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President's Corner

Photo: Ruth Micklem
   by Ruth Micklem

Contemplating my first newsletter article as the newly elected president of the UUFR-VA has been a bit of a challenge.

Thinking about what it means to be in a leadership position with the UUFR-VA, thinking about how to make this experience meaningful for myself and for the membership, and thinking about the opportunities to grow and expand the membership and the visibility of the fellowship throughout the Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula has occupied my mind since I agreed to take on the position.

So, for this first newsletter article I will share a few of those thoughts with you all and invite members of the congregation to share your thoughts, ideas, and feedback with me and others so that we can engage one another in that vital conversation about moving forward together.

I was asked recently to describe my leadership style. I really struggled with how to answer that question, but it got me to thinking about the question and particularly with this new position with the UUFR-VA. I figured others might want to have some idea of what they can expect! I am totally an out of the box thinker – I like taking on problems and finding solutions that may seem way out there to some folks. I believe in possibility and I particularly enjoy helping folks find their strengths and utilizing them in ways they never thought possible. I like to listen to the thoughts and feelings of individuals and their differing perspectives – finding common ground, seeking and exploring new opportunities. Making this experience meaningful for me will mean engaging with members of the fellowship and hearing about their vision for the future, bringing together commonalities and strategically planning how to make things happen. Of course, it will also mean sharing my vision and connecting with others who share a similar vision and achieving progress towards that vision. It is my hope that this progress and opportunity for engagement and sharing will be meaningful for others as well.

It will take me a few months to learn my new job, build a working relationship with other board members, and find my place in a leadership role, but then it is my hope to actively engage with the fellowship and the community to move us forward in achieving a common vision.

My vision for the fellowship includes an intentional and focused path to expansion of the membership, particularly an expansion that actively promotes the engagement of youth and families that may be marginalized in our community. This will mean creation of an environment and space that is inviting to young people and their families and a welcoming and accepting congregation of difference, and a continuing willingness to challenge ourselves and one another when faced with discomfort and change.
I would like very much to see a religious education program for all ages come into fruition. Often, expanding the membership is a challenge because so many people don’t understand Unitarian Universalism – expanding our understanding of others and the world around us requires frequent opportunities for education. Figuring out how the UUFR-VA can expand opportunities to educate our membership and the public on the principles of Unitarian Universalism is and has been a priority for me since I have been involved in this fellowship.

Lastly, I would like to see our fellowship actively involved in social justice and social change actions. There are many challenges facing us as a nation, a community and particularly those individuals who are marginalized in our community. UU Congregations around the world are taking on difficult and challenging social issues. They are educating their communities, making issues visible and creating meaningful and important changes for many members of our society. Addressing real social change may mean discomfort for some, and be energizing and cathartic for others, but any progressive thinking organization committed to promoting human dignity has a responsibility to see and act on oppressive and unjust actions and activities occurring in our communities. While social service is a necessary and important role of this fellowship, understanding and tackling the social justice issues that face us is equally important in my mind.

I am honored to be able to serve in the position of President of the UUFR-VA and look forward to working with each and every one of you in the upcoming year. I welcome your thoughts, concerns and ideas and look forward to a productive, stimulating and transparent 2016!

Sincerely,
  -Ruth

UUFR-VA By-Laws

Click Here for Dec. 11, 2011 Revision

UUFR-VA Board of Stewards—2015

President Ruth Micklem
Vice President Bill Gimpel
Past Pres. Dave Dustin
Programs Chair Nancy Stupi
Membership Chair Janet Hemming
Treasurer Lynn Langley
Secretary Shirley Kinney

Photo: The Board at Work
2012 Board of Stewards

Board of Trustees

Barbara Haynes
Marge Rowden
Tom Kinney

Leadership Development

Caroline Shifflett
Bob Weekley
Janet Hemming

Congregational Committee Chairs

Building and Grounds:   Dave and Terrie Dustin
Community Service
& Outreach:
  Pam Collins
Finance:   Tom Kinney
Library:   Chris Gimpel
Landscaping:   vacant
Publicity:   Susan Johnson
Social Justice:   Vacant
UU For Kids:   Kristi VanAudenhove
Vision and Planning:   Tom Kinney

Music Coordinator:   Hank Stupi
Newsletter Editor:   Bob Prescott
Webmaster:   Bob Prescott

Interest Group Coordinators

"Imagine That!” Art Guild:   Shirley Kinney
Phood and Philosophy:   Shirley Kinney
"River Readers” Book Discussion Group:   Elaine Weekley