In a free religious community, to serve is the highest expression of our commitment and love. To be asked to lead is the highest honor. This morning, the members of [your congregation] you have chosen to lead you in the coming year stand before you. The relationship between a congregation and Board is one of deep respect and mutual regard. You have asked them to take on the holy work of discernment and guidance. They need you to support them in their work, share ideas and concerns in love, and to offer them trust as they fulfill their office faithfully.
The work of the church is the work of the people. It is the work of building the world of which we dream. It may require time spent poring over budget sheets, hours spent in meetings where small details are hashed out, it may manifest in shared laughter or outright frustration from time to time - but always it is sacred, for it is in pursuit of Beloved Community. As a symbol that the work is always shared, we will engage in the ritual that always accompanies the installation of anyone into our UU ministry: the laying on of hands. Please, join hands with your neighbor or place your hand gently on the shoulder of the person in front of you. Connect until each is part of the circle of this community.
Service is an act of faith. Service done faithfully in love is the work of justice and community building. This is what you have asked of these people before you this morning: that they serve you faithfully and well. To do this, they need your trust and support. I ask now of the Members of [Your Congregation]: will you offer love and trust to your Board, responding when they seek your input, showing up when they tell you that work needs to be shared, and listening carefully when they speak of the life of the church? If so, please respond, “We will.”
To [the members of Your Board]: Will you be diligent and faithful in your work, bringing your best selves and practicing self-care and open-heartedness, tending with love the details of the work, and always keeping the goal of Beloved Community in front of you as you serve? If so, please respond “We will.”
May the Spirit of Love guide you in the coming year, may a spirit of joy infuse the work you engage, and may your service bless the world. Amen.