17, and work with retiring Administrator Kathie Bergman for the next two weeks learning the ropes. Kathie’s official retirement date is Sept. 30, although we are very grateful that she will remain available to Suzanne for a time for any questions that may come up.

Save the date for Sept. 30 after church to celebrate Kathie’s long and wonderful tenure, and get excited to welcome Suzanne warmly among us!

Worship music plans announced

From Marques J. Ruff, Interim Director of Music:

I am excited about the return to our two services. During my first year as Interim Director of Music, I aimed for consistency between the services by having the same music presented at both. That worked well for us, but it became clear to me that the 9 a.m. service involves a certain level of intimacy, and I would like for our musical offerings during that service to be reflective of that.

With the blessing of the Rev. Molly, Arun Garg (your Staff Pianist) and I have developed a new musical program for the 9 a.m. service. We are now shifting our focus to a chamber music offering each week. We will endeavor to enhance your worship experience with music for piano trio (piano, violin, and cello), other instrumental pairings (including voice), and solo instrumentalists as well.

I am hopeful that this new musical focus for the 9 a.m. service will propel our worship experience forward and be a welcome addition to our diverse musical programming. I also welcome instrumentalists in the congregation of whom I am unaware to contact me should you have a desire to play in an upcoming service.

Sept. 2, 2018 – The Work of Love

What is the work of love? Work can be a sacred gift, a meditation, and a prayer in itself. Listen as Reverend Molly Housh Gordon considered the many ways that we serve our deepest calling in this life at our Sept. 2, 2018 worship service on Labor Day weekend.

Aug. 26, 2018 – Ingathering and Water Ceremony

Every year, at the end of the warmth of summer and the beginning of the coolness of fall, we hold an ingathering ceremony – to gather the waters from out diverse travels over the summer and gather our grounded souls as we begin a new church year. Water is in our very bodies, and is found wherever we go whether that be the far reaches of the Earth or right here at home. Listen to this ceremony held on Aug. 26, 2018.

Aug. 19, 2018 – Being UU in an Era of Blood-Sport Politics

The current era of blood-sport, winner-take-all politics marked by xenophobia and hyper-nationalism may feel new and different, but it’s actually a recurring pattern in American history. How can we as Unitarian Universalists resist these ugly phenomena while remaining true to our principles? Steve Scott leads us in this challenging topic, with a bit of humor and a reminder to adhere to our principles.

Aug. 5, 2018 podcast – General Assembly

At worship on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, our congregation heard from three of our delegates to General Assembly, the Unitarian Univeralist Association’s annual gathering. This year’s General Assembly was held in Kansas City, Mo., which allowed about two dozen of our members to join thousands of other UUs from around the country and the world for five days of learning, reflection, meditation, and the business of the association. Delegates Steve Scott, Peter Holmes and Todd Iveson shared their experiences at this exciting gathering.

Aug. 12, 2018 – Fractal Reality

At our worship service on Aug. 12, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored the concept of fractal reality. Fractal patterns move from small to large, and not entirely the other way around. The small changes we make every day, in our lives and our organization, matter. In this podcast you’ll hear Rev. Molly propose that how we do the work of change matters.

Introducing our new Intern Minister

From Rev. Molly Housh Gordon:

Alexis
(Click to enlarge)

I am very pleased to introduce to you our new Intern Minister, Alexis, who will be working with us part-time for the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 church years as a part of her formation as a Unitarian Universalist minister!

I am so excited for us to become a teaching congregation – I know that Alexis and we, the congregation, will learn so much from one another. Alexis will be here on Sunday for our Water Ceremony Ingathering to begin to meet you, and she will begin her work with us the following week. Please join me in giving her a warm UUCC welcome!

Alexis is a candidate with the Unitarian Universalist Association. She is starting her first year of part-time supervised ministry with us and her second year of seminary as a long-distance student at Phillips Theological Seminary, a progressive Disciples of Christ seminary in Tulsa, Okla. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband and their 10-year-old son.

Alexis has experience facilitating worship and small group ministry as a lay leader at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Jefferson City, speaks regularly at the Unitarian Church in Quincy, Ill., and is very grateful for the opportunity to learn from and serve this congregation.

Her introduction to Unitarian Universalism took place more than 10 years ago when she was invited to provide Religious Education for children and youth at the Quincy Unitarian Church while studying to become an English teacher. She knew she was in the right place after reading “Love is the spirit of this church….”

Alexis is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association, the Unitarian Universalist Membership Association of Membership Professionals, and attended Midwest Leadership School in 2016.

See you in Church!
Rev. Molly

[Note: Alexis’ last name is not published because of a privacy concern specific to her.]

July 29, 2018 Podcast: Sanctuary

At worship on Sunday, July 29, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon reflected on the meaning of Sanctuary. A sanctuary literally means a church, yet also means a place of spiritual and even legal refuge. Rev. Molly explored how we can create a culture of compassion and expand our circle of warmth and care to those around us.

Peace Building Team update

The Peace Building Team is seeking additional team members. Anyone interested in serving on the team may contact the team’s chair, Caya Tanski-French, by phone at 573-447-2915 or 573-673-3925 or by email.

Dave Gibbons has stepped down as a member of the team because of his travel schedule and family commitments. Current members of the team are:

  • Paul Ladehoff – email
  • Anna Lingo – email
  • Caya Tanski-French, Chair – email

Archived Podcast – Youths Speak Out on Gun Violence

This podcast is an archived recording of our March 18, 2018 worship service. We have the privilege to hear our YRUU youth group share their feelings and thoughts about gun violence and the toll it has taken on their young lives.

2018 UUA General Assembly

Our YRUU youth carried our church banner in the banner parade at the opening
session of the UUA General Assembly in Kansas City, Mo. on June 20. In the first part
of this short video, they are seen on their first pass through the convention hall.
After the transition, they are seen on their way out of the hall.

The Unitarian Universalist Association General Assembly was held this year from June 20 to 24 in Kansas City, Mo. What is GA? It’s part inspiration and spiritual sustenance. It’s an opportunity to mingle with UUs from all over the country and some other countries and engage in issues important to our UU faith. But also, it’s a time to conduct a lot of the business of the association.

This year there were 2,814 registered attendees, including 134 youth. 522 congregations from all 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Mexico were represented by 1,570 delegates, including 199 off-site delegates.

Our voting delegates this year were Rev. Molly, Todd Iveson, Peter Holmes, Gretchen Maune, Connie Ordway, and Steve Scott. About 15 other members of our church also attended all or part of GA, and a number of them served as volunteers performing various tasks to keep the show running, in exchange for which they received free registration for GA. For example, Maria Oropallo and Kathie Bergman staffed an information booth to answer questions from attendees, and Larry Lile assisted with the tech staff that provided audio/video services.

The business of the General Assembly takes place in General Sessions. All registered attendees are welcome at these sessions, but only voting delegates can vote.

At the business sessions there was broad consensus for aggressively challenging the criminalization of migrants, people of color, and indigenous people. Delegates overwhelmingly selected “Undoing Intersectional White Supremacy” as a multiyear Congregational Study/Action Issue.

Delegates also endorsed three Actions of Immediate Witness, which all emphasize the urgency of supporting people of color and indigenous people. The first calls for congregational action to draw attention to predatory medical fees charged to incarcerated people, who are disproportionately people of color; the UUA’s Church of the Larger Fellowship developed the resolution in partnership with its 870 incarcerated members.

A second resolution pledged solidarity with indigenous “water protectors,” who have been fighting the placement of liquid natural gas pipelines near Native American lands and who face federal charges for disrupting construction of the pipelines.

The third resolution demanded immediate action to improve U.S. treatment of asylum seekers and migrant families to keep families together. Among other demands, the resolution advocates the abolition of Immigration Customs Enforcement “and the implementation of a system that understands the causes of migration, provides a non-carceral solution while asylum seekers await a decision on their case, and has a fundamental commitment to keeping families together.”

Delegates also approved a group of bylaw changes to bring the UUA’s governing document up to date with current understandings of gender diversity. A proposal introduced last year to change Unitarian Universalism’s “Second Source” from “words and deeds of prophetic women and men” to “words and deeds of prophetic people” passed easily.

A second bylaws amendment changed all gendered pronouns in the bylaws to the gender-inclusive “they/them/their.”

A third bylaws amendment will allow religious educators who are active members of the Liberal Religious Educators Association to serve as voting delegates at future GAs.

The assembly also approved bylaws changes adding two youth trustees to the 11 at-large trustees on the UUA Board of Trustees; allowing the role of moderator at GA to be filled by more than one person; modifying the length of terms of service on committees; and simplifying the social witness resolutions process.

Join the Denominational Affairs Team

The primary responsibility of our new Denominational Affairs Team is to act as a liaison between our congregation and both the Unitarian Universalist Association and the MidAmerica Region. The team will:

  • Meet to discuss issues of denominational concern.
  • Promote education on UUA General Assembly social justice statements in collaboration with other teams.
  • Foster an understanding of and commitment to what it means to be a responsible member of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations.

Through these efforts, the Denominational Affairs Team will prepare a pool of people in our congregation to be delegates to the General Assembly and regional meetings.

For more information, contact Steve Scott at 573-442-1865 or by email.

July 22, 2018 – Our Whole Lives

At our worship service on July 22, 2018, Director of Religious Education Jamila Batchelder and others offered a spiritual exploration of human sexuality and information about our “Our Whole Lives” (OWL) program of comprehensive sexuality education for all ages.

July 15, 2018 – Try a Little Tenderness

In her sermon “Try a Little Tenderness” on July 15, 2018, the Rev. Molly Housh Gordon explored what it means to engage tenderness as a tactic of resistance in a time when appeals to security, strength and “other-ing” are used to oppress. She suggested how to bring softness and openness to the time at hand.

July 8, 2018 – Everything Must Change: A Woman Gets Older

On Sunday, July 8, 2018, we explored “Everything Must Change: A Woman Gets Older,” organized by Connie Ordway. What does it mean for a woman to age in this society? Connie mapped the journey for women to reclaim their status as “Wise Women” with the help of several other women.

New! UUCC Member Connect Program

The mission of the Member Connect Program is to assist UUCC members and friends in finding their place in our church community through deeper connection, service, and spiritual exploration. To do this a team of connectors is available to have a conversation with every member of the church who is interested. These conversations will give members a chance to reflect on their spiritual journey, their connection with the church, and their level of involvement in church life.

If you would like to participate in a meeting with a connector or would like to volunteer to be a connector, email Peter Holmes or Rosie Geiser

– Peter Holmes and Rosie Geiser, co-chairs

New Chalice Is Dedicated

Rev. Molly lit the new chalice on Jan. 28 from a flame passed from the chalice made by Naoma Powell.

Our observance of the 67th anniversary of our church’s founding at worship services on Jan. 28, 2018 included dedication of a beautiful new metal chalice purchased and given to the church by a member couple.

The late Naoma Powell made the chalice we had been using since 2006 after the congregation’s previous chalice broke, and it was always intended to be temporary. Naoma’s chalice served us long and well, but was showing signs of wear. To protect this beloved artifact, it is being officially “retired” from active duty but will always have a place in our sanctuary and will still be used for special occasions.

The new chalice is larger and will be easier to see from all parts of the sanctuary, in keeping with the needs of our growing congregation. It was dedicated with Naoma’s own January 2006 words of dedication of the chalice now being retired:

Though chalice changes, the flame burns bright.
Not holder, not cup but flame that offers light.
Flame that lights the darkness.
Flame, in its burning, illumines night.
Flame, its double halo, bringing light to shadow, warmth to shade.
Flame, re-igniting
Constant.

 

Meet the Chalice Artist

Ryan Schmidt

Our new chalice that was dedicated at the Jan. 28 worship services was crafted by Ryan Schmidt, a metal artist based in Cumberland Gap, Tenn.

Ryan owned and managed a motorcycle repair shop in Kansas City before moving to Tennessee in 2015. Shortly after moving he met a neighbor, William Brock, a traditional blacksmith who taught Ryan the art of blacksmithing. Ryan’s passion is creating custom-made functional objects, ornamental ironwork, sculptures, and furniture. He is a member of several professional blacksmithing groups.

When Ryan is not creating art at his shop, Mitty’s Metal Art (https://www.mittysmetalart.com/), he likes to get out and explore the surrounding Appalachian region on his Harley or mountain bike. Ryan is not a UU but is familiar with our denomination through friends.

Music Director search extended

From the Music Director Search Team:

Late last spring Rev. Molly formed a search team tasked with finding a replacement for our beloved Desi Long upon her retirement. Our immediate need – music for the summer services – was fairly easily met by our “deep bench” of volunteer musicians, for whom we are ALL most grateful!

The longer-term question of how best to minister through music, to both the congregation and the larger community, was far more complex. Rev. Molly has already described much of that initial process of creating an interim period in earlier communications, so we won’t repeat them here. Suffice it to say we were most fortunate to secure Marques J. Ruff as our Interim Director of Music Ministry. It was our hope that Marques could manage the immediate tasks as well as help us articulate a clear vision for UUCC’s music program and better define the skills needed by candidates for a permanent position.

Our committee met recently to discuss what we’ve learned in this first half of the church year and to review the search timeline we’d originally established.

We have already seen a number of changes. Choir rehearsals are longer and performances more frequent. We have benefited from the addition of Arun Garg as our new professional accompanist for the choir and our services. Both the choir and the congregation have had a chance to experience a diverse musical repertoire. The feedback we hear is largely positive, but we still feel there is much more to learn about music and culture in our congregation – what we love, what is uncomfortable, what is possible, and more. We want to fully engage the congregation in this conversation so that we have a more complete understanding of what we are looking for in a permanent director.

It is the consensus of the committee that our original timeline of one program year (about nine months) did not allow sufficient time for securing and reflecting on your input. We feel it is critically important to take the time we need to listen first, then recruit, select, and hire a permanent director that is the right long-term fit for our congregation.

To that end, we must adjust our search timeline. This is also, in part, because our process is being happily interrupted by our minister’s parental leave, from the end of March to mid-June 2018.

Our revised timeline extends the search process through May of 2019. That also means lengthening the interim period, allowing Marques more time to work with the congregation and with the search committee. We are very pleased to share that Marques has agreed to extend his engagement with us through May 2019. As previously stated, the interim director is not eligible to apply for the permanent position. And we are sure that Marques will be off to impressive new adventures when his degree program ends in May of 2019.

Key points in the revised timeline appear below.

  • Winter/Spring 2018 – Congregational Conversations
  • Spring/Summer 2018 – Finalize job description
  • Early Fall 2018 – Post and Advertise Job
  • Late Fall/Early Winter 2018 – Conduct Interviews
  • By January 2019 – Make and finalize offer
  • June 1, 2019 – Permanent Director of Music Ministry begins work

We have tentatively scheduled two congregational conversations to inform our search. One will occur in February and another in March. Our topics will include your present experiences and future dreams for music at UUCC. You’ll receive more detailed information shortly!

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of us.

With all our best,

Kara Braudis
Cande Iveson
Pack Matthews
Neil Minturn

Dec. 10, 2017 – The Wildness of the Season

On Dec. 10, 2017, Worship Associate Rebecca Graves explored “The Wildness of The Season.” Focusing on the northern European figure of Krampus, she examined what it means to tap into the wild within.

Dec. 3, 2017 – Show Up Anyway

On Dec. 3, 2017, we heard a story about a woman who showed up anyway. Amid the inevitable struggles of life and relationships, one of the most profound things we do in religious community is to explore how to remain faithful to one another, to our highest values, and to love. When the going gets tough, it takes spiritual maturity to stay at the table and find our way through. “If it hadn’t been for the drag queens, I don’t know what we would have done.” Are you intrigued? Listen to Rev. Molly Housh Gordon’s inspiring story about Ruth Coker Burks from Little Rock, Ark.