With the holidays and another year behind us, our attention can shift to the possibilities and opportunities of a new year. How will we use it? And what can we hope to accomplish? Here at Cedars, of course, the calendar isn’t empty and we’re still in the middle of a church year, but this awareness of another year’s arrival can nudge our sense of responsibility and move us toward using it meaningfully.
This is a traditional time for making resolutions, for realigning our lives and actions with goals and values, and for fine-tuning or re-tuning how we reach for the potential in a continuously unfolding future. And as Tracy Dickerson’s meditation service last Sunday reminded us, with its structured contemplation of past, future, and present, our resolutions are made within the larger context of past experience as well as imagined but uncertain future.
Resolutions can be trivial or life-changing; they can be easily broken or they can carry us proudly forward. The difference is in how deeply we desire change or accomplishment.
We UUs have a well-deserved reputation as deeply committed change agents. As individuals, and working together in congregational communities, we seek spiritual authenticity and tolerance, a more just and compassionate society, and respect for the natural world, to name a few of our shared principles. Here at Cedars, we also seek to deepen our sense of internal community, strengthen our programs, and become a more significant participant in our local and regional communities—all expressed as findings of our 2010 Shaping Our Future planning process.
So what should this new year’s nudge mean to us? Cedars seems to be doing well, but couldn’t we be doing better? And are there things we’re not doing, but should or could be? Those are provocative questions, and I’m happy to say that they are not being ignored.
Many of you responded to our Committee on Ministry’s recent invitation to participate in an on-line survey evaluating Cedars and its programs. That survey will assess our institutional well-being and allow comparison with other congregations elsewhere, as well as our own progress going forward. An initial report on survey findings will be presented and discussed in a mid-year Congregational Meeting that is scheduled to follow our January 22nd Sunday service.
And, modifying its typical meeting format and operational focus, the Board of Trustees will spend an evening next week in a retreat activity considering the developments and adjustments such questions might suggest over the next few years of congregational life. Conclusions and suggestions from that discussion will also be shared in the January Meeting.
I think it’s clear that Cedars will make good use of this new year. Our questioning, surveying, considering, and preparing for discussion are underway, which means our resolutions are in thoughtful preparation. Many of us are or will be participating in the process. As part of that, please plan to attend the coming congregational meeting. Together, here at Cedars, we’re building a better future!