Aug 27 2018

September Journal – Taking It Home: A New Series

Published by at 3:20 pm under Minister's Musings

Taking It Home: A New Series

by Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones,

with help from the Soul Matters Sharing Circle


Welcome, everyone, to our new congregational year 2018-19! This year and next—the two years of this Interim Period with Susie Idzik—will be exciting times for all of us at FUCSJ. We will be looking within and among us for how we can best embody our Unitarian Universalist faith. We’ll be more explicitly exploring how we can make tangible and real First Unitarian’s mission: to Make Love Visible in all we say and do. Please do take a look at Susie’s essay in this edition to learn more about the plans already afoot!

Like the old joke about “how do you get to Carnegie Hall,” I’m convinced that the only way to strengthen our capacity to live the life-saving, life-giving core of Unitarian Universalism is to “Practice, Practice, Practice.”

So this year I’m launching a new series for our monthly newsletter. Instead of another essay—another set of ideas and stories, which we pour our hearts into offering in worship every week—I want us all to have some way to take these ideas home. How can make our monthly themes practical, life-changing guides?

Each month I will offer one or two Spiritual Exercises that you and your family can try on. We’ll call this series “Taking It Home,” based on a family-oriented program from the UUA. And the spiritual exercises will come from our Soul Matters Sharing Circle of UU congregations diving into the same themes—and from our own creativity. I hope we will all give them a try! Here’s the first one. [or, if what follows is printed in a different place: You’ll find the first one on p. xx of this newsletter.]


[NOTE TO NEWSLETTER EDITORS! The opening section can be printed apart from the actual “Taking It Home” piece below, as long as you point folks to where the “Taking It Home” piece can be found. If you place it elsewhere, you can change the by-line above to just my name and then move that by-line to the part below. Clear as mud, right?? ? Thanks!]


Taking It Home: Creating Your Own Vision Statement


Companies—even congregations—write vision statements, but we rarely write one for ourselves. Let’s use this month to fix that. Simple, clear, and memorable statements of vision inspire us, help clarify our choices, and motivate us to get out of bed each morning. Without them, we may wander. With them, we choose and shape our own path. It’s one of the best gifts we can give ourselves.

And it’s not really that hard to give ourselves this gift. It’s doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, the best personal vision statements are short and simple, even just one sentence. Try making it less intimidating by narrowing the timeline. Instead of trying to write a vision of what you will make of your entire life, just focus on what you want to accomplish this year. For instance, try answering one or both of the following questions:

“How do I want to be different when this congregational year comes to an end in June 2019?”

“What do I want to have done when this congregational year ends?”

Are your thoughts and feelings already stirring? Dive in!


For More Inspiration:

Would you like some more inspiration? You might like these videos about writing your “life sentence”:


Here’s a great seven-page essay that offers a road map to creating your personal vision statement:


For Visual Learners:

Some of us are visual learners, so instead of writing your personal vision statement, try creating a visual representation of it. This popular technique is called vision-boarding. Here are two good sites that explain what a vision board is and how to go about creating one:


Share What You Create:

Dear ones, please do share what you create! Bring your vision statement or vision board to your small group. Go over it with a friend or family members. What do they see in what you have created? Send a copy of it to me:, and let me know if we can share it in October’s newsletter. And come to worship on Sunday, October 23, when we will play with this practice in community!


The Power of a Vision:

When I think of the power of creating a vision for my life, I think of James Baldwin’s beautiful quotation: “Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” We all have aspects of our lives we would like to change. Most of us would like to be more consistent agents for love in our families and our world. Let’s experiment together with creating a vision statement that can guide us through the year to come!


With faith in the power of our visioning, and with deep love for all of you,


Rev. Nancy



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