October Recap & Introducing the Committee on Ministry

Thanks, everyone for another great month at Westside. In worship, we focused on the theme of “Relationship,” which led to such beautiful and gratifying programs.

Many thanks to all who kicked off October at the Community Connections Retreat, both organizers and attendees. I was so impressed by the number of people who dedicated so many hours on a beautiful fall weekend to be together and learn about how to navigate conflict with more care and intention.

With Lisa Reitzes’ leadership, Deb Dahrling of PFLAG and Scott Farrell helped us to honor National Coming Out Day with their stories. It is always important to be reminded that family is what we make it, and finding people we can be authentic with is a journey toward home.

For third Sunday programming, our UU parenting group continued to get to know each other & connect, and members of the Right Relations Core Team hosted an impromptu community circle to process the unfolding violence in Israel and Gaza. I am grateful that this space was available for folks, and am glad to see we are getting practice using the Community Circle format for a variety of needs that arise.

This past Sunday, it was a joy for me to worship together with y’all again. I am leaving with much gratitude for all our musicians, including our special guest Kathleen Tracy, who helped bring this service to life. Sometimes, preparing for a service can be a lonely process, but I always am in a place of joy and connection when sharing worship with everyone at Westside. I think of days past when I had to preach in an empty sanctuary to a camera. A necessary act of love and care in those times, but not the kind of worship I followed my calling for. Thanks for showing up to share worship with me, with each other.

And, behind the scenes, this month saw the beginning of a new church committee: the committee on ministry. This is a group of lay people who will help me reflect on my ministry at Westside and advise me on important professional development work.

To give you a bit more information, here’s a note from committee member, Laura Pierce:

Rick Taylor, Don Wahl, and I will serve as members on the CoM, meeting periodically with Rev. Carter. Our goals are to support her in her professional development as a minister and to serve as a sounding board.  We will also support her in meeting the UUA’s requirements for annual “renewals” during the first three years of her ministry, which is accomplished through submission of a packet of information that includes evaluation by the board and CoM as well as a professional development plan and other evidence of success and growth.

We do want you all to know that while we may from time to time seek out feedback from the congregation, this is not a complaint committee. If you at any time have concerns about Rev. Carter’s performance or behavior, these should be addressed directly with her if possible, or shared via an email to the Board President.

All three of us are excited to serve on this committee. We invite you to join us in supporting our new minister, who has courageously taken on the difficult job of shepherding our congregation. Further, she is doing this on a part-time basis.  We enter this work with joy and gratitude, and we will provide periodic updates to the Board of Trustees and the congregation as we learn and grow together.

At the end of our first meeting, I left feeling very cared for by this group. In our time together, we plan to not only talk about the day to day tasks of ministry, but also to ask each other generative questions to help us reflect more broadly about this work. As with any committee or group that I work with at Westside, I feel a real sense of shared ministry, and look forward to what we will experience, create, and share together.

I hope you all have exactly the Halloween/Samhain you’re looking for. I look forward to seeing what November has in store for us.

Until then, blessings to you,

Rev. Carter

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