On January 29th, Barbara Crotty was elected Emerson President at our Annual Meeting. Posted below are her remarks to the congregation.
I hope you won’t feel embarrassed if I tell you that I love you. Each Sunday I look out from the choir loft at you all and feel the connection among us as accepting people who come from so many different paths and perspectives and yet yearn for togetherness and understanding. We all want to stand on the side of love. I get strength from that which has sustained me here for 28 years.
I have been here through two called ministries and two interim ministries, including summers and sabbaticals when we were our own ministers. There have been times when I haven’t liked what is going on here, but I have become a stakeholder and am inclined to work on it rather than abandon ship.
It is sometimes hard to be patient enough to hear people out, but if we can’t do it here, how can we hope to do it in the wider world? This is a church – a big task force for love and understanding, for questioning and reasoning and making the world a better place. I would hope that everyone recognizes that it is not just a series of interesting lectures on Sundays or simply a social club for liberals. Nor is it just something for our children’s enrichment, which we abandon once they graduate.
Right now we have a challenge to address. For the past seventeen years, we have had the luxury of two ministers to help manage this task force of love and learning and action. Suddenly, shockingly, we have just one – one very astute, passionate, inspirational minister, but still just one human being.
This could be seen as a crisis to our institution. How will we attend to everything without Mark? But, of course, crisis is opportunity. What do we do? We step up our participation. We take ownership of this, our church home. We ask, what needs to be done? How can I help?
What time, what treasure can you share to keep us moving ahead? From greeting newcomers at the door to making sure our buildings are safely locked up when everyone leaves, from stewarding our finances to bringing a meal to a member who is recovering from illness, from weeding our gardens to showing up to take a stand when the UU Voice 4 Justice sends out a call, or from teaching a children’s religious education class to creating a fabulous fellowship event like the services auction.
There is no end of opportunity for you to become a stakeholder, too, like so many Emersonians before you, as well as those in today’s congregation. We can be a beacon of reason and caring that Houston knows about.
Mark used to serve on the board of Houston Interfaith Ministries and Becky has been asked to take his place, in addition to the other community organizations where she represents us. That takes time, but how valuable to have our church represented among the many faith traditions in that wonderful community organization. We need to help tend the home fires in order for her to bring our prophetic voice to the community. Please find your way to work with me and your 2017 Board to make this a dynamic year for Emerson!