It is my hope that all members of First Unitarian Church will support our shared ministry by doing at least one of these two things:
It is also my hope that all members of First Unitarian Church will continue taking steps forward along their path of personal spiritual growth by participating in one or another of these groups:
For many of us, being involved in these ways will be relatively straightforward. On the other hand, many of us cannot manage this level of engagement because of age, health challenges, caregiving responsibilities, work responsibilities, and so on. The basic message, however, is that our church is not a performance to be enjoyed at a distance, not a spectator sport to be watched from the sidelines, but a community that grows in health and effectiveness as more people participate in events, groups, and decision-making.
I have been updating our membership records over the last year, and I will continue to do so through the end of this year. People leave our church for a variety of reasons: their personal priorities change, or they move away from Pittsburgh, or they decide to try a different spiritual tradition. In my experience, when people step away from our church they generally do not formally resign; they just stop participating. As a result, over time our membership list may include a number of people who are no longer really part of our congregation. It takes lots of patience and sometimes a little diplomacy to contact these folks and gently inquire whether they would like to find their way back to First Unitarian Church or whether their time with our church has truly come to an end. But there is a benefit: an updated membership list will make life easier not only for the next minister, but also for our Annual Budget Drive Committee [Ed: Now called the Stewardship Team] and for anyone who is looking for volunteers to help with an event, a project, or a ministry team. Since I am personally acquainted with practically everyone who has been a member of our church in the last twenty-eight years, this is an appropriate task for me to take on during my remaining time with this congregation.
See you in church!
Rev. David Herndon