Reflections from Congregational President Danny Swim

How did I get here?

When I come to church these days, I put on a nametag that says “Congregational President”.  I’m not sure how that came to be.  It certainly was not something I had planned.  I would have to say it’s like a good many things in our lives, it just snuck up on me.

I have attended and been a member at UUCFW since 2009.  My wife Terri and I had previously attended a UU fellowship in Menomonie, WI for two years, 1998-99.  Terri became a member there, I did not.  After two more moves of our household and the addition of three children, we (mainly Terri) felt compelled to attend church again, especially after the unexpected death of her brother.

It was not an easy decision to attend a church that on a good Sunday morning takes about 35 minutes to arrive.  Yet, it was one of the best decisions we have ever made.  We immediately felt welcome and this feeling has only gotten stronger over the years.  We felt so welcome that within weeks of our first visit, we gladly stepped up to serve in many ways including; bringing snack, teaching youth RE for Terri and joining Buildings and Grounds for me.  For both of us this very quickly resulted in co-chairing our respective committees.

Buildings and Grounds was a perfect fit for me and that is why I did it for 6-plus years.  As a stay-at-home Dad, I have a schedule that allowed me to be available during the week and to make fulfilling those duties easier.  Also, I enjoy making, fixing, growing, and organizing things and even tearing things down.  What better way to serve UUCFW than doing things I enjoy.  So again, how did I go from this to President?

That sneaking up thing happened.  In 2014 I was asked to fill in on the board after a couple of Board members resigned in a short period of time.  I must not have messed things up too bad, because for the following year, I was asked to be on the Board again.  I initially declined, however, a very persuasive member asked if I would join as the Board Alternate, which I then agreed to.  It was a gratifying year of service and I thought that would be the end of Board work for a while.  I should have known better.

The following year Two members approached me with compelling reasons I should serve on the Board a full three year term and as Congregation Vice President the first year with the goal of President the following.  These wonderful and persuasive members certainly had more confidence in me than I had in myself to lead the congregation.  So, I took stock and what I found at UUCFW was a strong and supporting board including a great President to work under the first year, a fabulous Minister to work with, and a congregation that has a wonderful momentum about it.  Why not step up?  I have come to love the UUCFW community with its unique building, beautiful grounds and awesome people.  If I can do only a small part in helping this community to thrive then my service will be worth it.  I am certainly outside my comfort zone (give me a door to fix any day).  But, how can we grow if we don’t stretch ourselves once in a while?  So if you are asked to serve for UUCFW or serve in a new way, stretch a little and see what might sneak up on you.  It may lead to one of the best experiences of your life.

To a great 2017,

Danny Swim,
Congregational President