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November 2017

 

Dearly Beloved,

These words are filled with so much meaning.  The thoughts attached to them have to do with the deep and abiding connections we as a UU congregation share with one another, of larger faith communities and even more the universal reality of the very small degrees of separation that exist between all living things.

I have been both troubled by the natural events of the last few months and I have been saddened by the human endeavors that not only precipitate tragic events but actually are the very reason for pain amongst our human family.  In our area of the world we have been dealing with a lot of pain.  So many of the the Las Vegas nightmare were from Southern California and even our very own Crescenta Valley.  Just a short time ago we had the Verdugo fires only to watch now the horrors the fires of Northern California and the devastation and loss of life there.

I don't know what will come next.  But as I live and breathe I know more shall follow. Preparedness is a word that is often said but not truly followed up on.  Please prepare for the natural disasters that are possible.  Please pay attention!

As you know by now I am a man that believes in prayer, meditation, collective action and individual deed.  I am a soul that longs to be in right relations with all sentient beings and beyond.   I believe deeply in honoring Mother Earth.  So, my friends I am searching and seeking, wondering, hoping and praying.  May we as UU Verdugo be a place of comfort in difficult times.  May our faith community step forward and be about moving this world closer towards a Beloved Community.  May I, as an ordained minister, and each of you and lay ministers be a beacon of light for as surely as good times exist bad ones are never far away and each of us must dig deeply into our spirits to be part of the solutions to save a world that is often out of balance.

Below are the word from our President.  May they be a source of insight and and call to action.  

In faith, hope and love,

Rev Gordon Clay Bailey.


 

Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray issued the following pastoral message:

Dear Colleagues, Religious Professionals and Lay Leaders,

I am thinking of all of you. It is now three months into my term as UUA President, and it has been a time of repeated tragedies and traumas. These have included political traumas including the Transgender Military Ban and the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. They have also included the devastating natural disasters of fires out West and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria that devastated parts of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. And there have been the violent human tragedies of Charlottesville and now Las Vegas.

I hold you all in my heart as you are called to speak to these events in your communities. You nurture communities where people can bring their heartbreak, their pain, their anger, their confusion, their despair. Through your leadership you are asked to create a container for all of our human reactions, a place where families might get support talking to their children, a place where our children can come bringing their sadness, confusion and worry.

As your colleague, your President, your fellow leader in faith, I want you to know that I am grateful for your ministry. I am grateful that you keep showing up with words of comfort and hope, of courage and challenge. This past Sunday, I spoke to a congregation about how this is no time for a casual faith – how the very real challenges and heartbreak of this time in this country and the world require a deep practice of our faith. These realities require a practice that makes room for us to bring our pain and our anger and our vulnerabilities, but one that also continually calls us back to love and to our human capacity for compassion and hope.

You all are on the front lines – providing ministry and leadership to people of all ages, helping us all not to lose our humanity in this very inhumane time, helping us all not to lose hope. Today, as I awoke, the words of Adrienne Rich were on my heart:

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:

so much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those

who age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power

reconstitute the world.

My fellow leaders, I cast my lot with you. We will not give up hope.

Yours in love and faith,

Susan Frederick-Gray