There are some perks to starting at a new congregation. (I’ve just begun as half-time Sabbatical Minister for the UU Church of Palo Alto, California.) For instance, I have no idea what I don’t know that I should know or will need to know. Just for today, I feel well-equipped to face whatever may come my way. Well, except for that missing password that would let me access all the files I’ll need…but that will come.
I had a good, if brief, meeting with Rev. Dan and the good news is that neither of us are feeling particularly anxious about this new beginning. The congregation seems relaxed and ready for the shifts and bumps of change that will come with our leadership while Rev. Amy is on sabbatical. And both Dan and I have noticed that this congregation is just full of downright nice people. So it doesn’t feel too scary to not have all the answers, the plans, the details in order.
My two areas of focus are Sunday Services and Pastoral Care, two things that I love. There is excitement about the amazingly gifted guest preachers that Rev. Amy arranged before she left. In fact, I’m wishing that I could be here on my Sundays off to hear the good people that will be preaching. Back to that old conundrum—if only I could go to church without going to work!
I’ve met with the church’s Caring Network and already seen them in action, tracking and communicating what’s going on in member’s lives and following up when there’s been a change, challenge, or loss. The hardest thing about being new is probably that I don’t have the depth of relationship (yet) that makes those conversations easier. Heck, I don’t even know very many names. But I can listen when someone needs an ear and I can be a caring presence in moments of transition.
So, even though I know that there is so very much I do not know, I am glad to arrange my steps to the rhythm of ministry again. Let it be a dance!