– Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Interim Minister
The Power We Hold in This Faith. I recently heard about the decision to attend a UU Church. One came from a speaker who received “sex ed” in her childhood church that said: “Don’t do it!” Being more curious than this, she wanted to know more.
A friend invited her to an Our Whole Lives class at a UU Church. A teacher began with: “You will have many decisions to make, including some tough ones along the way. We want you to have as much knowledge as you can before you make those decisions!”
“Wow!” she thought, “Young people and adults honored the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of all of us! I said to myself, ‘This is the church for me!’”
There is a special gift at Northlake UU, a prize not found in many churches. A sense of “trust” exists among us. Your opinions are valued, credible, and worthy of attention. Northlake knows that an open attitude encourages an ever-more-open attitude, a powerful spiritual blessing and an invitation to those who visit.
Deeds, Not Creeds. Some join UU churches due to our emphasis on “deeds, not creeds.” The Northlake effort to build interfaith partnerships, support special education programs, and help the homeless sync in with Isaac Newton, a 17th-18th century mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian, and author.
But Newton is not alone. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Let’s build bridges, not walls.” And, Pope Francis said, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges is not Christian. This is not in the Gospel.” The spiritual growth found at Northlake is accompanied by an invite to those who drop in to check us out.
The Forces of Change. Free thinkers aim to know more about the inner workings of their society. A concern about the world outside our four walls led to January services (our theme was possibility) focused on feminism and racism. The services were included in the worship schedule because the push for justice and equity occurs in the face of some who deny the rights and privileges everyone deserves because they are human.
Tracy Y., Judith S., and Des P. addressed three of the women and nonbinary persons featured in Modern Herstory: Stories of Women and Nonbinary People Rewriting History. Kudos to them for all that they shared.
The consideration of racism saw it as a system that says white people are more powerful than black people. Three resources appeared in that service (none covered completely) which is why I invite Northlake members and friends to:
- Read Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail
- Watch the video about the Toledo, Ohio GM plant
- Read White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo
The Power We Hold in This Faith, Reprise. Northlake is moving forward. The primary reason it is doing so is because you are representing the voices of your members and friends. When the spirit is in touch with the world you can rest assured that many will do what they can to make certain that your forward motion will continue.
UUA General Assembly 2019 in Spokane!
– Margaret Rogers, DLRE
Northlake is a part of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) of Congregations. Each year, Unitarian Universalists from across the United States gather for an annual meeting. This meeting serves as the place where people and congregations meet to learn, connect, and make policy for the Association. Certified congregations send delegates to the General Assembly where they vote on the issues brought to the General Assembly.
In addition to this business portion of the meeting, there are workshops, worship services, social justice actions, and lectures that offer a broad experience of the ideas and movements within Unitarian Universalism today.
This year, the General Assembly will be held in Spokane, Washington from June 19 to June 23. It’s a great opportunity for those of us on the west coast to attend! This year’s theme is “The Power of We.” Here’s the description from the UUA’s promotional materials:
The Power of We
What do we want Unitarian Universalism to be? It is a time when we are asking big questions in our faith, and GA 2019 will be focused on digging into those questions together. It is a critical chance for congregational leaders and passionate UUs to set new goals and aspirations for our religious community. Help begin to reshape our Association and our congregations in new and powerful ways.
This year’s theme is about collective power, “The Power of We,” as well as the possibility, the purpose, the struggle and the joy of what it means to be together in faithful community. In the past two years, Unitarian Universalism has recommitted to the work of liberation inside and outside our faith community. The antidote to a time of dangerous dehumanization is a love that connects us to our deeper humanity. Come to Spokane to experience what our shared faith can become when we embrace the Power of We.
You can explore more about this year’s General Assembly at the UUA webpage: https://www.uua.org/ga
It’s useful to start thinking about whether you’d be interested in going early – the General Assembly hotels (where rates have been negotiated) open at 9:00am on March 1, and many years the reserved blocks become full shortly thereafter.
The General Assembly planning team offers two children’s program options for a daily fee ($55) – onsite childcare for children ages 6 months to 10 years, and a separate program for upcoming middle schoolers (those who have just completed 5th-8th grades), and there is a Youth Caucus for older teens (details will be available on the UUA General Assembly web page shortly).
Financial Aid is available. To find out more about financial aid options, see the UUA’s General Assembly Financial Aid page.
Over the next couple of months, the Agenda for General Assembly will be announced, and we will have details about the issues that will come to the General Assembly for debate and votes. We will be posting details about these in the coming months, and this offers us a chance as a congregation and a community to think about and discuss how we wish our votes to be represented in our denomination.
Search Team Update
– Dave, Laurence, Mariana, Mary, Minnette, Pam & Stacy
This month the ministerial search team has begun reading ministerial packets, sermons, newsletters, and interviewing prospective candidates for us to call. While it is quite a bit to do, we all agree that it is energizing work. As you might imagine, UU ministers are mostly very interesting, skilled, and qualified. The key will be discerning the right fit for us. The work we and you did in the fall to assess ourselves at this moment in our congregational life has been in the front of our minds and discussions as we embark on this path. You can expect to hear little or no specifics over the coming months of our work, but rest assured we are working hard to represent all of us.
Planning Northlake’s Budget for FY2020
– Wess Wessling, Treasurer
Northlake’s Annual Budget is created during a process that begins with a request for committee inputs in late January. The process ends with the approval of the Annual Budget for the coming fiscal year in mid-June. Northlake’s budget year or fiscal year (FY) runs from July 1 to June 30 of the following year and takes its designation from the calendar year in which it ends. Our upcoming Annual Budget is for fiscal year 2020 (FY2020), running from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
Other events during the spring impact the process. The stewardship campaign, with short, informational presentations during services in February and March, officially launches at our Congregational Meeting on March 17. A narrative budget is proposed, setting forth the goals of the stewardship campaign. Both goals and numbers are brought forth. This year will emphasize funding our normal operations for the coming year with a keen eye to the increased costs associated with hiring a new selected minister. Cost-of-living increases for our staff will be considered, as will whether to continue our music director, whether to build another Tiny House, whether to increase our contribution to the national and regional offices to become an Honor or Fair Share congregation, increased capital allocations for roof repairs or replacement, etc.
With all these considerations, YOU, the members and friends of Northlake, will decide how much YOU want to support your community and will pledge accordingly. Final pledges will be in hand by mid-April.
While the stewardship campaign carries forth, the Treasurer and his team will suggest the line item amounts of the budget based on past experience, perceived future needs and inputs from committees. Some of these numbers are quite firm (rental incomes). Others are fairly predictable (like the mortgage and salaries) and some are quite subjective (benefits, utilities, maintenance, rental costs, donation and fundraising income, office expenses, etc.). The goal is to achieve a budget with income equaling outgo! As the pledges are received and totaled, these numbers are refined and the Treasurer and Board begin considerations of what might be minimized or cut if the pledges are skimpy or how to allocate surpluses if the pledges are ample.
Updates using Talk, etc., are used to keep the congregation generally aware of what’s happening. By the May Congregational Meeting, firm numbers should be at hand. If needed, additional appeals can be made to make up shortfalls. At the June Congregational Meeting, the final budget is presented and approved.
Get Involved in Northlake’s Ministry Teams
– Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Interim Minister
The Northlake Board, minister, and staff are fully aware that there are many areas of church life that are necessary for our survival. As is often the case, some of these ministry teams (a.k.a. committees) could use some additional assistance.
- The Membership Team is looking for a few new members as they have had a few folks rotate off the team recently. It would love to add a few folks willing to help attract and maintain membership in the church. If you would like to know more about the Membership Team (and its activities) please contact Cyndy J., its chair.
- The Worship Team is not looking for members. Their ask is for people willing to do these tasks: serve as a service organizer, celebrant, song leader, setup and reset, slide creation, projection, or audio. Each role is part of the service each week, and we’d welcome you to sign up to help as often or as occasionally as you’d like. If you would like to know more about the Worship Team (and its activities) please contact Chelsea W., its chair.
- The Rentals Team works with your office and rentals manager on renting our buildings. They would welcome anyone with rentals experience, real estate knowledge, a legal eye, or desire to maintain a steady stream of church income as we provide a useable physical plant for our tenants. If you have any interest in assisting with rentals, please contact Sandy N. or Peter D., its chair.
Many thanks to all who are doing what you can to help. Together, we build bridges from our faith to the world here in Kirkland. Anything you can do will be appreciated.
Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul Adult RE Discussions in February and March
Rev. Jim will offer a series of six Adult RE sessions on Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul on Wednesdays, Feb. 13, 20, and 27 and March 13, 20, and 27, at 1:30pm and 7:00pm (please note that you have an afternoon or an evening option).
This book covers a critical step in the formation of Unitarianism in the 19th century and its spirit continues to influence the heart, soul, spirit, and conscience of seekers today. A close look at its material provides an opening for members and friends, new and old, to a great summary of a pivotal religious journey. You will learn about culture-shifting concepts from Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller on spirituality, conversation, journaling, self-culture, social change, abolition, women’s rights, education, and much more. You will also read their thoughts on tools and insights that contribute to the cultivation of the soul.
These courses are in response to the appearance of the Rev. Dr. Barry M. Andrews at Northlake on Sunday, February 3. Recently retired, Andrews lives in the area and hopes to continue with his research and writing. He has authored Thoreau as Spiritual Guide, Emerson as Spiritual Guide, and Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul. Its cover has these introductory words:
“In Transcendentalism and the Cultivation of the Soul, Barry M. Andrews shows how Transcendentalists developed rich spiritual practices, nurtured their souls, and discovered the divine. The practices they adapted are common and simple—among them, keeping journals, contemplation, walking, reading, simple living, and conversation. As Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, and others pursued meaningful and rewarding spiritual lives, they were inspired to fight for abolition, women’s rights, and education reform.”
Please put February 3 on your calendar. If you could, make it a “have to be at church” Sunday. If you can, please bring a friend with you.
Cottage Dinner Volunteers Needed
The Annual Budget Drive is around the corner, and it will soon be time for Cottage Dinners! In cottage dinners, small groups share a meal and discuss how and why we give our time, talent, and treasure to Northlake. Everyone is encouraged to attend a cottage dinner.
We are currently seeking individuals or couples willing to host a dinner in their home OR to facilitate the discussion. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s a great way to increase the feeling of community within our congregation!
The cottage dinners need to take place between March 20 and April 3. We have already planned for a family-friendly cottage dinner to take place in the chapel (childcare provided) on March 23 and a lunch in Adams Hall on a date to be determined, but we will need hosts and facilitators for these as well.
- Send an invite to your attendees (The Stewardship Team will let you know who to expect and give you their contact info.)
- Ask attendees to bring a potluck item.
- Remind attendees of the date as it approaches.
- Attend the facilitator training on Sunday, March 3.
- Touch base with the host of your dinner and be sure to reply to their invite.
- Attend the dinner and lead the discussion.
Please let Ellie P. know if you’re willing to host or facilitate and your preferred date/time. Email Ellie.