It is an honor and a somewhat daunting task to take on the presidency of All Souls Church. Many thanks to our esteemed member Ed Burke, for the invaluable leadership he has provided to the congregation and the Board. I won’t step into his shoes but will certainly try to follow in his footsteps!
All Souls Church includes members and friends of long-standing and those who are newer to the congregation. Regardless of the duration of each our histories there is always more to learn about one another. I want to take this opportunity to share a bit more about myself with the congregation and my hopes for the next few years.
I first became involved with All Souls Church in 1976 at the invitation of Priscilla Sherwood who alerted me to the need for a very part-time office person to assist ASC’s Coordinator Bob McLean. The task was to type up the Sunday bulletins and monthly newsletter (pre-computers). I figured if I was typing up church events I might as well attend! I had grown up involved with a very liberal United Church of Christ congregation in Connecticut but had previously visited UU congregations and was very attracted to them due to my own evolving faith. Becoming active with a faith community seemed to be the right and natural thing to do.
A few years later I was no longer typing for the congregation. However, for a year or so we had a custodian who lived at the church (in the nursery room) as part of the exchange for his work. When he went on a vacation I moved into the nursery with my dog and mopped the floors after events and set up the main hall for worship services. I doubt others in the congregation can say they have briefly lived at the West Village Meeting House.
In 1985 I signed the book and over the years I have served on most committees, chaired several, worked on numerous stewardship campaigns, special task forces and two ministerial search groups. I’ve had the opportunity to serve on the Board multiple times, including officer roles as Clerk and Vice-President and two years as President about a decade ago.
On a personal level, my husband is Michael Landis and although you don’t see him very often one of the things we had in common when we met was that we both attended UU churches (he in MA and I in VT). We have two young adult daughters, Daphne and Dorothy. They both participated in RE activities including interfaith group service trips – Daphne to the Gulf Coast after Katrina and Dorothy to Kenya. Some people may remember Dorothy as our nursery provider, potions master for Harry Potter Camp, and soup server at holiday bazaars.
I’ve had a career in Massachusetts designing and managing services for people with developmental disabilities. I continue to do part-time consulting and grant writing and am currently a staff person with Theatre Adventure which happily shares our facility.
My hopes for All Souls Church are that we continue to creatively remain a vibrant community during this time of COVID-19 and that over time we can safely find our way back to in-person gatherings. We will say farewell to our beloved Shayna and welcome Rev. Telos Whitfield into our midst. We will continue to work on capital needs projects including a second accessible bathroom to make sure our building serves us well. We will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of our building and the 100th anniversary of the joining of the Unitarian and Universalist congregations in Brattleboro. We may develop plans for a capital campaign. Most importantly, I hope that individually and collectively we will continue to work towards greater social and economic justice, racial equity and better care of our planet so that we can truly live our seven principles. I hope to get to know each of you better, laugh, cry and celebrate with you and deepen our caring for one another and our larger community.
– Blessings, Leslie Kinney