“Without vision, the people perish."
These ancient words still ring true. Without vision, we will perish. Without a clear idea of both who we are and what we are doing as a congregation, we are at best a social club, and eventually nothing. A church is only as strong as the shared reasons it has for gathering. One way that we hold that close is by articulating it in mission and vision statements. Mission statements talk about what we do, and vision statements talk about who we are (or at least who we want to be!).
About a decade ago, when I was an active member here (that is, before I left to attend seminary) and on the board of trustees, our congregation undertook a mission and vision process over the course of most of a year, culminating in these statements:
With Open Hearts, Open Arms, and Open Minds, we seek to make meaning, make
connections, and make a difference.
Members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Brazos Valley know and value ourselves and are valued throughout the Brazos Valley for:
Our love, warmth, and compassion, celebrating life’s joys and offering comfort for its sorrows;
Our radically inclusive hospitality, offering hope and affirmation for all people; and
Our inquiring faith explored and our respect for many paths and sources of religious inspiration.
In this spirt we, as a community of faith, seek to:
Make Meaning as an ever-deepening spiritual community engaging with all we find sacred;
Make Connections within our congregation, across generations, and out to the wider community, across differences of all kinds; and
Make a Difference in empowering every person, young and old, to serve others in daily acts great and small, to sustain the world and make it whole.
I share these with you to remind you of them, or to introduce them to you for the first time if you haven’t seen them previously! This year, we will engage these statements, talk about how we have lived them out, are living them out, and might live them out in the future, including as we prepare to move to a new physical location and into a new era of ministry. We will also talk about whether we need to update and adjust these statements. Mostly, though, I hope we have the opportunity to be together (albeit virtually), to talk about what matters, and to recommit to the shared purpose and values of this great congregation.