“There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect.”
– The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The national meetings of UU ministers and of UU delegates from UUA congregations was held last week by Zoom, and I want to thank those who patiently and excitedly attended, voted, listened, learned, observed and worshipped together with folks from all over the continent! In addition to the many workshops, services and learning opportunities, the Assembly also completes business (by voting) and names moral/ethical/ social justice commitments and intentions. If you’re interested, you can read more about those below. If you are used to your “Sunday 10:00 am service” time slot, you can keep up your 10:00 worship habit by going to General Assembly 2021 Online Video for Public Events | UUA.org and choosing to listen to one of the services which were recorded and are open to all. It’s a great way to be exposed to more of the breadth, diversity, thinking, style and joy of the UU community. The UU-infused July 4th celebration will take place on Sunday starting at noon on the Common in front of North Parish.
This week, local clergy were consulting with each other about response to several incidents of white supremacy intimidation in the area. As some of you may know, Nazi symbols and words were found in an area in North Andover a few weeks ago, and this past week there were armed men putting stickers of the white supremacist “Patriots Front” on cars visiting the MV Black and Brown Voices market in Haverhill, as well as stickers of the white supremacist “Creativity Movement” onto the building of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Haverhill. Coming in the same week as the horrifying hate crime murders in Winthrop, this increased local activity is concerning and frightening, meant to intimidate. If you have local Jewish or Black friends, you might want to reach out with some sort of kindness this week. If you are Black or Latino you might want to check out the MV Black and Brown Voices Restore and Renew Wellness Retreat, at mvbbvoices.org/retreat. If you’d like to support someone to attend the retreat who might not have $250 to spare, donations are welcome at bit.ly/donatetomvbbvoices.
Participating in religious community means feeling the whole gamut of emotions—among them laughter and joy as well as vigilance and attention, as the Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. noted. I believe our hearts and our congregation are big enough to hold it all. But if, right now, your heart or mind or life feels overwhelmed by all that the world throws at us, I hope you’ll do what you need to take care of yourself- whether that is to reach out and connect or take time for retreat.
Happy July! And may you enjoy some moments of awe this weekend, whether you look up and see fireworks or stars,
P.S. Starting today, I’ll be on call for pastoral care crises (and local crises), working with the leadership on the usual and unique post-COVID summertime planning and preparations for next fall (including “Church 2.0” and two hiring processes.) However I won’t be keeping regular office hours or preparing sermons as I begin this study time. So many thanks in advance to all of our summer worship leaders, to Summer Services Coordinator Helen Cymbala, and to Tech Coordinator Eddie Nachamie. This summer, I hope to do some of the work and reading that I was not able to complete during my shortened sabbatical, which is all fodder for our 2021- 2022 year together.