As we enter Autumn, the shape of our work together is developing. On Sept. 16 I was delighted to lead the Congregation-Wide Leader Meeting. Over 30 folks gathered to discuss how WUUC’s committee chairs’ and ministry leads’ work comes together to carry out the congregation’s mission. It was great learning what so many people do to make WUUC the warm, vibrant place it is, and to talk with folks about what interim ministry is, learn about people’s understandings of and relationships to this congregation, and talk about the processes of change and transition.
This meeting and other conversations have helped me develop a better understanding of how we can move into grappling with your heritage and understanding your organizational systems and leadership. During October, I’ll be developing more of the structure of sessions for sharing your stories about WUUC and developing your history timeline so that we can do your heritage work together as fall and winter unfold.
Another piece that has been emerging for me out of this meeting and other work I’ve been doing with the congregation is the idea of experiments, or planned changes that we try on to see how they fit and what they tell us. As you may have noticed, changes have been continuing at WUUC. Some of the changes and experiments are ones that you might expect and some are probably unexpected.
Some of these changes are intentional, like the ones that the Worship Team and I have been experimenting with in worship. Our worship experiments are developing over a period of weeks as we try different tweaks to help the flow of the beginning parts of worship.
Some changes have come about simply because I’m a different person and minister than Rev Lo and I’m learning about WUUC’s culture and systems. And some changes are a result of other staffing changes as WUUC has gotten a new choir director and we’re using creative solutions for running the religious education program as we work on hiring a new Director of Lifelong Learning.
Some changes are the result of having a new Board of Trustees and the flow of congregational life as members move away and join. Other changes are a result of things that are happening in the outside world.
And some of the changes are part of the interim ministry process, as I ask questions and work with the congregation on understanding your heritage, how your organizational systems and leadership work, and your mission.
Whether any of these changes are expected or not, you might find yourself having emotional reactions that you didn’t expect. While this may be unsettling, it’s also a normal part of change. At the Sept. 16 meeting I talked with congregational leaders about the roller coaster of change. The roller coaster helps us think about the emotional process that we go through during change.
One thing I like to ask myself when I notice that I’m on the roller coaster of change is: What is what I’m feeling telling me about where I am in processing this change, what I value, and who I want myself or this group to be?
And this is part of the value of change and experiments. They let us try out different things and, as we do that, learn about who we are and where we’re going.
I’m looking forward to talking about the roller coaster of change and basic plans for WUUC’s interim period at the congregational town hall on Oct. 14. At the town hall the Board will also be sharing a budget update and other updates. I hope you’ll join us!