September 2020

Summer is nearly over. We may be asking, “what’s next?”

What do we do when we don’t know what’s next? What do we do when the old ways of doing things no longer work but a way forward is not yet clear? What do we do, in short, when we don’t have a clue about what it is we really need to do?

How can we face the immense issues of global warming and racism? What will be the continued impact of the continuing specter of COVID-19, which affects nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and causes fear, worry, and financial hardship for many? For parents of children at home and of older teens who want desperately to be away in college, and for those who have lost jobs, the tensions and pressures are enormous.

UU minister Michael Tino writes that “all of us are experiencing a collective trauma – and how we deal with that trauma is filtered – through our past experiences, the institutional power we have access to (or don’t), and the communities of care to which we are connected.” Organizational consultant Susan Beaumont calls times of uncertainty like this one liminal seasons, “threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos.”

She says we need to begin by admitting to ourselves that we don’t know what’s next. We need to help each other manage our pain and anxiety and try to embrace the “freedom of not-knowing, not rushing to so-called solutions.” We need to keep learning and growing as the alive and awake beings that we are.

And we need to keep doing what our hearts and minds tell us is right: giving ourselves permission to be less than perfect; reaching out to one another with calls and notes and offers to take socially-distanced walks; sharing what we’re learning about racial justice and our own blossoming realizations about how much we ourselves need to still learn and change; showing up (safely) at demonstrations; continuing to keep pressure on lawmakers for more effective climate legislation; writing thousands (literally thousands!) of postcards encouraging voters in swing states and voters among people of color who have been disenfranchised to vote early and vote by mail; sharing our financial resources with those who need help.

This year’s overarching theme is the power of stories. We’ll explore stories we learned about our history and stories we didn’t, stories about heroes and heroines of civil rights struggles, stories from our UU heritage, personal stories from members and guests, and more.

I look forward to the time when we will again be able to gather, socialize and worship together. And I am energized and excited about the year in front of us, in whatever forms it takes. I am entering my twelfth year here with you, and it is ever an honor and a joy to be your minister.  Janets signature