President’s Letter Nov 2023

EUU President Karen Kyker

This is a season of increasing darkness: the dark times of the season, the difficult and too-often horrendous daily lives of many people in our interlinked world. In the midst of small and gigantic challenges, moments of color and smile, gestures of warmth and care, help me to keep moving forward. A line from one of my past favorite television series: “How can I help?” buoys me more often than I would have guessed. (Try saying it to someone!). A quick text, and then a short email, expressing gratitude for something I did—what a lift! A wavering flame of a small, lit chalice, on many of our tables as we work together online—a connecting light.

Our recent EUU Annual General Meeting was such a moment of light. The respectful proposing of alternatives! The listening posture of everyone in the midst of many different ideas! The creativity, the exploration, the presentation of specific concerns, the sharing of personal anecdotes, the appreciation expressed for hard work. On Sunday, November 12, 32 EUU Members had the pleasure of helping move our EUU community toward a new year (2024, here we come), in good company. A summary of the recent EUU AGM 2023 can be found here.

As we discussed our two main topics of our 2024 General Budget and our Safe Community Statement,” I was aware of a variety of strands and concerns that underlie the stated topics (involvement in many different conversations creates a dense network of awareness). Our budget discussions made us grapple with multiple values: Financial reserves for future potential difficult times? Giving support to other people who have very great need? Supporting young adults as they establish their independent lives but struggle to participate in our retreats? Paying for technical expertise to help others join our retreats online? Are we valuing growth? Ourselves? Others? Security? Comfort?

Our desire for safe community takes us both inward and outward and reveals other underlying concepts. Within our own group: What is the difference between statements of vision and governance procedures? How do the variety of relationships between “EUU,” EUU Member Fellowships, and individual EUU Members—including At-Large Members of EUU—connect to our EUU “Provisional Safe Community Statement”? How does our democratic process work in action? What happens when time or others in our community propel us “to move on” but some among us don’t feel it’s time to do so, yet?

And looking outward: should we have a statement of our (EUU) vision of what we want the world to look like? What is EUU’s position and mission relative to the wider communities we exist within? How might such a statement be similar or different than our “Safe Community Statement”? How might such a statement commit us differently in our actions as “EUU”?

But enough of all that. We have worked hard. It is time to let these thoughts stew and cross-fertilize subconsciously under the surface for awhile. I invite you to light a candle, watch a fish swim or a bird fly, hold a hand, breathe deeply, trust that we will pick up the pieces again later, when we have the energy, and we will keep moving and asking, “How can I help?”. As we do.

I am so very grateful for your presence and contributions to our EUU community. Thank you.

In fellowship,

Karen Kyker, President