President’s Message for December 2018 

John Isham

                                                                    Many Voices

Change does not come from the mouths of the powerful; it comes from the many voices of the non-powerful that demand change. How do we become part of these many voices? By speaking with expressions of love, by acting with high moral values, by relating to one another and the rest of the world with the consistent set of high ideals based on our seven principles of Unitarian Universalism. Using them, we minister to one another in our congregation and strive to carry our ministry and message into the world. We become examples of the voices of the very change we wish to make. That is the essence of our ministry.
The strength of our ministry is enhanced by the support we feel when we congregate for services in our sanctuary. This is the meeting place where we practice what we preach and reinforce our commitment to speak out to the rest of the world for social justice. This support of our ministry is made possible by our pledged gifts and plate collections that maintain the sanctuary and the building. Generous gifts from those who gave in the 50 years before now have provided us with the means to go beyond a simple internal self-maintained ministry and grow into the beacon of religious freedom we desire as our mission. These gifts came in the form of legacy giving, some small and some quite a bit larger, from dedicated members who planned in their wills to endow a gift to support the future of the Manatee UU Fellowship. These have allowed us to consider and hire a full-time minister, our wonderful Rev. Fred L Hammond.
It must not end. We need to promote continued future legacy giving among our present members to help us continue on our chosen path to grow and create more voices of change in the world. We have been remiss in promoting this in the last few years and must begin again. There are many ways available, some provide gifts at the time of estate administration, others provide matching amounts that are realized immediately when a future commitment is made. And still others provide for tax savings each year. A letter giving brief descriptions of some of these common ways to establish future gifts will be sent out to the congregation very soon. A workshop is also being planned to provide more detailed information.

My life has been one of mostly self-commitments. Through college, work and raising a family, my commitments were focused on how to best succeed at those endeavors. I wouldn’t call it being selfish but typical and definitely not socially oriented. After finding MUUF, much of that has changed.

We found the Fellowship to be a group of really nice people. They were warm, welcoming and unassuming. They were tolerant, forgiving and different from our other UU experiences because they are Midwesterners, I thought, not East or West coasters. For these reasons I felt wanting to belong, join and contribute and get to know them better.

At first it was to make the coffee, do the sound and help clean up after church and social functions. When asked to join the board as a candidate for president, I definitely was honored but doubtful that I was qualified and thought it would be better to serve as V.P. for a while and take a good look.

I am committed now. Even more so when I see that there is so much to be done and so much more that can be done. The UU message is one for the world. It should be shouted from the rooftops, it should be practiced everywhere. We should be turning out people taking our message into society to be seen as examples as to how to behave and practice life with love and kindness.

I enjoy my UU presidency. I feel like I am accomplishing something, and it is a good feeling. I am thankful we have found Rev. Fred and I am happy to be his helper. 

If only Sally and I could give more financially. Because of MUUF’s recent unplanned expenses such as Termite Tenting, $5200; UUA Fair Share, $4170; Web Site Development, $2370; Security Camera system, $1500; Sheet Music Fund, $1000; Sanctuary Lights, $900; funds are needed to keep MUUF viable and healthy. Our planned budget is strapped. Look for some creative ideas to come from me in the next few months.


Presidents Since the 50th Anniversary
John Isham  2018 to 2020
Carol Bartz   2016  to 2018  
Martha Pelletier 2015
Bill Peruzzi:(winter) and Martha Pelletier (summer)   2014
Bill Peruzzi (winter) and Joan Butcher (summer)  2013
Grace Hirsch January 2012
Lorraine Berry  2009-2011