Plans for 2009

“Tell me,” asks poet Mary Oliver, “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” It is a good time to ask ourselves this question once again, as a new year begins and brings with it new possibilities.

Part of this may include personal healing. To this end, I invite you to a special worship event on Sunday, January 4, from 4:00-5:00 pm in the Sanctuary. Join Ministerial Intern Terry Davis and others in a healing service called “Loving and Letting Go.” Bring with you small personal items to be added to an altar in the center of the sanctuary—items which represent transitions you hope for, losses you are grieving, and resentments you want to let go of. Appropriate items could include photos, letters, copies of poems, or small keepsakes or mementos. For more information, contact Terry Davis at

In addition to personal healing, consider joining our Lay Ministers for a new year of Wednesday evening vesper services. These are brief, 20-25 minute services which, in the middle of a busy week, give people a chance to pause and breathe and reconnect with the Spirit of Life. Vesper services start at 7:00 pm, right after Wonderful Wednesday dinner. Please note that beginning in January, vesper services will take place in the Chapel.

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” This is definitely something we will be asking in Sunday worship. Starting in January, each Sunday I’ll be featuring a “Happiness Challenge,” which encourages one EASY, SMALL action that people can take to increase happiness for themselves and in the larger world, related to seven kinds of things: sustainable living in the home, healthy relationships, mindful eating, strong neighborhoods, enlightened shopping, a spirituality of abundance, and physical health and wellbeing. Why these seven categories? During our Celebration Sunday service back in October of last year, I invited the congregation to tell me about aspects of sustainable living people are most interested in. These categories represent the seven clear favorites, as determined by the Care of Earth Team, after analyzing literally hundreds of submissions. “Happiness Challenges” represent a first step in the larger UUCA Sustainable Living Initiative—about which you will be hearing a lot more as the year proceeds. Stay tuned!

Finally, as we begin the new year, I am thinking about the “one wild and precious life” of our congregation. For UUCA to do all that it aspires to do, paid staff and volunteers must partner together in clear and effective ways. In 2009, I will work with lay leaders in implementing a vibrant and dynamic volunteer system, beginning with the establishment of a Task Force to assist me in creating the new system. This is something we have needed to do in general, but with all the impending reductions in personnel, it’s got to happen sooner rather than later. If you are a team player and a systems thinker, and would like to be a part of this Task Force, please let me know ASAP. We need to move quickly on this.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” In the new year, 2009, perhaps the answer will have something to do with seeking out personal healing, making sure we take time out of a busy week to breathe, taking small but important steps to increase happiness in ourselves and the larger world, and then this: loving and nurturing the congregation that sustains us and makes such a big difference in Atlanta. May it be so.


(From the January 2009 UUCA Newsletter.)