What Is FUUSN’s Core Purpose?

In this tumultuous time in our country, it’s important to know and say who we are as a congregation and where we are going. John Nichols, in our February Board meeting used the metaphor of a wheel to define “core purpose” or “mission.” The spokes are our vibrant committees and activities, while the hub, which holds the spokes together and enables us to move forward as one, is the core purpose. What is our hub?

One Board member suggested that the hub is our personal journey; another thought it is our UU Principles. If it is the Principles, then what is unique about FUUSN, since we share those principles with the larger community of Unitarian churches? Who is FUUSN in particular? Does it matter?

I hear struggle around the question. In another FUUSN context, someone said, “We are playing happily in separate sandboxes, is that enough?” Another person asked how our social action programs are different by being embedded in FUUSN, rather than in a high school or community organization. Before leaving on sabbatical, Erin, urged us to consider aligning all that we are doing in FUUSN with our being. I understood “being” to mean our core grounding, our shared purpose.

The Unitarian Universalist Minister of Tuscaloosa posted a sermon titled, “Creating the Future that We Want.” He urges us to embody our mission in all our actions and choices. He quotes Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of The Little Prince, “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction.” We won’t all see the same things on the horizon, or agree with each other, but our intention for our community will lie in the same direction.

This year nearly100 FUUSNites have participated in focus groups led by our Adult Faith Development Task Force. While participating in one of these groups, I heard powerful language from participants trying to articulate our purpose: “We create a sacred space for listening and for spiritual growth, feeding our ability to go into the world and be of service” and “The spirit of life among us fuels our ability to do greater work in the world.” Perhaps we are poised to see our mission more clearly and to find the best, while imperfect, words to speak it.             –Cathy Morocco