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Living into the Covenantal Community

Greetings to my members and friends of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Verdugo Hills.  I’m almost there!  I’ve been pondering many things about our future together; most of all how to have the very best relationship with you that is humanly possible.

Despite the fact that Unitarian Universalist (UU) worship’s roots are in Protestant Christian liturgical traditions and practice, there is a critical difference between the meaning of UU worship, and membership, and the meaning understood by other traditions with Protestant identities.  This is even greater if you come from another Christian sect, religion or no faith at all.  It is a difference between worship experience founded on covenant and worship founded on creeds. This distinction is critical to our free faith, and answers basic questions about why we choose to be UU – and, most importantly, why you are a member and friend of UUCVH.

This is my first of many letters to you all.  This is my first attempt to set the stage for right relationship henceforward and I feel it is really important to get started on the right foot.  This congregation called me and I am so honored.  I heard a clarion call and in that understanding, I felt a strong pull to take us to a new place.  Not one that we wouldn’t know or understand but one in which our collective abilities to engage this community and the larger Unitarian Universalist world in a dialog of love and pursuit of action, justice, peace, covenant and right relationship.

Who we are as individuals and as a congregation shall be revealed to you and me as we take steps toward a new beginning.  Who are you, within your community when you gather on Sunday morning or Saturday afternoon, or Wednesday night, or any of the other times that we gather? Who are you, as a religious body? And, who are we yet to become?

These are some questions that a closer look at our vision statement, mission, and covenantal contract will help us ascertain, answer, and articulate in positive ways. For, as the biblical prophet once said, “Without a vision, then the people will perish.” It is also true that if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there.  Without knowing why we bother to gather, and to be a community, this congregation could one day be in danger of ceasing to exist, or of merely replicating the local university’s continuing education program, or the local debating society, or the local country club.

If we don’t know who we are as individual Unitarian Universalists forward progress is difficult. One of the keys is knowing who you are as a member of this congregation and denomination, and then living into the collective UUCVH vision for our faith community.  That, in part, is what makes us different.  It helps to differentiate us from the countless other religious options.  It makes us special and even more relevant in these times.

I believe in us: you and me.  Lisa and I are on our way to be part of your beautiful community.  One in which Unitarian Universalist values, morés and actions direct our feet toward the ultimate goals of creating spiritually rewarding worship experiences, beloved community and world peace.  I guess I have lofty goals in mind for us.  I hope you do too.

I expect to be in place and announcing office hours very soon.  Check our website and Facebook pages, as I will begin to share thoughts and ideas with the community very soon.

I am totally excited about our new ministry and journey together.  I trust you are too!  Get ready everyone; we’ve got a lot to do!

In peace and love,

Rev. Gordon Clay Bailey

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