Making the call

I was completely unprepared for the rush adrenaline I felt this morning as I helped count the ballots. My hands shook as I unfolded slip after slip of paper, marveling with relief that they (almost) all said yes. We stacked the ballots in piles of ten, setting the single no off to the side. Fran whipped out a calculator to figure the exact percentages, and two minutes later the moderator announced, “The First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, in a vote of 75 to 1, calls the Reverend Nathan C. Walker to be our settled minister.”

People stood up and cheered. Mardi Gras beads appeared and were handed around. Friends hugged and grinned. Many of us started to cry.

I spent the last year on the search committee, giving up evenings, Saturdays and entire weekends to help find the right minister for the church. I feel really confident that we’ve found him. And I am so thrilled that the rest of the congregation feels that way too.

After the vote, I found myself standing in the back of the church as we waited for Nate to return to accept the call. A man I had never seen before came up to me and asked, “What are you all celebrating?”

I explained to him that we had just voted on a new minister. He said, “I was just walking by and I felt pulled to come inside. You folks certainly have something here, I’ve never felt anything like it. Do you have any information about the church?”

I walked over and grabbed some brochures for him, explaining as I moved that this was a place where all people were accepted and welcomed. He took the materials, introduced himself as Frank, and settled into a pew to read and sit in on the excitement for a little while. Somehow I don’t think that he is going to be the only person to feel the tug of excitement coming from our building these days. Energetic times are ahead.

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