During a recent staff meeting, when I bemoaned the challenge of meeting FUUSNites amid remote church life, Erin wisely suggested that I attend more meetings. While the phrase “more meetings” doesn’t really spark joy (Marie Kondo would have us toss it), actually seeing more of you on Zoom, putting faces to names, and deepening my understanding of the community has, surprisingly, sparked some remote-workplace joy.
A couple of weeks ago, I sat in on the Racial Justice Ministry Steering Committee Zoom meeting. Not only was it well organized, well run (and done on time), but those on the call also showed care for each other, reflection, and calm. Within that energy, they were deeply engaged in exploring racial justice, complete with the deep emotion and challenge it entails. There was curiosity, and listening. I don’t think I’d ever been to a church meeting quite like it.
I’ve been to other FUUSN Zoom meetings since, each introducing me to more of you while helping me to get to know the congregation. I’ve also been to coffee hour breakout groups following Sunday worship, which has allowed me to connect with FUUSNites as far away as Florida and Nova Scotia. And last week, I heard from a handful of Member Services Committee members about past membership efforts and where to put our current and future energy.
Several themes have emerged, and two have really stuck with me. They’re not profound discoveries; I’m sure many of you already understand these things, but I think it’s important to talk about them as a community. One is this: People are worn down. It’s January in New England (not for those of you in warmer climes, of course)—a bad time for another round of distanced living, with its hallmark uncertainty and isolation. The combination of cold plus omicron is undeniably having an impact. The other is this: People are worried about the FUUSNites they haven’t seen or heard from in a while, and they wonder if they’ll ever come back. At a time when it can be difficult to think beyond one’s own four walls, this concern for others and for FUUSN’s well-being is notable.
The member services committee will meet again this week, and I’m sure we’ll talk about the people who are missed and how best to let them know that. As we do, I’ll be thinking about the RJM Steering Committee meeting’s reflective, engaged meeting. That seems like the right approach as we recognize the impact of this moment while tending to those we care about and ourselves—and while missing those relationships interrupted by the pandemic.
And maybe it’s possible to combine the curiosity from the RJM Steering Committee meeting with the intention of the Member Services Committee as we think about folks we haven’t seen or heard from in a while, whether here at FUUSN or beyond (think of neighbors, colleagues, or friends). With that, we can figure out if we should stop by, call, or drop off a small something. After all, the connection is still there.
–Heather Beasley Doyle, Membership Coordinator