Letter from the President – September 13, 2018

Where do we come from? Who are we? Where are we going?
These are the words to another familiar Unitarian Universalist hymn, words very appropriate to our current journey as a congregation. This song is sung as a round, with the counterpoint chanting: Mystery. Mystery. Life is a riddle and a mystery. That’s great for spiritual exploration, but not so great for transparency in governance. So let’s break down this hymn a little, and the process of where are congregation is going,

Where do we come from?
We are the longest continuously operating Unitarian Church in New Jersey. Our church was built in 1889, with land donated by Plainfield’s first mayor (and our first board president), Job Male. But even before 1889, we were a community of liberal religious people, seeking to serve the Plainfield community. For 129 years, we have been at the forefront of social justice and local action, from Civil Rights work to affirming the rights of the LGBTQ community, to direct action to help the poor and serve the needs of the people of Plainfield.

Who are we?
We are a group of people who live our Unitarian Universalist values and principles together. We provide a safe space for life-long spiritual growth. We have a clear mission and vision.

Together we seek to grow as a vibrant presence in our community through sharing our welcoming faith and working to build a just world.

First Unitarian Society: A welcoming, inclusive community to feed the human spirit, to inspire compassionate action, and to serve as a beacon of justice and love.

We are a covenanted community, where we make promises to each other about how we treat each other, and have a clear path to communicate our pain when someone hurts us, and to forgive and be forgiven.

Our mission is to grow. Our mission is to share. Our mission is to be welcoming and inclusive.

Our community is a safe community, with explicit Safe Congregations policies and procedures. We work to create a safe environment for our children, youth, and adults by making sure that we have appropriate guidelines for supervision and safety, and that those guidelines are followed. All of the members of our community have the right to worship free of physical or emotional harm.

Our community will be a mission-driven community, and we will put our money where our mission is.

Where are we going?
The Replant Team has identified 5 rental locations that meet our needs, all in Union County. We shared these locations and discussed their pros and cons with members at last Sunday’s Replant meeting. We have shared these locations with our consultant, who will review key demographic information about each location and share that information with the Board. The Board will use this information to make final recommendations to the congregation at our Congregational Meeting on October 21st.

Timeline:

September: finalize rental space choices, meet with Replant team, make recommendations to the Board of Trustees for location.

October: Congregational meeting: we will vote yes or no to the rental space, make any necessary budget adjustments to the 2018-2019 budget. Yard sale.

November: Heritage Sunday, November 4th. Begin holding services in new rental location, if available. (non-worship activities can continue at 724 Park Ave through Dec. 31)

December 24th: Candlelight Service 724 Park Ave.

December-February: plan pledge campaign, marketing plan, staffing plan for the 2019-2020 church year

September 2019: grand opening of our new community

Mystery, mystery, life is a riddle and a mystery
We do not know the shape of things to come. Will we thrive in our new location? Will that location be permanent?  Who will we serve? Who will come through our doors? What will we look like in 10 years? In 129 years? Who knows? One thing is for sure, we will still be here, serving our new community and living our mission.

-Melissa Logan
President, Board of Trustees
First Unitarian Society of Plainfield

p.s. final Board listening session this Friday7 pm in my home. Please RSVP to president@fusp.org if you plan to attend.