A Stable Faith
This is a test. This is only a test. And, the points don’t matter. Knowing the answer is WAY more important! Do you know what our congregation’s Mission Statement is? If you do not, you’re in good company.
The UUCM Mission Statement reads:
We are a compassionate, spiritual community that honors every person’s search for truth as we learn and work together to create a better world.
Recently the Board spent some time running a comb through that mission statement, which is a good thing to do every couple of years. We were looking to see if the mission statement was still relevant, helpful in guiding our work, and inspiring. I wanted to know if the Board was lit up by a compassionate, spiritual community. I wondered how we could still claim to honor every person’s search for truth in our post-truth age. [Case in point: In November, 2021, scores of QAnon conspiracy theorists converged in Dallas, TX, believing that JFK, Jr. would return on the anniversary of his father’s assassination and usher in a new Trump presidency.] And I wondered if we had any collective idea of what a better world might look like?
Sometime after the board discussion, Marti Kennedy and I were playing around with some of the ideas that had surfaced and we came up with this statement:
We are a spiritual fellowship dedicated to building beloved community within and beyond our doors.
We liked it! It’s short, memorable, and it captures an aspiration. In other words, it has movement. It tells the world what we are up to and points us toward a vision of what would come to be if we were successful in carrying out that mission.
Then Marti raised an interesting point. She believes (and rightly so, I think) that if we were to gather all the souls of UUCM together and ask them to describe the ‘beloved community,’ we would have many different answers! How could it be otherwise in a congregation where whenever two or more are gathered, so are about 25 opinions!
Then we both got curious. How would you describe the ‘beloved community’? What is it about ‘beloved community’ that might make it worth the struggle to bring it about? What would be required of the UUCM community to build beloved community within our doors? What might be the impact to the community beyond our doors? Can you craft an image of it that is worth the reach, worth our time and effort — even if we will not live to see it?
Welcome to this year’s Stewardship Campaign! Building Beloved Community Within and Beyond Our Doors.
“Great,” say you, “but what does any of this have to do with Stewardship? Isn’t stewardship about money?”
It is, in the sense that the campaign will end with a request for members and friends to make a financial pledge to the church. It is in the sense that we count on those pledges to sustain the many ministries taking place here at UUCM. But stewardship is about so much more than money. It’s a time of year in which we stop and think — really think — about our church community and what it means to us. It is a season in which we are called to reflect upon things like our Mission Statement and how we are doing at living into it. It is about sharing our gratitude for all that is, and our hopes for what may come. And it is a season for rededicating ourselves to the work here.
You will be hearing a good deal more about this Building Beloved Community campaign from the Stewardship Team — and more about doors as well. (Doors that open easily, doors that conceal, doors that hide surprises, music by The Doors…) I just wanted to give you a heads up, and hopefully get you thinking: “What might beloved community look like to you?”
Congregants, start your thinking engines because over the next month or so, we’re going to be asking for your ideas! And I, for one, can’t wait to hear about your visions!