On the Journey…

Our time together is quickly drawing to a close. I have a catch in my breath as I write this because UUCO is a very special congregation and I will miss you very much. For those who are curious, yes, I did find a place to live in Anchorage. It was a challenge but I found a home for the next 18 months as I serve the Anchorage UU Fellowship as Interim Minister. Now my days are very very full as I wrap up my ministry here with you and also organize a major move on quick timing.

It’s hard to part from people you love, and, make no mistake, I love each of you. We have come to know each other over the past 3 1/2 years and you have a very special place in my heart. Normally, it is excellent practice for the outgoing minister to covenant with the incoming minister about maintaining relationships with former congregants. This is important because the new minister needs to be seen as the minister, with the previous minister clearly not a part of the congregation any longer. The relationships between ministers and their congregants are often close so it’s natural to want to continue the relationship. But, the new minister needs to be given full opportunity to create new and fruitful relationships without the shadow of the previous minister hovering.

I fully realize that our situation is different. There is no incoming part-time minister right away. And yet, the practice is still sound. I need to be completely out of the picture so that you can move on fully. This is an affirmation of UUCO being all about YOU, the congregation, not the congregation’s relationship with the minister. You all are an amazing community and will continue to hold each other in loving covenant after I am gone.

So what does that mean? It means that after December 10, we will no longer be in contact via phone, mail or social media (Facebook and Instagram). Karline will have my contact information so it will be possible to reach me if you want to send a holiday card in the future. Believe me when I say that this is hard for all of us. Social media, in particular, has become a very important way for many of us to connect and share our lives. I will miss seeing your posts! And know that our silence will not mean that I care less about you–quite the opposite, I will always hold you in my heart with great affection. My time here in Ogden has been a wonderful chapter in my life, and each of you has helped make it so. That will never change.

Some of you have indicated an interest in visiting me up in Alaska, especially those of you who were already planning a trip this coming summer (because, after all, I am moving to a major tourist destination!). Here’s the quick answer on that–it may be possible and I would be delighted to see you. However, you will need to check in to see if I am around at the time you are thinking about, and, I would be in covenant about this with any minister who is serving you in the next 18 months while I’m up there. Please contact me via the Anchorage UU Fellowship at 907-248-3737.

Please do ask questions about all of this in my last days here. For some of you, this will be your first time in a ministerial transition so your questions are natural and welcomed.


Reverend Shelley