I officially started as the minister of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta in August of 2009. My official start date was August 1st– and we were busy unpacking boxes with my mother and her partner in a house we were renting on Cove Ave– next door neighbors to Julian and Leah. (Still the best neighbors we have ever had.) I received my first pastoral phone call that Sunday– and I remember scrambling to try and find the phone. And then calling Pam Strother to help me fill in the details about who had called me and about what and what exactly I could and should do about it. (Thank you, Pam.) We ate dinner with the members of the Search Committee that Monday night at Mary Ruhoff’s house. And we were greeted by a chalk welcome on the sidewalk.
My first day in the office as August 5th. And I preached my first sermon as your minister on that Sunday, August 8th. It was called “Hellos and Goodbyes.” I shared some of this reflection in this past Sunday’s services and if you weren’t there, it is posted on-line and available by podcast. According to my records, I’ve preached or participated in 325 worship services in the last 10 years, and another dozen or so in other pulpits. I’ve married 6 UUSO couples and another 16 community couples. I’ve memorialized 24 UUSO members and friends, and another 10 folks from the wider community. It’s been a great 10 years. When I finished seminary, Cheryl and I had a goal/mantra, “Church, House, Dog.” UUSO was our church. We got Spirit on Christmas day of 2011. And we found and bought our house in December of 2013. (Because moving is great idea a week before Christmas in upstate New York.) Oneonta is a beautiful, friendly, active city. UUSO is an active congregation with many engaged, friendly, dedicated people. It’s been my honor and privilege to serve as your minister these past 10 years.
Now, it’s time to look forward to the next 10 years. I’ll reflect on that at this Sunday’s service. I hope you will join us for the service. As extra incentive, the folks from Wise Guys have offered to bring and serve ice cream sundaes as part of our social hour.