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Building Bridges

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! A whole new year lies before us, ripe with possibility—the possibility for great growth and transformation in our personal, church, and national realities; the possibility for challenges that we haven’t expected and don’t yet know how to meet; the possibility for miracles that we never dreamed were available to us; the possibility that we might discover something new about ourselves, or others.

It’s easy, as we get older, to greet each new year as ‘just another one’—the same as all the others, rolling on into the future. We can become apathetic, or even cynical, and lose the sense of wonder and excitement that the new year can bring. Or we can feel so overwhelmed by life that we simply just keep trudging forward, guarding our own close-knit circle and not stretching very far out into the larger world to look for the ‘new.’

In invite you to reclaim the sense of possibility in your life, and in this year. No matter what circumstances we encounter, each day offers us the opportunity to begin a new project, meet a new friend, explore a new concept, and find a new way. This is what keeps us alive, and vital—both as human beings and as an organization. And it isn’t just about finding the ‘new’ in things that are familiar and comfortable. Truly ‘new’ experiences are uncomfortable; they require us to step out of our comforts zones. To consider ideas foreign to our own, to engage with people who are not like us, to visit places that seem uncomfortable or to try new actions that seem unfamiliar.

As we begin this new year, I invite you to join in a conversation about what being in a religious community means. Why are we here? Why do you participate in Westside?

What are you hoping for, for Westside and also from Westside?

On Sunday, January 22nd we’ll begin a series of conversations called “Building Bridges,” and it will start with two key questions:

  1. How do you feel about the world we live in, the world we are entering into, in 2017?

  2. What do you think the role of our church is in that world?

As part of this conversation, we’ll be watching the TED talk given by Rabbi Sharon Rous in Oct of last year, called “It’s Time to Reclaim Religion.” The link and the transcript are provided for you. Link, Transcript

I’m looking forward to sharing the conversation, the exploration, and the adventure, with you.

In faith and fellowship,

Rev. Carol

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