Let us say goodbye with respect

A follow up to the idea of congregation growth in the Unitarian Universalist Association.

The fact is that, at last, everything dies: organizations and relationships included. Congregations do choose to leave the UUA, consolidate or (perhaps not by choice) disband. Even though we often talk about human death in a beautiful and pastoral way, I’ve noticed talk of congregational demise has vanished.

There was a day, I recall, when news of congregational departures was included in the milestones section of the denominational magazine — I’ve been a reader for a couple of decades — with the news of new congregations and ministerial comings-and-goings. And am I hallucinating but weren’t departures once a part of the opening ceremony at General Assembly?

It seems right to say goodbye with respect. Let’s bring this news back to print — the blogs can help — and in our public ceremonies. As with human life, our tributes show the value we afford congregational life, help heal the hurt of loss, honor the gifts remaining and draw its past presence into sharper, sweeter focus.