Only Connect

“What would Erin do?”

That was the question I came back to, standing on the pier as the Sandy Island ferry approached from the mainland. I tried waving my arms around, in what I hoped was a gesture of greeting and excitement, bearing no resemblance to a crazy person. I had been forewarned that the Klinman children would be expecting the familiar hail and welcome from their minister as the ferry docked. With Erin in California, my presence on that pier was a disappointment in preparation. It loomed large, that disappointment, as the voices grew distinct and the little boat drew up with its cargo of smiles. I would make the best of my being there, the best of my not being Erin. In my trouser pocket was a post-it note on which I had pencilled the night before: “WWED?”

What Erin would do, I concluded, was one thing: connect. In her absence, I would try to connect as best I could.

Five months ago I joined the FUUSN staff, first as Congregational Engagement Coordinator, later as Membership Coordinator. The title is simpler, but perhaps it misses something essential.

I have met newcomers to the Sunday service and written letters to bid them welcome. Under the tutelage of the Membership Committee, I have continued the tradition of our Family Fun Nights, where new families have experienced the fellowship and hearty cheer of our community. I have continued the work of my predecessor, Ash Engel, to modernise our database of members and, with a little high-tech wizardry, and some low-tech word of mouth, to make the vibrancy of FUUSN life more accessible and simpler to navigate. I have listened and learned, although a good deal of learning still lies ahead. I have laughed with many of you over a mug of warm cider.

The essential task, the motive of my work here, is to connect. I want to connect people to a community, experiences to a larger story, moments to something permanent, and seekers after justice to opportunities to build a just world. That all sounds terribly grand, but I try to keep that essential purpose of connection in view, when I’m drafting an announcement or debugging a members database.

I leave FUUSN for the summer on June 15. I will tutor a little, hopefully write a little, and reflect on the lessons of my first five months. It is daunting to think how much I still have to learn! When I return on August 15, I will probably still be carrying that post-it note in my pocket, a little crumpled and discolored by the Sandy Island rain.                                                                                                                                                                                                                        –Samuel Foster