Thursday, January 24, 2013

That Vision Thing . . .

Back in June I wrote a report for the Board of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church - Unitarian Universalist where I am privileged to serve.  I tend to write kind of rambling, philosopical reports -- more sermons or reflections than detailed reports of how I spend each and every minute of each and every day.  (So much time spent in meetings; so much in putting out fires; so much staring out the window hoping some kind of words might come to me before Sunday . . . You know the kind of thing.)

Anyway, as I was writing this particular report I found a vision forming in my head.  That whole "vision thing" is pretty important for an organization, and as I confessed this past Sunday -- as if there were any real doubt among anyone -- if you divided the world into dreamers and doers I'd be . .  well . . . staring out the window dreaming up things for the doers to be doing.  Not that that's necessarily a bad thing.  The world really does need both.  Really.

So . . . this vision.  The congregation already as a covenant, and a pretty good one:

The Covenant

of the

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church - Unitarian Universalist

In order to create the beloved community we all desire for ourselves, we, the Congregation of Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church Unitarian Universalist covenant to

  • Communicate with compassion and respect, especially when we disagree,
  • Celebrate diversity and nurture our inclusivity,
  • Embrace one another spiritually and emotionally,
  • Promote social justice within our congregation and the larger community,
  • Generously support the ministries of the church with time, money and enthusiasm, and
  • Lovingly call each other back into covenant when we have fallen short.

It also has a mission statement and, again, I think it's pretty good.  (I especially like the clarity of the last line!)

The Mission

of the

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church - Unitarian Universalist

Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church is a church of the liberal tradition rooted in the heritage of Unitarian Universalism and dedicated to the belief that in every individual there are extraordinary possibilities.

  • We are committed to the individual and collective pursuit of spiritual growth, social justice, and life-long religious education and understanding.
  • We foster an open and free community in which we share our gifts, care for one another, and honor our differences.
  • We seek to have a lasting influence on local, national and global programs that promote equity and end oppression.

So I'm sharing this vision statement that came to me not because I think TJMC (as we call ourselves) is lacking vision or clarity.  I'd just like to add this to the mix of things people are thinking about:

TJMC is a Unitarian Universalist faith community which actively and intentionally cultivates connections – among our members, within the wider Charlottesville area, as well as around the country and the world.  We cultivate connections as a way of helping people to “nurture their souls and help heal the world.”  We cultivate connections as a part of our “total immersion language school of the soul,” teaching ourselves and each other how to live lives that are truly alive.  Therefore we concentrate on how we welcome one another – newcomers, longer-term members and friends, and those whose paths we cross (whether they may ever become members here or not!).  And we focus on feeding the hungry – those who are physically hungry, as well as those who hunger for companionship, a sense of belonging, intellectual stimulation, justice from oppression, etc. – and housing the homeless – again, both those who are literally homeless as well as those who are seeking a safe “home” in this often frightening world. 

In Gassho,

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yep, sounds like us. :-)