In a Time of Brokenness … An Invitation to Connect

                 November 3, 2019

Dear Friends,

Despite much turmoil in the world about us, 2019 has been a transformative year in the life of the fellowship. This past year, our relationship with Rev. Nicoline has deepened, and we’ve chosen to experiment with increasing her hours to 2/3 time from 1/2 time from September through December, 2019. These additional hours are enabling her to participate in more community outreach, investing in new connections at Pride Day, film screenings and workshop presentations in the community and on the SUNY campus. She led a weekend leadership retreat of 18 individuals focused on the notion of congregational “calling.” In addition, she’s offered increased time in the pulpit. While these are the more visible aspects of her role with us, behind the scenes Rev. Nicoline has also been ministering to UUFP leaders, gently inspiring emerging clarity in our identity, purpose, mission, and vision. 

While professional ministry plays a key role in our future plans, our vision for the coming year is even bolder than this. We are witness to increasing polarization and a fracturing of the social fabric. Many feel alienated and isolated; and even within families, a 24-hour schedule of technologies and other distractions leave us cut off from one another, and sometimes from our deepest selves. And so, our vision for 2020: 

In a time of brokenness … an invitation to connect

At the UUFP, we envision a vibrant local community where the ability to connect and find common purpose across differences can yet thrive. Drawing on UU values, we plan to help create transformative experiences of connection in order to counter forces of distraction, alienation, and division: in our individual lives; within families; in the larger community; and in our relationship with the interdependent web of existence. Building on the strengths of this past year, we plan to:

    • Continue our commitment to professional UU ministry by increasing Rev. Nicoline’s time with us to 2/3 from 1/2 time. (Please refer to accompanying sheet: Expanding Professional Ministry.)
    • Make progress on our commitment to funding our Music and Religious Exploration programs. In 2020, the RE Coordinator will oversee current programs while we continue to develop a new vision for service to families, youth and children, as old models no longer serve in our rapidly changing society.
    • Develop programs and activities that are mission-driven, rather than continuing with programs and decision-making structures simply because they are routine. This means:
  • Reenergizing through new ways of working together, grounded in joy and organized around common purpose.  This includes more time being and doing together, and less time talking about it (i.e. in committees) – except to develop ideas for actions that support our mission;
    • Seeking new paradigms for how we minister to families, recognizing the probable need to de-center Sundays and create other opportunities for connection;
    • Enhancing people’s ability to live sexually healthy and responsible lives through the Our Whole Lives (OWL) sexuality education program. 
    • Encouraging civic-mindedness and Faith in Action, according to individual conscience.  We will continue a process of discernment about where best to invest our energies, asking: What do people feel called to do?  Where is there joy in action? We will continue to partner with those who experience marginalization in society.
    • Sharing Unitarian Universalism’s inclusive and life-changing message with individuals and families throughout our North Country communities.

This is our vision, and this is where you – stewards of the UUFP – come in. Your pledge, or promise of financial commitment for 2020 allows us to build a realistic budget, joining our passions and commitments to our resources. Donations, of course, can be made at any time. But only on the basis of your pledges, collected during the month of November, can we be fiscally responsible as we plan the upcoming year’s budget.

We’d love it if you’d read through our information sheets, which will give you more in the way of facts and figures. They’ll also help you decide how much to give. We understand that people’s needs and resources may vary over time, but hope that, with our combined resources, we will achieve our goal: … an invitation to connect!

When you’re ready to make your financial commitment you can either:

  • Pledge online. Visit uuplattsburgh.org and click the Give button at the top right
  • Or, complete the paper form and either drop it in Sunday’s collection plate, give it to your canvasser, or mail it to Nancy Lewin, Treasurer, UUFP, 4 Palmer St., Plattsburgh, NY

Now, in a time of brokenness, the promise of Unitarian Universalist values feels more important than ever. Once again, in this year full of promise and possibility, we’re looking forward to joining together with you.

In shared commitment to the future of this dynamic Fellowship,

Jerry Bates, Stewardship Chair  gkbates@charter.net 518-561-8982

Ursula Jones, Board President  hmorlock@charter.net 518-561-7647

Rev. Nicoline Guerrier, Minister minister@uuplattsburgh.org 518-565-6708

Are you 70 ½ or older? An IRA charitable contribution satisfies the annual minimum distribution requirement for your IRA (after age 70.5), and these withdrawals are not taxed.  IRA owners aged 70 1/2 or older can make a tax-free contribution of up to $100,000 per year directly to an eligible charity without paying income tax on the transaction. Qualified charitable contributions must be made by December 31 each year in order to exclude that amount from taxable income.  Charitable contributions can only be made from IRAs, not 401(k)s or similar types of retirement accounts. Please check with your account for details.

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You may download a print version of this letter here