Minister’s Column February 2020

Dear Ones:
Our February ministry theme is resilience. Certain questions come to mind. What keeps us resilient when we encounter challenging times in our personal or family life—the death of a loved-one, news of a difficult diagnosis, loss of a job? What keeps us resilient as we encounter and witness the brokenness in our human family stemming from deep-seated oppressions—racism, sexism, homophobia, classism? What keeps us resilient as climate change continues to progress and our leaders seem incapable of taking action to address it? In my view, one of the purposes of a church like UUS:E is to help each of us answer these questions well.
Our Soul Matters resources remind us that resilience comes “from the Latin re ‘back’ and saliens ‘the beginning, the starting point, the heart of the embryo.’ Saliens also holds the suggestion of movement; to leap, to flow, to run, to hurry.” They point out that “one definition of resilience is the ability to return to one’s original shape after it has been unexpectedly jolted, stretched, flattened, bent, etc.” They ask, “Where are you in the journey of resilience? Starting to feel pulled? Already significantly bent? Stretched and worried about snapping? Slowly returning to form? Still trying to figure out what’s causing the kink? Gratefully back? Realizing there’s no going back to that original shape?” I like this line of questioning and I offer it to you for your contemplation during this cold, winter month.
I want to highlight a few things I am looking forward to this month:

First, I am excited to be working with Rabbi Richard Plavin who will be offering a course at UUS:E on the Jewish Liturgical Year. While we discuss various Jewish Holy Days during Sunday morning worship, Rabbi Plavin will provide more depth and explain how it all fits together. Classes take place on Thursdays, Feb. 13, 20 and 27 from 4:00 to 5:30. Sign up in the UUS:E office.

Second, I will be running the UUS:E Chocolate Aauction on Sunday the 16th, following the 11:00 service. Always fun. Do not miss it!

Third, the Unitarian Universalist Association’s “common read” this year is Roxanne Ortiz-Dunbar’s An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. From the UUA website: “This extraordinary book challenges readers to learn US history through a narrative that centers the story, the experiences, and the perspectives of Indigenous peoples. In 2019, Beacon Press published an adaptation for young people by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese. Upending myths and misinformation that have been promulgated by leaders and media, it asks readers to reconsider the origin story of the United States taught to every US school child.” Our Social Justice / Anti-Oppression Committee will be coordinating book discussions in the spring. Now is the time to purchase the book and begin reading!

Finally, as many of you will remember, a year ago our Growth Strategy Team (GST) took a comprehensive survey of all UUS:E members and friends in an effort to discover what keeps people engaged in the life of our congregation. On Saturday, February 29 from 9:00 to 11:00, the GST will present the findings. All are welcome and highly encouraged to join us. On that same day from 11:00 to 1:00, the GST will work with UUS:E leaders and anyone else who is interested on how to respond concretely to the survey results. See our Policy Board Column in this newsletter for more info. I hope you can make it!

With love,
—Rev. Josh