I expect most of you have heard the news that Rev. Bill Sinkford has answered the call to be the interim president of the Unitarian Universalist Association from now until the end of June. A new president will be elected when the General Assembly meets then. In the meantime Bill, along with two co presidents, has been asked to step in and lead our association. The request for this above-and-beyond service was made to Bill and to the board of our church and both said yes. For more on the announcement, see the notes from Bill and from Randy Russell, moderator of our board.
So what will that mean for First Unitarian for the next three months? Bill will continue to be in the pulpit here but about half as much as usual. We have invited some guest preachers to be with us and T. J. FitzGerald and I will also be in the pulpit more. Bill has said that one of his top priorities will be to maintain a presence in the pulpit here in Portland while he takes on this added responsibility at the UUA. In terms of Bill’s administrative duties, Kathryn Estey and I will do our best to cover things with the help of our dedicated staff. Our goal is to carry on with the ministry of this church and to give Bill the space to focus his attention on his responsibilities at the association for these weeks.
A number of congregants have asked how they can help. I’m not sure of all the details of that but we will be asking some of you for help in specific ways. What I would ask all of you to do, as you are willing, is to hold Bill and everyone at the UUA as they look for a way forward from this difficult time at our association. A few weeks back as part of a service on prayer, Bill invited us to “hold” the intentions of our fellow congregants in our thoughts and prayers. Many of you have let us know just how powerful that practice was. I have to say the experience of seeing us do that together has actually deepened my our sense of what it means for us to be together in community.
And right now, as our association makes its ways through this difficult time I hope that our sense of “holding” might widen to include our family of faith. Bill has noted that this is not only a time of crisis but also a time of opportunity and I believe that as well.
I look forward to seeing you in church.