Celebrating 2023 & Welcoming 2024

Celebrating 2023 & Welcoming 2024

Dear Bridge Builders,

We have arrived at the time of year when the Holidays have inundated us with special songs, activities, plans with family and friends, and of course capitalism, but I just wanted to take a moment with you and share a few things that make this season special to me.

It’s almost the new year, and I like to look back at everything that happened in 2023 with gratitude and reflection. A few pivotal life moments happened. 

On the personal side of things, I married the love of my life surrounded by many of our loving family and friends. It was amazing! Also, Denard and I bought our first home together. We are renovating the heck out of it, removing walls, putting in cabinets, and gardening.

As for our ministry together, the BridgesUU Team officially launched Bridges A UU Network. This endeavor was the brainchild of hopes that Rev Gordon Clay Bailey and I had back in 2017. The hope was to be able to bring small churches together to share resources in support of developing thriving UU communities and ministries.

In 2021, we came together with a new vision as we came out of the lockdown. Paul and Susan Ermisch entered the conversation and we began laying the foundation for what is now BridgesUU. Paul with his passion for music, and Susan with her passion for small community and commitment to LifeSpan Learning, assisted with inspiring other religious professionals to come together to form this new ministry. 

Today, BridgesUU has brought together The MountainTop UU, UU’s for Racial Justice, and Progressive Interfaith Alliance under the BridgesUU umbrella, as well as a new Covenant Group small ministry in Aurora, Colorado. And in October, we entered into a covenantal relationship with SepulvedaUU in Southern California, offering administrative, creative arts, and justice ministry support. It has indeed been an exciting year.

We also brought on board our Geneys, our Administrator, who has become a pivotal member of the BridgesUU success! 

Looking ahead at 2024, we will be expanding our ministry!

  • Denard and Susan are developing a new UU children and youth centered “plug and play” curriculum for small churches.
  • Paul is developing a wonderfully diverse music catalog to support local congregations who are in need of support.
  • Rev Jen Simon, Rev Angela Henderson, and Rev Gordon will developing a congregational and BIPOC UU Spiritual Care program.
  • Lisa Bailey will be taking the lead with Progressive Interfaith Alliance and expanding its reach and support of our UU congregations, becoming a hub of Interfaith dialogue and justice work in their communities.

We are looking forward to a 2024 filled with success in supporting our small UU congregations to grow, thrive and achieve all their goals in the new year and years to come.

As a team, we will be reaching out to more small congregations and developing new ways to assist in their success. If you are a small congregation looking for support, please contact us!

Pastor AJ Blackwood, MDiv
Executive Director