January From the Minister

Thanks to the generous vision of lay leaders here, White Bear UU Church grants 8 weeks of paid leave to new parents on the birth or adoption of a child. This leave may be extended by 4 additional paid weeks of accumulated Paid Time Off (PTO). We are thrilled that Rev. Sara and Shawn Goodman, together with big-brother-to-be Jamie, will welcome a new baby later this month. We’re so proud and pleased that they can take the time they need to settle in to the new shape of their family.

Rev. Sara will be away on parental leave from January 15 to April 1. While Sara’s away, I’ll serve as ministry liaison to the committees and programs in her portfolio, with help from Rev. Jack Gaede and many volunteers. Here’s a quick reminder about whom to contact with questions, ideas, or concerns about congregational life:

Rev. Sara (or Victoria, while Sara is on leave)
Pastoral Care—visits, counsel, Sunday meditations
Adult Spiritual Development— Theme Circles, Wellspring class, Third Thursday Group, Wednesday forums, other classes and groups 
Gallery Committee / art exhibits

Rev. Jack
Coming of Age ministry
Belonging and Community—Sunday Welcome Teams, Membership classes, opportunities to serve and connect
Building Bridges class (w/ Amy Peterson Derrick)
Philippines Pilgrimage (w/ Nico Van Ostrand)

Worship—Sunday services and special services
Rites of Passage—weddings, memorials, child dedications
Administration and Financial Development
Social Action (including Facing Race and Sanctuary, trans inclusion, etc.)

All of our portfolios shift and overlap, and all of our work is shared by and takes place in relation to the ministries held by Amy Peterson Derrick and Nico Van Ostrand in Religious Education; Anna Gehres, Betsy Bance and Erin Scott in Administration; our Music Director Thaxter Cunio and Principal Musician Carol Caouette; and Facilities Staff John Sisterman and Connie Ruiz. This is a strong and dedicated team, working closely with the Board of Directors, lay leaders and dozens of volunteers. Sometimes it feels as elegantly choreographed as a honeybee hive or an ant colony or a murmuration of birds in mid-flight; sometimes it’s a whole lot more chaotic and random than anything extant in the rest of the natural world—but it is a beautiful dance we’re doing here together, you and us and all of us, growing our souls and serving the world.

Sara, we’ll miss you in the coming weeks. Rest well; sleep a little if you can; tell your baby all about us; hold your children close and rock them through the winter on into the beautiful spring; and know that while you’re gone, we’ll think of you with gratitude and love.

–Rev. Victoria Safford