(UUFSC, Modesto CA)Home > Rev. Grace Simons > Grace Notes
October 20, 2011
Rev. Joe Cherry
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A liberal religious voice in the Central Valley since 1953.
Now comes the hard part. How do we say goodbye and still remember and celebrate the wonderful, complicated, sometimes joyous and sometimes mournful, playful and productive ministry we've shared for more than a decade?
Personally, I'm not a fan of saying farewell. Fairness demanded that I tell you of my plans last spring, but for nearly six months part of me has pretended that everything would keep right on as it was. Maybe that's been true for you, too.
Still, your Board and I have been laying plans, making arrangements and generally doing all we can to ensure a smooth transition to the interim minister who will arrive in 2012 and even beyond that. We've consulted with the District, the UUA. We've used resources from them and from the Alban Institute. We have entered into a Covenant about our continuing relationship that is meant to encourage the health of the congregation. I hope it helps to clarify our future interactions. It is the first of at least three Covenants that we'll develop as the process develops.
[Ed. Note - see a timeline for the transition.]
In addition, I've worked with the Worship Committee and services are planned through January 15, 2012. Our other committees and the Church Council have been talking about the implications of the transition. The expected timing of the process and other information has been printed in earlier newsletters. We should have news any day about who will come to serve as our interim. Ministers who serve in this role receive specialized training so they can be helpful in encouraging a strong and healthy environment for your next settled minister.
My colleagues in the Interfaith Clergy Network, particularly Rev Debra Brady (1st United Methodist) Revs Russ and Erin Matteson (Modesto Church of the Brethren) and Rev Michael Schiefelbein (College Ave Congregational) have agreed to "back up" the Fellowship in case of crisis or pastoral needs. Of course, we also have two UU ministers among our members, Leroy Egenberger and Bill Greer.
At this point, we've pretty much done what we can do. Now it's hugs and handshakes, parting wishes, and likely a few tears. As I have said many times, I have grown to love this congregation and I cherish the ministry we've shared. I'm proud to have served a congregation that has become healthy but not satisfied. You deserve to start the next chapter of the UUFSC story with a minister who can commit to being with you for a good chunk of time, and I am too old to make that commitment.
I leave you with a full heart and great expectations for your growth, your ability to support and challenge each other and to impact the world outside the Fellowship's walls. I can't wait to hear about the wonderful things you'll be doing!
Ever in hope,
[Ed. Note: This is the last edition of "Grace Notes", a column our minister wrote for the newsletter. Rev. Grace Simons retired in October, 2011.]
2172 Kiernan Avenue
Modesto, California See a map
We have no mail service on Kiernan;
PO Box 1000
Salida, CA 95368
We are a liberal church and the only UU congregation in Stanislaus county. We serve Ceres, Denair, Escalon, Hickman, Hughson, Keyes, Manteca, Modesto, Oakdale, Patterson, Ripon, Riverbank, Salida, Turlock and Waterford. We welcome Agnostics, Atheists, Buddhists, Christians, Deists, Free-thinkers, Humanists, Jews, Pagans, Theists, Wiccans, and those who seek their own spiritual path. We welcome people without regard to race, physical ability, ethnicity or sexual orientation.