Jane Bramham: TOGETHER

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We work together. We nurture each other’s search for meaning. We are a Unitarian Universalist  community. The Board and I heard through the year how vital making and deepening connection is to your experience of UUCA. We like eating, learning, singing and working together.

The Board has written a description, based on listening to you, of a vision of what UUCA can look like. We’ve seen you together in action this year: singing in the choir, adding up to 168 Combined Campaign volunteers, teaching RE, celebrating Day One, baking pies and eating them, reading The New Jim Crow and talking about what that means for us, celebrating the growth of our congregation and installing our new Associate Minister Rev. Lisa Bovee-Kemper, checking out the Welcome Project plans. We call this description our Ends, and the Ends come to you worded for action, ready for feedback from you, and intended as our framework for moving forward together.

Within Each Congregant: We Seek
Embrace principles, values and practices which explore the sacred in the world and the mystery of existence.
Gather together in worship which guides and sustains our individual and communal response to the sacred through multifaceted creative artistic and musical experiences.

Among the Congregants:  We Care
Feel welcome and connected with each other.
Share generously of our personal resources of time, talent, and money.
Honor and support each other in times of celebration and need.

Beyond our Congregation:  We Work
Act meaningfully and visibly in community service, social justice advocacy and education.
Serve as a beacon of liberal religious thought and action.
Offer our space for events which serve a varied audience and inspire community dialogue.
Partner with other congregations and organizations in support of shared objectives.

It has been a very busy year, which I suspect is what we say at the end of every year, and we are all looking forward to the different rhythm of summer. When Cam and I lived in Kentucky we had a lake house that I say saved my life. It was the space removed from the demands of my work, a place that gave me permission to just be there and swing in the hammock. I slept and rested. You might call it a sanity break, or understand it as sabbath; we called those times lake days.

I’m watching the May calendar numbers move up to 31, the date that marks our congregational celebration of the year past and anticipation of the year to come. The end of this month is also the end of my year as Board president and my four years on the Board. I am very grateful for your trust and support. The reward of this year as President has been the opportunity to better know many of you. I want to savor this last reflection, one more Board vote. I’ve wanted time to slow down just a little; I want us to share a “lake day” at our Annual Meeting May 31.

Mark-PettusBridge-webIn his sermon after returning from the Selma 50th Anniversary, Mark described the slowing of the pace of the march until they were moving inch by inch, and then a pause with the feeling of peace at the peak of the bridge. Mark said in his challenge to us “The fantasy I hold to is that that glimpse of peace that I experienced on the crest of the Edmund Pettus Bridge is not just a fleeting moment but a foretaste of the future, a future that we here might be agents in bringing about, where all people learn to be easy with one another, where caring, respect, and love flow freely among us.”

Let’s pause to recognize what has been accomplished this year, and in the pause listen to each other and learn what work it is we want do together toward that future of freedom, justice and love. In Tom T. Hall’s words, let us walk slow, listen, and pay attention as we move forward together.

Walk slow as your travel down life’s way
Walk slow as you live it day by day
Pay attention as you go … walk slow

Walk slow and maybe you’ll lead the way.
Walk slow don’t let any go astray.
Be confident upon the path you chose.
So that others may keep up … walk slow.