I have always wanted to believe
that kindness and compassion
matter more than anything.
Welcome to December and to our monthly theme of Kindness! This week the temperature drops into the 20s, ushering us from fall to winter–even though winter isn’t “official” until December 21st. What will this winter hold for us as individuals and as a congregation? Some things we know; some things we can’t know. What we do know is this: We will move forward together as a beloved community; we will continue our ministries; and, come what may, we will have one another.
Last winter taught us on a deeper level the truth of Robert Burns’ words (modernized) about plans: “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” To say our plans for 2020 went awry is a global understatement. Nine months later, the pandemic numbers continue to rise, and many of us have been personally affected by the virus–whether through our own illness or the illness or loss of loved ones.
We’ve lived through a stressful four years of overt bigotry, racism, discrimination, and, as we say in the south, “ugly” behavior from the occupant of The White House. This model of behavior from a place of leadership unleashed a much more visible and very disturbing level of prejudice and racism in our midst. Thus, we have our work cut out for us, and you have noted in your responses to our Social Action Survey that issues of racism followed closely by issues of Climate or Earth Justice are your main concerns as we move into the new year.
Look for learning opportunities related to both of these issues including the upcoming study of The Commission on Institutional Change (dismantling white supremacy) from our ministerial intern, Holly Brown, and the Sacred People, Sacred Earth Day of Action in March (greenfaith.org). GreenFaith notes: “The good life is one of connectedness–with each other and all of nature. It is a world of flourishing life that replaces despair with joy, scarcity with shared abundance, and privilege with justly distributed power.”
Also of note regarding our congregations and issues related to activism around white supremacy, BLUU (The Black Lives of UU) Organizing Collective is encouraging all UUs “to advocate for the formal adoption of an 8th principle, articulating a commitment to the dismantling of white supremacy within the stated principles of our faith.” The proposed wording for the 8th Principle is as follows:
“We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote: journeying toward spiritual wholeness by working to build a diverse multicultural Beloved Community by our actions that accountably dismantle racism and other oppressions in ourselves and our institutions.”
While the UUA will likely adopt the 8th Principle in the future, many UU congregations around the country have already done so. Perhaps this is a question for Piedmont Unitarian Universalist Church to consider in the coming months. Will we accept this call to action as a community? May it be so, and may we move into the new year with hope and resolution, looking to each new day as just that–a new day. A beginning again. A clean slate.
May we love with intention and be mindfully kind all the days to come as we seek to build a more just world!
~Rev. Mary Frances