Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Meetings and Meeting

For the past week I have been with the congregation I am serving as an Interim Minister, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Midland Michigan. In fact, this is my inaugural article for Celestial Lands written in the ministerial study of the Fellowship. They are a congregation easy to love, in a community that has a definite need for a liberal voice… both of the congregation and of a public minister of liberal faith.

Well established UU Fellowship with a long history of ministry… conservative community… churches on just about every street corner… in a town where even I, straight white military chaplain, get to be the flaming liberal… Hip Hip Horray! David version of Heaven.

This week, I have been facilitating small group (cottage) meetings with members of the congregation, where they can ask me whatever they want about who I am, my understanding and practice of ministry, and what I am bringing with me to this year I will spend among the congregation. I am asking those who attend these small groups (and the large potluck tonight) a few other questions… What brought you to join the Fellowship? What is your passion, your bliss, as Joseph Campbell would say? What hopes and dreams are you carrying with you?

The responses have been amazing, they have warmed my heart, and they have been a wonderful way for me to meet them and for the congregation to get to know me.

Amid all of this “meeting”, there have also been “meetings”. I have had meetings with the stewardship chair, the chair of the search committee, the board, the worship committee, the church Secretary and Sexton, and many, many others. All of these meetings had a purpose, many had an agenda, and most had some project, goals, or timeline that we were centering around.

What has struck me among these two different tasks, meeting and meetings, is that perhaps all of our meetings should also be about meeting. We sometimes get so focused on the stated purpose of our meetings, of getting the budget draft done, or approving the building use policy, or planning for the stewardship campaign, that we forget that in each of these meetings, we are also supposed to be meeting. We are supposed to be encountering each other as fully authentic human beings, not just in the social life of the congregation, but in all that we do as members of a liberal faith tradition.

While this should probably be true for all of humanity, it should especially be apparent to us of liberal faith. We understand that none of us are static human beings, that we are all constantly in flux.  I am a different person today than I was when I arrived in Midland on Sunday, for the experiences of this week and meeting these people. Each day we are, as Rev. Rob Hardies and others have said “born again, and again, and again…”

We of liberal faith are called to remember that, though the business of all of our “meetings” are essential and must be done… perhaps the more fundamental task of our religious community is found in the “meeting”.

Yours in faith,

Rev. David

6 Thoughts on “Meetings and Meeting

  1. Not gonna lie, I’m totally taking notes on your new congregation meeting methods. And planning on stealing them. =)

  2. Do my eyes deceive me?

    Surely that’s not a gigantic cross I see behind the pulpit. 😉

  3. AEA, my dear friend…

    I’ll be happy to report on what my methods were… oh, wait, we’re in CPE together, so I kinda have to report to you on what my methods have been… 😉


    You’re eyes do deceive you, although funny how that has worked out. What’s funnier is that though you asked, a few of my ministerial colleauges sent me emails asking the same question…

    No, not a cross… its an optical illusion. What you are seeing is the rolled up projection screen in front of one of the roof-beams of the sanctuary.

    Funny though….

    Yours in faith,


  4. Ok, I changed the photo so it is one from the other direction… no more confusion about there being a huge cross behind the pulpit…

    Yours in Faith,


  5. There is kind of a cross in this one too, in the middle of the stained glass. Maybe one of the chalice pictures?

  6. Who knew there were so many crosses appearing in the Fellowship Sanctuary…

    That one looks like a Celtic pagan cross, so it’s probably okay…

    Yours in Faith,


Leave a Reply

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: