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Happy November to all.  While many in the nation bemoan this season I love it.  The trees back east have usually been a delight this time of year.  But now I’m learning of new wonders.  Here in California its warm, a bit wetter than I expected and incredibly beautiful as it is all year long.  I’m learning about the flowering things that seem to appear almost daily.  And sweet smells as I walk and take in the sights.

This is a big season for me for multiple reasons. I’m celebrating my first Holiday season with you (UUCVH) and feeling pretty good!  I am very fond of this community and have grown to love this place so quickly.  You all make it really easy!

Now comes the hard part, or at least the more rigorous part of why I’m with you.  I’ve got a good feeling that we are on the verge of doing something special here.  It’s the kind of feeling I get when I know the groundwork has been laid and all we, as a community of faith, have to do is reap the harvest.

This congregation has done much work.  You all have sustained a liberal spiritual community in a mostly theologically conservative neighborhood for years. 

You have stood for many good and righteous things like integration and tolerance, love and nonviolence for many years.  Your Unitarian Universalist credentials are good!

Heck, you hired me and that speaks volumes about the kind of community your willing to be.  But, folks, I have to ask more of you.  Now is the time to push up your sleeves again.  I believe we are on the precipice of growth.  I have seen new people coming through our doors, calling and asking questions and even stopping by.

My hope is that we are ready?  Do you feel it?  If not, get ready to jump on board because its time to grow and here are a few things I have in mind that I think will help.

Be passionate. If we are going to grow our congregation, we must be passionate about this ministry. Those in the Bible who accomplished great things were passionate and committed men and women. Elijah was passionate and unafraid when he confronted Ahab, the king (1 Kings 17-19). As a result, he saw a nation touched by an awesome power. So, let’s be passionate men and women of Spirit. Our ministry will be the better for it.

Be open. If UUCVH is going to grow we have got to be open to doing things differently.  This applies to the Sunday Services, the new Soulful Saturday Service (starting Saturday November 14th from 6-7 pm), Religious Education for adults and families, the upkeep of our buildings and grounds, our committees and groups, and, of course, our attitude. 

Being open doesn’t mean what we did before wasn’t good enough.  It means we can, and will, do what it takes to improve, change develop, and make new.  Its about the way we do things around here.  It’s about RADICAL HOSPITALITY!

Be of service.  Yes, this means you! If you’re homebound, maybe you can make phone calls or emails?  If you’re working all day, maybe it’s a few batches of cookies by night to share with a group home or the homeless?  If you’re not sure what gifts and talents you have to share, come by and speak with me one-on -one or in a group to find out exactly which of your many talents you will share. 

Trust me; we all have something good, something right, and something of value to give to this congregation and more importantly to this community.  So, noone is exempt!

I’m looking for us to grow by at least two members each month – twenty to twenty-four this 2015-16 year. 

I know we can do it!  I’ve got a feeling! This year’s going to be a good, good year and it all begins with you!

Lets celebrate November in all of its glory.  For some people this means Thanksgiving, for others a reemergence of traditions from their people long forgotten and needing to be heard, seen, and experienced again. For others, new traditions just recently found.

So I’m wishing you all a Happy November- to All Saints, All So,uls, All People together as one united to bring a message of hope, peace and love to Los Angeles county, Glendale, La Crescenta and all people far and wide.

In faith,

Rev. Gordon Clay Bailey

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