It was a great morning. It began in the Starr King Room where children, youth, parents, teachers, and friends enjoyed a breakfast feast, enlivened by practicing music we’d sing later in church, led by Regina Wells:
“Thank you for this day, Spirit. Thank you for this healing, this healing, this healing day.”
The previous day more than 80 members of UUSF met with me and Pacific District Executive, Josh Searle-White. We talked about goals the congregation set for my service here as the developmental minister, about fragmentation, “sacred cows,” and the need for trust. It was a healing day indeed, filled with positive energy.
The Sunday service drew roughly 300. Our guests included Fr. Michael Pappas, Executive Director of the San Francisco Interfaith Council, and Ms. Rita Simmel, its founder and one-time head of the Jewish Community Relations Council. The President of the Board of Supervisors, David Chiu, not only presented a certificate welcoming me, signed by the whole Board, but explained that one reason he comes to UUSF more often than any other house of worship in the city (other than his own) is that back in the first part of the 20th century, the minister of this church led a long fight against corruption at City Hall – and precipitated the mass resignation of the entire Board! We’re powerful, he reminded us.
Minister Emerita for Social Justice, the Rev. Kay Jorgensen, and other Faithful Fools, perched a Fool’s Cap on my head and heard me pledge to be persistent in the pursuit of justice and human dignity for all, even when called foolish by others – a source of fun and renewal for us, young and old alike.
The Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt preached for the celebration. She herself is beginning a new ministry – as President of the Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley. What a remarkable woman she is! Raised in the housing projects of Chicago, she won a scholarship to Yale, then became a writer and an editor of the New York Times Book Review. Her memoir, Unafraid of the Dark, tells her personal story.
After the service, she and I and our spouses talked over lunch until 4 pm. We clearly like each other! We’re contemplating several areas of collaboration. One will involve our new Intern Minister, Cindy Pincus, also welcomed here on Sunday. And we plan to include other seminarians, working together and providing alternative Sunday evening services in our Chapel, with special appeal to young adults.
It was a great beginning. I look forward to how our future here at UUSF will unfold. Please, if you missed the start, don’t hesitate to come and take part. And bring your friends!