The weekend retirement of the Rev. Wendy Fitting from her leadership role at Gloucester’s Unitarian Universalist indeed looms as a landmark change for a historic church and congregation she has built to new heights over the last 24 years.
And while church officials will no doubt find and name a successor, it’s important that all recognize the new ministerial leader will be just that — Rev. Wendy’s successor, not her replacement. That’s because Rev. Fitting truly cannot be replaced.
Fitting’s success can be documented in terms of basic church numbers. Whereas a couple of dozen mostly elderly Unitarians graced the church’s pews when she began her ministry here nearly a quarter century ago, the church’s membership numbers some 200 today.
But most importantly, Fitting converted her role within the church into a true community leadership role, welcoming and embracing people of all faiths while also stepping out and bringing her and the church’s perspective to issues such as peace initiatives and to local social concerns as well.
She has shown, in other words, what a true universalist movement should be all about. And she has indeed taken the kind of community leadership role that members of all clergy should embrace.
We thank her for all she has done, not just for the U/U church, but for the entire community of Gloucester and Cape Ann. And we wish her the very best in a well-earned and “Fittingly” peaceful retirement.