It seems strange to have been away from the “Mother Ship” at 1 Edwin Place for such a long time. I, along with many others, find time in the Sanctuary to be a time of centering and calming my “fevered” mind. For me, this is second only to standing in a river, in the cathedral of trees, birds, butterflies, Brookies, and the occasional Hellbender. The Sanctuary promises us a safe space. We have a pretty good idea of how things will go through the sermon and on to coffee hour. And on those other nights, like Wednesday vespers and when we are in groups, the safe feeling surrounds us and envelops us.

I would like to consider a transition from Safe Space to Brave Space in my own life. To be less safe, less guarded, more open and vulnerable. I came across the concept of Brave Spaces several years ago while facilitating Building Bridges Racial Equity Groups and Manual. I tried to bring it into the meetings with me, asking participants to bring forward their “braver” self, to learn about and deal with their own privilege and history of interactions with People of Color. It requires a change in one’s self and a willingness to risk at a higher level than usual.

In the words of Sr. Ann Lythgoe, OP in her Blog:  “This idea of brave space transforms my idea of safe space. It is a movement from being secure to vulnerable, from armored to open, from guarded to curious.  I wonder if brave space might be a way to build peace, by being at peace in conversations we have (or don’t have) with people different from ourselves. Brave space calls us to look at one another with softer eyes.”

It strikes me that the Brave Space concept fits nicely with our mission and our Seven Principles.

Invitation to Brave Space
By Micky Scott Bey Jones, June 13, 2017

Together we will create brave space
Because there is no such thing as a “safe space”
We exist in the real world
We all carry scars and we have all caused wounds.
In this space
We seek to turn down the volume of the outside world,
We amplify voices that fight to be heard elsewhere,
We call each other to more truth and love.
We have the right to start somewhere and continue to grow.
We have the responsibility to examine what we think we know.
We will not be perfect.
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be.
It will be our brave space together,
We will work on it side by side.

So we are called upon to be brave and move away from the safety of “the usual”. We need to not only announce our principles but to live those principles in our own daily life and openly in the community.

Michael Beech, UUCA Board of Trustees