As we are preparing to join together from whatever summer brought us, there are a few things that I have been thinking about and processing with colleagues and friends. It is inescapable to note the increase in worry, not only because of this summer’s tragic events, but also the current political campaign season and the endless stream of commentary in the news and social media. In observing the cultural phenomenon that is social media, it does seem to connect us in a myriad of ways never before seen in modern life. My concern is that although it does seem to help superficially increase our connection, the demands of modern life also leave our time and availability to connect in deeper and more meaningful ways lacking.
With that said, I would like to suggest that we introduce an overarching theme this year, a year of Building Relationships/Deepening Connections. I am going to challenge us all – staff, worship leaders, small group ministry, adult and children’s education, social justice, music folks and all of the programs of this congregation – to think about how to help provide opportunities to deepen our connections to each other, the community and the planet.
This is meant to put us, as often as possible, in the same physical location together, to share experiences together, to supporting each other in challenging our comfort to grow as we reach out in love to those isolated and hurting. Many people say the reason they attend this congregation is “community,” which in so many ways is an umbrella term for the desire to be seen and accepted, to love and be loved and to deepen our connections.
There will be more about this as time progresses, but I would like to take note of two specific upcoming events designed to help with broader and deeper connections:
The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values
This coming Sunday, many of us from UUCF will join people of faith from all over the DC area for “The Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values.” Led by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Rev. Dr. James A. Forbes, Rev. Traci Blackmon and Sister Simone Campbell, this national tour aims to redefine morality in American politics and challenge leaders of faith and moral courage to be more vocally opposed to harmful policies that disproportionately affect the poor, people who are ill, children, immigrants, communities of color and religious minorities. If you wish to join me, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sun., Aug. 28, 2016, 5-7:30 p.m., Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Church, 3000 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast Washington, DC, 2002.
Finding Common Ground: A Reverse Town Hall to End Gun Violence
This event is about finding a deeper connection between gun owners and non-gun owners in hopes of building relationships in order to find common ground. As a reminder, it is Sat., Sep. 17, 6-8:30 p.m., here at UUCF. You can register at uucf.org/finding-common-ground.
This year I hope we are ready and willing to find the deeper path – the one that takes some risks and may feel a bit vulnerable – for we are at a time where finding points of human connection is important to building a more loving world.
I look forward to this year’s shared journey.