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Morris' Musings


Rev. Morris Hudgins, Senior Minister

This is an exciting time at Westside UU Church. The DRE Search Committee recom-mended and the Board hired The Rev. Carol Bodeau as the Director of Religious Education. I have been looking forward to working with Carol as we prepare for the fall and my second year as your Interim Minister.

The Transition Team is working on the Mission and Vision of Westside, and will be reporting to the Board. It is my hope that a new Mission and Vision Statement will follow. Of course the congregation will have input into this process. A Mission Statement is supposed to be a brief statement of who you are, what calls you together. A Vision Statement is a statement about who you want to become. You will hear more about this later.

The Search Committee for the next minister of Westside has been working hard. They hosted the Ministerial Settlement Representative, Ann Marie Alderman, who met with the Committee and the Board. Rev. Alderman then led a service June 29th and answered questions about the Search Process. She spoke on the importance of picking the right partner.

It is my job to help the Search Committee with this process along with the Ministerial Settlement Representative. I will be helping the Com-mittee as they move forward and will be talking to potential candidates as they contact me. It is not my job to suggest or support potential can-didates, but to answer their questions. I am to be totally honest about the church I am serving, giving the strengths and challenges ahead.

The church I have experienced so far is a church that appreciates good sermons and meaningful worship. It is a church that likes to work with a minister who will oversee the staff and will work cooperatively with the Board and committees.

I have also witnessed a church that has a mixed history regarding so-cial action. There are some who see social action as an important part of the mission of the church, and others who do not want to see a min-ister pushing the congregation to be involved politically. This mixed history goes back to the founding of the church in the 1980’s and has continued through the calling of ministers.

Westside has had a series of short term ministries that has impacted the growth of the church over the years. I have always felt it is important for the church to support the minister it has chosen, and they can grow together. This is why the work of the Search Committee is so impor-tant.

It is clear the leadership of Westside sees the importance of growth for the future of the church. They have done good work on this issue this year. There is more work to do. I feel optimistic about the future of Westside, partly because of the new people who have joined this year, and the support they have received from the other members. I do not see deep divisions here. I do see a need to work on Conflict Resolution and Peaceful Communications. I plan to work with the Regional Staff on offering workshops on these issues.

I also see the East Tennessee Cluster that wants to work together. This will be important for most minis-ters who will consider Westside. Ministers do not want to be isolated and alone. Westside is part of a Cluster that has great ministerial and lay leadership. They meet regularly and plan programs together. If you are considering becoming active in Westside, this is a great time. Important decisions will be made, and a future will be planned. If you want to talk about any of these issues please contact me.

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