“Create a new table where the values of our faith are both promised and practiced without reservation.”
(Dr. Leon Spencer)
We identify as a Welcoming Congregation. Having been certified, we proudly announce it each Sunday. You earned this designation through sincere and intentional examination of your welcome to people of a variety of sexual and affectional orientations and gender identities. That was good.
The work in which you are engaging this year though, has taken that intention to a whole new level. What does it really mean to be a Welcoming Congregation, you have chosen to ask yourselves. And with that before you, you have not flinched from recognizing its challenges.
For six weeks we considered the many ways in which we may be less than welcoming to people who are differently abled. Then we considered the issues of age and our attitudes toward youth and aging. We are now in the midst of a seven week exploration of Race, Power and Privilege, possibly the most challenging and compelling of our times.
At the end of February we start exploring the topic of Money, what it means, how we relate to it, how it is distributed and other conversations we find difficult. Our last topic will be Gender, for which we are just beginning to gather a Topic Team. Do let us know if you’d like to be a part of that.
What has struck me is how willing we are to engage these topics, the challenges to our own self understandings, social locations, and identities. I continuously hear people remarking on how they are seeing things they had not seen before, experiencing insights and recognizing barriers that had not been apparent to them before. These are important beginnings.
Beginnings. That is what they are – beginnings. What I hope you will think about, in addition to being grateful for the learning, is the doing. Black Lives UU have challenged us to operationalize the values of our faith so that they become our practice, as well as our promise.
Leon Spencer challenges us to create a new truly welcoming table where the values of our faith are both promised and practiced.
What would it take, my friends, for MUUC to truly put out a Welcome Table? Welcome to the differently abled? Differently aged? Differently racially identified? Differently incomed? Differently gendered or oriented? Differently privileged or disadvantaged?
How would MUUC need to change to be a truly, deeply multileveled welcoming congregation, and who among you are willing to be a part of making it so?
We are slightly more than half way through our exploration. I offer you these questions to hold and make your own, as part of the exploration in which we have engaged, that our faith might truly be both promised and practiced.
With blessings and gratitude,