President’s Perspective – “Our Ministry”

By Todd Iveson, 2017-18 President

The start of our church year has been a blur for me. A lot of my brain capacity has been tied up in my day job, but that’s only part of it.

At the Board of Trustees retreat in August, we spent Friday night and all day Saturday with Rev. Roger Bertschausen. Some of you may remember Roger because he was in our pulpit one Sunday while Rev. Molly was on maternity leave. But he is also an expert in policy governance, and that is why we asked him to meet with us.

We had three objectives for this retreat: For the board members to feel a deeper sense of connection with each other and our spiritual grounding as leaders; to develop a working understanding of policy-based governance and the board’s responsibility, authority and accountability in UUCC’s governance; and to develop a plan for moving forward with strategic planning that is consistent with UUCC’s policy-based governance. I think all of us feel that we successfully met those objectives. But we have a lot more work to do in these areas, and I will be sharing details as we begin to put what we learned into practice.

Since the retreat, our church has celebrated the beginning of our worship calendar with our Water Ceremony, then our Labor Day service and our first introduction in person to Marques Ruff, Interim Music Director. The following weekend was our church picnic, enjoyed by more than 70 members and friends, from toddlers to elders. Last Sunday we restarted our two-service schedule, and the choir treated us with their wonderful a cappella performances.

Now, I am writing this after spending the morning on Sept. 16 with about 20 of the leaders of our congregation, discussing some of the topics I’ve mentioned, as well as plans for worship themes and ministry priorities for this year. My head is spinning.

And yet . . . .

This morning also reminded me that none of the “leaders” attending the meeting are doing what they do for a paycheck. Nobody makes them do it. They do it because it is their contribution to the shared ministry of the congregation and to the wider community.

As the UUA website puts it:

Ministry is no longer an act provided only by those who are ordained or called to serve. Ministry happens wherever individuals embrace the belief that their good works, their volunteerism, their acts, can help serve the mission and vision of their congregation.

Spending time with this group gave me some insight into why the past month has seemed a blur to me. In my opening paragraph, I referred to my “day job” in implied contrast to my “other job” as UUCC President. That has been the way I have been feeling. But spending time connecting with these individuals who so willingly give of their time reminded me that what I am doing is not a job, but the ministry I have been called to. Thanks to all who helped remind me.

If you are ever feeling overburdened by or disconnected from our congregation, I have some advice: Ask yourself, “What is my ministry?” The answer will help clear your mind.