The last few weeks, fights over national finances have roiled our confidence in both our economy and our political process. I ask: What role might a Unitarian Universalist community serve in these far too interesting times?
First, to be aware that our people are not exempt from the national anxiety. We might create learning and sharing circles where we might coach each other in handling our finances, being attuned to members who may suddenly be in need, or to ask how our faith might address the social justice implications. It is important that we help each other not feel helpless or victimized and to discover anew our power in our powerlessness.
[As an aside, leaders may also be alert for how this increased anxiety spills into other arenas of congregational life. This is a time for compassionate listening and tending to our relational covenants.]
We are also in the seasonal moment of schools re-opening and seekers of all ages trying on new faith communities. In our busy-ness on Sunday mornings, it is easy to forget the need for every member to offer genuine hospitality. The Minister and/or Board Host should greet people at the front door as people arrive for worship. Your Greeters ought to have a name tag for both members and guests. Be sure to introduce new guests to other members.
Remember this important lesson: New arrivals want to be noticed but not singled out! Welcome, welcome by name, introduce people to individuals (no mass greetings which are just embarrassing to the tentative and shy). If you say you’re friendly, be so. If you are welcoming, welcome. If love is a core teaching, love your guests.
Anxious times are when we most notice the need for a beloved community. Somehow amid our own anxiety, we need to find the grace to minister. It’s easier if we all practice the humble art of hospitality. Exercise our faith, hold one another gently and speak truth to power.
May your ministry make a difference. Rev. Kenn