by Rebecca Graves, 2020-21 President
No big news this month, more a patchwork of announcements. We are working through the board calendar: https://uucomo.org/board-calendar/. I admit that the pandemic, and somewhat the election, have pushed us behind a bit. We should be caught up by January, if not December. The Covid Advisory Task Force continues to provide the board with up to date information especially about how to host Room at the Inn (RATI) safely. Between their work and the work of the RATI staff, I am confident that we will make the hosting of RATI – its guests, staff and volunteers – as safe as possible in this pandemic.
Along with several other members of our congregation, I am taking the Beloved Conversations Virtual course on racial justice (https://bcvirtual.meadville. edu/p/home). I could simply say that this is a six-lesson online course that dives into our emotions and understanding around social justice; however, it is much more. The lessons are rich both in depth of content and type of material. It is not simply texts to read, but also podcasts, videos, poems, as well as embodied work such as dance, art, song. There is individual work and partnered work, along with small and large group discussions. Yet there are no grades, no tests, no requirement to “finish the list” of resources. This is a holistic way to encounter this topic; and, now in lesson three, I find that I am trusting the process, and the learning is deep.
The board is wrestling with the question, “How do we measure our execution of our mission?” beyond door counts and money raised. Thinking of our mission in a pandemic when we are so separate sparked an image of all of us in life rafts, drifting. This image has been following me these past weeks as I think on the words in our mission and as I repeat our chalice lighting on Sundays – ”Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law. This is our great covenant… to help one another.” How in this time can we help each other? How can we live our mission of deep connection and healing each other so that we can heal the world? How can we stay together while floating alone in our small rafts on this vast sea?
I pulled on this image and saw us paddling toward each other, tying our rafts together (safely distant of course), sharing water, light, and love. This is what we do already with our small group ministries, when we gather in a circle outdoors and share stories and music, when we meet over Zoom and see each other’s faces. I have no way to measure this yet, but I ask us to keep reaching out, keep paddling over to each other and roping our rafts together. If you think of someone, message them, call them or mail them a note – perhaps we should bring Christmas cards back this year. If you are one who bakes or cooks, drop food by. Leave a picture drawn by your child in someone’s mailbox (physical or online.) Share flowers or an interesting stone picked up on a walk. And, if you are alone, send up a flare (a text will do) so that we may paddle over to you, so that we may serve our deep connection and heal in this time of pandemic.