November, 2020. How will this historic moment be remembered 100, 50, or even 10 years from now?
We are all, of course, always seeding the future with our actions (and our omissions, as it has become so painfully clear). But from where I stand at this precise moment, it definitely feels like a light is being shone on how the decisions I make today will have a direct impact on the world of tomorrow.
At the same time, ever since March, “planning for the future” has become harder and harder to do. The pandemic’s made everything feel — well — tentative, as though all we know for certain is what’s solidly within reach. Today. Tomorrow. At a stretch, the coming weekend.
It’s in this highly unusual context that the fellowship will launch its annual pledge campaign later this month. We’ll be inviting you to look beyond the present moment (already a hard thing), to anticipate your future finances (possibly even harder), and to let us know how much you can contribute financially to seeding the way to a future with UU values at its heart.
I know how hard it is to connect meaningfully to the future, especially this month. And so, I wanted to share some of what’s inspiring me as I look at the fellowship’s commitments for the months ahead.
First: After what’s felt like a long fallow period in the congregation’s programming for children and youth, I am really excited about the addition of two new and dynamic part-time members to the staff team: Thea Shapiro, Older Youth/Young Adult Advisor, and Ulrike Galasinski, Religious Education Coordinator (serving the needs of parents, younger youth, and children.)
We know that many of you have enthusiastically embraced the chance to experience online community and inspiration. If you are a parent, however, it’s more likely that you’ve been saying, “No more Zoom!” And so, our expanded staff team will be meeting you where you are, focusing on a few, carefully chosen projects:
- Reader’s theater (bringing adults, youth, and children together for community, creativity, and fun)
- Bridging, the Coming of Age program for older youth
- Social justice engagement and small group support for older youth/young adults
- Home-based support for families and children.
Next: I’m deeply appreciative of the fellowship’s recent commitment to antiracism and to the practice of taking the lead from formerly marginalized voices. Among other things, this has meant doing the hard work of learning from painful moments in your own history, times when your Unitarian Universalist commitment to the worth and dignity of all has not necessarily been embodied in your actions.
Similarly, I invite you to try out Think Tank, described elsewhere in the November Chalice — a new initiative for bringing previously underrepresented voices into decision-making.
Also, as someone who is especially sympathetic to the “newcomer” experience, I’m loving our new Inquirers program. Inquirers is a space for newcomers to connect and engage with this dynamic community. It runs online every second Sunday of the month, from noon to 1:00 p.m. This month Inquirers will explore our UU Sources and Principles.
And finally, I’ve loved witnessing the excitement of all 68 of you involved in UU the Vote, bringing positivity, enthusiasm and a commitment to increasing voter registration and voter engagement in this election season. As they say, “just wow.”
How will this historic moment be remembered 100, 50, or even 10 years from now?
My hope is that it will be remembered as a time when communities committed to love and justice — like this one — stayed close to their deepest values and worked to embody them no matter what.
Because in the end, this is all I believe any of us can do in an uncertain universe:
to join here, together, in the present moment;
to be for one another sources of inspiration and care;
to sow seeds, whose fruits will only be tasted by the generations to come;
and to trust that, despite all unknowns, today’s actions will live on in the world of tomorrow.
In love and service,