You may have noticed recently that the children’s benediction has changed. The song that you’ve been singing for a number of years, “Go Now In Peace” includes the original lyric, “may the love of God surround you.” At GUUF, and many other UU congregations over the years, the lyric has been change to “may the spirit of Love surround you,” or similar. The composer of the song, Natalie Sleeth, has asked that the song be sung only as is, with no lyric changes approved for performance. In order to respect both the composer’s original intent and the theological diversity of the fellowship, the Sunday Services committee will no longer be using the song to sing the kids and teachers to class. We’ve identified a few different songs that we like, and will be using various new songs in place of “Go Now In Peace” over the next few months. It may feel jarring to hear the new words and tunes, and you may miss the familiarity of the tune you knew well, but I hope you will also come to enjoy the new songs.

Change can be challenging. As your developmental minister, however, I’m here to invite you to embrace the challenge. Our ministry together is happening in a transitional time, and that, combined with the fact that every minister has a different style, skills, and experience, means that things will necessarily be different than they have been in the past – for the fellowship, and for me. The work we are doing together begins slow and steady, as we get to know one another better and build trust and rapport. As time passes, we will grow more comfortable with each other. As part of this process, we’re going to try new things. We may change parts of the Sunday service, or things elsewhere in congregational life – but I want to be clear that I’m not here to tell you what should change. I’m here to ask questions, to suggest alternatives if they are necessary, and to engage in a process of exploration.

And that means trying new things. There’s an old joke in UU circles that if we do something once it’s a tradition. But that’s not really true. If we do something once, we’ve done something once – and if it worked, let’s do it again. If it didn’t let’s not. And even if we’ve done something ninety-nine times, if it’s not working, let’s not keep doing it just because we think we should get to one hundred.

Let’s be curious, playful, and creative. Let’s try new things, and let’s think about the old things that have deep meaning. Let’s talk about why, and let’s honor that deep meaning when we can. Let’s journey, together.

See you in church