First Unitarian Society of Ithaca

Sunday Services 10:30 am

Corner of Buffalo & Aurora St.

Ithaca, NY

Our mission is to create connections, find inspiration, and engage the world.

Congregational Meeting on the Settled Minister Search Process (and Dinner!)

Event Date: 
Friday, 20 May 2016 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Settled Minister Search Process - May 20 Meeting

Come hear about how our next settled minister will be selected and reacquaint yourself with the members of the search committee.  Our guest will be the Rev. Craig Schwalenberg who is the settled minister at the UU Society of Oneonta and is also our Ministerial Settlement Representative who will help our search committee with the challenging task of finding our next settled minister. We will start with dinner at 6:00 PM in the Parlor (Taste of Thai food will be provided and we ask for a $5+ donation per person to help cover the cost.)  The meeting will begin at 7:00 PM and will last approximately one hour.

Town Hall Meeting on the 2016-17 Budget

Event Date: 
Sunday, 22 May 2016 - 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Please consider attending!  Everyone is invited to discuss the proposed 2016-17 budget which will be voted upon at the Wednesday, May 25th, Annual Meeting.  Copies of the budget may be found in the Annual Report or printed separately and they will be available on Sunday.  Come grab a bite to eat (in the Parlor, only please) and then join us in the sanctuary for a discussion.

Message from the Minister

“The center of the free church, the heart of the whole thing, is a promise of fidelity, a covenant, which each member freely makes upon joining.” (Alice Blair Wesley) Because our church is a free church, it is our covenants that bind us together. Because we have no doctrine, no creed, and because we have no ecclesiastical hierarchy, we need to be explicit ourselves about why we gather, what we expect to do together.

Liberal religion is not defined by belief; it is a spirit and a process, a way of being. Because of this our faith communities exist only by our free choice – by our promises to walk together, our sacred covenant to commit to each other and to the faith that affirms our freedom.

Anyone who has gotten married has made a covenant. Wedding vows are a good example of a covenant. It is a promise of fidelity, a commitment to the relationship for the mutual benefit of each and of the wider world they inhabit. It is no different when joining a Unitarian Universalist congregation. It is a free choice to join, and when we do, we are committing ourselves to it, we are pledging our fidelity, promising
to care for others and to relate to them with honesty and integrity, for our own benefit and that of the congregation and of the wider
world we inhabit. In essence, and at a minimum, a covenant calls us to treat others in the congregation with respect.

Often this covenant is not explicit, at least in many congregations, including this one. The Board and I are working on a process for the congregation to create a written congregational covenant. You will be hearing more at the Annual Meeting in May. Being in community is not easy, just as being in a marriage is not easy. Conflicts are inevitable. What is important is how we deal with conflict. The commitment of a covenant helps us hang in there when the going gets tough, and the promise to deal with each other with respect and kindness helps us to rise to our better selves, even when fear and pain are telling us to lash out. Just as in marriage, that extra level of commitment raises the sense of belonging. Though often difficult, the rewards of being committed to a covenantal community make it well worth it.

Let us, as a community, as a congregation in the free church tradition, as the inheritors of the Pilgrim’s vision – let us pledge to walk together in the spirit of mutual love. Come to the Annual Meeting on May 25th and take part in creating a congregational covenant to express our implicit pledge to each other.

Happy spring,
Rev. Jane

Congregational Conversation "Results" from January 24th meeting

The Transition Team  comprised of  Nancy Miller, Carol Nickerson, Walt Peck, David Salomon and Sue Roenke hosted a meeting in the Annex after the social hour on Sunday, January 24, 2016.  Their presentation focused on the six areas that the congregation determined were important to look at in the interim years before we call the next settled minister.

To see that presentation, please CLICK HERE

For results from the brainstorming sessions and how that might be used CLICK HERE


Another of the purposes of this meeting was to give an initial presentation on Policy-Based Governance which the Board of Trustees is considering to help the Society be more efficient and responsive in the way it is governed.

 Board President Laura Free made the following presentation and to see that, please CLICK HERE

For more notes on Partnership (Policy-Based) Governance, please CLICK HERE

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