From Rev. Lee
Dear Piedmont Congregations,
Hello. My name is Leland Bond-Upson, but please call me Lee, or Rev. Lee if that feels better. My wife Deborah Bond and I hyphenated our name the day before our first child was born in 1979. Her name is Gwendolyn and she is a wonderful person, as are my other three, Alexandra, Max, and Valery Blake.
Working with you is going to be fun and challenging. Our shared goal is to make our three related Gatherings as healthy and whole as possible for both general and specific reasons. Generally, in the sense that health and wholeness are good, and good for you. Regarding the specifics, we need to continue the exploration of drawing the Gatherings closer together, if that is the will of the congregations.
Secondly, I think you will agree that our finances need some work. If they don’t improve, all three congregations will struggle, and Piedmont UU Church will have trouble attracting the talented minister it desires for 2018 and beyond. After attracting Robin (Rev. Robin Tanner), we may get lucky again, but we shouldn’t count on it.
A little about me: I am interested in new places and new experiences, and the American South is perhaps the USA’s most interesting region. I was born in Dixie (barely, Maryland) and I spent a year ministering to our Fayetteville, Arkansas society, which is tucked into the northwest corner of the old Confederacy, with towns nearby that enforced ’sundown’ laws as recently as the 1960s. I also lived for three years in south Florida. I do know though, that Miami is more part of the Caribbean and South America than it is the American South, but it’s got some of our South there too, beyond the city.
I was raised in the desert Northwest of Washington State’s Columbia Basin, which with eastern Oregon and a good part of California, are the farming and generally most conservative parts of the Pacific Coast states. I went to school on the wet green side, though, and have lived most of my life in ‘Ecotopia,’ which runs from British Columbia down to Big Sur, and includes Hawaii.
I have been a Unitarian since 1953, when I was 8, and a UU since the 1961 merger. I feel I am a Unitarian at heart, but love the Universalist spirit and feel it is under-appreciated within UU-ism.
In my first sermon on January 8th at University (and at Lake Norman January 22nd, and at Salisbury February 5th), I will speak about the transition we are beginning, and the special role of interim ministry, and of the adjustment of attitude and focus that will increase the odds of a successful transition. On my side, we IMs (Interim Ministers) are expected to do all the jobs of a settled minister except to put down roots in the community, plus do the specialized work of the interim period, and, usually, to do it alone, even those of us with partners, who tend to keep the home fires burning somewhere else. I will also tell you a bit about my theology, and my individual strengths and deficits, and why I love history, and poetry, and jokes.
Let’s do the good work and have some fun doing it. I’m looking forward to meeting each and every one of you. Please wear your name tags for a while!
— Rev. Lee