May – From the Minister

Save the Date!

The Annual Meeting is a throw-back, a remnant of a simpler time when it was still possible to imagine governing a congregation—or any other complex institution—in person, voting with a literal show of literal hands, discussing and debating and applauding what deeply matters in a community face-to-face and heart-to-heart, when showing up was a sign not only of one’s own agency and self-interest, but a real sign, too, of caring for the institution and the people in it, a sign of caring and respect. In New England, many towns still are governed in this way: the citizens who live in a place and love it show up in person, once a year, to demonstrate that love. They call it “turning out to vote, ” but you can see the love. They elect a city government, allocate a budget, wrangle over public schools and potholes—but by the very act of showing up, they show faith in one another, concern for one another and the “common wealth, ” and deep love for democracy, the great experiment which relies first and always on engagement—everybody at the table.

Built on this same democratic model, Unitarian Universalist congregations are governed by congregational polity: the congregation rules, the members holding in their hands all authority to raise and spend money; elect leaders; ordain, call, and dismiss ministers; and discern their own direction, to determine who they are and who they’re called to be.

It is a beautiful, humble, and humbling process, and it can only work if you show up. It’s not for lack of innovation or imagination that the congregation governs in this retro way, convening once a year not virtually and not online, but in person in the sanctuary: it is sacred work you do, an honor and a privilege. To offer to each other your most precious gift, the gift of time (real time) and presence, is a sign of deep respect, and even reverence.

Please come. If you have signed your name in the membership book, you need to come to make the needed quorum. You need to come and vote. Don’t assume that someone else will be there in your place—please come and own your church. If you are a friend or guest, please come. We need your voice, too, and your presence and support; you are part of this community. You show up all the time: for Sunday services, for choir practice, for teaching in RE and cooking in the kitchen. You show up for Sharing Circles, for funerals and weddings, for demonstrations at the Capitol and quiet prayers when someone’s sick or needing help. It is such a retro throwback, to place your very body in the very moment— but that’s what church is all about. Once a year, at the Annual Meeting, the members of White Bear Unitarian Universalist Church show their love, their dedication, their mutual respect and care by showing up to ratify a budget and elect leaders for the year ahead. Please come. I’ll see you there!