Some of you have been members of this church community for more than 30 years. Others have been with us only a few weeks. As for me, I fall somewhere in the middle, having been called to be your minister 15 years ago. But this month, we all have an anniversary to celebrate! It was 190 years ago – on May 25, 1827 – that a small group of independent-thinking, open-hearted pioneers formed a very different kind of religious society on the banks of the Ohio River. They named it The First Universalist Society of Cincinnati.
We are their descendants. Through the generations—through ebbs and flows in membership, through name changes and location changes and incredible societal changes—Love has remained the spirit of this church that we now call Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church. I hope you will join me on Sunday, May 21, as we celebrate 190 years as a congregation with a special worship service, a potluck lunch, beautiful music from our choir, and maybe even a voice or two from the past. I think 190 years is a milestone well worth marking, don’t you?
All of which also has me thinking—before you know it, we’ll be celebrating 200 years of Heritage history. What will our congregation look like a decade from now? Certainly, our ancestors who founded this Universalist church would be very surprised to see who and what we have become. Surprised—and, I believe, more than a little proud. I suspect we would feel the same way about those who will gather in May, 2027, to mark two centuries of unconditional, Universal love. What wonderful, amazing changes lie ahead for us?
A couple of weeks after this month’s anniversary events, the now 175-plus members of Heritage Church will convene for our Annual Meeting. Please be sure to save the morning of June 4 on your calendar. Plan to participate in the democratic process that is just one of the many unique facets of our shared congregational life and ministry. Not all religious communities vote on their own leaders, their own budget, their own governing documents—bur we do. In our faith tradition, it is the members, not the ministers, nor the denominational officials, who hold the power of the purse-string and make the rules. If you are a member of Heritage Church, please plan to exercise your right to vote on June 4. And if you’re not yet a member, but have been thinking about becoming one, you will have the chance to do so on our anniversary Sunday, May 21.
It is truly a privilege to be a member of this community. It is a privilege to be one of your ministers. Thank you, for welcoming me those 15 years ago. I look forward to many more wonderful years together.