Heart and Mind - Dr. Lou Yock - October 2017
Heart and Mind
Changing While Staying the Same: Part I, We are Needed
In the Statement of Vision published in Heart and Mind over the first months of my pastorate, my focus rested on the Focus on Our Future (FOOF) determinations. This named the church’s priorities as a good worship service and community involvement. In these categories, I think we are hitting on all the cylinders. Of course, we are always striving to maintain and improve what we do as a church, but by and large, we seem fairly satisfied in meeting these specific needs set out by the congregation.
At the same time however, we have to remember that we are changing. The demographics of the church are changing, the community is changing, and the country and world are changing. On one hand, we had celebrations of life for some of our founders and long time members, while on the other hand, we are going through something of a baby boom. In all the change, it it important that we stand firm on our bedrock Seven Principles, while also probing and testing to see how we can best meet the ever changing needs of our congregants and community.
One thing I’ve learned in the past year is that we are needed in Ludington and West Michigan. I’ve said this often enough, but now I understand it more deeply than ever. In meeting and participating with community leaders, both secular and religious, I am more convinced than ever that what we offer as a church plays a vital role in our little piece of paradise. This isn’t to say that we are to be evangelists. But it is to say we are needed as witnesses. We are here to show that a divergent group of people know how to get along and work together for the common good.
One of our UU mottos is “Find us, and ye shall seek.” Our unique place is being at home with questions and questioning. This is not usually the case in most churches, which offer definitive answers. For (the minority?) of people who do not feel at home with religious certainty, we provide a church home to people of good will, a home which offers support in the individual search for truth and meaning. I have known this philosophically as a member of People’s Church since 2006. Now I understand it more empirically as pastor.
As all things change, we have to remember to keep our core values in place. As our membership and circumstances change, as we meet to confirm and challenge one another, as we continue to grow and develop, we have confidence in our respect for one another. In the church that sings in one of its favorite hymns, “even to question, truly is an answer,” we provide a place for those who feel a call to “the open road.” We, and what we do, are needed.