August 19, 2012 was Rev. Doug's first service with us as our interim minister and members and friends welcomed him with open arms. For the last 13 years, the Rev. Dr. Douglas Wadkins served the Unitarian Universalist congregation in Bellingham, WA but has also worked as a hospice chaplain, campus minister, and served congregations in North Carolina, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Wisconsin and Washington. For the last six years, he has been working with the Pacific Northwest district on their Transition Team, helping congregations share the ministry during times of change.
Rev. Doug is in the office on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and is available to meet with members and friends by appointment. Please call the office or contact him at email@example.com.
Notes From Our Minister
The Beacon - June 1, 2013
Hello good people of the UUSC!
While, technically, I am a couple of months shy of completing my first year with you; I think that the swiftly approaching end of the church year and the natural completion that the summer brings marks an intuitive milestone for our shared odyssey. As we prepare for the second part of our journey, it makes sense to revisit the year with particular focus on some questions for leading us into next year. To help organize these thoughts, I shall return to the essential touchstone goals of interim ministry.
1. The congregation has claimed and honored its past.
The key to beginning this year was to do everything that we could to jumpstart the initial phase of getting to know you as a congregation. So that process began with planning and orienting conversations with key leaders long before I arrived. We needed to address some of the crucial logistics and even some initial team building from afar. When I arrived, the very first day of my ministry, I met with the Transition Team to talk about congregational identity. With their help, I conducted introductory interviews with members of the congregation to help me quickly get a sense of the congregation’s story. Those first few weeks were a crash course in all things UUSC, as I read through various histories of the congregation, talked with leaders in the community and reviewed the helpful interim packet that Colin had prepared. These experiences immersed me in the rich and complicated history of this congregation, and I was intrigued by your heritage of risking much to live out your values! This included the incredible events of the 50, 60 & 70’s, the church at 82nd and Euclid and the move to the Coventry neighborhood. I admire the legacy of this congregation immensely. For your future, I wonder what deeper sense of your identity will inspire you to act boldly and with greater purpose as you move forward? What wisdom might be present in the story of UUSC’s past that would assist you in this time and this place?
2. The congregation has engaged and acknowledged its griefs and conflicts.
One of the most interesting things about interim ministry is that one is helping a congregation navigate through the murky waters of grief. Whether the events leading up to the change were celebratory, painful or seemingly filled with indifference - there are still layers of grief. So much of what we share and seek to do together in faithful community touch on mysterious and meaningful ground, and, therefore, when there is transition there will be complicated feelings within the congregation. An important part of the first year, after the change, is to allow time and healing space for those feelings to come forward and then seek to move towards healing. Often the feelings will even seem unrelated to the situation at hand; grief does not tend to stay within neat boxes. Sometimes it is effective to address the feelings in the community directly, and sometimes it is in exploring other sources of grief that we touch on important feelings that affect the community. This process is an essential and natural aspect of encountering change. What is most essential is that the community find ways to acknowledge the feelings and, when possible, address them. What feelings have you experienced both within yourself and in the community around you this year? What would help you process those feelings and move forward?
These are a couple of the areas that were especially important for this year. Next month, I will explore three other goals for the interim time:
3. The congregation recognizes its unique identity and its strengths, needs, and challenges.
4. The congregation has a clear understanding of the appropriate leadership roles of minister(s), church staff, and lay leaders.
Thank you for a wonderful first year! I look forward to the meaningful places we will go in year number two!
NOTES FROM OUR MINISTER ARCHIVES