The role of the artist is to make revolution irresistible.
-Toni Cade Bambara
Our Stewardship Campaign has launched and your support is critical to our continued flourishing as we emerge from the pandemic and into our abundance. I preached a few weeks ago about the need to institutionalize stewardship in our congregation. For too long, it has been the ministry of a few leaders who shoulder all of the weight — creating cycles of burnout rather than nurturing sustainability. When our whole congregation takes responsibility for stewardship we better share the ministry of the church and everyone can feel proud of their contributions to these important efforts.
This year we are launching a more comprehensive stewardship campaign than recent years because the pandemic is ending and we have mostly returned to our campus. We need to raise additional funds from pledging and special gifts until we are able to rebuild all of our regular income streams, and we really want the whole congregation to experience the community-building, inspiration, creativity, and joy that emerges when we come together in intentional ways to support our church home.
We are asking all members of the community to be engaged stewards of the congregation by attending a Courtyard Conversation after the service, one of the many House Parties members are hosting, or by meeting one-on-one with a trained congregational steward. In each of these settings, we want to hear from you about your hopes for our future as we also provide a congregational financial snapshot and answer questions related to this year’s vibrant campaign. We hope that all members will consider increasing their pledges to help offset our regular income losses and also to consider making a special gift to this year’s Emergence Fund. You can learn more about all of these opportunities by contacting our stewards at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our spiritual theme for congregational reflection this month is Resistance. It can be defined as “a refusal to comply with something” or “the ability to not be affected by adversity.” Unitarian Universalists often understand resistance well as the roots of our tradition are in heretical doctrines which proclaim the Unity of G–d and salvation of all people by universal love. Our spiritual ancestors had to resist the domination of all other Christian churches when they declared these doctrines, and others like the rejection of the doctrine of original sin and emphasizing the humanity of Jesus(as). It is no wonder there are strong anti-authoritarian cultures in many of our congregations.
Today we often think of resistance in terms of social justice and how we resist white supremacy and a multitude of forms of oppression. We spent the better part of the past three years resisting a deadly plague by taking protective measures and transforming how we do church. Resistance, of course, can also show up in our lives in ways that aren’t so positive, as when we are resistant to needed change or are resistant to our own spiritual growth. This theme is rich with possibilities for deeper exploration.
Our friends at Soul Matters invite us to consider the following questions in our times for group check in and reflection this month:
- How has art shaped and inspired your political resistance?
- Is life trying to lead you down a road you’ve long resisted?
- How did your parents’ acts of resistance shape you?
- Has your resistance to change grown or eased as you’ve gotten older?
- What change in your life do you wish you had not resisted?
- Have you been following the path of least resistance for so long that you no longer notice?
- Is it time to heed the warning that “What you resist, persists”?
- What problematic emotion is hardest for you to resist? Jealousy? Pessimism? Spite? Judgmentalism? Wanting to be right? Wanting to always win? (What is one thing you might do to get better at that?)
- Is it possible that the form of resistance you need to take right now is rest?
If you would like to touch base with our Pastoral Care Team to request confidential support or to share joys and milestones with the church, please email us at email@example.com.
Happy Easter, Ramazan Kareem, and Chag Pesach Sameach!
Rev. Jeremiah Lal Shahbaz Kalendae