Our spiritual theme for February is Identity. I think a great deal about our collective identity these days. After all we are a diverse community of people by class, ethnicity, age, political persuasion and gender identity. In fact, the assumption that we are all pretty much the same is only partly true. I am still surprised, for instance, about how differently some of us react to the same sermon. Some will find comfort while others are agitated. Which goes to prove the old adage that good preaching should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable – all at the same time. However, one aspect of our identity is shared and that is our progressive view of religion. As Unitarian Universalists we are committed to our seven principles including the inherent worth and dignity of each person, the use of a fair and democratic process, and the faith that we live in an interdependent web of existence. These are foundational to our collective identity. Regardless of what direction we go as a congregation in the coming years, we will also support the worth of our fellow human beings and the need to help those in need. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all.
In order to support these shared values and to recolonize our diverse nature we are making some changes to our Soundings Newsletter. This will be the last issue of a monthly Soundings. Beginning March 1st the Soundings will come to you electronically as an email each week. What we have been calling our eBlast, has been changing to a new format as our eSoundings.
Starting in March our Soundings will be delivered each week as an email. For those who don’t have email, you will receive your copy mailed to your home. For those who do have email but preferred a paper copy, please give this electronic version a try. You can always print it out (in color) at home. We will have a limited number of paper copies each Sunday at church on the Welcome Table. This electronic Soundings will have most of what you expect from a newsletter. However, the articles will be much shorter. There are several advantages to this weekly electronic format including saving costs (and trees) and providing a timelier medium for upcoming events. If you are submitting a notice to the weekly Soundings the deadline will be Wednesday noon of each week via email and it must be sent through a staff person or the Board of Trustees.
Then, in order to foster a deeper engagement on issues before us, we will be launching a Quarterly Journal in April. The Journal will come out April 15th, June 15th, September 15th and January 15th with a deadline of the first of the month. Articles from me, Ed, David, Mary, the Board and invited others will grace us in this deep consideration of our identity. Carol Porter has graciously volunteered to be our editor.
It is my hope that we will build on the strength of our diverse yet shared identity as a people of hope and promise. Thank you for being a part of our congregation. We need each other now more than ever.
With Grace and Grit, Rev. John