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Desert Notes August 3, 2023

Love is our Doctrine. Service is our prayer. Justice is our calling.

Desert Notes August 3, 2023

I am excited to share with you all that the Board of Trustees, the Committee on Shared Ministry and the Special Funds Committee have finalized arrangements to work with Rev. Dr. Samatha Wilson on a proposal to do deeper work on conflict resolution with the membership and leadership of VUU. We will be working with Rev. Dr. Samantha Wilson as a facilitator and leader.  She has been working with one of our sister congregations in Tucson.  One of their leaders, in reference to this work said “One of the most important things we learned was how what appear to be specific conflicts can actually reflect the systems of behavior that have become ingrained in how the church as a whole functions.  We also learned how those systems of behavior can persist for decades after the primary original source of conflict.”  In describing the impact of this work, they also said: “The outgoing and incoming boards gained an unexpectedly deep level of insight into what has led the church to be the way it is and into what past events taught the church about ministry, for example.” We look forward to sharing more with you as we develop our plans with Rev. Sam.  Our hope is that this work will render our community with greater vitality and sustainability and solidify us as a beacon of hope and transformation.

Last week I referenced the book “Radical Curiosity: Questioning Commonly Held Beliefs to Imagine Flourishing Futures” by Seth Goldenberg.  I will return to this book a few times; it is dense and long and connects these ideas to many aspects of our shared lives.  I finished my reflection with these words:

“This year the leadership of VUU and I are inviting you to develop the practices of radical curiosity.  We’re going to lean into the places where we struggle–where we don’t think alike, where our solutions and ideas take us into different directions.  We’re going to practice listening, catching ourselves in assumptions, and asking deeper questions.  We’re going to notice how we are uniquely different and accept that these are part of what makes each of us sacred and worthy.  Instead of running away or giving up when we notice the places where there is tension, we’re going to notice how uncomfortable and sometimes even painful it is when we don’t agree, how challenging it is when we want or like or even need different things.  And then we’re going to remember that there is a unity beneath all of our differences that connects us, an interdependent community committed to caring for one another and staying the course…May we lean into these opportunities to be the ones we’ve been waiting for – to be curious and creative and critical and courageous, together.”

In Gratitude,

Rev. Sarah