When I first wandered into the Unitarian Universalist Church of Binghamton, NY, I thought “church” involved Sunday services with music and preaching, children’s classes with stories, crafts and songs, and adult classes on hot ethical issues. I had not the faintest idea of what a passionately diverse covenant community might entail.
With all our different personal perspectives and passionate debates, we rarely come to agree on beliefs. In fact, we are pretty proud that UUs with an exotic array of human wisdom and experience hold our heads high in full participation, welcome, and embraced with kindness. I’m not suggesting we don’t sometimes break our covenant and act with disrespect toward one another now and again. We’re a learning community. But we have our covenant, bylaws and policies, and we try to call ourselves back to our better behavior. At best, we celebrate our beautiful diversity of perspectives, especially when we differ, with grace and mutual respect.
Which brings me to this question: What is your ministry here? What unique gifts and energies do you bring to this diverse fellowship? Is there something not being done? Perhaps others share your recognition of this emptiness that should be filled. With others’ support, could this be your ministry?
Is there something that could be done better? Please be gentle with us. We are not trying to be perfect nor impressive in our ministries with one another. We are trying to be faithful, doing what we can to serve our various callings. What calls to you? What little ideas are nibbling at your soul?
Let me give an example. We support food pantries that provide largely processed foods to the hungry. But in the Debs household, we try to eat unprocessed grains, fruits and vegetables. I wish I could give the hungry better, healthier food to eat. Then our daughter Katrina mentioned that potatoes are one of the more perfect foods. Been thinking about that. What if…. What if someone bought a bunch of seed potatoes and made them available to kids and teens and families at UUFEC to grow a hill or two, maybe a tub of potato plants in the yard. Perhaps I’m not the only one who thinks our kids would do well to learn how to grow food. Maybe we could harvest potatoes for the food pantry.
I’m coming to think that Unitarian Universalist faith is not just about attending church and classes. It’s about encouraging and accepting one another. It’s also about finding our ministries and supporting one another in that journey. What is your ministry here and in this community?
“I don’t know what your destiny will be,
but one thing I know:
the only ones among you who will be really happy
are those who will have sought and found
how to serve.”