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Thoughts on Reverence


Rev. Carol Bodeau, Minister

I am so thrilled to be starting this month as your called minister! Though I’ve had the privilege of serving Westside for the last year as Director of Religious Education, and to do some work of ministry since the beginning of 2015, it’s only now that I am stepping fully into being your minister.

I am so grateful to Rev. Morris Hudgins for his good work here in the last two years, for his leadership, guidance, wisdom and good spirit. We will be glad to welcome him back in a couple of years, hopefully after a lot of great golf games and wonderful travel in his retirement. And I am so grateful to the Westside community, for welcoming me with open hearts and open minds. As we begin our journey together, I’m thinking about just what it means to be called “reverend.”

The word means the same, to me, as its root: “reverence.” I believe that the most important thing I can hold in our work together is a spirit of reverence for all that is. Reverence for each and every person that comes through the doors of our building, and reverence for each and every viewpoint and insight you bring. Reverence for the community as a whole, for the work of the founders and all those who came before to build this church. Reverence for the land upon which we meet, for the sacred space we create together, and for the exchanges of mind and heart we share here. And reverence for what we might call ‘the greater good.’ for that hard-to-define something which makes us aspire to greater things, both personally and as a community.

While my work as your minister calls me to many tasks--preaching, teaching, listening, speaking, meeting, greeting, supervising, etc--my real role is something far less tangible. My role is to hold this attitude of reverence, to require it of myself and to inspire it in others, at all times. I ask you to share this with me; call me back to it when I falter, hold yourselves to it whenever possible, and notice it in each other with gratitude when it shows up. Reverence--a deep form of respect--is something we can all practice; it is embedded in our principles and can be the foundation of all we do.

May it be so.

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