Dear one:

My time with this congregation is coming to a close. I have so appreciated learning with you and being trusted by you, in a year of unprecedented times and great changes for this congregation. A time of reflection is called for as we process this year, this pandemic, huge traumas, ministerial changes and so much more.

What a gift you are to this community. You are someone who has had pastoral conversations in the last year with me either 1:1 on Zoom, in small groups, or individual chats, texts, and phone calls. I am writing to talk about my time at the congregation ending. I am offering you options for what you might like to do as you plan your selfcare. Due to the confidential nature of your conversations with me, I want to honor that you are in control of what comes next. I only have a few weeks left that I am working at UUCW. My last day is July 31. I am taking some breaks before then. 

June 17-27, I am attending a lot of meetings in June for UU ministers, then time in General Assembly and volunteering for our faith. I am going to be taking study leave for some weeks in July. I need to take time to do some of my own healing. I am reflecting on my ministry, and lessons learned. One thing is clear, to do the best ministry I can, I need to rest and have time in nature and with colleagues and family. That is my plan: Lots of pathetic spiritual practice!

The services I have left are this Sunday with the Question Box service (SUBMIT YOUR QUESTIONS to today) and then July 12 will be a special service on Midwifing Care and Compassion my last sermon on July 31: Underdogs in Contemporary Broadway Musicals in a sermonic musical extravaganza. I am hoping we have a goodbye picnic that day too. We will see. We also have WONDERFUL services planned all summer. You are in for many treats.

The Pastoral Care team is asking if I have folks, I want to pass on to them to check on. I am writing to ask if you want me to pass your name on to our Lay Pastoral Care Team for future help? Do you need resources or referrals to help you go forward? Or do you want me to share your name as someone your future Interim minister should check in with and I would only share that minister to minister confidentially? Finally, you may want to do nothing at all and that is great too. If you need future support, please seek it. This is a wonderfully caring and resourceful community. We are not meant to do this work alone.

Most folks have talked with me about theological questions, dilemmas about your worries, and wonders. Folks have shared with my struggles with identity, conflict, history, health, emotional difficulties, issues of major life decisions, assistance in supporting your spiritual growth, asking for resources for your struggles with addiction, loved ones, loss, death, loneliness, LGBTQ, racism, financial struggles, parenting, and topics close to your hearts. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability and in some cases, that of your children’s trust, with me. It has been my honor to learn with you and be trusted by you. Thank you from the depth of my heart.

I know change is hard and in the second year of pandemic, we have had nothing but change. We had no choice. If a brief meeting to check out so to speak is helpful, I will be scheduling those next week. If a meeting to close out your pastoral relationship with me is helpful, please reply to this email with requests for that, resources, if you want me to share your name with the Lay Pastoral Care Team or if you want me to share your name with the next minister.

With warmth and gratitude,
Reverend Denise

P.S. Please keep up YOUR Spiritual Practices – even if you need to do them pathetically.