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First Things

January 30, 2012

By Reverend Rick Hoyt

I’m excited to share with you two honors I recently received.

At the end of December I received a letter telling me that I had been selected for the 2011 Westwood Grant.  The Westwood family established a small annual grant in honor of three generations of Unitarian Universalist ministers in their family.  The award goes to ministers, “who have brought an entrepreneurial spirit toward spreading our faith and nurturing our congregations.”  What a nice surprise!  The letter came with a check for $525, which I donated to the Southern California Unitarian Universalist Justice Team.

A few days later I received an invitation to join Peter Morales, the UUA President, in Orlando, FL for a few days in February.  I will join a small group of UUs from around the country to discuss an interesting question about the future of our faith.  The question begins by noticing that many people who identify as Unitarian Universalists are not members of any church.  And increasingly, people are finding ways to explore their spirituality and live their values in ways that don’t include joining a church.  The question we will discuss is how to include those un-churched UUs in a powerful religious movement?

I’m very aware that I would not have received either of these honors if I had not been your minister for these past 3 years.  First Church is working today on challenges that many of our churches will need to face in the coming decades.  The solutions we create may become a model for our whole faith.  This is an exciting place.  I hope you feel the same.

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