Message: “Mission and Vision Renewal” from Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae

Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae - October 15, 2023

Mission and Vision Renewal

The mission and vision of a congregation are like the chart and compass that help us live into our collective commitments and aspirations as a beloved community. They help to keep us from being static and move us in the direction of continual growth and transformation. Renewing mission and vision statements is something congregations do to keep the living tradition alive and fresh and to ensure everyone is on the same page--or at least reading the same book--when it comes to why we exist and what we hope to achieve together. This work is one of our developmental ministry priorities this year and your input will be invaluable. Come learn about this exciting new endeavor and how you might be a part of this next step in our developmental progress.

From Monthly: "Heritage"

Let’s explore and ask questions in worship, small groups, and personal reflection on this month’s theme. This theme asks us to think about the difference between relatives and ancestors. From Soul Matters: “Relatives give us our brown eyes and bowed legs; ancestors bestow a legacy. Relatives are those we tell stories about; ancestors call us to carry stories forward. Relatives live on in our DNA; ancestors live in the whispers of our hearts. Our relatives allowed us to be here; our ancestors tell us why we are here. The difference comes down to values. Values we use to construct not just our stories but ourselves.” The past is never dead. It’s not even past. –William Faulkner History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme. –Mark Twain Some people are your relatives, but others are your ancestors, and you choose the ones you want to have as ancestors. You create yourself out of those values. –Ralph Ellison In times like these, I look to the past. I come from people not meant to survive, and here is our bloodline, stronger than ever. –Brittany Packnett Walking. I am listening in a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands. –Linda Hogan To acknowledge our ancestors means we are aware that we did not make ourselves. –Alice Walker When a society or a civilization perishes, one condition can always be found. They forgot where they came from. –Carl Sandburg When heritage becomes a box instead of an inspiration, it has gone too far. –Brandon Sanderson When we lie about the past, we steal from the future. –Abigail Bengson My father used to say that stories are part of the most precious heritage of humankind. –Tahir Shah The Dead are our nearest neighbors. –John O’Donohue We are a collage — a remix — of our ancestors. We have spiritual DNA, as well as physical, and our lot in life is to answer the questions posed by the people who came before us. –Austin Kleon I became aware of the fateful links between me and my ancestors. I feel very strongly that I am under the influence of things or questions which were left incomplete and unanswered by my parents and grandparents and more distant ancestors… It has always seemed to me that I had to answer questions which fate had posed to my forefathers, and which had not yet been answered, or as if I had to complete, or perhaps continue, things which previous ages had left unfinished. –Carl Jung Whereas history pleads, “Protect what we put into place!” Heritage urges, “Know the plotline of which you are a part.” History is what happened; Heritage is a story still unfolding. History tends to trap us in tales about what they did; Heritage inevitably gets us talking about what we are called to do. –Rev. Scott Tayler If something did go terribly wrong in human history – and given the current state of the world, it’s hard to deny something did – then perhaps it began to go wrong precisely when people started losing that freedom to imagine and enact other forms of social existence, to such a degree that some now feel this particular type of freedom hardly even existed, or was barely exercised, for the greater part of human history. –David Graeber There’s a tension in me. I’ve lived with what Toni Morrison calls the white gaze… while I was writing This Here Flesh, I had to keep asking myself, “Who’s in the room with you, Cole?” I’m almost embarrassed to say how many times the answer was some white intellectual man that didn’t care about me… these kind of specters, these haunts were just looming over my writing and I had to kind of keep exorcizing the room and say, “No, I know who I want in the room with me. I want my ancestors. I want my own voice, my own soul.” –Cole Arthur Riley, on the heritage of the white gaze Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage. –Ta-Nehisi Coates This is the thing: If you have the option to not think about or even consider history,… that’s how you know you’re on board the ship that serves hors d’oeuvres and fluffs your pillows, while others are out at sea, swimming or drowning, or clinging to little inflatable rafts that they have to take turns keeping inflated, people short of breath, who’ve never even heard of the words hors d’oeuvres or fluff. –Tommy Orange The mission of your life should be to leave a better world behind than what you inherited. –Sri Ravi Shankar You are remembered for the rules you break. –Douglas MacArthur God’s love remains your heritage –Anonymous Christian minister Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon –Full poem found HERE I am from the forsythia bush / the Dutch elm / whose long-gone limbs I remember / as if they were my own. / I’m from the know-it-alls and the pass-it-ons… / I’m from He restoreth my soul… / I am from those moments– / snapped before I budded… Remember the Sky by Joy Harjo –Full poem found HERE; Video reflection HERE Remember your birth, how your mother struggled to give you form and breath. You are evidence of her life, and her mother’s, and hers… Remember the earth whose skin you are… Remember you are all people and all people are you…

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