I’m in a season of deep gratitude. I am excited about Kyna Shilling joining UCUCC as Director of Finance and Operations. I’m grateful to her for reaching out and then saying yes, and to the search committee that found her. I’m already appreciating her gifts, skills, intelligence, integrity, knowledge, and graciousness.
And in these last weeks before my retirement, I’m looking back over these last twenty-two years at UCUCC with thanksgiving. My years as a banker and then as Associate Director of Multifaith AIDS Project/Multifaith Works were great grounding and experience. When I arrived here I felt that I had reached a long-held dream, or longing, or call. And this ministry, and you, have held my heart, my passion, my commitment ever since.
I think back over projects and initiatives we’ve done together. I celebrate the ways we’ve moved this ministry forward: New Cornerstones and the Imagine capital campaigns and projects, which undergirded our ability to support and continue the $200,000 worth of ministry and mission activity that this building makes possible every year
I remember retirements and leavings of leadership staff members, of program staff, and administrative staff, wonderful colleagues with whom I shared hard work and vital ministry. I celebrate the commitments to care and justice: ongoing programming, our first Nicklesville hosting and other Tent City and Mary’s Place hostings. And other hostings we have done over the years, some behind the scenes. Commitments to existing programs while being open to new ones. I appreciate our ways of saying good-bye to programs that served a faithful purpose, and whose time had come to an end, and ways we’ve welcomed new ones whose time arrived. I’m grateful for your support for my work in the national UCC biennial General Synod, and for even asking sometimes about the really wonky work I’ve done there!
The church has a variety of seasons, including Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost. Seasons of focus and attention. And the church also has another season, called Ordinary Time: the season between the major ones. And Ordinary Time is my favorite season. I’ve felt that our time here has likewise had lots of Ordinary Time: time when we carry out our work and ministry, when we serve, care, worship, sing, support. When we make a difference with ongoing, often quiet care and commitment, when we move forward in hope and in service. When we appreciate each other, love and support and care for each other, and carry on…
Through the ordinary time and the other, there’s been a constant—wonderful people. I’m grateful for the many times of joy: births, new friends, graduations, commitments and daily life. And I’m grateful for being together in times of sorrow and pain: losses through death or changes in life, challenging situations—some painful at the time yet where good surfaced out of the pain, learning how to say good-bye, bless you. We’ve served God together, and I look back with gratitude.