Giving and Receiving

When I was a editor and publisher of small newspapers, letters to the editor were always a source of some amusement. Most of them were legitimate comments on community issues. Some, however, were off the wall. Some of these were actually a little frightening, for they revealed some level of derangement.

As UUA president, I get my share of letters—almost all of them emails. Some of these emails remind me of my newspaper days. Some letters want us to take action of matters over which we have no control. But I also get more than my share of very sweet notes of appreciation.

Eliot Chapel

Last month I received a copy of an open letter that the Rev. David Keyes sent to Eliot Chapel in St. Louis, where he has been serving as interim minister. The letter describes his congregation’s interaction with UUA staff over a two year period.

I was amazed and delighted by what I read. Yet I wasn’t surprised. This is not atypical of what UUA staff do, especially for a congregation in transition.

One of the things that struck me in the letter is how so much of the work of our staff happens behind the scenes and goes unnoticed. I know I was guilty of failing to appreciate the work the UUA staff does when I served as a parish minister. Like so many UUs, I took for granted all the support we received and was even unaware of much more.

Please take a look at David’s letter. Pay special attention to the comments he makes about the congregation moving to pay its full share to the Annual Program Fund in support of the Association after allowing its contributions to decline.

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