Beacon Town Hall

~ From the Minister’s Desk ~

Greetings, it has been a couple of weeks to share thoughts from the Minister’s Desk.

First thought is what a great Town Hall meeting the community had on Sunday December 3, well facilitated by Roz Clark, and the Building Expansion Team. From where I sat, there was a spirit of openness, trust and honest sharing and communication all signs of a health congregation. It was good to have folks question the aspect of the terminology as stated in the Feasibility study of “concerns” within Beacon. As I shared in last Sunday’s service, and Nancy Paxton had earlier shared on behalf of the Committee on Shared Ministry in an article for the Enews, Beacon has many anxiety raising concerns presently within the community, or system/organization.

Here again is the information from Nancy’s article: “COSM thought it might be helpful to share some insights from Peter Steinke’s Congregational Leadership in Anxious Times: Being Calm and Courageous No Matter, which summarizes his observations as a consultant to UU congregations and other churches in transition. Steinke identifies thirteen changes that often trigger anxiety in congregations. These include:

  1. Concerns about money;  
  2. Concerns about gender roles or sexual Identity;  
  3. Concerns about the pastor’s leadership style;  
  4. Changes in lay leadership’s style;  
  5. Concerns about congregational growth;  
  6. Disagreements about how much of the congregation’s resources are given away;
  7. Traumas related to major transitions;  
  8. Staff conflicts or resignations;  
  9. Harm done to a child;  
  10. Discussions about changes like the time of Sunday services;  
  11. Disagreements about contemporary vs. traditional worship styles;  
  12. Perceived gaps between the Ideal and the Real; and
  13. Building construction.

I recognize several of these noted concerns as present within Beacon, and frankly I am #3, and I have only been with you a year and half, we’re still getting to know one another, and work more deeply and closely together. In addition, with the current model of Beacon’s Board service terms, there was the unanticipated change of five positions July first, and only two Board members carrying through to the current Board; therefore a healthy dose of #4 in the lay leadership and style of a newly formed Board, and its work with Minister and the congregation at large.

All in all much is healthy and vibrant with Beacon. Are we experiencing pains of growth, change and some congregational anxieties, yes; nevertheless, I echo Nancy in her offer to reach out and speak with me directly or any member of the Committee on Shared Ministry, or Board if we might be able to help alleviate questions or uncertainties now.

A Holiday thought as we approach the Christmas events and the hustle and bustle of the season. Several individuals ask me for the mediation I shared last Sunday, it is a good one, with thanks to Rev. Ken Sawyer, and here it is again for you. Please take a moment to take a couple of good deep breathes this busy time of year, and read his words and messaging.

To the Blessings of this Season, by Rev. Ken Sawyer

“To the blessings of this season,
may our senses be alert
and our hearts take heed,
for in a busy and sometimes tragic world,
beauty is often the comfort most sure.

To the blessings of warm, accepting human relationship,
may our hearts be open
and our minds take heed,
for in a lonely and sometimes frightening world,
friendship is often the support than upholds us.

To the blessings of high ideals and noble aspirations,
may our minds be open,
and our hands take heed,
for in a troubled and sometimes dangerous world,
justice is often the hope that sustains us.

Forgiving each other and ourselves for all we do not sense,
for the love we do not share,
for the acts of justice we avoid,
let us treasure the parts of ourselves that do respond.

Blessed be the life that comforts, sustains and upholds us,
    and blessed be we who do, now and then, awaken to its grace.”


Grateful to be on the journey with you,

Happy Holidays,

Rev. Kevin