Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

Open minds, loving hearts, helping hands


What’s with all this purpose and mission talk?

Author Rev. Jennifer, Written Nov 26, 2014

Tags: , , ,

By now we hope you have heard the announcements, received an invitation, seen the flyers or perhaps even engaged in a brief conversation with a UUCSH Board of Trustees member or with me. And still you might wonder, “what is with all this Purpose and Mission talk? Why is our coming together so important? Why are we engaging in this work?”

From my viewpoint, it’s THE time to be in a re-missioning development process. The vitality of this congregation is full to overflowing. Daily I am impressed by the dedication of its membership and commitment to shared ministry. This is truly a community of individuals and families that genuinely care for one another, and the wider world. On top of a large list of justice efforts, The Giving Network just held a widely successful gala event. A commitment to outreach remains a strong, central part of UUCSH’s identity. UUCSH is also realizing its commitment to make its physical structure ADA accessible. Soon we will be settled in a congregational home as envisioned in UUCSH’s last set of strategic plans. And I am more settled in a year+ in beginning my call with you. We’ve begun to know one another better and are building the foundation of trusting and respectful partnership.

UUCSH is poised to take its next steps into its future—one I believe is filled with exciting possibility!

 One of the essential processes to determine the direction of which we embark is mission. Powerful, growing religious communities share 3 priority characteristics*:

  1. a strong devotion to a clearly stated mission
  2. leadership committed to this mission above all else
  3. an organization designed to maximize the effectiveness of this mission

Before UUCSH takes that next step into where it is going, it’s important to do the powerful work of establishing why we exist, what we are called to be, how we are called to serve. That’s our purpose. On December 6, we will meet as a gathering to do just that. Voice our purpose. From there the congregation, under the leadership of a Mission Development Task Force–appointed by the Board of Trustees, will create a clearly stated mission. You may have noticed I called this a re-missioning development process in the paragraph above. UUCSH engaged in valuable mission development work just over ten years ago. The current mission statement was a key piece in what attracted me to serve as your minister. However, that work came about quite some time ago and the majority of the congregation present now was not here when it was created. It is important that the current members and friends have the opportunity to come together to clearly articulate UUCSH’s purpose. All adult and youth (Coming of Age and older) members and friends are highly encouraged to attend our “Got Purpose?” workshop retreat on December 6th. It is being designed with much joy and thoughtfulness. Details on time and location are below.

As your minister, my role is to serve the mission of the congregation. That’s my job as your called spiritual leader (I suggest reading the attached blog from Peter Boullata for more perspective on the minister’s function and mission. See below.) Once developed, UUCSH’s mission statement will inform all aspects of the ministry we share. From spiritual growth and faith development, to social action and outreach, we will make decisions based on: What best serves our mission? Mission will direct the goals of the staff and the programs UUCSH offers. It will launch future strategic planning and frame organizational growth, on multiple levels. Everything we do will be in alignment with our mission.

Have more questions? Join Jen Kitchen and I after service this coming Sunday, November 30 to learn more about this process.

With deep gratitude, Rev. Jennifer

*Rev. Robert Latham: “A Mission Born of Mystery”

Peter Boullata: “The Liberal Church Finding Its Mission: It’s Not About You”


Got Purpose? Workshop Retreat

Date:                         Saturday, December 6, 2014

Time:                         8:45am – 3:00pm (Continental Breakfast & Lunch will be provided. Please bring your own coffee/tea/hot beverage for the morning session with you)

Location:             Stratton Meadows Pool Side Club House, corner of Meghan Lane and Janine Way, Bridgewater, NJ 08807