We have come to mid-summer—a time for tomatoes, warmed lake waters, Shakespeare on the Boston Common… and continued care for one another. Thanks to those gathering on Sundays and those at home who are keeping in mind and heart those in our congregation facing illness or recovery, loved ones bearing the brunt of floods or heat, and the wider circle of Unitarian Universalists and others of minority faiths in these challenging times.
My column a month ago mentioned a congregation in Idaho in need of emotional, spiritual support from sister congregations. Sadly, another request for support just came in from the Community Unitarian Universalist church in Plano, Texas. You may have heard that on Sunday July23rd an incendiary devise with a chemical accelerant was used to set fire to the front doors of their church building. Fortunately, the fire alarms went off and a passer-by also called the fire department who extinguished the fire before much damage was done, and no one was hurt. This happened a month after a so-called “Christian” right-wing anti-LGBTQ you-tuber posted a video targeting the congregation (after “pretending to be gay” and attending the June 25th Sunday service).
So this is how it happens, folks: first pick on the tiniest, disenfranchised minority you can find– in the current climate, trans youth. Spread that discriminatory attack and intolerance towards all LGBTQ+ folks and their allies. Throw in the internet, a good dose of self-righteous hate mongering, an extra helping of really bad theology with a couple thousand years of homophobic and racist religious hierarchy to back it all up. If you ever wondered why you still belong to a Unitarian Universalist congregation, or why you still financially support North Parish, or whether you should come back to church some day, or whether you should invite a neighbor or friend to attend… well, here’s your answer. Bold, unapologetic, fiercely loving Unitarian Universalist congregations are needed in this world. Today.
The Plano congregation has asked that folks send them cards, so that can cover their sanctuary walls with notes of love and care. If you are a card-writer, here’s the address as well as one for the Palouse, Idaho congregation:
Community Unitarian Universalist Church of Plano, 2875 E. Parker Road, Plano, TX 75074
UU Church of the Palouse, 420 East Second Street, Moscow, Idaho, 83843
In “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”,“The course of true love never did run smooth.” That is true not only for romantic love but for the path of love that we try to follow. It doesn’t run smooth! Like any good New England hiking trail it’s a path of beauty but also with bumps, mud, plenty of rocks, large boulders, steep inclines and sometimes high rivers to cross on uncertain stones. Once in a while we even have to take off our boots and wade in the water to get to the other side, looking for the markers that show where the path resumes. Sometimes it’s hard work. Other times it’s just so beautiful! Either way, we do not walk alone.
Our UU friends need us to send our love. Small congregations in unfriendly states need us to be awake to what is happening there. Another line from Shakespeare’s mid-summer comedy is this: “Though she be but little, she is fierce!” May that be how our faith- and North Parish- is known!
Fondly and fiercely yours, Rev. Lee
P.S. If you haven’t already done so, remember to collect some water, a few rocks or shells from a special place, to bring back for our Ingathering/Homecoming service on Sept. 10th. As we say, “Ollie ollie in-come-free! Y’all come back now!” It will be our 25th year of ministry together. Let me know about your bold, unapologetic, fiercely loving dreams as we mark that milestone!