Our annual Congregational meeting is scheduled for Sunday, May 20th – and you’ll notice a few changes this year. Realizing that there can be a tendency to rush through business so that hungry people can get to lunch quickly, we’re actually going to break for lunch between the end of the worship service (scheduled to end at noon on that Sunday) and the beginning of the annual meeting.
My core theology is this: we need each other. There are things we get from being together in a faith community sharing vulnerabilities, strengths, stumbling, soaring, joys, sorrows, discovering, learning, forgiving, encouraging, learning, and grace -- especially grace -- that don't happen the same way in any other community, in my experience. I think it has to do with expectations, and covenant, and believing in the original blessing of life.
December finds us mid-way through our third year together, and I remain grateful for our shared ministries at Greater Nashville UU. I’ve been reading about gratitude lately, in our personal lives and in our congregational lives, and I was struck by this quote from Peter Steinke’s book, Healthy Congregations: A Systems Approach:
As a child growing up in Arkansas, 3 things signified that summer was really, truly here: catching fireflies in old pickle jars (with holes punched in the lids, of course!); sitting on the back porch steps to eat my grandfather's homemade banana ice cream; and endless hours of play, twilight the final call to go inside -- tired, dirty, happy -- for a bath and all our family's good night rituals, including night time prayers, our clean little hands dutifully folded in earnest gratitude for a good day.
This newsletter arrives a few days into the Lenten season, an important tradition in the Christianity that is a part of our theological heritage, and remains important for many UUs. As The Rev. Clarke Dewey Wells once wrote, “We don’t have to be ‘religious’ or ‘Christian’ to enter into Lent, only human. Since we’re all in that club I invite you to join me in traversing together this season of faith, examination, and hope.”
On Sunday, January 15, seven people from GNUUC attended the community showing of “13th” (please see the film, if you haven’t already) and heard formerly imprisoned African-American men speak to their experiences of incarceration in Nashville. The next day 20 of us, including most of our youth group, participated in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day March & Convocation.
As we prepared for the 2012 Justice General Assembly in Phoenix, Unitarian Universalist ministers gathered for the 192nd Berry Street Lecture offered by The Rev. Dr. Fred Muir of the UU Church of Annapolis, Maryland (full transcript here: 192nd Berry Street Lecture). Fred’s
lecture, titled “From iChurch to Beloved Community: Ecclesiology and Justice” addressed what he names as our modern “trinity of errors” (a clever reference to the seminal work of Unitarian martyr, Michael Servetus, who challenged Calvin’s Trinitarian doctrine, more info here: Michael Servetus "On the Errors of the Trinity").
Have you ever been trapped in a complaint rabbit hole? Imagine this conversation between friends: I really miss the Wednesday evening dinners we used to have, I wish we could do that again. Okay, me too, any evening will work! But I don’t want to drive at night. Okay, let’s try for breakfast on Saturday morning! But I’m already overcommitted on Saturdays. Okay, how about a Sunday afternoon, after church? But I don’t want to wait around until you’re finished with all of your church activities. Okay, can you think of another option? No. But I really miss the Wednesday evening dinners we used to have, too bad we don’t do that anymore.