Rev. Lora Brandis
In preparing to call a minister, Unitarian Universalist congregations fill out a rather lengthy congregational record filled with questions about church history, financials and hopes for a new ministry. One question Horizon answered about three years ago is important to revisit as we prepare for the mission and vision workshop on August 18th (starting at 10am).Does the congregation have a mission -- not a mission statement, but a glowing coal at its center -- and if so, what is it?
Here is how you answered that question three years ago: “The mission at the core of our congregation is to support, empower and expand our beloved community. We offer a safe haven for those who come from religious and political backgrounds that may have caused turmoil in their lives. We embrace those seeking the freedom to explore their own spiritual paths, a new experience for many among us. We provide opportunities for outreach and human connection in all we do. The glowing coal at the center of our congregation is the love and sense of hope we extend to all who walk through our doors.”
This glowing coal at the center of this church is one way to tell Horizon’s story. There are others. We can put together timelines and dates. We can sit at the feet of our elders (Marty Robinson is one) and hear how they tell the story. UU minister Vanessa Rush Southern writes, “In the end, our job is to choose the version of the congregation’s story that is about life and where God/spirit/love is calling the community now.”
I have been re-reading Horizon’s long congregational record from three years ago to re-familiarize myself with the story in preparation for our work on the 18th. Here are some excerpts that tell a version of the congregation’s story that is about life and where God/spirit/love was calling the community three years ago. Together, on Saturday August 18th, we’ll decide if this is still the version of the story that works and where life/God/spirit/love is calling us now.
From the work of the search committee, leaders, staff and small group gatherings: “Horizon is a loving community of UU pioneers on the suburban plains of North Texas. We have a 27-year history of being a theologically diverse group dedicated to worshiping together on Sunday mornings throughout the year. We are a teaching church that has helped set the course for ten ministerial candidates to experience their calling through our intern program. We are a generous bunch having raised the funds for the purchase of over six acres of land, construction of our church building, and a recent addition. We are debt free and positioned for growth. Our lay leadership is strong, we are flexible, and we manage anxiety in a healthy way.”
And this: “We are a congregation on the cusp of greater participation in Social Justice, growth of our membership and our church campus. We love our traditions and stories and look forward to opening our arms to a new minister and creating the next chapter in the life of our church together. Keep your eyes on our Horizon – our UU spirits are ready to soar!”
Come August 18th at 10am and get ready to soar!