– Jan Radoslovich, WUUC Board President

The month of January was named after Janus, the Roman mythology God of beginnings, endings and transitions. His image is depicted with two faces, one looking into the past and the other looking into the future. This imagery is fitting for January, as the first month of the new year and a winter month when life slows a bit offers us time to reflect on the past year and anticipate the coming year.

As Board President, I would like to share some memories of this past year of 2023.

This was the year that WUUC began emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic period which started in March, 2020 and lasted almost 3 years. We experienced many dramatic changes in church life during the pandemic period, including most church meetings and events held remotely on Zoom, installing camera and sound equipment in the sanctuary for hybrid Sunday services, the wearing of masks and social distancing during in-person events, and through the end of the 2022- 2023 church year, a gradual return to higher in-person attendance at Sunday services and church events. Our revitalized Choir with the leadership and support of Matt Smith and Terry Levitt inspired us with their music every they performed at church services. We also continued the Woodinville Country Day School rental arrangement on our church campus, which had started in July, 2022.

Rev. Dan was in his 3rd year of ministry with WUUC during 2023 and could finally connect with more WUUC members and friends in-person as the pandemic restrictions lifted through the year.

Rev. Dan held a January, 2023 fireside chat event at WUUC with author, Monica Guzman to discuss her book and we subsequently held a series of book group sessions to study the role of curiosity in bridging the divisions in our country and communities.

From January through September of 2023, a series of facilitated Community Conversations were held both in-person in the WUUC sanctuary and on Zoom with a typical attendance of 15-25 people.

In March and April of 2023 Rev. Dan facilitated WUUC discussions on the proposed revisions to the UUA Bylaws – Article II, and the congregation was surveyed to provide guidance to the 3 WUUC delegates to the 2023 UUA General Assembly (GA). At GA2023 all participating delegates reviewed and voted on prioritized amendments as well as voted to continue the process into the coming year with the final version of the amended Article II to be voted on by the GA2024 delegates (requiring a 2/3 majority to be adopted). The Rev. Dr. Sofia Betancourt was elected as the new UUA President. She succeeds Rev. Dr. Susan Frederick-Grey who ended her 6-year term as UUA President.

In May of 2023, the last Washington state pandemic restrictions were lifted, and WUUC lifted its mask requirement. But COVID is still endemic in the country with ongoing vaccinations recommended and masking precautions still in use by some people. The choir still wears masks when singing at Sunday services. There are members and friends of WUUC who by necessity or choice still participate only remotely in congregational activities.

Our beloved Alaine Owsley Davis passed away on June 16, 2023. She was a pillar in our church community and her contributions were vast and indelible. Rev. Dan led a beautiful Memorial Service at WUUC which was co officiated by both Rev. Dan and Rev. Lois Van Leer. The church was packed with family, friends, and WUUC current and past members who were all changed forever by Alaine’s presence in their lives.

The 2023-2024 church year started on July 1, 2023 with 3 new Board members: Jeff Anderson, Azure (Blue) Forte and Trina Roulet joining the current Board members: Jeff Lu, Jan Radoslovich, Linda Sherry and Kermit Sprang. Rev. Dan is an ex-officio member of the Board as well.

The Board held its annual retreat on August 25-26, 2023 at the Sharingwood Common House and covered a variety of governance topics, created a shared covenant and brainstormed Board goals for the coming year. We meet monthly to do the governance work of the church in support of the church’s many ministries.

Rev. Dan kicked off the current church year with the theme of “Connections” at September church services.

The Safer Congregation Task Force (SCTF) wrote and the Board approved two “best practice” documents which are intended to promote and nurture a culture of respect and consent, providing a place where everyone can participate in a congregational life that is free from sexual harassment and misconduct.

The WUUC Starburst Atomic Live Auction & Cabaret was held on November 11th and featured the many talented and creative musicians and artists in our community. Kathy Fosnaugh reported that we exceeded this year’s Auction goal for a FINAL total of $20,177! And we have many fun auction events and gatherings to look forward to in the coming church year.

December brings the shorter days and longer nights, but we always look forward to the December 21st Winter Solstice Labyrinth which was a beautiful, contemplative way to spend a bit of time to celebrate the longest evening of the year in Sanctuary full of luminarios.

December 24th fell on a Sunday this year, so we enjoyed a morning Christmas Eve service with music of the season, a pancake breakfast afterwards and a White Elephant gift exchange. The day was filled with a variety of other activities including board games, walks at Cottage Lake Park, a cookie exchange, a Holiday sing-along, and an early evening service filled with music and candlelight.

What’s to come in 2024? It’s a Presidential election year, so you know we’ll get our fill of politics and many opportunities for polarization, but I hope we can continue to embrace our differences and commonalities with love, curiosity and respect.

The start of a new year is a good time to re-read and ponder our beloved WUUC covenant of relationship with one another:
We come together in the spirit of love,
creating sacred space to share life’s transitions,
embrace diversity, and grow our spirits.
As we tell our stories and deepen our bonds,
we share our hearts and help to heal the world.

Best wishes! Jan Radoslovich, WUUC Board President