Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
“We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person.”
Sunday Mornings at 10:30
BHK Building (700 Park Ave. in Houghton).
Enter on north side, off Waterworks Drive.
01: Ruth Baker, 4: Mary Kuure and Peter Mayer, 10: Lucy Anderson and Marge Shannette, 14: Christopher Held, 17: Trish Helsel and Megan Brueggeman, 20: Patti Lins and Terry Sharik, 23: Tai Casper and Cindy Harrison, 24: Annike Wheeler, 25: Merle Kindred, 29: Debby Fedewa.
As always, if anyone is missing from this list (or any of the birthday lists), or if you do NOT wish your birthday published, please notify Linda Belote (email@example.com).
KUUF To Welcome Rev. Parks
Board President Will Cantrell announced in late Nov. that Rev. Gabriele Parks has agreed to join the KUUF as Interim Minister. Rev Parks begins her time with us on Feb 1, 2014.
Rev. Parks, who currently lives in Maryland, offers some personal information about herself:
“I have been married to my husband Roger since 1983. We have twin daughters. My daughter Michaela has cerebral palsy, which has slightly delayed her intellectual and social development. However, she is high functioning and bi-lingual, like the rest of the family.”
“By the way, I was born in Germany. I have lived in the US since 1991, and am an American citizen.”
When asked about her relationship to weather, Rev Parks said “I like snow. I’m from Bavaria. And we are buying four snow tires before we get to Michigan!”
Deadline for January Newsletter
Send info to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Thursday, Friday, December 27th.
Celebrations Committee to Meet The Celebrations committee will meet Dec. 2 at 11 am in the KUUF office to plan the Winter Solstice service. All are welcome to join and help with the planning.
Announces New Staff
The membership committee thanks Lynn Anderson for volunteering to be responsible for sending the birthday cards, beginning in December, and also thanks Miyoko Wisti for being card-mailer back-up.
Green Sanctuary Reading Group
Announces Winter Schedule
December: No physical meeting; nominate and choose spring reading selections
January 27: Boom Bust Boom by Bill Carter
Green sanctuary book group, please send your nominations (title of book and author's name) to email@example.com between Dec 1 and Dec 25. Voting will begin Dec 26 thru Jan 15. Thank you!
Note: all meetings are in the KUUF Office (Trinity Episcopal Church, upper level) at 7 p.m. and last about 1 ½ hours.
Interim Ministry: What to Expect
Editor’s Note: with the arrival in Feb. of Gabriele Park, our interim minister, the congregation may need some explanation of this title, and what we should expect from Rev. Park.
Bob Fiandt, our book review editor, has kindly agreed to abstract “A Different Country” by Judith Walker-Riggs, who explains what to expect from an Interim Ministry.
When congregations employ an Interim Minister, writer Walker-Riggs begins, both the Fellowship members and the new Interim Minister will discover that they are in different circumstances—a different country—from the previous called ministry with which they are more familiar. The Interim Minister’s responsibility is to lead the transition during the time between two different categories of ministers—an interim and a settled or permanent minister.
The Interim Minister and the Board of Trustees may designate a Transition Team to help make the interim experience become the best it can be. “This group can give the interim invaluable information about the congregations’s culture and circumstances,” Walker-Riggs says.
A Transition Team has a different function from the Committee on Ministry. Because of this, any current Committee on Ministry should temporarily step aside during the time that the interim is in place.
With the leaders hip of the Interim, she adds, the Transitioin T4eam may foster projects designed to help the Interim with her duties. As the Transition Team provides leadership, it provides the message that the entire congregation is responsible for helping the minister with her interim tasks. Learning about the direction that the congregation is heading is important information for everyone.
Author Walker-Riggs reminds us that all types of change increases anxiety in people, especially those who may already be anxious. “It is not unusual for church member to be anxious when faced with the uncertainty surrounding a new interim minister.”
Regardless of the origin of a congregation’s anxiety, the fellowship may want to rush through the interim experience if not eliminate it in order to move on to the next step, locating a settled minister. ‘The Interim minister’s role, however, is to encourage them to substitute thoughtful reflection and deliberate decision-making for thoughtless, reactive behavior.” Interim Ministers tend to report to the Board in a different fashion than the previous called minister, sometimes to evaluate the advancement made on interim tasks.
Walker-Riggs explains that “the difference between interim ministry as consultative ministry and called ministry as relation ministry.” In other words, the Interim Minister’s purpose is to be a consultant, someone who helps a congregation move towards the selection of a permanent, settled minister.
The Board, the Interim, and the Transition Team must work together to help promote the necessary work of congregation experimentation. “Coaching a change as an experiment and asking congregants to comment at the end of three or six months rather than immediately,” is a good strategy, Walker-Riggs says.
Walker-Riggs begins, in this different country, one of the most important changes involves relationships—called ministry relies on the strength of relationships, while interim ministry does not usually concern relationships with individual members.
During a period of transition, she continues, timely work includes evaluating the entire congregational system. “Doing so requires some emotional distance to discern patterns of complexity and interdependence within the congregation: the many circular, familial, and interlocking relationships amid the whole.”
The interim period is an appropriate time to review how the complete organization works in a specific case, and disseminate those insights to everyone involved as a fresh perspective.
It is critical, Walker-Riggs says, that both members and their leaders develop an understanding of the distinction between Called Ministry and Interim Ministry. “One way to increase this understanding is for the interim, the Transition Team, and the Board to talk about the differences explicitly and publicly.”
In this different country there is an unusual relationship, such that some may find an interim minister unfriendly—this unusual relationship should be made clear during the interim period. One reason for this seeming coldness may be the following: “the Unitarian Universalist Association’s (UUA) transitions director and the Interim Ministry Guild agree that interims will serve a congregation no longer than two years.”
It may lessen members’ anxiety by telling them if they know that a plan is in place that includes the departure of the Interim. The Interim is hired by the Board, instead of being called by the membership. Only the Board and the Interim define the terms of the agreement.
The Fellowship must help the Interim Minister adapt, Walker-Riggs concludes. Interims move frequently—every one to two years. It is important for congregations to help in this process. It is significant for the Board and Transition Team, as agents of the congregation, to be deliberate about assisting the Interim adjust to new circumstances. “Graciously welcoming the new minister is a fine way for congregants and Interim alike to begin mutually guided tours of the new country that is interim.”
Celebrations Committee Explains Structure and Purpose
Editor’s Note: the Celebrations Committee members have assembled an explanation of their role in the KUUF. They encourage other committees to contribute a similar document.
The committee’s purpose is to develop a range of ways to express UU concepts and beliefs through Sunday services, and to sponsor and organize inclusive social events.
Current members include Sharon Emley, Harriet King, Shirley Galbraith, Sharon Levine, Oren Tikkanen, Jan Dalquist-Chair.
The committee began in the fall of 2012, arising from the Celebrations group that was formed duiring the strategic planning process, which ended in the fall of 2012.
PO Box 276
Houghton, MI 49931
The Committee meets irregularly—about every 6-8 weeks-- to share ideas, select a theme, discuss methods and then make a plan.
The Committee prepares and presents the service for Fifth Sundays, special holidays, and social events. Programs since December 2012 have included: "The Boar's Head" Solstice service, a Sharing Service for the New Year, 7-Plus suppers in Spring and Fall of 2013, Mardi Gras service with the Backroom Boys, and many others.
The combination Thanksgiving/Chanukah/UU Principles service in November is from the committee, after which planning will begin for a Solstice celebration in December.
TO FIND OUT MORE -- We encourage people to participate in this open committee by talking to a committee member coming to a meeting to observe and/or to participate join in the planning for a specific activity, program or Sunday service. Contact Harriet at 906-281-7122 or firstname.lastname@example.org