In the Interim: Reverend Terry Sweetser

We had a wonderful visitors Sunday on September 25. The Welcoming Committee treated us to an amazing barbecue made even more festive by a talented jazz duo.  People walking down Washington Street paused to enjoy the music and commented on how much fun the people in the church were having. An absolutely splendid event and one I hope we can repeat.

With each passing day I am ever more impressed by what an exciting congregation this is. If I were moving to this area and visited several congregations, this is the one I would pick. I hope you will tell your friends about us.  If you do, please invite them to our website: Your friends may want to know what Sunday morning is like.  They can actually experience parts of our service on YouTube:

Many of you know we are using a thematic approach for worship this year focusing on the precious gift of our UUSWH community. Within it, we find values and questions that are rarely encountered elsewhere in our lives. What is it we find when we gather? And what is it we are asked to share with the world? Each month we will explore a different aspect of building and fortifying this beloved community.

September: Covenant
October: Healing
November: Story
December: Presence
January: Prophecy
February: Identity
March: Risk
April: Transformation
May: Embodiment
June: Zest

In October we consider healing and specifically, What Does It Mean to Be A Community of Healing?

To be a community of healing requires dedication and a willingness to dig in - to fix what’s been broken, to listen away each other’s pain, to battle the bad guys and gals, to ask forgiveness when we are not the good guys and gals we so want to be. It takes work, yes, but it takes perception and sight as well.

I believe healing always begins with perception and sight. If we really deeply perceive and see the people around us:

Would we more easily call to mind those moments when we were able to see our “enemies” in their wholeness? Those moments when our frames of them as all bad and us as all good gave way to the truth that they are as complex, fragile and flawed as us?

Would we more easily tell the story of when we first realized that we were part of propping up the system? The system that subtly and not so subtly gives some a hand while keeping the hands of others so securely tied behind their back?

Would we more easily remember what happened when we confessed our lie or admitted our addiction? How when we stopped trying to hide it from the sight of others, it somehow loosened its hold on us?

There is a magic in all this looking, seeing and being seen. Remember that? In each case, we learned that healing is not entirely up to us. There was an otherness at work. We just got the ball rolling. We weren’t “the healers”; our wider view simply set the stage. Opened the door. Healing then slowly made its way in and joined us as a partner.

And seeing healing as a partner – rather than solely as a product of our will and work - we were able to be more gentle with ourselves. We realized that manageable steps and doing what we can were just fine; heroics didn’t always have to be the way. We were able to put down the weight of the world for a while, knowing and trusting that healing had a life of its own – that it has the ability to grow and take root even while we rest, maybe even because we took the time to rest.

In the end, maybe that is the most important thing to remember this month: besides always beginning with a wider view, healing also means making room for rest. Too often being a community of healing gets reduced to a matter of work, vigilance and never letting up. So we need these reminders that healing is a partner, not simply a product of our work.

Maybe even trying to partner with us right now…

Reverend Terry Sweetser