Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Sad Leaving and a Happy Landing

Last year in June I had to leave the Unitarian Universalist congregation that was my church home for over 7 years.  The minister of the church resigned because of budgetary issues and since I was a ministerial candidate, the head of the Ministerial Fellowship Committee told me I had to leave as well.  He said it was because there couldn’t be any kind of perception that I had been antagonistic or that I was waiting in the wings to take over for the minister after he left – even though I hadn’t been doing any of those things.  In fact, I was one of the biggest allies for the minister.

So I had to just disappear.  I am still very sad about that.  I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.  I wasn’t able to give a goodbye sermon or even just publicly say goodbye.  There was no goodbye reception, even though the congregation gave a big goodbye reception for the minister.  It’s almost like I had never been there even though I gave my heart and soul to that place for seven years.  I just had to disappear – there hasn’t been any closure.

I have very mixed emotions about my leaving.  I loved the people there and I miss them.  I suppose it is petty and selfish (I am human after all) but I must confess that I am upset that there wasn’t any kind of goodbye party or reception for me.  I did so much for that church and there wasn't even a public acknowledgment of all that I had done - not even for what I had done during my year of supervised ministry.  It makes me feel like all of my efforts were unappreciated, even though I know that is not true.  It’s just a very sad thing and I am still grieving the loss.

But God has a funny way of working.  That incident forced me to really think about where I want to be.  I had been thinking about leaving Unitarian Universalism and exploring the United Church of Christ.   My having to leave the UU church gave me the push I needed to explore other options.  I am now involved with a wonderful United Church of Christ congregation and I have found a home with that denomination.  This was a significant change since I had been a life-long Unitarian Universalist.  Now I am well along the path to ordination in the United Church of Christ tradition.  I have learned to embrace Christianity – I have been baptized – and I know that I am now where I was meant to be.

As the old saying goes – when one door closes another opens up. 


  1. I didn't know the circumstances of your leaving the UU, Sue. How very sad and painful. I'[m sure you're right that people DID appreciate what you'd done, but still, I can totally understand how that lack of acknowledgment was so painful. It's like being invisible, which no one should have to feel.
    Well, we are SUPER appreciative already of everything you're doing around here and the spirit that you bring to us. THANK YOU!!

  2. I am sad that you are sad about feeling unappreciated. I remember you talking about how the MFC informed your decision to leave First Jefferson but I guess I don't remember that being your primary motivating factor. Others thought (and respected) that you were departing because you had reached a place on your journey where it was time to pursue another direction and that UUism was no longer the road for you to travel. Let there be no doubt in your mind that you are deeply missed and many are grateful for all your many contributions. I regret that we did not acknowledge them in a more public and open way. Peace, Mary