Letter from the President, October 2019

Dear UUCJ Family,

I didn’t send a message from the President last month because I was in Serbia visiting friends for three weeks. In 2016, I had a young Serbian couple live with me for almost 4 months while they were working at a restaurant here on Amelia Island. I became their “American Mom”, and last year I went to their wedding.  This year, I went to visit and see their adorable daughter, born in February. It was a warm and lovely family/friend visit. Their small city (about an hour south of Belgrade) isn’t warm or charming in any way – built in the early 20th Century to house workers for a large surface coal mine (the largest in Eastern Europe) – not touristy at all.  It’s interesting to me that all Serbs take English in school starting in the 1st grade, but almost no one speaks English. So – despite the fact that my young friends speak English, I found that three weeks among their friends and family when I couldn’t participate in casual conversation got really tiresome, and I was really ready to come home! But I’m so glad I went. Bogdan and Jelena are wonderful parents to baby Lenka, and I totally treasure our relationship! Being there was an experience most Americans don’t have.

October is a busy month! I just got home from the Jazz for the Sanctuary event – what wonderful music!  Huge thanks to Carlos Fraticelli and all the other organizers for putting together a really wonderful evening. And special thanks to Hope Clayton and her group of musicians for their fabulous music. Next week is 1930’s Social Hour – thanks so much to Mark Stewart and the Congregational Life Committee! And the ongoing Tuesday evening UU101 classes will continue October 15 and 22.  

You may have noticed that the parking lots have new lighting.  his has been in the planning stages for five or six months, and it’s wonderful to see it completed. The lighting will make our property much safer and user-friendly, and actually makes our property more “rentable” for weddings and other events. Thank you to David Laffitte for overseeing this. (If anyone is curious, the lighting addition was essentially funded by a payment from DOT for access to property to widen the sidewalks on the Arling- ton Expressway.) And thank you to Rob Mckennon for his role in organizing the purchase of a new refrigerator for the kitchen when the one we had died. Thank you to Rob for everything he does!

The Board and Finance Committee are now focusing on developing the budget for the 2020 church year. The budget is obviously dependent on the success of the Mission Funding pledge drive. Please send in your pledges as soon as you possibly can. And please be as generous as you possibly can. I know, for me, that having this church in my life is an essential part of who I am and how I live my life. And I also know that UUCJ is a vital part of the Jacksonville and Northeast Florida community. Thank you for your generosity, and your commitment to UUCJ.

For those who are wondering, Rev Marti Keller is slowly but steadily healing from her foot crush injury and is on target for being with us in December. She is looking forward to being with us again! I hope you plan to attend one of the Loss and Transition workshops Rev. Roberta is facilitating on Tuesday, October 15 (10:30 a.m.) or Wednesday, October 16 (6:30 p.m.) in the Anthony Room. Even if you don’t think you have anything to say, it’s an opportunity to listen to others, which is so important. And the ABC’s of Transition Ministry (Thursday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m., in the Anthony Room will be so informative!

Lots happening.  So glad you’re part of it!

Take good care,
Penny Reid, Board President

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