What is most important to you at UUCC?”
By Todd Iveson, 2017-18 President
Writing this monthly article, as with many things in life, is both a blessing and a burden. The burden comes as the deadline approaches and I realize that I don’t have a clue what I want to write about that is meaningful to me and, I hope, to you.
The blessing is that each month so far the pressure of the deadline makes me really look at what’s going on in our church in the search for a theme. For me, and perhaps for you, much of my life in the church – and in life in general – is a matter of routine. I put one foot in front of the other and walk the well-trodden paths of life without really experiencing what is going on around me. The deadline makes me slow down and look around.
This month, my attention settled on our annual Founders’ Day celebration. With a couple of notable exceptions (50th anniversary in 2001, Rev. Haney honored as minister emeritus in 2016), over the 19 years I have been a member of UUCC, Founders’ Day has been an annual date on the church calendar that came and went without much reflection. This year is different.
This year, I realize how blessed I am that our founders made the effort to form their fellowship 67 years ago. Without their efforts, the congregation that is so much a part of my life would not exist. Columbia without a home for those of us who seek an environment in which we can pursue the very human quest for spiritual meaning without dogma would not be as rich. Our founders could not foresee the future of the modest fellowship they formed, but I am very grateful that they planted the seed that brought us all together in a community of radical welcome that seeks to help heal our world.
It is our responsibility to be good stewards of the gift they gave us. Our stewardship campaign will begin Feb. 4 and run through March 4. The theme this year is “Weaving Community Together.” The highlight will be a series of small-group dinners where we can gather to share why UUCC is important to each of us. I know Cande and I came to UUCC when our children were young so they could learn the tools necessary for them to search for their purpose in an atmosphere of open inquiry. We stay because of our community, the opportunity to serve and make a difference, and to have a safe place to explore what it means to be human.
The stewardship campaign is, of course, about obtaining pledges to support the work of our congregation, from keeping the lights on to social action to youth R.E. to all of the other activities that go on at UUCC. These efforts are supported in large part by the many committed volunteers at UUCC. But they cannot do it alone. The staff, our facility, and funds to support our many initiatives are critical, and receiving commitments by pledge allows us to be good stewards of the resources you generously provide.
But this campaign and the small-dinner format provides an opportunity for deeper connection that in many ways is far more significant than a monetary commitment. A group of us gathered last Sunday to discuss the campaign. We began our meeting answering the question: What is most important to you about UUCC? Some in the meeting I’ve known for 19 years and others I have known for far less time. But no matter how long our acquaintance, I learned something new about each individual, and feel a deeper connection as a result. I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity. I’m sure you will find it rewarding.
On a not totally unrelated note, I took Marques up on his invitation to join the mass choir for Founders ‘Day services. I haven’t sung in a choir since I was a soprano, and I haven’t sung in a stage chorus for more than 40 years, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Bottom line: Marques makes singing fun while making everyone a better singer. And we even sound like we know what we’re doing! Amazing. If you like to sing at all, I recommend you give the choir a try. You may just find it’s what you’ve been looking for.