“A leader is someone in whose presence, other leaders are born.” It took me years to learn this and to understand that leadership did not mean doing everything that needs to be done. Leaders delegate. Leaders listen as well as speak. Leaders empower others to bring forth and utilize their skills. Leaders lead from the back of the room as well as from the front. Leaders know that silence is not empty. Leaders may not like conflict but understand that it has a purpose if it is engaged in with the goal of breaking through to something new without taking any hostages. Leaders welcome questions rather than shutting them down. Leaders recognize that power can be a dynamic in relationships. They also know that power is not an evil but a tool that can be used for good. They know it can be abused and misused. Leaders know that trust in them must lead to a new level of responsibility.
All this is to repeat what I said to you prior to going on sabbatical: “I leave you in good hands: each other’s.” The leader in each of you was called out during that time. You and I had prepared well for my absence. And having Rev. Jamil with you ensured that there was a ministerial presence at WUUC. Just as we carefully prepared for my going, the Board and ministry leads under Adam Fass’s leadership, prepared for my return. Once again we have taken up the shared ministry model which has been our strength in this community.
And so now what? Now we move forward. Now we live into our values and our vision of ministry. Now we seek to go deeper in our understanding of what it means to be a community of faith grounded in spiritual practice in everything we do. Now we continue to live into our resolution in support of the movements for Black lives. Now we continue our welcome of transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary persons. Now we become a community of resistance to institutional threats to the values we hold so dear “the inherent worth and dignity of every person; the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.” Business as usual? Perhaps. But also, the work of church with a renewed sense of purpose and place in the world.
Troubling, tumultuous, transforming times. And we, “we were made for these times…”
Peace, Shalom, Salaam,