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Desert Notes December 7, 2023

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

Desert Notes December 7, 2023

I’ve heard many stories about the Sunday after Thanksgiving when about 80 of you participated in person an a dozen online with our “Flip the Church: Improvising a Shared Future” experience (see photos above). You were invited to respond to a homily in small group conversations in these questions:

  1. Rev. Jonalu Johnstone says we come to faith communities because we want “the prophetic stance, the comfort and the hope” for our shared future. What brings you to this faith community, and what do you need from it?
  2. Rev. JJ talks about decline in faith community participation, including our own UU communities. What can we do/are we doing in our UU congregations to survive and thrive in the face of this decline in faith community engagement? If we can’t go back in time, what can we do instead?
  3. How or why is it important for Unitarian Universalism to evolve to serve people other than us/the people currently here? Where do you find hope for our shared future as a congregation and as a community?
  4. Rev. JJ talks about the importance of developing our capacity for collaboration. How can we work more with other UU congregations and communities of faith to be more collaborative? What are we doing now and what more could we be doing? (And what difference would it make?)
Many of you shared with me your experience of this as an energizing, hopeful and connecting experience. My goal was to invite you into a space where you might talk to people you haven’t talked to before in this deeper way about what it means to you to be engaged in building community together and investing in a shared future. It was an experiment. I believe congregational life on Sundays can be more interactive and make space for building relationships with new people. This doesn’t mean we’re going to change everything all the time, but it does mean we are going to try out some new ways of being together and learning together. If you weren’t able to be with us that Sunday (I was on vacation myself!) I hope you’ll take some time to think about your own answers to these questions. As we move into a new year, complete some projects in the sanctuary and contemplate how we will continue to fund this shared work, I wonder what will support each of you in both building deeper relationships with each other and engaging your own spiritual development and sustenance? What do we need to improvise a shared future together? What do we need to let go of? I look forward to the conversations ahead of us and the bridges we will build together.  

–Rev. Sarah