One nice part of the holiday season is the re-airing of classic films associated with the holidays. From Miracle on 34th Street, It’s A Wonderful Life, and Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, to Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Elf, these feel-good motion pictures can stir warm memories and remind us of our family, friends, and the hope and love in life.

Another one that popped up the other day is the all-time great The Wizard of Oz, the “most seen film in movie history.” It’s rich in many themes, but perhaps the transformation of the scarecrow, tin man, and lion is most prescient as we trudge along this yellow brick road of life.

The Scarecrow sought a brain, the Tin Man yearned for a heart, and the Cowardly Lion desperately desired courage. A brain, heart, and courage indeed are valuable elements. Amongst the bar, it’s an unwritten rule of thumb that a good judge needs what the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion from The Wizard of Oz wanted: A brain, heart, and courage.

Seeing the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion on television again, I thought of the importance of the values of intelligence, love, and courage. And I thought: “Don’t we all need these?”

This year, amongst those we lost were three prominent members of our UUCOD family: Pam Maher, Rusty Kaplan, and Gloria Kapp. And as I recall this year’s airing of The Wizard of Oz and I now reflect on our beloved community this holiday season, I can’t help but think of the wit of Rusty, the kindness of Gloria, and the courage of Pam, and I am privileged to have met and known them as we walked this yellow brick road of life. They made a difference.

Who are the people walking along the yellow brick road of life with you who inspire you with their brains, hearts, and courage? Who are the scarecrows, tin individuals, and lions you see along the way? Haven’t they and their intelligence, love, and fearlessness been there for us the whole time? Let these fellow travelers inspire us!

If you have an idea, suggestion, comment, improvement, or criticism, please contact me or any Members of the Board and convey your thoughts. You can also bring them to the next Voices of the Congregation forum during the next Board meeting. Recall that this year’s Board meetings are hybrid online on Zoom and in-person in the Community Room. (We are aware of the persistent connectivity issues with the online portion of the meeting and are working to improve it.)

Come as you can! Our next regular meeting is January 16. Happy New Year!

—Bob Rancourt

President’s Message Recent Posts

Open to Change

In some climates, where seasons change, “April showers bring May flowers.” Reportedly, April, the name of the month, originally takes its name from the verb “to open,” as in the season when flowers and trees begin to open. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that April brings Earth Day, on the 22nd.

As we usher in the opening season, are we open to change? Do we encourage enough spiritual growth? Have you transformed lately? Do you value transformation? Rev. Riddell will be asking us to consider transformation this month in his Sunday messages:

Save the Dates! Church Is Back in Full Swing!

Mark your calendars! Perhaps it’s too generous or optimistic to say that it’s starting to cool a bit here in the desert, and many Members and Friends are beginning to return for the Coachella Valley’s anticipated cooler months. We’ve had our ingathering and it’s time to get church things done.

President’s Message for October 1, 2023

Your 2023 – 2024 Board has now met several times and we are off and running. With an orientation, two Regular Meetings, and a Retreat under our belt, we have discussed and approved many items of business, including our short-range fiscal year goals and longer term, three-year strategic goals.  These goals and plans remind me of a former minister who once preached about the importance of setting our boats right. The Board has set its boat right! Read more to find a listing of the goals we approved at our retreat.