Monday, April 12, 2010

State of the Meeting Report


In December 2009, after 18 months of work and 4 retreats, we concluded a “Year of Discernment.” Together we affirmed UFM’s calling to be a worshipping community, to be good stewards of our resources, to help each other discern how we are led to serve, and to care for and support each other.

Worship is at the center of our community life. On First Days, we continue to hold two Meetings for Worship, one at 9:30, customarily smaller and more likely to season messages mainly in silence and one at 11:00. We continue to hold Meeting for Business on the second First Day of each month beginning directly out of 11:00 am Meeting for Worship. We are gratified to find both a greater number of Friends participating in Meeting for Business and better grounded work as a result of this practice.

Meeting for Business this year has included spirit-led consideration of some testing issues. We seasoned a minute opposing torture and found ourselves challenged to articulate shared language about our motivations. We approved membership for a Friend who identifies as Pagan, who has an ongoing ministry overseen by a committee including Friends from our Meeting, about Quaker Paganism, and who shortly after joining moved with her wife away from Seattle. We have taken a Quaker / Jewish marriage under our care. We have considered at length our expectations of Nominating Committee, Friends with concerns about nominations, and Worship and Ministry committee. We are presently reviewing how Meeting seasons ministries it undertakes as a community.

Our Adult Religious education program provides rich choices and lively discussion. We continue to collaborate with the men and women of the UFM SHARE group who sleep in our Worship Room at night. Our worshipping community still includes an identified sex offender as well as ministries for survivors of sexual abuse and about the safety of our children. Many musicians, poets and artists in our community share their gifts at our monthly Art Salons and monthly art exhibits. 29 Friends lobbied for services for the poor and prison reform at our annual Quaker lobby day in Olympia. We have organized both small worship-sharing and Quaker-8’s potluck groups. Library Committee’s book sale, a holiday crafts fair, a New Year vision collage making time, and a plant exchange are popular annual events.

This year’s QUEST interns include two young men as well as the young women usually drawn to QUEST. We have an active First Day School program. We have adjusted our schedule so that children join us for worship at the end of the hour instead of the beginning. Last spring we asked our children to discern and recommend how our Meeting should spend a percentage of the funds budgeted for donations to outside organizations.

Our Year of Discernment generated renewed energy and restored our sense of practicing discernment with faith in the abundance of our resources and gifts, rather than fear of their scarcity. Our Year of Discernment has expanded our shared awareness of the ways in which each of our committees and individuals do the work of being a community. Many have described feeling, and seeing others, more engaged with Meeting than ever before. We have seen an increase in committee volunteerism, slight and temporary growth in donations (despite hard economic times for many among us), and more attendance at Meeting for Worship.

The four day-long retreats at the Meeting House were so successful that we have decided to hold a similar retreat this spring to build community, get to know each other, and care for our physical plant.

A remodel task force has been formed to move forward on a tight timeline with details and staging of existing remodel proposals.

A communications task force has been formed to look at how our Meeting uses many different tools including both computer or online resources and a variety of practices. This task force has already begun experiments distributing materials for Business meeting in advance by email and making it easier for newcomers to be added to email distribution lists for our weekly bulletin and for our monthly newsletter.

We have also given attention to practical matters: management of Quaker House, cleaning up a basement room to provide our grade-school First Day school with its own meeting space, installing an improved sound system in our worship room, installing lighting in our parking lot.

Currently, about a dozen children, from infants through school-age, come to First-Day School. Few Junior Friends are visible at UFM, although a number enjoy Quarterly and Yearly Meeting activities. We enjoy the presence of a number of Young Adult Friends. We continue to be blessed with a rich stream of adult newcomers of all ages -- some seasoned Friends, some eager seekers -- including seniors drawn to the Northwest by family ties ("magnetic grandkids") as well as younger adults and families with young children.

We welcomed three new adult members by convincement, two junior members and two adults by transfer. Three members passed away. One Friend noted for her own gifts and 13 generations of family Quaker history passed away in October. Another Friend passed away in February after Meeting approved but before it completed her transfer back to her family home in Maine. Our last founding member passed away in March. We also celebrated one birth. We reached out to support a Friend injured in a motorcycle accident. We witnessed, sometimes with round-the-clock hospital presence the remarkable recovery of another Friend who was struck and critically injured by a car and who, six months later has already returned to work. We offered spiritual and financial support for a longtime attender and large community presence at his immigration court hearing. We joyously unite with South Seattle Preparative Meeting’s move toward status as a Monthly Meeting and are forwarding their request to Quarterly Meeting. We are also holding a member in the Light as she clerks the FCNL General Committee. Many of our members also play active roles in the work of Quarterly and Yearly meetings, FWCC and other Friends’ bodies.

Friends have spoken often of hunger for deeper spiritual connections. We experience, again and again, times when we feel equal concern for one another, and equal appreciation for what others share with us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Final Report



In December 2007, the Nominating Committee offered a proposal for a Year of Discernment for University Friends Meeting (UFM). The proposal arose from some months of discussion and redefinition, and was prompted by Nominating Committee concerns that it had become increasingly difficult to find community members willing to serve on our many committees. There was also a general sense within the Meeting community that we were overextended and had inadequate human and financial resources to do all that is needed to maintain our structure and campus, and to serve and care for our own and wider communities.

Now, two years later, the Steering Committee gratefully reports on experiences we have been blessed to share with and facilitate within the UFM community. Throughout our time together, the Steering Committee for the Year of Discernment has frequently come back to two questions to guide our process:
1.    Who are we as a community?
2.    What are we called to do?
This report reflects some of our answers to these questions as well as a summary of activities and accomplishments we see within UFM.  We have also compiled a full record of written materials generated during the period, including reports from meetings with committees, Gleamings articles, related bibliography on discernment, committee initiatives such as reading and discussions of Three Cups of Tea, and Nominating Committee recommendations for combining or laying down committees. We particularly recommend the appended “how to do it” records from the four retreats in which many community members participated between October 2008 and October 2009.


Presently, UFM has about 180 members, of whom about half are currently active within the community.  We also have a substantial number of attenders.  A number of members are now connected with South Seattle Preparative Meeting, which may soon become a monthly meeting.  We estimate that 150 adults are actively involved in the Meeting, by attending worship at 9:30 or 11:00 on First Day, participating in Adult Religious Education, serving on committees, and attending monthly business meeting.

Currently, only 11 or 12 children, from infants through school-age years, come to First-Day School or Preschool group on Sunday mornings. Very few Junior Friends are in evidence in UFM, although a number enjoy Quarterly and Yearly Meeting activities. The Meeting benefits from the presence of a number of Young Adult Friends.  Valued members of the community also include many gray-haired folks, several families with young children, and many actively working for a living.

We employ five part-time staff in the Meeting office, as residents of the meetinghouse and Quaker House, to coordinate the QUEST program, to help nurture, clean and care for our campus and community. We host a nightly SHARE/WHEEL shelter for up to 20 homeless people, and offer meeting space for a variety of Friends and community groups. The regional offices of AFSC and a preschool are housed in our building, and six QUEST interns live in Quaker House, which also has rooms for travelers.

Year of Discernment

Nominating Committee originally discussed a wide range of ideas for some sort of special year for UFM.  Suggestions included laying down “non-essential” committee work (variously defined!) for the year, or restructuring committees or committee work in various ways.  Nominating Committee talked with Lorraine Watson of North Seattle Friends Church about their radical simplification of their committee structure and their decision to lay down a major ministry.  Prior to the approval of the Year of Discernment proposal, Nominating Committee presented two draft proposals to monthly meeting for a “Sabbath Year,” with specific proposals for the reduction of committee work for the year and a somewhat simplified structure for remaining work.  Nominating Committee soon realized that work which may seem less essential is often work which people love, and that has led into some close community for the people doing it.  After receiving feedback from monthly meeting and talking with some individuals with concerns, a new proposal for the “Year of Discernment” emerged.  The Meeting approved the Year of Discernment proposal  and appointed a Steering Committee for the Year of Discernment.

The Year of Discernment was not a time to stop our work. We hoped it would be a time of excitement and refreshment because work felt different from the usual. We did not “lay down” committees or ask committees to stop doing certain things.  The goal was a year to discern how to become a community that people love and want to serve, that allows all members to feel that their work fits into the Meeting, that offers members a universal sense of both caring for and being cared for, and that efficiently identifies and recognizes the talents of each member so that we are all left with ample time to deepen our spirituality and community-building.  We hoped to be joyful, intentional and corporate in our discernment, to listen to each other and to the Divine, and to listen and share our leadings with one another as we seek a deeper spirituality.


    Steering Committee members met with every UFM committee and with officers and non-committee members, interested individuals, Young Adult Friends, and other groups, to discuss queries  expanded directly from those in the Year of Discernment proposal.  We discovered that for many committees the primary experience of UFM and commitment to the Meeting centered in the work of that particular committee.  We also learned that for most committee members, service in their chosen areas was a pleasure and satisfying, rather than a burden.   Thus, we came to see UFM as composed of many smaller communities and learned that all of UFM current activities were deeply value by those involved.

At the same time, the stress of trying to do many things with limited resources was widely acknowledged. This learning lead the Steering Committee to seek ways to build a more cohesive community and to involve committees in activities such as planning and assisting with the retreats. We also moved away from considering adjustments to the UFM structure and tried to help prepare the community to unite in choices and ministries. 

From the interviews with committees and individuals, the Steering Committee distilled four core values of University Friends Meeting, themes that, over the course of our conversations, UFM community members identified repeatedly or universally as essential to the life and identity of our community.  These four core values were: worship; care and nurturing of community and each other; stewardship of our physical, financial, and human resources; and service both to Meeting and in the world.

III. What Are We Called To Do?

We are called to be a worshiping community, to be good stewards of our resources, and to help each other discern how we are led to serve. We are also called to care for and support each other.

Based on this understanding of who we are as a community and what we are called to do, the Steering Committee has several recommendations for the Meeting and lifts up some areas we see in need of ongoing nurture.


1.     We recommend that UFM institute having two Meeting retreats at the meetinghouse each calendar year, organized by an ad hoc committee, appointed by the Clerk in consultation with Nominating Committee.  Each retreat should include:
  • worship
  • intergenerational activities
  • community building exercises (i.e. discussions, skill building or other activities that speak to the spiritual needs of UFM)
  • a program for children related to the retreat theme
  • work parties focused on the buildings and grounds
  • a shared meal, and
  •  fun
Other activities might include: a talent show, skits, or bringing in an outside speaker to focus on a particular issue. We recommend that a planning committee be named for each retreat and that all committees be asked contribute ideas for the themes. Some possible themes might be the relationship between individual discernment and corporate discernment, or an advance reading.

 2.   We recommend that the business meeting approve the creation of a Communications Task Force, named by the Clerk, and charged with reviewing current communications methods and recommending changes that better fit the needs of UFM community and the technology available. Attention must be given to maintaining connection with individuals and households who do not regularly use the internet and email. This task force would be asked to bring a recommendation to business meeting within three months.

3.  We recommend that the Projects' responsibilities be transferred at least temporarily to a Remodeling Task Force, appointed by the Clerk.   It would be the Task Force's job to determine what needs to be done to restart the remodeling process of the Meeting House.  This would include, but is not limited to: reviewing the current remodeling plans, recommending changes if they are indicated, identifying funding and financing sources, and presenting their recommendations to business meeting for approval.  The Task Force would prioritize what and in what order specific remodeling jobs should be done, the timing of the remodeling work, and the impact on our renters.  It would also determine what would be the best oversight for the projects.  The Task Force would consult with Buildings and Grounds and Finance Committees as necessary.  This task force would be asked to bring a recommendation to business meeting within three months.

 4.     We recommend that Worship and Ministry Committee create a formal process for the meeting to follow when individuals express a leading or calling to ministry.  In this process, the Meeting should help discern whether the ministry is individual (and, if so, what support the individual needs) or corporate (and, if so, how the Meeting should take up that ministry).  This process of discernment should also continue for the Meeting’s current ministries.  Tools the Meeting has to support these ministries include clearness and support committees and business meeting.

Ongoing Nurture

Throughout the year, we have noticed a few areas that could use special support, attention, and nurture from the Meeting.  We do not have specific recommendations in these areas, but we ask the Meeting to prayerfully consider how to nurture them.

1.  Younger Friends.  We see a need for ongoing nurture of younger Friends, including young families and children, Junior Friends, and Young Adult Friends.  We encourage Friends to discern how to incorporate Friends of all ages into the life of the Meeting, and to discern what support and support the Meeting can give to those in transitional stages of life.  An example we discussed of lending structure would be to have Worship and Ministry Committee offer to house the YAF mid-week worship at Quaker House.  We encourage adults in the Meeting to work with our youth of all ages.  We want to acknowledge the work that has been and is being done by the Education Committee, in particular the creation of the curriculum for the school-aged children. People seem excited and welcoming when families attend UFM.  However, not enough of us have volunteered for the Education Committee, second adults on Sundays, or to work with Junior Friends. 

2.  New clerks.  In meeting with the committees, we saw many differences in how committees functioned.  We ask the Meeting to think about ways to support individuals who feel led to clerk committees by providing help in their transition into clerking and being clear about the expectations of a committee and the committee clerk.  One possibility for this support could include a gathering of all committee clerks (experienced and new) to talk about what it means to clerk.  Alternatively, new clerks could have a mentor who has served as a clerk in the past.

3.  Communication between committees and the Meeting.  We encourage the Meeting community to continue the Clerk’s current practice of having committees report on their work at business meeting. In addition, we want committees to move beyond business meeting and to use other venues, such as Gleamings, the website, and Coordinating Committee, to educate and excite the rest of the community.

4.     Outreach.  As people talked about what was memorable and important to them in their time with UFM, the theme of outreach emerged. We propose that the Meeting consider formalizing a variety of kinds of outreach both to people who find UFM on their own and to people who have not met us.  An example of outreach to people who have not met us is Quaker Quest; we could also offer more education about UFM and Quakerism to attenders.  There seems to be an increase in connection with the student community of the University of Washington; we wonder about once again reaching out to them.  Another suggestion is to organize quarterly gatherings for individuals who have been attending the Meeting for less than a year.

5.  Sharing our experiences of the Spirit.  In our final retreat, some Friends shared their desire to have space to talk about our experiences of the Divine, which we call by many names.  This is a growing edge for the Meeting, as faith language makes some members uncomfortable.  It also requires Friends to get to know each other better, which can be difficult in such a large meeting.  One way the Meeting can encourage Friends to share is through smaller groups that focus on deepening worship and giving space to share personal experiences.  Examples that currently exist include the Adult Religious Education hour, spiritual sharing groups, and Meeting retreats.  We hope that Friends will encourage each other to share their experiences and listen though an individual’s language for the meaning behind it.


     Below is a list of some of the things that have happened in University Friends Meeting since the approval of the Year of Discernment proposal.  The Year of Discernment Steering Committee in no way claims credit for all of the items listed.  The Steering Committee assisted in facilitating some items, but many others happened through the initiative of committees, or as gifts from individuals to Meeting.  However, one of our major themes and goals for the year has been identifying and recognizing UFM’s many ministries and getting to know better what others in Meeting are doing.  We feel we have helped to increase general awareness of these activities and contributed to a greater understanding of how they enrich the life of the Meeting.
  • We held four retreats with the purpose of strengthening the four essentials, to get to know each other and our work better, and to create broader and deeper understanding of the practice of discernment.  Our retreats focused on worship, individual discernment, corporate discernment, and the nature and meaning of community.  In order to continue connecting committee work to the wider UFM community, committees were involved in various aspects of the retreat programming.
  • The shift from Nominating Committee’s original vision (the “Sabbath Year”) to what Meeting united on (the Year of Discernment) could perhaps be summed up as a shift from “doing different work” to “thinking differently about our work.” Thinking about our existing work with greater intention has without a doubt generated a great deal of new energy and a stronger sense of community in UFM.
  • Hospitality Committee was folded into Friends Center Committee, and the former Projects and Upkeep committees were merged to form the Building & Grounds Committee.
  • A well-attended information and discussion session was held about the maintenance, repair, and remodel needs of our current buildings and their financial impact.
  • We spent many person-hours of labor on the meetinghouse building and grounds and completed many much-needed tasks, including: installation of the auditory enhancement system in the worship room; cleaning out the office (including removal of the old office safe), storage closet, and lunchroom; and removing standing water from the roof.
  • We have continued to build relationships with the people in the SHARE/WHEEL shelter group that sleeps in the Worship Room.  Members of the group have participated in Meeting activities and one attends worship regularly. The group renamed itself to reflect their growing connection to UFM.
  • We have a monthly Arts Salon where community members share visual art, music, poetry, and fellowship.
  • We have seen an increase in the number of Young Adult Friends attending and becoming involved in the Meeting.  One household of YAFs started mid-week worship.  An older couple in Meeting has held four potlucks at their home for YAFs.
  • Many people read and participated in conversations or discussion groups about the book Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.
  • We held our first Memorial Meeting for Grieving and Healing.
  • The Sunday morning Adult Religious Education program has been coordinated with the Year of Discernment, giving participants the opportunity to explore some of its themes in greater depth.
  • We enjoyed a lively Meeting-wide talent show.
  • The First-Day School class has moved into the Lunch Room.  This gives them a room of their own and frees up the Social Hall during the 11:00 hour.
  • We have recognized that we are not led to sell Quaker House.
  • We have decided not to participate in the Ecumenical Campus.
  • We have spent time talking about the nature of community at UFM. Our efforts to build community and help people get to know each other have made it easier to have conversations together about the life of the community.
  • We are communicating more through Gleamings.   The newsletter has focused our attention on themes of the Year of Discernment and related themes as well as Meeting concerns in general.
Overall, Friends in the Meeting know each other better and know more about the community as a whole, including what committees exist and what they do. We know more about the ministries that UFM currently carries and we are learning what they cost us in human, monetary and facility resources.  There has also been a shift from seeing committee work as an impediment to full participation in Meeting, something that mediates experience in Meeting, to an actual site of community building, spiritual practice, and the life of the Meeting.

A sense of abundance seems to have replaced the worry about scarcity that triggered the need for the Year of Discernment. Committee volunteerism, the number of donors, and participation in meeting for worship have all increased. We are moving towards practicing our discernment from a place of abundance instead of one of scarcity.  We feel that we are better prepared as a community to make hard choices and we hope that the Meeting will continue to consider what still has life and what we should lay down in light of our leadings and resources.

By working together toward simple objectives, we were reminded of the power of a community where each makes a contribution from individual strengths to release others to apply their strengths. We experienced, again and again, times when we felt equal concern for one another, and equal appreciation for what others were sharing with us. In those times, we were in the presence of the spiritual life of our community and its power.


Is thinking differently about our existing work seen as a means to an end, or as an end in itself?

Does Meeting still see the ultimate goal of the process as a shift back to thinking in terms of “doing different work” (and if so, what)?

For ongoing discernment related to our current ministries: What has life?  What should we lay down?  How are we supporting our individual and corporate ministries?

How does prophetic witness fit with the four essentials we identified in the meeting (worship, community, stewardship, and service)?

What is our understanding of discernment now and how should we continue the work after the Year of Discernment?


Suggested Readings for the Year of Discernment
Year of Discernment Charge from Monthly Meeting
Queries given to Committees and Individuals
Reports from talking to the committees and individuals
Samples of Gleamings articles
Samples of Reports to Business Meeting
Samples of Sunday Announcements
UFM Ministries and their histories
Example of Gleamings article on UFM Ministries: Subcommittee on Homeless
Retreat schedules and evaluation forms
Sample work-party sign up sheet
Summaries of evaluation for first and last retreats

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Accountable Radicals and Radical Accountants*


At a recent Year of Discernment Steering Committee meeting we found ourselves once again revisiting, what one of us called, the core functions of the UFM community. Worship is the center. Add to this the work that keeps the Meeting going, such as the Building and Grounds or Oversight committee work. Then fold in the outward expression of our faith, both individual and corporate, such as standing vigil, maintaining our library or sponsoring the SHARE/ WHEEL GROUP.

The unification of these activities is the core. For these to be done well, we need radicals who are led to action and invite us into a discernment process. For there to be a Meeting to respond to the radical's call, we need folks tending the structure, relying on the Quakers' radical method of discernment. It works because all of this is grounded in worship and faith.

Please, come join the conversation, the fun and the worship on October 24 at the Meeting House.

The day begins at 9:00 with tea, coffee, juice, tasty treats and conversation. At 9:30 there will be an opening circle for all attenders followed by small group exercises. We will share in small groups what community means to each of us and what we want in a community. We will be invited to talk about passions, leadings and gifts and what they might have to do with community.

In the afternoon we will share a potluck lunch and work together in intergenerational work parties. The second half of the afternoon we will reconvene in small groups to focus on how best to use the gifts and resources the Meeting has at this time. We will end with brief reports from the groups and final worship for all.

Throughout the day when there are not intergenerational activities, there will be childcare for children under 6 and a children's program for children aged 6 through 12. Please let us know in advance if you will be bringing children and their ages so we will have enough teachers.

You can sign up at the Meeting House on the table by the office starting the second week of October.

--Dorsey G for the Year of Discernment Steering Committee

*For the purpose of this title we are stretching the meaning of accountants to include people who dothe work that keeps a Meeting running, such as Nominating, Personnel, or Finance Committees.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Save October 24, 2009 for the Fall UFM Community Retreat!

Summer is waning, school is beginning and we are getting ready for the next All-Meeting Retreat. University Meeting needs to make several decisions this year and we need as many voices in the conversation as we can gather. The coming Retreat will be, in part, another step in the decision making process.

We have to decide how to manage our financial and physical plant resources so that UFM can continue to provide a spiritual and community home. Good stewardship demands that we care for the resources we own and share. Our community has to revisit and recommit to the choices that were made by previous generations in UFM. There is no one charged with reminding us that it is time to decide to combine Oversight and Worship and Ministry Committees or keep Quaker House or rent the Meeting House to outside groups. [Note: these are only examples of decisions that have been made in the past, they are not necessarily what we will be discussing]

When events jolt us into awareness that something is wrong, we have to take that opportunity to look, consider deeply and discern what we are led to do-again. I hope this happens for the rest of University Meeting's existence. It keeps us from becoming complacent and it means that UFM is alive to what the Spirit has in store for us.A more complete schedule will be published in the October Gleamings and on the UFM Website at the same time. Of course, there will be worship, treats, time to chat with others, lunch, house and garden work parties, small and large group gatherings and perhaps a skit.

Please contact the Year of Discernment Steering Committee to sign up for the retreat or look for the sign-up sheets outside the office door beginning in early October.

--Dorsey G for the Year of Discernment Steering Committee
Asia B, Rick E, Ashley W and David W

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Update


Almost a year after the start of the Year of Discernment, people report feeling more connected to the Meeting community. One member said that she had started to come to Worship more often. An attender was excited that he had learned what discernment was. We are almost ready as a community to turn our energy to the discernment of what we are called to do.

As we head into summer, we are gathering the information we need for our discernment. How much money do we need to complete our remodel of the Meetinghouse? How much for maintenance of the Meetinghouse, grounds and Quaker House?

As such factual information is accumulated, ask yourself what you are called to do as an individual or as part of a larger group. Consider how much money, time and energy you have to donate for these leadings. Are we already doing what calls you? Or are you feeling led to something new? Talk to the rest of us about your thoughts and ask others what they are finding within themselves. And throughout the next few months, join us in worship and play.

--Dorsey G for the Year of Discernment Steering Committee

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Third All-Meeting Retreat Report

64 adults and three children joined together for our third retreat on May 16. We laughed, reflected on what we want for our Meeting, and cleaned up the Meeting House and grounds. We moved from talking about discernment to doing it.

The children were given $200 of UFM's donation budget. They chose to give a goat to a family through Heifer International and, thus, give an ongoing gift of milk and more goats. Through WaterAid America they are giving clean water to communities who then have more time and better health, allowing them to improve their lives. Thanks to Bre M and Daniel B for their running of the children's program for the retreat.

After a humorous skit that highlighted what not to do at a business meeting, the adults met in small groups to think together about what it feels like to be part of satisfying corporate discernment. People mentioned the times at UFM when the Meeting struggled to discern what we were called to do about buying Quaker House in 1973, how to help Central American Refugees in the early 1980s, and what to do about same sex marriage for the 10 years leading up to a deciding Minute in 1992. We are continuing UFM's history, and Quakerism's in general, of laboring with each other to find our right paths.

Once again many hands made fun work as people climbed up on the roof, weeded down below and cleaned places in the Meeting House that most of us didn't even know were there. The place sparkles! Special kudos go to the folks who once again tackled the office and upstairs storage closet!

Small groups met again in the afternoon to decide as a group which of UFM's current ministries they thought needed more of our time, energy and money. It was exciting to push ourselves to make some choices and hear how others did it differently. The groups reaffirmed that Worship and Care of our Community lie at the heart of UFM. Judging from the evaluations and comments from the folks at the retreat, we are strengthening both of these as we dig a little deeper into discerning who we are and what we are called to do as a community.

There will be a fourth all-UFM retreat in the Fall of 2009. Between now and then, there will be other activities, such as the June and Summer Business Meetings, that continue our corporate discernment. Please join us when you can, and reflect on what you think we are called to do as a community.

--Dorsey G
For the Year of Discernment Steering Committee