In the Interim: Reverend Terry Sweetser

UU religious community is a precious gift.  Within it, we find values and questions that are rarely encountered elsewhere in our lives.  Values and issues that push us, ground us and remind us who we most deeply are.  Together we ask: What do we find when we gather?  And what can we share with the world?

As former UUSWH minister, James Luther Adams, often pointed out, “Church is where we go to find our better selves. From church we take our better selves out to change the world.”  Our UU community is not a social club, a debating society, or mutual support group.  It is a place to be called to our perfectibility and urged out into a world that needs us.

Faith in the possibility of human perfectibility and the power of humanity to bend the arc of the universe toward justice is the core of Unitarian Universalism.

That faith is what I serve and why I’m here.

Welcome back to your church on Sunday, September 10th for our multigenerational Water Communion.  Please bring some water with you to share in our common pool.  Water is a gift of our summer—symbols of the water that we have been present with, and which has been present to us.

In our next church year we explore the question, “What does it mean to be a people of ...”  Together we will ask what values and issues push us, ground us and remind us who we most deeply are?

2017-2018 Themes:

What does it mean to be a people of…

• September: Welcome

• October: Courage

• November: Abundance

• December: Hope

• January: Intention

• February: Perseverance

• March: Balance

• April: Emergence

• May: Creativity

• June: Blessing

September theme: What Does It Mean To Be A People of Welcome?

Welcoming is most often associated with “bigness.”  We speak about “expanding the circle” and making more room.  We talk about making ourselves larger through the practice of welcoming in new experiences and new ideas.  But there is also the work of becoming smaller.  And sometimes that is the even more important work.

For instance, those of us who are white are learning that true welcoming of diversity just can’t happen until we shrink and de-center our voices.  We also know that expanding community and welcoming newcomers requires right-sizing our needs and putting our preferences second. Welcoming regularly involves the smallness of humility and willingness to listen and learn.  The great spiritual teachers remind us that the key to feeling at home in the universe is seeing ourselves as a tiny but precious part of a greater whole, rather than believing that the whole world revolves around us.  Downsizing and living simply allows us to welcome in more experience, adventure, and peace.  And, of course, there’s also the work of downsizing our egos enough to admit mistakes, ask for forgiveness and welcome in the work of repair.

Bottom line: There is a deep spiritual connection between the smallness of self and the expansiveness of relationship.  It’s a curious and wonderful truth: the road to widening the circle often starts with limiting our own size.  By becoming “smaller,” we paradoxically are better able to welcome in and receive the gift of “more.”

See you in church!

Reverend Terry