The Different Drummer - September 2009
Musings from the Minister
This summer in preparation for a trip to Ohio which my family and I will make over the Labor Day weekend, I have done a lot of soul searching. The major reason for the trip was an invitation to return to the church where I began my ministry and served for twelve years before moving here to Connecticut, to offer a service and to allow the congregation to celebrate the importance of my ministry to the life and history of the congregation.
When I first arrived at that church, it was old and tired. You couldn't see many signs of life from the outside. Inside was a small group of people who realized they were, in a sense, the church’s last hope. This small group of stalwarts realized that if they did not transform the way they did church, their beloved community would die and the building and all of its history would be lost.
They had to set aside a lot of pride in the way they had kept things going, largely on their own for many years, and accept that this young (29-year-old), newly minted minister knew things about bringing health and vitality to a church that they didn't—in spite of their age, wisdom and devotion to their church.
Somewhere along the line, I grew up and so did the congregation. I served that congregation through three size transitions, the acquisition of new property and renovations to the old, as well as through many births, dedications, weddings and deaths. I came to think of that church and that community as my own. I think many of them felt an ownership and pride in the ministry we had crafted together. Then one morning I stood in the pulpit and announced that I would be leaving. It was hard to do, but I knew the time was right for both of us to move forward. And so we parted ways, and as partings so often are, it was bittersweet.
Five years have passed since I left Ohio. We have spent five years together. What a surprise that is! Where did the time go? I am no longer the young minister of 29. I am an experienced 17-year veteran of UU parish ministry, and I have been invited to celebrate a successful relationship. I don't know what it is that I feel… a strange sense of joy, and terror. I am looking back and wondering how time has passed by so quickly, and I am wondering how I managed to do both so much and so little of what I wanted to accomplish.
All this thinking about my own journey helped me feel a desire to plunge into the history of UUCGB as well, a history that is not currently well recorded although it does seem much of the documentation exists.
This Fall we will embark on a journey of discovery together as we work with our Clara Barton District Executive to clarify our mission and goals for the year and years ahead....but we must always remind ourselves that we are where we are today because of the journey we have taken....and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I look forward to seeing you all in church!
Rev. Julie-Ann Silberman-Bunn