Many good things are happening in our congregation!
I want to extend my deep gratitude to the members of the ADORE (A Dialogue On Race and Ethnicity) Team for their creativity, passion, and vision that helped to make this year’s Black History Month celebration a success. For the first time in our congregation’s history, we took the entire month of February and set aside business as usual. We moved beyond the annual sermon on Dr. Martin Luther King Sunday into a deeper commitment to cherish diversity.
This past month, we heard from members of our congregation about their vision for multiculturalism alongside the struggle within our community to sustain multiculturalism. We listened to the words of Rev. Anthony Smith and the insistence to know subaltern histories. We bore witness to Dot Counts Scoggins in her walk of faith and honored her as a living legacy. And just this past Sunday we listened to the brilliance of Angela Renée Simpson and Dr. Carl DuPont as they shared the poetry, philosophy and pain which created African American spirituals. If you missed these Sundays, I encourage you to visit our past sermons section of our website, www.puuc.org, to hear some of the services. Thank you to Michelle Boesch, Eva Dew Danner, Anne Laukaitis, Ilene McFarland, Lauren Neal, Arvind Patil, and Christine Robinson for making this incredible month possible. And thank you to Lisa Dickinson for putting the finishing touches on our congregational mosaic. Look for it in the sanctuary this coming Sunday!
When we dream together amazing worlds can be born into being.
In this time of appreciation, I also want to lift up my gratitude for the incredible music ministry of Dr. Carl DuPont and the soul-nourishing music being offered by the members of our Piedmont UU Choir. In just six weeks of rehearsals, our choir has sung on three Sundays and helped to participate in last week’s music Sunday. Their voices fill the sanctuary with robust, responsive and refulgent sound. I do believe our choir may soon sing Spring into our midst from this extended North Carolina winter.
Good things are happening. I am so grateful to the many in our community who give of what they can to nurture the spirit and heal our world.
This coming month, we are focusing our time on the monthly theme of gratitude.
When I was in seminary, one of my advisors implored me to share my spiritual practices. She instructed us all that spiritual practices were central to one’s ministry. She quoted Harry Scholefield, minister emeritus of San Francisco’s First Unitarian Church. “If you do not maintain a spiritual practice you shall dry up and blow away.” For a long time I searched for a practice that I could maintain daily. I have many, many spiritual practices from yoga to prayer and textual studies, but I tend to jump from one practice to the next. I wanted to feel that sense of depth born from commitment. It took me years to realize that I did have an intuitive spiritual practice. I had a spiritual practice I engaged every day.
This practice is so simple and yet powerful, I’ve maintained it without even realizing it. This spiritual discipline companions me in marches, protests and rallies for justice. It is what has helped me through some of the most desperate and despairing times in my life.
Seeking meaningful ways to give thanks and appreciate the world around me has sustained me and called me to give back to this earth and her people. From journaling to notes of appreciation and even to taking the time to pause and see the world around me, I offer thanks at least a dozen times a day. The writer Anne Lamott reminds us that there are really only three central prayers, “help, thanks, wow.” I’d been praying “thanks” my whole life.
This is not to say that my life is perfect. Nor is it to say that my gratitude becomes a numbing medicine from the world’s pain and my own pain. Indeed it is a balance of saving and savoring the world. But in that balance, I believe we discover the spark at the core of our mission statement and ultimately the light within Unitarian Universalism.
I hope you will join us this month as we explore the spiritual practices of gratitude and the ways in which gratitude are essential to our faith as Unitarian Universalists and our commitment to heal the world.
With appreciation for the ministry and vision we share,