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August President's Column

As we approach August of 2020, I must confess that I have mixed emotions related to our congregational

life. The first emotion I reflect upon is gratitude -- gratitude for the leadership and support of our two-year contract minister, the Reverend Donna Renfro. She has inspired me with her creative sermons. her small group discussions, and work with the various committees, especially the Sacred Space Team. These expe

riences and one-on-one conversations have challenged me to reflect on my own leadership skills and my “whiteness”. I strive to conside

r how I might work to not only dismantle racism, but to work toward anti-racism. It’s an on-going learning and “doing” process and I am grateful that she has given me some tools to use in this important work. By changing ourselves, we can change the world.

There are other reasons for my gratitude, but I’ll move on to another emotion: sadness in having to say good-bye to Rev. Donna. I have enjoyed working with her in many roles and will miss her wisdom and insights into life in a small congregation. With the pandemic, I am sad that we cannot have an in-person event to end this minister-congregation relationship. I encourage you to join us in the next “best-thing”-- an Aloha Wave Drive-by on Sunday, August 2, at 2:30 pm. Wearing your tropical colors and your smiles, meet at the parking lot at the corner of Welsh and Deacon where we will start our parade of waves. Create a farewell sign to display and leave with her as we drive-by her residence. As a parting gift, we will create a digita

l scrapbook of your pictures, selfies, memories and celebratory remarks (please send these to Nancy at by 8/12/20).

As we say good-bye to one minister in August, we say hello to another one -- our new interim minister, the Reverend Christian Schmidt who will start on August 15. This creates in me an emotion of excitement and anticipation of “things to come” -- as well as uncertainty about how this will work since he will be tele-commuting from Maryland. Prior to the pandemic, this option would not even have been thought of -- but now, working -- and worshipping -- from home has become the norm for most of us. So, why not “ministry”? During his time with us, we will begin and complete construction on our new building. But what else, will he do WITH us from afar?

We, as members of this congregation, will answer this question during a virtual “start-up” session on August 29 -- using Zoom and/or Go

ogle Meet. Check the church calendar for the exact time, which is yet to be determined. One of the staff members of the Unitarian Universalist Association Southern Region will facilitate this workshop. I encourage everyone to attend. So, what will happen at this workshop? While your board, Rev. Christian, and the Southern Region staff haven’t determined the details yet, typically these workshops help a minister and a congregation with relationships, expectations, and goals which will jump-start a successful interim ministry. We use storytelling to share history that helps integrate newcomers, including Rev. Christian, and can give us a window into our congregation’s strengths and self-image. Hopefully, we will identify our congregational norms, which might be healthy or unhealthy, and we can discuss how to change the unhealthy ones and keep the healthy ones. We will aim to lay-out our expectations for Rev. Christian and help him to express his expectations of us. In other words, we will use this session to guide us during our time with Rev. Christia

n. By experiencing the start-up together, we will strengthen our relationships with each other, the staff, and Rev. Christian. Experiencing a successful start-up workshop together will be invaluable as we begin our new interim ministry together.

See you on the 29th of August -- and in worship on Sundays!

Blessings, Gaye Webb

Photo by Raychan on Unsplash

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