From Your Lead Minister
Welcome to a brand new year!
Once in a while in our lives, we hear words spoken that stick with us for a long time or perhaps for the rest of our days. As we begin a new chapter here at Piedmont UU Church, I’d like to share some words that have stuck with me for the last four and a half years. On a summer day in 2013, I traveled to Durham for a day-long staff retreat at a church where I would soon begin my ministerial internship. The truth is, I don’t remember a whole lot about that day, but I remember one thing vividly.
We were reminded that, at times, we might encounter situations that would challenge us in terms of interpersonal communication or personality differences. This question was asked: “What do we do when we encounter prickly people?” Without skipping a beat, the lead minister replied: “Remain calm, and move forward with kindness.”
The words resonated deep within. It was such a simple statement; yet, such a transformative declaration.
Kindness is always an option. Humans are creatures of habit, and it’s all too easy to get into unhealthy patterns of behavior (e.g., crankiness or impatience or even making assumptions that we know what others are thinking or intending). It doesn’t matter how we fall into unhealthy patterns of behavior, but it does matter that we’re self-aware enough or willing to become self-aware enough so that we realize when our actions are less than loving and then determine to do something about that. The truth is, we usually know full well when we are and are not motivated from a spirit of love.
This awareness and accompanying responsibility apply to us as individuals, to us as a congregation, and to us as a “system” that will thrive only from a grounded place of love and kindness. There is no other way to be successful as a ministry.
Our theme for January is Intention. If you missed our service on Sunday, December 31, these were our chalice lighting words:
We light this chalice on the brink of a new year
Letting go of what has been
Open and hopeful for what may come
Renewed, restored, ready
To live Life fully anew
May we move forward with intention.
-Lois Van Leer
Indeed, may we move forward with intention. We have options every hour of every day!
Choose peace. Choose generosity. Choose to be renewed and restored. Choose to assume the best. And choose kindness. Always choose kindness. May it be so.
~Rev. Mary Frances