Striving, Surviving and Thriving as an LUT (LUL)
Last September, I celebrated ten years as an LUL (Licensed Unity Leader) as we are titled at Unity Cedar Rapids. I have enjoyed the journey immensely, all challenges included! However, for the last 18 months, Unity Cedar Rapids has not had a permanent minister. I, along with two other LULs and a strong Board of Trustees, long ago created a Leadership Circle that saw us through this time of change. I won’t minimize the difficulty; we all shouldered many additional responsibilities. Unity Cedar Rapids has a solid ministry - centered focus which served us well during this time. We have strong Ministry teams, many of which are self – governing and each has a Board Liason.
As LULs, our role descriptions state we are responsible for the “spiritual care” of our congregation which meant in the absence of a minister, officiating at funerals, a baptism, and a wedding. We were responsible for the holiday services for both 2018 and 2019. We also served on the Spiritual Care Team which provided individual prayer support to congregants unable to come to church and anyone else desiring prayer support. Each LUL has a niche such as Earth Care, Prayer, an Arts Ministry, caring for the Bookstore and Spiritual Direction. Two of the LULs have also shared the responsibility for the Exploring Unity class, a path to membership requirement. Later this month we will add 4 new members, totaling 13 new members in the last 18 months.
The Unity Cedar Rapids Search Team was actively seeking a new minister during this time, holding the “high watch” even when it seemed a new minister was not forthcoming. Meanwhile, the church kept moving along. There was always work to be done, projects to be completed which did not disappear just because there was no minister. An LUL or LUT’s role is often described in very open-ended terms and often customized to the needs of the minister and the congregation. Many Unity churches do not have any LUTs, let alone three! Our role has always been very self-determined as over the years we explored our various passions and skills. Each year we review our accomplishments and plan for the new year which may include new interests and opportunities. We present a unique leadership role based in prayer consciousness while attending board meetings, serving as and mentoring other ministry chairs.
On January 5th, our new minister began her duties. We are embarking on a new journey full of hope yet realistically based. We know there will be many challenges as we get to know each other. My analogy is of a bunch of orphans who have been on their own for a long while and suddenly a well-meaning relative swoops in to care for them. There will be those who will resist saying, “I don’t need a governess!!, we are doing just fine the way we are”!! There are those who have been unsettled by the lack of a leader even while knowing their peer leadership is doing a good job. They will be happy to see the position filled. Many in the leadership circle are simply weary and ready to give over some of the responsibilities of the last 18 months. Others will miss the intriguing array of Sunday Speakers and the opportunity to be a bit creative while we were “on our own”.
Through it all, the LULs will be there. Boards and ministers will come and go. We are the steady presence that remains with the congregation, attending to the spiritual needs and so much more.
Susan Liddell, LUT(LUL)
UWM Great Lakes Region Board LUT Liason