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Maureen's Musings
Open Hearts -- Open Hands: A Message from Rev. Maureen

Hands up everybody who LOVES Stewardship season.

OK, I get it. You work hard for your money, or you saved up to retire. Maybe you’re starting out, or you’re scrambling to get by. And here comes your faith community wanting a share of your hard-earned cash.

With much respect, I offer a primer, one approach to the question: Isn’t Unitarian Universalism supposed to be free?

Let’s start from the reality that the world desperately needs communities where diversity is still a blessing. Where caring about people matters. While our news feeds blare messages of discrimination, greed and hate, this Fellowship stands with open hearts and hands, proclaiming that you – yes YOU – are welcome here.

This radical welcome relies on people and programs and bricks and mortar, and these need money. How would it fit UU values if UUFG’s staff went unpaid? How would it impact your ability to serve if the lights went dark or you gave up on AC? What if the programs, or the music, or the programs for children and youth just stopped? What difference would it make to Gainesville (and to you) if UUFG faded away?

In the coming year, UUFG will search for a settled minister to serve and companion you, hopefully for many years. Prospective clergy will compare their skills and interests with UUFG’s gifts, challenges and history. They’ll consider whether your compensation is just and fair – which may mean raising your offer over what you’re paying today.

Another aspect comes from your lay led year (2014-15). You hadn’t planned on it, but everybody worked like crazy to keep the ship on course – and those who were here are pretty clear: they don’t want to do that again! They applied the money they saved to help out during the three years of Developmental Ministry. Now, for your budget to stay afloat, you need to cover this amount in other ways.

Then there’s the usual stuff: an aging building demanding care; staff salaries deserving attention; programs requiring more than air on which to thrive. Though we won’t know UUFG’s firm budget until the Stewardship drive is finished, my best guess is you’ll ideally need $35,000 over last year’s pledge total of $247,000.

Is this a challenge – YES!
Is it important – ABSOLUTELY!

When it comes to bricks and mortar and programs and people, “free religion” cannot be “free.” Just as you don’t have to go it alone, UUFG needs YOUR COMMITMENT for this community to survive . . . and to thrive. Together, you can do it. The first thing you have to do is believe.

Rev. Maureen

Rev. Maureen's Musings -- December 2017

It’s definitely looking a lot like Christmas (or the holidays, if you prefer), at UUFG these days. Mega thanks to Kirsten Flamand and her glamour* of elves, and of course to former UUFG member Beverly Haynes who was kind enough to donate her wonderful nutcracker collection to UUFG. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

Thanksgiving Day Thoughts

As Thanksgiving draws near, the media lift up increasingly high expectations for the “perfect feast.” The New York Times offers detailed explanations for a menu demanding a minimum of eight hours’ hands-on work — though we’re assured this includes a lunch break. Oprah provides 20 “easy and beautiful” ideas for table décor, any one of which would take a week to create. Martha Stewart touts her “meal delivery kit” as a bargain at $160 — and you’ll have to cook after it arrives. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

White Supremacist Richard Spencer to speak at UF 10-19 -- a Letter to Our Congregation

The University has published a detailed Q&A of information about how and why Spencer will be speaking, the current plans for security at UF, and other information. I encourage anyone who is curious or has questions to click HERE. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

A Letter to the Congregation Following the Las Vegas Shooting

Dear Ones,

By now, many if not most of you will have learned about the shooting in Las Vegas, where an apparently lone shooter focused his hatred on hundreds of people who were enjoying a music festival. Nearly 60 people are reported dead as I write, over 500 wounded. Think of this like a rock thrown in a pond. In the next circle of are all those nearby, concert goers and others caught up in the immediate terror of the moment. Then come thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, whose lives have been personally torn apart by the actions of one man who we are told had at least 19 guns and a large amount of ammunition in his hotel room. And then there’s us, reading, reacting, weeping, perhaps raging, as we try to incorporate this new violence into our world. [Click "Read more..." to continue]

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