When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.

~ Maya Angelou

As we pause here on the promised edge of spring, and I face being called another year older, I know Rob and I look back on this past year as one of challenge and change. In such liminal moments, I find it’s good to set aside a little time for reflection.

The past year has brought much excitement – most particularly, the long and thoughtful search which led us here, to you. You held the faith a long while, through many changes over the past six years. Now, with grace on our side, there will be time to be centered and to work together within the framework of settled ministry. As for Rob, Ani and I, we left behind all our family and friends and braved the West, as so many have done before us. We came to a place new to us, and set about working to make a new home among new friends.

That was made more difficult when first Ani and then Rob both faced life-threatening illnesses early on. Unfortunately, at that time, Rob was neither employed nor insured, as you know. So that led not only to the anxiety around health, but also to deep and unexpected debt.

But that is not the end of the story. Thanks to the incredibly kindness of this community, who have made such an incredible effort to help us feel included and cared for, members of UUCC and the larger community have donated over $6,000, reducing our debt to around $21,000.

The dollars are an amazing, remarkable, and generous gift for which we are struggling to find ways to express our deep gratitude. You bless us with this gift of money, but more so just for caring as you do. Whether or not you were able to or wanted to give financial help, so many people clearly cared about how we are doing, and have made loving efforts to welcome us and express concern for how we’re doing.

Like in so much of life, there have been beautiful silver linings in the clouds of the past year. Rob and Ani received good health care. People in the community rallied around us. And we are here with you, feeling largely settled, and looking forward to years together.

I hope that you also feel a part of this beloved community. I hope you see its generous side, and feel cared about. If ever this is not the case, I hope you’ll talk to me and to others, with the goal of discovering how we can, together, created an ever more vibrant sanctuary of fellowship and peace.

Thank you for everything you bring. You bless us.

See you in church!

Rev. Audette