Looking Back and Looking Forward

The Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and entryways, is usually depicted with two faces—one face looking back toward the past and the other looking forward to the future.  Janus would have felt quite at ease during the UUPCC gatherings during General Assembly 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. 

Looking Back

We celebrated Cathy Cordes at a gala evening, featuring presentations from an array of international guests and UUPCC members.  During her 15-year service as Executive Director, Cathy led in building a mission-driven, financially responsible organization that has encouraged, nurtured, and supported partnerships between congregations in North America and an ever-expanding array of countries. The evening marked the launch of the Cathy Cordes Travel Fund (see next article, by that title) that will facilitate personal contact around the world to promote partnership. This Fund will provide additional funding to support travel for visits among partners.

We remembered Rev. C. Leon Hopper, the UUPCC’s first President, who died after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease a few days before GA.  Leon had an inquiring intellect, a broad perspective, and the ability to bring out the best in everyone he encountered.

We thanked three UUPCC Board members who completed their terms:

  • Rev. Gary Smith who presided over four Annual Meetings as our  President with kind wisdom, crisp organization, and a ready smile;
  • Rev. Jennifer Emrich who inspired us with Partnership “with a capital P”, led the UUPCC/HUC youth camp initiative, and has agreed to lead our Start-up/Refresh Weekend initiative, and
  • Eileen Higgins who helped us more effectively frame and get out our message and led our community capacity building activities.

We recognized long-time Newsletter Editor Nancy Daugherty for her many years of engagingly recounting your stories and UUPCC activities.

We honored Arliss Ungar with the Louis C. Cornish “Living the Mission” Award, and seven UUPCC members as Stewards of Partnership:

  • Stephanie Ann Blythe, UU Church of Berkeley, Kensington, CA; in partnership with Homoródújfalu in Transylvania
  • Denton Crews, King’s Chapel, Boston, MA in partnership with Kolozsvár I in Transylvania
  • Jean Crichton, Unitarian Church, Summit, NJ, in partnership with Barót in Transylvania
  • George Davenport, All Souls Unitarian Church, Tulsa OK, in partnership with Énlaka in Transylvania
  • Mary Donald, Harvard UU Church, Harvard, MA, in partnership with Andrásfalva in Transylvania
  • Heather Kleiner, UU Fellowship of Athens, GA; in partnership with Oklánd in Transylvania
  • Anne Mark, UU Church of Reading, MA, in partnership with Alsójára in Transylvania.

We announced the successful completion of the BUILD campaign to benefit the UU Church of the Philippines.

Looking Forward

We welcomed our new Executive Director—Rev. Roger Bertschausen —who was selected after an exhaustive search process that generated over 40 applicants from throughout the country.

Roger brings a record of leadership and growth from close to 25 years as the Senior Minister of the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, WI, which grew from 100 to 700 members under Roger’s leadership and has two vibrant partnerships—with Déva, Transylvania, and Banay Banay, The Philippines.  Roger served as the Vice President and a member of the UUPCC Board before resigning to apply for the ED position.

We took a virtual tour of the new UUPCC office at the Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO and met the new staff there— Amanda DeMiele, Office Manager, and Sharon McCarron, Office Assistant.

We elected three new Board members and re-elected two others —

  • Ann Gary, Upton, MA thru 2018 (third term) (filling the remaining two years of an unexpired term)
  • Anne Greenwood, San Pablo, CA thru 2019
  • Rick Irwin, Atlanta, GA thru 2019 (second term)
  • Rev. Morgan McLean, Davis, CA thru 2019
  • Rev. Andrew Weber, Newark, DE  thru 2019.

We rejoiced over six new partnerships between –

  • Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the New River Valley, Blacksburg, VA and the Unitarian Congregation of Szentivánlaborfalva/Sintionlunca in Transylvania
  • Unitarian Church, Sharon MA and John Pounds Memorial Unitarian Church, Old Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK
  • Central Unitarian Church, Paramus, NJ and Unitaria Church in Prague, Czech Republic
  • UU Church of Belfast, ME and UU Church of Ellsworth ME and Cardiff Unitarians/ Ubdiduaud Caerdydd, Wales
  • First Parish Church of Ashby, MA and Cribyn and Capel Y Groes Unitarian Chapel, Wales
  • UU Church of the Monterey Peninsula–Women’s Discussion Group and Highland Place Unitarian Church, Aberdare –Women’s League, Wales.

We learned about —

  • The opportunity for 15 American teens to attend a youth camp in Transylvania together with Transylvanian and Hungarian youth
  • The engagement of 20 young adults from around the world in the July International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU) Meeting and Conference as a result of the special Faithify funding effort organized by the UUPCC and program coordinated by UUPCC Board Member Melody Moberg
  • The certification for government funding of the Annie Margaret Barr Children’s Village in the Khasi Hills of India, subject to the completion of several capital improvements to the facility
  • The ongoing, mutually beneficial collaboration efforts between the UUPCC and the ICUU, the International Women’s Convocation, the UUA’s International Office, and Starr King and Meadville-Lombard Theological Schools, and
  • The large number of projected trips and travelers coordinated by the UUPCC’s Pilgrimage Service.

Finally, in addition to looking back and looking ahead, we were able to pause and focus on the present during a moving worship service led by UUPCC Board Member, Rev. Diane Rollert.  The service was centered on the verse from the Book of Ruth – “Where you go, I will go. Where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people…”  It included reflections by international guests from the Czech Republic, India, Switzerland, the Philippines, and Transylvania, as well as ministers from the U.S. and Canada.

It was a great GA.  Think about joining us next year in New Orleans!