There are exciting changes coming to how we engage with each other in the year to come!  The pandemic has offered us the chance to try some new models for spiritual learning and growing together.

I hope that you have seen Sara’s introduction to our Pathways for Engagement, which will start next month. You can find it here.

This model allows us to bring together all the ways that we learn—reading, listening, watching, talking, reflecting, acting. It also allows us to connect across generations. It is a model of learning then reflecting to integrate the learning into our bodies, minds, spirits, and lives. I am excited for the possibilities!

This model also combines several of our ministry areas: Faith Development, Community Life, and Faith in Action. In order to support this new model, we are making some shifts in our staff structure and job responsibilities.

First, Sara Lewis has a new job title of Director of Community and Faith Development. This reflects Sara’s authority and responsibility to shepherd the new Pathways to Engagement model across the generations and across ministries. Sara is a skilled and experienced religious educator with a strong engagement with social justice. Sara’s training for the ministry will further refine her many skills for this work.

In order to give Sara the space to develop Pathways, we have changed the RE Teacher position to an RE Assistant with a few more hour per week.  We are so pleased that Anissa Bentlemsani has agreed to transition from RE teacher to RE assistant. She is dedicated to the children and youth of OUUC and knows us well. We are lucky to have Anissa in our community.

You may have also seen that we are hiring a Media Specialist. It is very clear that we will benefit from some technical support for our virtual ministry now and in the future. In order to do this, we elected not to hire a Community Life Coordinator, instead placing many of those duties with other staff.  Sara will take on the welcoming and social aspects of the position. The new Media Specialist will take on the more technical and technology tasks.

Last, the Faith in Action coordination will also transition to Sara by the end of this calendar year. Rev. Carol McKinley has served in this very part-time staff position for a few years. Rev. Carol also serves as a Community Affiliated Minister for OUUC, and most of the justice work she does in the community is in her Community Minister role. Her duties as a staff person are primarily administrative. So, be assured that even though Rev. Carol will no longer be on staff, she will be engaged in the justice work of OUUC and representing OUUC in the community.

We will hold a Q&A session about the Pathways to Engagement model each month this Fall, starting this Sunday, August 16, right after the Sunday service. Please plan to join us for worship and discussion. We want to hear your thoughts, questions and concerns.

Be well. Stay safe. Stay connected.

Blessings on your week,

Rev. Mary