Jan. 9, 2019

A word from Rev. Justine Sullivan

So come the storms of winter and the birds of spring again, I do not count the time.

~ Sandy Denny from the song “Who knows where the time goes?”

Happy New Year!  2019. I can remember one day long ago, waiting for my 8th grade Math class to start, I began thinking about the year 2000, which seemed so far away.  I calculated how old I would be in that year – well into my 30s. Impossible! And yet, here we are well past the year 2000 and me well past my 30s. At this time of year, shifting from one to the next, it is customary to look back and review.  We did that some in worship on December 23d; past president Allen Perry spoke about the first half of 2018, much of it spent getting ready for the big move. And then Treasurer Paul Moss spoke about his experience of the move itself and how it has been to be here, to have arrived in this new place.  And then something unexpected and wonderful happened; others of you began to speak about your experience of this amazing place, not just the physical space, but all the work and the love that so many of you have put into making this a truly beautiful and welcoming spiritual home. We heard from young and old, longtime members, and newbies – all aching to share their love for this community of faith.  We will take time to do more storytelling and reminiscing in these next months leading up to our celebration on Sunday, April 28th (SAVE THE DATE) when we will dedicate our new building and grounds. Your stories are and will be a sacred part of this amazing journey.

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the teacher training for our religious education teachers.  A few of the teachers have children in the program, but more than half of them do not have children in the program; this is highly unusual compared to other congregations I have known.  This demonstrates to me (and to all who come here) that there is a love that reaches across generations – adults and children learning together, creating the beloved community here and now.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of teaching and learning with our children, I urge you to get involved. You don’t have to do it alone; you would always be paired with a seasoned teacher, and you won’t have to jump in until you are ready.  This summer we will offer a “Chalice Camp.” This is a week-long summer camp for rising 1st through 6th graders planned for the week of July 6th. We’ll need lots of adults to help out to make it work; consider getting involved. More information will be forthcoming about that.

Speaking of Religious Education, we have found our new Director of Religious Education (DRE)!  Current DRE Sally Daniel graciously offered to serve as interim until we could hire a permanent replacement.  We assembled a search team, prepared our interview questions, and Paul Greggs (who has been serving as Youth Advisor) expressed interest in the job.  Paul impressed us all with his experience in both administration and direct service, his commitment to our Unitarian Universalist values, and the wonderful connection he has made here with our children and their parents.  We were delighted to offer Paul the position and overjoyed that he has accepted. Welcome, Paul Greggs! Paul is currently recovering from hip surgery and will start in his new position officially sometime in the next few weeks.  He and Sally will work together for a few weeks, and then Paul will take up the reins, and Sally will try retirement once again. Stay tuned for more information about welcoming Paul and saying “Thank You!” to Sally. And we are beginning the search for a new youth advisor.  Big shoes to fill, but we are confident that we will find the right person. Please contact personnel committee chair Rob Curran or me with any questions or recommendations for that open position.

After the RE teacher training ended on Saturday, I went into one of the 2nd-floor conference rooms and looked out the window.  With leaves off the trees and from that height, you can see the water and I could see the new statue of the crane, commissioned by Vicki Caminer for her late husband Phil, and there were people working on the grounds, pulling weeds and cutting down vines that threaten to choke our trees, working to make CVUU more beautiful, stronger, healthier – in ways that might not be apparent unless you just happened to be looking out the window as I was at that moment.  There are so many things like this in this congregation, so many people sharing their gifts, their passions, their labor all in service of this community of faith so that we might bless the world. May it continue, and may we all take time to notice each other sharing what we can, each a lovely thread in the beautiful tapestry that is CVUU.

In faith and service,

The Reverend Justine Sullivan
Interim Minister, Coastal Virginia Unitarian Universalists
[email protected]