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The President's Perspective -- January 2014

“And don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.” – Rumi

A Florida winter is that time period where we are reminded in short bursts of colder air that not everything is green, sunny, and hot.  Normally it happens in January, with sometimes brief hints of it in December or February.  It changes much of how we do things – winter clothes come out to hang alongside shorts and flip-flops, those air conditioners try to switch gears to heat up houses, and languishing, unused fireplaces spring back to life.  It is a moment to reflect on how different life in Florida is compared to all those much colder, snow-covered places that have had more school snow days than they’ve had school so far this year.

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” – Margaret J. Wheatley

This is also the time period in our congregation for reflection – of our finances, our ministry, our yearly goals – because it is the mid-point of our church year.  We are in our first year of the interim period and things feel different than we’re used to – and that’s normal.  A concern that I’ve heard voiced by members is the worry about our financial picture and how we can afford to continue with the level of staffing and programming that we currently have.  This is a reasonable concern given that we are operating this year on a deficit budget and given that the pledge income we based that budget on was greater than what we’ve currently been promised.  So let’s examine that further, see how the money we have received has been spent, look at what money we want to receive and how we would use it, and come up with a back-up plan or two in case we fall short of what we hope for.  

The Governing Board will be hosting a pair of Town Hall meetings to talk more about our current finances with you and to get your feedback on where to go next year.  The first Town Hall will be on Wednesday, February 5, at 6 PM in the Phillips Hall.  We will start with a potluck dinner, have a presentation on current finances, and then have a discussion about our financial future.  The second Town Hall will be on Sunday, February 9, at 9:30 AM in the Sanctuary.  We will have coffee available, have the same presentation on current finances, and then have a discussion about our financial future.  Please plan to come to at least one of these meetings, hear where we are, and help us develop our plan for the future.  And speaking of the future, I hope you also mark your calendar for Saturday, February 15, to attend Rev. Benjamin’s workshop on Visioning UUFG’s Future.  

 “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” – Malcolm X

January is the time of preparation, a time of gathering energy and ideas and planning for the bursting forth of a new vision, a new plan, to become a brighter beacon of liberal religion in Florida.  

It is also the time of resolutions, the time of making promises to the future of how we want to be in it.  A resolution that I hope all of you consider and model is to be actively engaged in directing this congregation to that new vision and plan.  I look forward to seeing you all at these Town Halls and the workshop and creating our future together.

In Fellowship,
Kristin Stevens, UUFG Board President

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