The future of any community is in large part a reflection of the culture it shares and values. Our congregational culture is what gives me hope and faith in a future worthy of our dreams. Does that mean we have all the volunteers we need? No. Does it mean we have all the resources we desire? No. (More about that later.) Does it imply we are somehow separate from the larger culture that surrounds us? No. What I am talking about is this:
There is a sense that we all long to be seen, heard, and cared for, and that it is our collective responsibility to show up for one another. There is a sense that gratitude matters and that it is important to develop a culture of noticing and acknowledging the gifts and generosity we receive or observe. There is a shared understanding that being in community and connecting across the generations are essential elements of what makes church deeply relevant to our lives. And we know that our circle of care has to extend beyond ourselves as we accept the challenge to help heal the world.
We recognize that a peaceful world requires the work to find peace inside, and that loving kindness and the welcoming of strangers are worthy of our daily practice as individuals and as a community.
And then there is the culture of curiosity and interest in stretching ourselves beyond the familiar. To help us live more fully into that identity, Lyn and I, with input from Carin P. and Fran P., have put together our Ministers’ Challenge for Adults and Kids. We hope you will accept the challenge as a playful way to deepen your own engagement as a Concord UU. We recognize that the format may not appeal to everyone yet we hope you can embrace the spirit of this culture tweaking in whatever way works for you.
And, finally, there is the culture of being stewards for the health of the whole, of taking ownership of the foundations that make everything else possible. A culture that knows that we stand on the generous and visionary shoulders of those before us, and a culture that encourages us to sustain the foundations of the present and build what is needed for our future.
Do we have the resources we need for the foundation holding up the precious gift we have and the future we dream about? I so want to say yes, because so many of you have been extremely generous over the years. Yet the reality is that our foundation needs a boost. As I wrote last month, our administrative and membership support infrastructures are neither sustainable nor sufficient for who we want to be as a congregation. Thank you in advance for taking on ownership of this “construction project,” and for considering what is possible for you personally as we each become stewards of our collective future.