January 2018

People find their way into UU congregations because they are seeking something: understanding, community, encouragement, belonging, connection to something larger than themselves, an opportunity to consider life’s deep questions with people they can trust.

The “main event” in congregational life is its Sunday service; as my friend and colleague The Rev. Mark Belletini writes, “…we choose to worship together for the strength of many hearts beating in the spirit of shared wisdom.” I gain something from sharing intimate and thoughtful space and time with you. Mark continues, “Worship invites us to focus on the transcendental, the intimate, and the worthy. Worship helps us to regain our grip on the fragmented, the obsessive, and the divisive. Worship reminds us that we-empowered by the love we receive and give-may challenge any idol of greed or violence which pollutes the human condition. We ask that you bring to worship something of what you receive: a capacity to heal, to think both critically and poetically, and to experience a growing sense of belonging, rootedness, and blessing.”

In support of the connections made during our weekly worship services, we also connect to one another by way of our shared ministry teams and small group ministries.

Shared ministry teams support the well-being of our Congregation, each team is, in some way, engaged in stewardship of the Mission of GNUUC: the Finance team, the Personnel team, the Memorial Garden team, and the Buildings & Grounds team (including Aesthetics) tend the tangible resources of our Congregation. The Worship team (including Storytellers and Choir), the RE team, the Caring Committee, the Lay Pastoral Care team, the Social Justice team, the Community Ministry team (who shepherd our Room in the Inn Cold Night program), the Communications team, and the Fellowship team (who coordinates our weekly Sunday lunches) tend the intangible resources of our Congregation. Our Board (by way of Policies and Procedures) and our Healthy Congregations Team (by way of our Right Relations policies), help weave it all together, always with our Mission as guiding star.

Small group ministries at GNUUC include weekly religious education classes (for children and youth), a women’s covenant group, a weekly current events discussion group (Credo), an affinity book group that meets at the homes of various members, and an affinity group that meets monthly for lunch. If you have an idea for a Small Group Ministry (e.g. there is conversation about a Sunday a.m. discussion group to explore “Women Who Run with the Wolves” by Clarissa Pinkola-Estes), be in touch with Rev. Carmen Emerson (revcme@gnuuc.org).

As we move into a new year, may you feel called to find your way into a Shared Ministry team and/or a Small Group Ministry team. The stronger our participation in Worship, Shared Ministries, and Small Group Ministries, the stronger our Congregation as a whole. I believe that we’re worth our individual and collective efforts, as we connect to offer something special to our Nashville community. It is both pleasure and privilege to be one of “many hearts beating in the spirit of shared wisdom.”

Happy New Year,

Rev. Carmen Emerson