Showing Up, Sharing, and Connecting
I suspect that most of us began 2022 with some trepidation as the omicron variant re-molded our lives into a shape resembling spring 2020 a little more than any of us would like. But as January began, I was fortunate that the excitement about starting my new job as FUUSN’s membership coordinator took some of the sting out of the current, not-so-ideal conditions.
Even before my first day at FUUSN last Tuesday, I received word that congregational life was once again, understandably, remote. Last Sunday, I saw some 110 of you during Sunday’s Zoom service, finally getting a deeper sense of who you are. Part of that was Demie Stathoplos’s reflection on resilience amid the climate crisis. Her message resonated with me on various levels, but I particularly appreciated her belief in the power of humor, because I share that truth—not only in the face of climate change, but around so many of life’s difficulties, including our current pandemic moment.
During the virtual coffee hour, waves of gratitude, both spoken and in the Zoom chat, for Demie’s nuanced reflection echoed my own feeling. They continued during the small breakout group where I landed—and where I was surprised and pleased to see Demie in one of the little squares on my laptop screen. Our group talked about the service, about covid, and (at my newcomer’s request) my fellow group members talked about themselves. The very resilience Demie had advocated was there, compelling FUUSN members to show up, to share, and to connect, even though it takes energy, even though things feel bleak and the easy solution might be to wait until we can worship and drink coffee together in person.
What do you think makes FUUSN resilient? How has this community helped you over the past two years? How do you imagine it emerging once the pandemic loosens its grip again? As your membership coordinator, I’d like to know. But I won’t see you in the sanctuary or bump into you as we mill about during coffee hour. So I hope to be in touch in the next few weeks with a membership survey to get a sense of who you are, what you want, and how you see this community returning to its previous normalcy and, perhaps, evolving. And I hope that you’ll be in touch with me! I would love to talk with you over the phone, Zoom, or to email about your experiences as FUUSN.
Before you do, you might want a snapshot of who I am. I first attended a Unitarian Universalist service in Urbana, Illinois in 1997, with my then-boyfriend. Two years later, our UU minister married us (in my parents’ Presbyterian church), and we’re still UUs. Our 20-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son were raised UU enough of the time that they joke about what UUs serve at potlucks. I’m a journalist and writer whose work has included contributing to Episcopal News Service and UU World. I moved to Arlington with my family in 2015 after nearly seven years in the Netherlands and I enjoy outdoor activities, cooking, reading and being with friends and my family when I’m not working.
I look forward to seeing you on Zoom, to connecting with you individually, and to meeting you in person when we can. And I look forward, hopefully, to shoring up our resilience together with some humor!
Heather Beasley Doyle (firstname.lastname@example.org)