Monday, August 23, 2010

Vision of Ministry

Last June, Rev. Peter Morales won the presidency of the Unitarian Universalist Association running on a campaign that Unitarian Universalism could be the great religion for our time. Since then, we have been exploring together just what that means. How can we be a vital and relevant religious community in 2010?
Because we are exploring the theme of Vision in the month of September, I thought I would share with you a few of my thoughts on the subject. First of all, I see us being and becoming the “Beloved Community.” That means caring for one another out of mutual compassion. We put on a wonderful array of events and lectures, but caring for one another comes from a deeper place. It means coming to church to love the people you find, not coming to church to find the people you love. I deeply believe that we can become that sort of community where everyone feels that they are at home.
I also envision a congregation where Sunday morning is the hub of our life together. Worship services should embrace our religious roots and challenge us to push ourselves. It should also appeal to contemporary sensibilities with great music and inspiring images. But more than the worship service itself, I see Sunday mornings as a time when we come together, every week, knowing that our community is there for us. Sunday morning is a time for sharing our lives with one another. It’s a time for stretching our hearts, not just our minds.
I say that Sunday mornings would be the hub of our life together because it would connect everything else that we do. I envision us as a real force for making the world a better place. Whether it is by comforting the afflicted or by mending the interdependent web, we must play an active role in caring for our world. For me, the future of Unitarian Universalism rests in our ability to talk about the way that our faith informs our action.
If Unitarian Universalism is to be a religion of our time, it will have to be a lived faith. When someone says “I am a Unitarian Universalist,” or “I am a Christian,” or “I am a Muslim,” that can mean two different things. For some, it means that they adhere to a set of theological ideas. In our case, it would mean, that a person holds to some liberal theology or is very comfortable in a place of questioning. For them, “I am a UU” is essentially a statement about belief. But the same person can say the same thing in a very different way. “I am a Unitarian Universalist,” may also mean I live out my faith every day. I engage other people in compassionate relationships. I do my best to care for the Earth and to bring about more justice in the world. And, my church, my Unitarian Universalist church is my religious home. That to me is what it means for Unitarian Universalism to be a lived faith; that is part of what it will take to become a great religion of our time.
That’s my vision of Unitarian Universalism in a nutshell. I hope some of it rings true for you. As we talk about vision throughout the month of September, I would love to hear you see in our shared future.