My art and spirituality teacher, Melanie Weidner, taught us when judging our own art harshly to just say, “That’s not what I expected.” Well, Spring 2020 is certainly not what I expected! In one of her classes I anguished a lot over the question of “What does ministry look like in retirement?” Thanks to the Gettysburg congregation and all you at UUFP, that question has been largely resolved. Ministry is the privilege of being with people in good times and bad, listening and learning, sharing what I have learned, holding some of your pain and joy, and helping to become the people you are meant to be. But now we are all facing a new and unexpected question: What does ministry, congregational life, love, humanity look like in a time of pandemic?
The board and the ministers have been meeting by Zoom to try to answer those questions. Thanks to Erica Duske for quickly setting up a Facebook group called UUFP Conversation, where we can all post and comment and share. It’s a private group, for UUFP members and friends, so it will be safe and friendly. Dave and I have been posting questions and pictures and little essays, for your consideration and response. If you are a regular Facebook user, just ask Erica to approve you and jump in. If you are not, this might be a good time to join, at least this little group. It would be much more fun for all of us if most of us were there together, on your schedule.
Also, we would like to create one-on-one opportunities for connection. You can phone the ministers (on Dave’s number only; my phone picked a bad time to give up the ghost, but I’d be glad to talk with you), or email us. We are also hoping to create a whole congregation pastoral exchange, with the ministers and half a dozen volunteers. But what is the best platform for you? Would you like a phone call, an email, or a paper and stamp card? Would any artists, young (who are all artists) or adult* be willing to make and send cards to those for whom electronic communication is not the best mode? Please let me know via the UUFP email what you would like to receive, and especially what you would be willing to initiate. If it’s just the ministers, I don’t think we can manage weekly contacts.
What else should we be doing as a community? How can we help? How can you help? Would someone like to collect and curate an archive of material for our spiritual descendants, so they can know how we lived our UU values in this time. (And, no doubt also, how we whined and failed and struggled and survived). Please share your needs and ideas.
Ministry, said the Rev. Gordon McKeemon, is all that we do together. Our “together” is a little odd just now, but it is ministry for sure.
*An artist is not a special kind of person; every person is a special kind of artist.