By Rev. Carol Bodeau
It is hard to believe that the school year is about to begin, despite on-going hot weather and the absolute abundance of summer all around us. This means it is also almost the beginning of what we sometimes call ‘the church year.’ Like academic institutions, many congregations schedule their year around a September-June ‘full season’ time and then a few months of lighter activities for the summer months. And one of the big events in UUism each summer is our General Assembly, the gathering at which delegates from all over the UU world come together to learn, play, and make decisions for the denomination.
In the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about the big events of this year’s GA: the election of a new President, Rev. Dr. Sophia Betancourt, and the preliminary approval of a revision of our purposes and principles. This revision re-imagines our familiar 7 Principles, and states as our purpose “the transformation of the world through liberating love.” WOW! That’s a big purpose!
The values which are proposed as the way to do this incredible, daunting, and necessary work are:
With love at the center, we are being asked to consider living our values in real and accountable ways. This week in church, I’ll be talking about accountability, and just how we can embrace it without thinking it means “being judged and punished.”
We do this by remembering that Unitarian Universalism is a covenantal faith, which means that we don’t have contracts with one another, but that we have promises rooted in care and compassion. We promise, from our hearts, to work together, through challenges and difficulties and also through celebrations and successes, to build the world we dream of.
Of course we won’t accomplish that completely! But that is what values or principles are for: they are aspirational, and help us move towards goals that we see as meaningful. As we approach a new church year, let’s recommit to holding one another in care and accountability by speaking with kindness and respect, by listening deeply (without preparing rebuttals), by assuming best intentions, by asking curious questions, and by showing up to the best of our abilities for one another.
And plan to join in our annual Water Communion celebration on Sunday, September 3rd, as we formally come back together after summer adventures. Feel free to bring some water that day from someplace you’ve visited, or that is important to you, to share just what it is you value in this beautiful, brief, brilliant life.
Faithfully, Rev. Carol