We all have the absolute right to reach out, without holding back, toward what we care about more than anything. Whether we describe the recipient as God, or a profound sense of indestructible love, or the dream of a kinder world, it is in the act of offering our hearts, sharing our life’s stories in faith with one another that something in us transforms, we move beyond our limited thinking and we learn to spread our wings and fly.
April 24, 2018
Request to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Oxford for Rev. Gail Stratton to be affiliated with the congregation as a Community Minister.
I am grateful to be affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Congregation since my ordination by UUCO in Oct. of 2016. Attached is an updated letter and covenant that outlines my affiliation. I request that UUCO consider this affiliation and consider extending the affiliation for another year. In the letter, I specify that the spring Congregational meeting is a time to affirm my relationship with UUCO and that I will present a report the UUCO board near the end of the fiscal year and thus include the newly elected board members.
I welcome conversation about my role in the congregation and am happy to answer questions.
Affiliation and making a covenant with the congregation is an opportunity to practice being faithful. To make a comparison, I am reminded at how much work can go into making an edge of a garden, but that the work of making such an edge helps the garden immensely! Unexpected and some times wonderful things can happen in a garden, but without some kind of edge, it is quickly overtaken by grass and weeds. Taking time for this affiliation is like making an edge to our garden. And, like a garden edge, it periodically needs some work.
In this letter I agree to continue my professional relationships with the UUMA (Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association) and the UUCMA (Unitarian Universalist Community Ministers Association.
The letter includes the following, which spells out my role in the congregation:
Affiliation with a community minister often allows a Unitarian Universalist congregation to develop an outward focus of care and concern and we expect this to be the case with this affiliation. In developing her ministry, Rev. Stratton will seek to invite and involve congregants where appropriate, with a goal of shared ministry and mutually supporting the congregation and outreach to the community.
Ministerial services, such as weddings, funerals and rites of passage will be provided in a case by case arrangement, generally with individuals contacting Rev. Stratton directly. In some instances, it may be appropriate for the UUCO Board to make a request for services of life passages. Rev. Stratton is willing to provide such services, generally at the UUA rate for compensation. Rev. Stratton is willing to preach at least four times per year, two of which will be provided gratis and the others to be compensated at standard guest preaching amount. She will also provide an annual report to the UUCO board at the end of the fiscal year and will seek to be in touch with the UUCO Board at least quarterly. Rev. Stratton is willing to provide one workshop or lead one retreat free of charge and beyond that would expect to be compensated at the UUA rate of compensation. When asked by a UUCO board member, Rev. Stratton is willing to be a consultant around particular challenges the congregation faces.
Other than the above, there will be no compensation for Rev. Stratton’s services in the congregation. Meeting space at the building owned by UUCO may be provided to Rev. Stratton for events consistent with the mission of UUCO and consistent with the UUCO Building Use Policy and will be arranged through the building scheduler. If Rev. Stratton uses the space for an event such as a wedding, she will negotiate the rental fee to go to UUCO for that event using the Building Use guidelines.
Members of UUCO may participate on the Committee of Ministry for Gail.
Rev. Gail Stratton will be identified as a Unitarian Universalist Community Minister affiliated with UUCO on the UUCO website and where needed, in orders of service, newsletters and in reports to the UUA.
If, at some point in the future, UUCO calls a part time, developmental, interim, or full-time minister, Rev. Stratton agrees to respect the authority of that minister and will develop a covenant of understanding with that person.
There will be an annual meeting between the UUCO board and Rev. Gail Stratton to discuss their relationship in connection to the Mission of UUCO. This affiliation agreement will be reviewed annually and reaffirmed by the UUCO Board before the Annual Congregation meeting in spring of each year.
Am grateful to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation!
Rev. Gail Stratton
"The highest good is like water. Water gives life to the ten thousand things and does not strive. It flows in places men reject." - Lao
We would be honored by your presence this Sunday as local decades long, Tai Chi practitioner, Chris Aloia shares with us a bit of Eastern philosophy and wisdom.
Come join us for this intergenerational service to celebrate Earth Day! We will honor the interdependent web of life (one of our principles) through an interactive service featuring readings and music.
After speaking about the tribulations, misconceptions and complications endured by those living with invisible illnesses; Shaundi Wall will lead the congregation in both internal and external dialogues to help each of us identify, accept, address, and heal the unseen things in our own lives that prevent us from truly being our fullest, happiest, and best selves.
"A View from the Dark Side: 10 Years with the World's Unlikeliest Sustainability Partner" - Michelle Mauthe Harvey - Sunday, April 8, 2018
When Michelle Mauthe Harvey decided in 2007 to leave her Washington, DC home of 20 years to become Environmental Defense Fund's on-site sustainability project lead with Walmart in Bentonville, AR she didn't realize it would be a journey of emergence. The world's largest retailer is also the world's largest customer - and the job of Michelle and her colleagues was and is to harness that potential to drive environmental improvements globally. It's working, but not always as expected. Michelle will share some of the Walmart-scale successes, insights learned along the way, and the implications of working with unlikely allies.
'Tis the season of birth and growth and transformation... And nothing symbolizes this season like flowers - and eggs! This morning we will speak of the meaning of this season and we will share the tradition of the Flower Communion, originated by Rev. Norbert Capek, a Unitarian minister who lived in Prague in the last century.
All ages are invited to bring blooms and flowers to contribute to the Flower Communion and to participate in this traditional service!! We will have a few eggs as well as sweets to share at coffee hour!
Our young people will be with us for most of the service... and they may have a surprise for their families and other adults at the end of the service!
Join us for this joyous springtime service!
"Embracing the Essence of Passover, Easter, and April Fool's Day" - Reverend Gail Tapscott - Sunday, March 25, 2018
Rev. Gail Tapscott who loves to find relationships between seemingly unrelated things, will attempt to tie these three distinct holidays together into a meaningful mix that will help us all to emulate Holy Rascals in our past and understand the importance of the Trickster figure in religion and culture.
In an interactive Coffee House like setting, UUCO members and friends will draw on the prior week's sermon and some relevant handouts to think and talk about their own internal hero. Sharing personal stories is a great community building activity.
Rev. Gail Tapscott will ask us to look at the Heroic archetype in terms of our own life journey. She will look at some materials that specifically address the changing patterns in the roles of both women and men and how that affects our understanding of the image of the hero.