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It is pretty incredible to believe that it has now been 33 days since January 30, when this congregation voted Jacqueline Yvonne Cantey Brett the next Lead Minister of ERUUF. My heart continues to fill to bursting with profound gratitude and joy. And even my mother, who doesn’t quite understand Unitarian Universalism, is proud of you and her daughter. A moment that shall remain in my mind’s eye 'til the end of my days is that of the large video screen hanging in the Sanctuary with Zoom page after page of small square boxes of ERUUFians, young and old, celebrating the call of your new Lead Minister by dancing to the song, “Happy”:



Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof

(Because I'm happy)

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth

(Because I'm happy)

Clap along if you know what happiness is to you

(Because I'm happy)

Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do

The month has sped by at an unbelievable rate. We are happy. And yet things are vastly different than they were a little over a month ago. Our hearts are filled with hope as the most recent phase of the pandemic appears to have subsided and mask mandates are revised. And yet we must continue to proceed with care for ourselves and one another. We are carefully evaluating when we might safely re-open and return to ERUUF with hopes it will be within a few short weeks. Stay happy and stay tuned. On a vastly different note, the Rev. Jeanne Pupke, a dear friend to Unitarian Universalists throughout the denomination unexpectedly died. And there’s a war raging in Europe where there was no war a few weeks ago.

When I participated in Candidating Week with you I declared a vision of change that you then endorsed in your declaration of me as your Lead Minister. We happily danced (or bobbed our heads with a smile) as we excitedly considered what we were headed toward. The change we could be in the world. The way the world could change because of us.

For the past month, I’ve been considering what’s needed for the change I’ve proposed, and the answers have sometimes been about happy decisions, and at other times have not been comfortable, easy, or at all happy. In fact, they’ve been more difficult than exciting. 

What I’ve ultimately grappled with is that things don’t change if they remain the same. Even if we’re comfortable in the sameness.

It was with this and other issues in mind that I recently presented ERUUF’s Board of Trustees with a new staffing plan that will replace my Assistant Minister position with a Minister of Lifespan Faith Development, ideally one with a strong background in religious education. As a result, Julia Tyler's position as Director of Religious Education will end on June 30, 2022. Melissa Smith's position as RE Assistant will continue.

I created this plan after much thought and care for everyone involved. Rev. Cayer and I  have been in close conversation with Julia about how we might create a transition for her that is supportive of her career and which honors her passion and heartfelt commitment to Unitarian Universalist Religious Education, and the many contributions she has made to ERUUF's program in the nearly seven years that she has served here.

This change is not easy news to share. But I hope you will join me in wishing Julia well as she moves forward in the weeks ahead. During that time Rev. Cayer and I will work with the RE community to create a good ritual of leaving, that all might participate in with Julia, as well as a celebration of her time here at ERUUF.

Our transition continues. My prayer is that we are experiencing the most difficult part of it. My belief is that we can realize our heartfelt expectations and hopes if we lean into this change together.


Rev. Jacqueline