Who among us would have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic would still be adversely affecting our world today? We closed our physical doors just over a year ago, believing it would be temporary - perhaps a month or so. It has been a challenging time for all of our members, families, and friends as each of us has had to make hard choices on how best to cope.
Our first Pandemic Pledge drive was delayed and then extended. We discontinued all in-person events, moved everything to Zoom (and then YouTube and Facebook), applied for and received a Payroll Protection Plan loan to ensure we could pay our staff, budgeted as best we knew how and worked hard to make sure our community stayed connected and cared for.
Today, we are still here and, in many ways, we’re even stronger. Our theme for this pledge is the circle, a symbol of wholeness and oneness, and also one of relationship - without a beginning or an end - symbolizing strong connections between the past and the future and the present.
How is our circle stronger today?
- Compared to many, UUUF is in good shape physically and financially
- We have an amazing Director of Religious Education and dedicated staff who provide innovative ways to keep our kids (and their families) engaged
- We have a highly skilled Congregational Administrator who pivoted to working remotely and is keeping our communication and day-to-day details on track
- We have a youth group that provides a safe virtual space for our teens and safe outdoor activities
- We have added covenant groups, congregational reads, a meditation group, a parent support group, and a millennial group to our calendar. While mostly virtual, we’re starting to add some in-person events, as well
- Our Inquiring Minds (adult-discussion group) continues to flourish
- Our men and women’s groups continue to offer support
- The Social Action Committee, newly invigorated, is providing us with boots-on-the-ground options, faith-in-action speakers, education on legislative issues, and an understanding of homelessness and housing/food insecurity in our community leading to ways we can make a difference
- Our A/V team and Program Planning have learned new skills and are dedicated to providing smooth quality programming every Sunday
- Pastoral care is ongoing thanks to the dedication of individual members
- And, all the rest: Facilities, IT, Finance, Rentals, Hospitality, and your Board!
How can we widen our circle?
When you look at the theme photo above what is the first thing you see? Do you notice the drop of water? The circle it forms? The ripples that begin to spread out? All still in the shape of a circle? Hold all that imagery in your mind and dream for a minute about widening our circle! What could that mean?
- Marketing strategies to reach more people who should be UU’s
- Facility upgrades so our building is more accessible and welcoming
- Hybrid services, combining in-person and online, so more can attend
- Hiring a minister on a part-time basis to help guide us in growing our faith both personally and in the community
- Hosting interfaith events in our space
- Assuring our staff are fairly compensated in benefits and wages per UUA guidelines
- Providing leadership development opportunities for our members
- Becoming a beacon of inclusiveness in our community
- Committing to diversity, welcoming congregation, and outreach
A group of clever people is working on some ingenious ways to make this year’s pledge drive fun even though we will still be remote. The Pledge Drive campaign is set for April 4 through April 24 with a special surprise event during the evening on the 24th! Details soon!
Every member and friend of UUUF is an important part of our circle. The ripples each of us create every time we participate in an event, connect with another member, share our faith with someone, or make a financial contribution serve to widen and strengthen our circle. Together, we can WIDEN OUR CIRCLE and be a blessing to our members and to our community. We are grateful for your past financial support and for the dedication of time, talents, and patience you’ve contributed during this unusual year. Please reflect on your relationship with this fellowship and on how wonderful it will be to share our experiences and our faith with even more in our community. Please be as generous as you are able this year and help WIDEN OUR CIRCLE.
With gratitude for each of you because each of us matters,
The Board of your University Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Martha, Anne, Lorraine, Sara, Kelly, Amy, and Karen
P.S. Can you imagine how much fun our first returning potluck is going to be?
P.P.S. Online pledging will be available on the website by April 4. Please email Sara, firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (407)808-8795 (Martha) to have a pledge form mailed.